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

MENU PLANNER

October 21, 2001|By Susan Nicholson | Susan Nicholson,Universal Press Syndicate

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 roast lamb your way for the family. Serve with Brown Rice With Green Beans and Almonds. Add a Boston lettuce salad and whole-wheat rolls. Buy a lemon meringue pie for dessert.

Plan ahead: Cook brown rice the day before. Save enough lamb, rice and pie for Monday.

Brown Rice With Green Beans and Almonds

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutesCooking time: less than 5 minutes1 teaspoon butter or margarine

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1 cup each chopped onion and red bell pepper

3 cups cooked brown rice

1 10-ounce package frozen, thawed and drained French-style green beans

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

3/4 teaspoon fresh tarragon

Melt butter or margarine in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add almonds; stir constantly 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Add onion and red bell pepper; cook 2 minutes or until tender. Add rice, green beans, white pepper and tarragon. Stir and cook until thoroughly heated.

Per serving: 155 calories, 5 grams protein, 6 grams fat (31 percent calories from fat), 0.8 grams saturated fat, 23 grams carbohydrate, 1 milligram cholesterol, 11 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.

MONDAY / Heat and Eat

Dinner is easy when you make (leftover) lamb, roasted red pepper, arugula and goat cheese sandwiches on warmed focaccia bread. Serve with leftover rice and leftover pie for dessert.

Plan ahead: Prepare Tuesday's Tuna Casserole tonight.

TUESDAY / Budget

No precooking the noodles and no blowing the budget with this economical Tuna Casserole. Serve with a crisp lettuce wedge and reduced-fat salad dressing. Add sourdough bread. For dessert, top canned Mandarin orange sections with toasted coconut.

Tuna Casserole

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes; chilling time: overnightCooking time: 15 to 17 minutes; standing time: 5 minutes

1 10 3/4 -ounce condensed 98 percent fat-free cream of celery soup (undiluted)

1 cup 1 percent milk

1 6-ounce can drained water-packed albacore tuna

1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni

1 cup frozen green peas

1/2 cup chopped scallions

1 cup reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese, divided

Mix soup and milk until smooth. Add tuna, macaroni, peas, scallions and 3/4 cup of the cheese; mix well. Pour into a 2-quart baking dish. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Microwave, covered, on high (100 percent power) 15 to 17 minutes or until bubbly. Uncover; sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese and let stand 5 minutes or until melted.

Per serving: 333 calories, 27 grams protein, 9 grams fat (26 percent calories from fat), 4.9 grams saturated fat, 34 grams carbohydrate, 38 milligrams cholesterol, 938 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

WEDNESDAY / Meatless

It's Caramelized Onions over penne pasta for your no-meat dinner tonight. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Serve with a spinach salad with hard-cooked egg slices on top and crusty bread. Fat-free chocolate ice cream is dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough ice cream for Friday.

Caramelized Onions Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutesCooking time: 20 to 30 minutes

1 teaspoon margarine or butter

2 teaspoons olive oil

3 large thinly sliced onions

2 teaspoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons dried basil

In a large nonstick skillet, heat margarine or butter and oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until onions are golden. Stir in syrup, vinegar and basil. Mix well.

Per serving: 103 calories, 2 grams protein, 3 grams fat (27 percent calories from fat), 0.5 grams saturated fat, 18 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 18 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

THURSDAY / Kids

The kid in me can't resist a big fat hot dog once in a while. Now I use the fat-free kind on toasted light whole-wheat rolls. Slather on some mustard and relish too. Tonight, Parmesan oven fries are on the side. Heat oven to 400. Cut 4 large baking potatoes into wedges. Brush with low-fat mayonnaise and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese; salt to taste; arrange on a cookie sheet coated with cooking spray; bake 25 to 30 minutes or until tender. Serve with frozen tiny green peas. Here comes that kid again, eating raspberry-filled angel food Little Debbie snack cakes.

FRIDAY / Express

Look for Tyson's (or another brand) frozen boneless, skinless Teriyaki Chicken Thighs at your warehouse club. I thawed them slightly, cut 'em into chunks and added to a packaged frozen stir-fry (with teriyaki sauce). The combo went over quick rice. Serve packaged mixed greens on the side and add multigrain bread. Scoop leftover chocolate ice cream for dessert.

SATURDAY / Easy Entertaining

Serve Lemon Parsley Flounder to your favorite guests. Add Potato Salad With Fresh Tarragon and dinner rolls. Buy meringue cookies and serve with mocha ice cream.

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