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

January 06, 2002|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

Gather round the family table for Herbed Leg of Lamb. Serve it with tabbouleh. Prepare 1 cup couscous according to package directions. Add 1/3 cup cider vinegar, 1/4 cup each olive oil, minced parsley and fresh mint to taste and 1 to 2 teaspoons minced garlic. Stir in some chopped tomato and a peeled, seeded, chopped cucumber. Toss and serve. Add fresh kale (stir-fry as you would spinach, or steam) and whole-wheat rolls. Buy a cherry cobbler for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough lamb and cobbler for Monday.

Herbed Leg of Lamb

Makes 10 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: about 1 hour and 15 minutes; standing time: 15 minutes

one 4- to 5-pound well-trimmed bone-in leg of lamb

3 cloves garlic, sliced

1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil

1 teaspoon each dried oregano and dried thyme

salt and freshly ground pepper

3/4 cup water

Heat oven to 350. Make short, deep slits all over lamb and fill with garlic slices. Rub lamb with oil and sprinkle with oregano, thyme, salt and pepper. Place on rack in shallow roasting pan. Roast 1 hour. Add water to pan and roast 15 to 20 minutes or until internal temperature is 135 for medium-rare. Transfer to serving platter, tent with foil and let stand 15 minutes. Meanwhile, defat pan juices. Discard fat and reheat juices. Carve roast and serve with pan juices.

Per serving: 157 calories, 24 grams protein, 6 grams fat (35 percent calories from fat) 2 grams saturated fat, no carbohydrate, 74 milligrams cholesterol, 72 milligrams sodium, no fiber.

MONDAY / Heat and Eat

Use the leftover lamb in Lamb Enchiladas. Serve with rice. Warm the leftover cobbler for dessert.

Plan ahead: Cook enough rice for Tuesday.

Lamb Enchiladas

Makes 8 enchiladas

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: about 30 minutes

cooking spray

1 clove minced garlic

1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

1/4 cup chopped celery

2 cups chopped cooked (leftover) lamb

eight 6-inch 98 percent fat-free flour tortillas

2 cups salsa

1/2 cup reduced-fat shredded Mexican-blend cheese

reduced-fat sour cream and sliced scallions for garnish

Heat oven to 350. In a nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, cook garlic, bell pepper and celery 5 minutes or until softened. Add lamb; cook 3 minutes or until hot. Soften tortillas according to directions. Spoon lamb mixture into center of tortillas and roll. Place seam side down in an 8- by 11-inch baking dish. Top with salsa. Cover tightly with foil. Bake 20 minutes. Uncover, top with cheese and bake 5 minutes or until cheese melts. Garnish with sour cream and scallions.

Per serving: 196 calories, 14 grams protein, 4 grams fat (20 percent calories from fat), 9 grams saturated fat, 21 grams carbohydrate, 35 milligrams cholesterol, 614 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.

TUESDAY / Meatless

Warm up with a big bowl of Black Bean Chili tonight. Serve the chili over leftover rice. Garnish with chopped jalapeno peppers. Add a crisp green salad and corn bread from a mix. Fresh pineapple chunks with shredded coconut make a good dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough coconut for Thursday.

Black Bean Chili

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Cooking time: about 30 minutes

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 large chopped onion

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 to 4 tablespoons chili powder

1 medium diced red bell pepper, 1/4 inch

1 medium diced green bell pepper, 1/4 inch

1 each medium diced zucchini and yellow squash

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

one 14 1/2 -ounce can stewed tomatoes with juice

one 11-ounce can drained corn with peppers and onions

one 15- to 19-ounce can rinsed and drained black beans

1/4 teaspoon salt

reduced-fat sour cream and reduced-fat shredded sharp Cheddar cheese for garnish

Heat oil in a Dutch oven at medium heat. Add onion, garlic and chili powder; cook 5 minutes or until onions are softened. Add peppers; cook 7 minutes until all vegetables are softened. Add both squashes, oregano and cayenne pepper and cook 5 minutes. Add tomatoes; cook 10 minutes. Stir in corn, beans and salt; cook 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Per serving: 138 calories, 6 grams protein, 3 grams fat (17 percent calories from fat), 0.2 grams saturated fat, 25 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 539 milligrams sodium, 7 grams fiber.

WEDNESDAY / Budget

Count the savings when you serve Orzo Pilaf With Peas. Serve with a bibb lettuce salad and multigrain rolls. Fat-free chocolate ice cream is an easy dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough ice cream for Thursday.

Orzo Pilaf With Peas

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: less than 10 minutes plus pasta

1 1/4 cup orzo pasta (about 8 ounces)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 cloves finely chopped garlic

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