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

MENU PLANNER

October 07, 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

Today's Parmesan Chicken makes the family happy. Serve it along with baked potatoes and all the trimmings and broccolini or broccoli. Buy peach cobbler for dessert and add some raspberries.

Plan Ahead: Save enough chicken and cobbler for Monday. Bake enough potatoes for Tuesday.

Parmesan Chicken

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 18 to 20 minutes

cooking spray

2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill

2 cups cornflakes crumbs

3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

10.4 ounce package ranch salad dressing mix

8 4- or 5-ounce boneless skinless chicken breast halves

2 slightly beaten egg whites

Heat oven to 375. Coat a 9- by 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. In a shallow dish, mix together the dill, cornflakes, Parmesan cheese and ranch dressing. Dip chicken into egg white and then coat with cornflake mixture. Place chicken in baking dish and bake 18 to 20 minutes or until coating is crisp and chicken is no longer pink.

Per serving: 255 calories, 33 grams protein, 4 grams fat (15 percent calories from fat), 2.2 grams saturated fat, 19 grams carbohydrate, 73 milligrams cholesterol, 601 milligrams sodium, no fiber.

MONDAY / Heat and Eat

Make your own chicken fingers with leftover chicken. Slice, heat and then dip into store-bought honey mustard sauce. Keep your finger-food theme with corn-on-the-cob. Add a green salad and bread. Warm the leftover cobbler for dessert.

TUESDAY / Express

Dinner will be ready in a flash with Mexican fish tacos. Sprinkle frozen fish fillets with cumin and chili powder and bake according to directions. Serve in heated taco shells and top with deli coleslaw. Cut Sunday's leftover baked potatoes into potato wedges. Coat with cooking spray and bake at 425 degrees until hot. For dessert, pop red and green grapes into your mouth.

WEDNESDAY / Kids

Big kids and little kids alike will like this Chili Mac. Add deli carrot salad and whole wheat rolls. Make peanut butter ice cream sandwiches for dessert. Layer low-fat peanut butter and jelly on a soft oatmeal-raisin cookie. Top with fat-free vanilla ice cream and another cookie.

Chili Mac

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: less than 20 minutes plus pasta

8 ounces elbow macaroni

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 chopped green bell pepper

1 pound ground turkey breast

1 26- to 28-ounce jar store-bought red pasta sauce

Chili powder to taste

Cook macaroni according to directions; drain. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium high and cook bell pepper 3 minutes. Add turkey and cook 5 minutes or until no longer pink. Add pasta sauce and chili powder to taste. Bring to boil; reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, 10 minutes. Stir in cooked macaroni and heat through.

Per serving: 291 calories, 25 grams protein, 4 grams fat (11 percent calories from fat), 0.5 grams saturated fat, 38 grams carbohydrate, 51 milligrams cholesterol, 420 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

THURSDAY / Meatless

Skip meat and enjoy Ranchero Wraps tonight. Serve with quick cheese grits. Add a sliced avocado salad on lettuce. Pears are a simple dessert.

Ranchero Wrap

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: about 5 minutes

cooking spray

4 whole eggs

8 egg whites

14.5 ounce can chopped green chilies

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 thinly sliced scallions

1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

4 corn tortillas

Salsa and reduced-fat sour cream for garnish

Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Meanwhile, whisk whole eggs and egg whites in a bowl; stir in chilies and salt. Pour into skillet and scramble to desired doneness. Remove from heat and stir in scallions and cheese. Meanwhile, warm tortillas in microwave. Spoon eggs into tortillas and roll. Serve with salsa and sour cream.

Per serving: 201 calories, 18 grams protein, 10 grams fat (44 percent calories from fat), 4.3 grams saturated fat, 10 grams carbohydrate, 225 milligrams cholesterol, 535 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

FRIDAY / Budget

Pasta is always easy on the purse strings, like this Spaghetti With Marinara Sauce and Fresh Tomatoes. Serve with a Romaine salad and garlic bread. Fresh pineapple is a light dessert.

Spaghetti With Marinara Sauce and Fresh Tomatoes

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: spaghetti

12 ounces spaghetti

2 fresh tomatoes

3 cups store-bought marinara sauce

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Cook spaghetti according to directions; drain. Coarsely chop tomatoes and stir into sauce and heat. Just before tossing with spaghetti, add red pepper flakes and cheese. Serve immediately.

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