Each day of the week offers a menu aimed at a different...

MENU PLANNER

September 23, 2001

Each day of the week offers a menu aimed at a different aspect of meal planning.

There's a family meal, a kids' menu, a heat-and-eat meal that recycles leftovers, a budget meal, a meatless or "less meat" dish, an express meal, and an entertaining menu.

SUNDAY / Family

Prepare your own leg of lamb on family day. Cook some couscous and toss with chopped fresh parsley. Expect compliments for these broiled tomatoes. Add sourdough bread. For dessert, sprinkle toasted coconut over your own fresh fruit cup or enjoy another tomato the way I did.

Plan ahead: Save enough lamb, fruit cup and any leftover tomatoes for Monday.

Broiled Tomatoes

Makes 6 tomatoes

Preparation time: less than 15 minutes

Cooking time: less than 5 minutes

Standing time: 2 minutes

6 whole medium tomatoes

salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons fresh bread crumbs

1 tablespoon each olive oil and freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil

Heat broiler. Trim and core tomatoes. Place tomatoes in a circle in a pie plate and microwave, uncovered, on high (100-percent power) 3 minutes. Let stand 2 minutes. Meanwhile, mix crumbs, olive oil and cheese. Divide, mix together and pat crumb mixture over each tomato. Broil until crumbs begin to brown. (It happens fast!) Remove from oven and sprinkle with basil. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Per serving: 57 calories, 2 grams protein, 3 grams fat (45 percent calories from fat), 0.6 gram saturated fat, 7 grams carbohydrate, 1 milligram cholesterol, 43 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.

MONDAY / Heat and Eat

Tonight's Lamb Stroganoff Over Noodles is practically made. Warm any leftover broiled tomatoes or slice fresh tomatoes along with crusty bread. Leftover fruit cup is dessert.

Lamb Stroganoff Over Noodles

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: less than 10 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes plus noodles

8 ounces (2 cups) eggless noodles

2 cups cooked (leftover) chopped lamb

one 12-ounce jar mushroom gravy

1 drained can sliced mushrooms

1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream

chopped parsley for garnish

Cook noodles according to directions without oil. Mix lamb with gravy and mushrooms. Cook 5 minutes or until hot. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream. Serve over noodles. Garnish with parsley.

Per serving: 402 calories, 25 grams protein, 11 grams fat (25 percent calories from fat), 4.4 grams saturated fat, 50 grams carbohydrate, 72 milligrams cholesterol, 638 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

TUESDAY/ Kids

Kids are guaranteed to like mild-flavored, simple chicken parmesan. Serve with spaghetti. Add a chopped lettuce salad and whole-wheat rolls. Dessert is fresh pineapple chunks.

Plan ahead: Save enough pineapple for Thursday.

Chicken Parmesan

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

six 4- to 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken-breast halves

2 slightly beaten egg whites

2/3 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs

one 26-ounce jar marinara sauce

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 cup reduced-fat shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat oven to 400. Dip chicken in egg whites, then bread crumbs, coating well. Arrange chicken in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bake uncovered 20 minutes. Mix basil with sauce and pour over chicken; sprinkle with cheese. Bake 10 more minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.

Per serving: 268 calories, 37 grams protein, 4 grams fat (13 percent calories from fat), 1.8 grams saturated fat, 19 grams carbohydrate, 73 milligrams cholesterol, 801 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

WEDNESDAY / Heat and Eat

Every pantry needs corned beef hash for a quick meal. Prepare it the traditional way with poached or fried eggs on top. Serve with hash-browned potatoes (frozen) and pickled beets. Add rye bread. Store-bought chunky applesauce is your easy dessert.

THURSDAY / Meatless

Start dinner with gazpacho. Stir finely chopped onion, cucumber, fresh tomatoes and yellow bell pepper into canned pureed chilled tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with grilled cheese sandwiches and pineapple coleslaw. Stir leftover finely chopped fresh pineapple into deli coleslaw. Deli brownies are good for dessert.

FRIDAY/ Budget

Economical Penne Pasta With Tomatoes and Romano Cheese has great flavor. Serve with mixed greens and crusty bread. Offer store-bought marble pound cake for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough cake for Saturday.

Penne Pasta With Tomatoes and Romano Cheese

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: less than 15 minutes

Cooking time: about 10 minutes plus pasta

8 ounces penne pasta

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium chopped onion

one 14 1/2 -ounce can drained Italian-style stewed tomatoes

1/4 cup freshly grated Romano cheese

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to directions without oil; drain. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat oil on medium-high and cook onion 4 minutes or until softened. Reduce heat to medium and add tomatoes. Cook 5 minutes; stir occasionally. Add pasta to skillet and toss. Add cheese; season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss and serve.

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