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

MENU PLANNER

November 18, 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 that employs a cost-cutting strategy, a meatless or "less meat" dish, an express meal that requires little or no preparation, and an entertaining meal that's quick.

SUNDAY / Express

Rely on store-bought spiral sliced ham, potato salad and baked beans for a fine meal today. Add pumpernickel bread. Finish the quick meal with a store-bought chocolate layer cake.

Plan ahead: Cook Monday's rice today. Save enough ham for Tuesday and Thursday and enough cake for Tuesday.

MONDAY / Kids

If you can't be one, at least you can eat Cowboy Beans and Rice With Franks. Heat 1 teaspoon vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add 1 medium chopped onion and 1 medium chopped green bell pepper; cook and stir 3 to 5 minutes or until softened. Add 4 fat-free hot dogs (cut in 1-inch pieces), 3 cups cooked rice, two 15- to 16-ounce cans rinsed and drained pinto beans, and 3/4 cup barbecue sauce; mix well. Reduce heat to low and simmer 6 or 7 minutes or until hot. For some extra crunch, dip celery sticks into ranch dressing. Add cornbread muffins (from a mix). Pears are dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough muffins for Tuesday.

TUESDAY / Budget

Buy canned lentil soup and add some chopped (leftover) ham for extra flavor. Serve with a spinach salad and leftover muffins. Slice leftover cake for dessert.

WEDNESDAY / Meatless

Enjoy the meaty texture of Barbecue Portobello Mushroom Sandwiches on Focaccia. Serve with frozen baked fries. Peaches make a good dessert.

Plan ahead: Cook Thursday's brown rice today.

Barbecued Portobello Mushroom Sandwiches on Focaccia

Makes 6 sandwiches

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: less than 5 minutes

six 6-inch focaccia squares

6 portobello mushrooms, stems removed

1/4 to 1/3 cup barbecue sauce, divided

1/2 cup roasted red bell peppers cut into strips, divided

30 basil leaves, divided

1/4 cup goat cheese, divided

Slice focaccia horizontally and toast. Brush mushrooms with barbecue sauce and broil 3 minutes (gill side down) or until tender. To assemble, place 1 mushroom on bottom of 1 square focaccia and top with bell pepper strips, basil and goat cheese. Top with remaining focaccia, cut in half and serve.

Per serving: 269 calories, 13 grams protein, 7 grams fat (21 percent calories from fat), 2.7 grams saturated fat, 42 grams carbohydrate, 9 milligrams cholesterol, 556 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

THURSDAY / Family-Thanksgiving

Lots of us like the traditional turkey, dressing, gravy and cranberries for Thanksgiving. This year, try Harvest Rice for a little change. Go back to tradition and serve pumpkin pie (yours or bought) with light whipped cream.

Plan ahead: Save the leftovers for future feasts.

Harvest Rice

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 7 to 12 minutes plus rice

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 cup shredded carrots

1 cup sliced scallions

2 cups cored and chopped unpeeled apples

3 cups cooked brown rice

1/2 cup raisins

1 tablespoon sesame seed

1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add carrots and cook and stir 3 to 5 minutes until softened. Add scallions and apples; cook 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in rice, raisins, sesame seed and salt. Cook, stirring, 1 to 2 minutes, or until thoroughly heated.

Per serving: 160 calories, 3 grams protein, 3 grams fat (17 percent calories from fat), 0.4 gram saturated fat, 32 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 160 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.

FRIDAY / Heat and Eat

Use the leftover turkey for Asian Turkey Wraps. Heat the leftover rice. Leftover pie is dessert. That was easy.

Asian Turkey Wraps

Makes 4 tortillas

Preparation time: 15 minutes

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon each sugar, sesame seeds and dark sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 cups chopped cooked (leftover) turkey breast

3/4 cup sliced celery

6 sliced radishes

3 sliced scallions

3 tablespoons toasted slivered almonds

4 8- to 10-inch 98 percent fat-free flour tortillas

1 bunch sliced basil leaves

Combine vinegar, sugar, sesame seeds, sesame oil and salt and mix well; chill. Combine turkey, celery, radishes, scallions and almonds. Drizzle dressing over turkey mixture and toss to coat. Spoon evenly into tortillas, sprinkle with basil and wrap. Cut in half and serve immediately.

Per tortilla: 424 calories, 49 grams protein, 10 grams fat (22 percent calories from fat), 1.4 grams saturated fat, 31 grams carbohydrate, 120 milligrams cholesterol, 738 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.

SATURDAY / Easy Entertaining

For a change of pace, invite your guests for Mediterranean Shrimp. Serve with Tomato Caper Salad. Add garlic bread. For dessert, sprinkle toasted coconut over fresh fruit cup.

Mediterranean Shrimp

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: less than 10 minutes plus pasta

8 ounces orzo pasta

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 medium thinly sliced red onion

1 medium thinly sliced red bell pepper

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