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


November 25, 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 / Family

Comfort food, like Skillet Herb Roasted Chicken, is family food, too. Serve the chicken and its gravy along with rice and green beans. Add your own or store-bought biscuits. Scoop fat-free strawberry ice cream for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough ice cream for Tuesday.

Skillet Herb Roasted Chicken

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: less than 20 minutes

1/4 teaspoon each ground sage and thyme

4 5- or 6-ounce boneless skinless chicken breast halves

cooking spray

1 10 3/4 -ounce can 98 percent fat-free condensed cream of chicken soup

1/2 cup water or fat-free chicken broth

Mix sage and thyme and sprinkle over chicken. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and warm over medium heat 1 minute. Cook chicken 6 to 8 minutes per side or until no longer pink. Remove from skillet and keep warm. Add soup and water to skillet and mix well; heat on low. Serve over chicken.

Per serving: 206 calories, 35 grams protein, 4 grams fat (17 percent calories from fat), 1.1 grams saturated fat, 6 grams carbohydrate, 88 milligrams cholesterol, 651 milligrams sodium, no fiber.

MONDAY / Express

Meatball Sandwiches are a quick meal tonight.

Serve with frozen oven fries and a packaged green salad. Orange sections are a light dessert.

Plan ahead: Save leftover meatballs for Tuesday.

Meatball Sandwiches

Makes 4 sandwiches

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: less than 20

cooking spray

1 medium green bell pepper, cut into strips

1 small onion, cut into wedges

12 meatballs (from an 18-ounce package frozen cooked meatballs) (see note)

4 split and warmed hoagie rolls

1/2 cup low-fat processed cheese spread

In a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, cook bell pepper and onion 3 minutes or until softened; add 24 meatballs, cover and cook about 14 minutes or until meatballs are hot. Spoon mixture into rolls; drizzle with cheese sauce.

Note: Save remaining meatballs for Tuesday's soup.

Per serving: 401 calories, 18 grams protein, 18 grams fat (40 percent calories from fat), 8 grams saturated fat, 42 grams carbohydrate, 31 milligrams cholesterol, 936 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.

TUESDAY / Heat and Eat

Make vegetable beef soup tonight using Campbell's Country Vegetable Soup (or another brand and flavor) in a 24-ounce jar. Add some of the (thawed), halved leftover meatballs and any leftover vegetables on hand. Thin with broth or water if necessary. Heat and serve. Add a mixed-green salad and bread sticks. Leftover ice cream is dessert.


Crispy Chicken Strips has kids and easy written all over it. Heat oven to 425. Cut 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves into 1-inch strips. Brush strips on all sides with 1/3 to 1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise. Pour 1 1/4 cups Italian-seasoned bread crumbs into a resealable plastic bag. Add chicken, 1 or 2 pieces at a time, and shake well to coat. Place on baking sheet and bake 15 minutes or until golden. Mashed potatoes and green peas go well on the side. Add whole-wheat rolls. Help the kids make Banana Split Squares for dessert. Toast 2 slices white bread; cut each slice into 4 squares. Spread toasted squares with 1 tablespoon low-fat vanilla yogurt. Top each square with 1 slice banana and 1 half strawberry. Sprinkle with a few crushed chocolate chips.


Linguine With Clam Sauce is easy on the pocketbook. Add a spinach salad and garlic bread. Make instant tapioca pudding for dessert.

Linguine With Clam Sauce

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: about 5 minutes plus linguine

8 ounces linguine

2 6 1/2 -ounce cans chopped clams

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 minced garlic cloves

salt and pepper to taste

Cook linguine according to directions but without oil; drain and place on a warm platter. Drain clams; reserve liquid. In a large nonstick skillet heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add reserved clam liquid. Increase heat to medium-high to bring to boil. Cook 3 minutes or until the liquid is reduced and thickened slightly. Stir in the clams and heat 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over linguine; toss and serve.

Per serving: 316 calories, 14 grams protein, 8 grams fat (23 percent calories from fat), 1 gram saturated fat, 46 grams carbohydrate, 15 milligrams cholesterol, 388 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.

FRIDAY / Meatless

You won't miss meat tonight with Caribbean Black Beans. Serve the high-fiber combo over rice. Add cornbread. For dessert, try papaya with lime wedges.

Caribbean Black Beans

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: less than 15 minutes

2 cups chopped onions

1 tablespoon sesame oil

3/4 cup store-bought barbecue sauce

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