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

MENU PLANNER

January 20, 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, a budget meal, a meatless or "less meat" dish, an express meal, and an entertaining meal that's quick.

SUNDAY / Family

It's hard to beat your own roast chicken for family day. Buy a 5- or 6-pound one to supply plenty of leftovers. Serve with baked sweet potatoes. Slash the tops, sprinkle with a little cinnamon and add some butter. Brighten the plate with fresh broccoli and drizzle it with fresh lemon juice. Add dinner rolls. Bake a store-bought deep-dish apple pie for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough chicken and pie for Monday.

MONDAY / Budget

Use those chicken leftovers for economical White Chili. Serve with a mixed green salad and multigrain rolls. Warm leftover pie for dessert.

White Chili

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 50 minutes

4 teaspoons vegetable oil

3 medium thinly sliced onions

1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 1 / 4 cups fat-free chicken broth

two 15- to 19-ounce cans cannellini beans

one 4-ounce can chopped green chilies

2 tablespoons chopped pickled jalapeno peppers

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 / 4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon cumin

1 / 4 teaspoon cinnamon

4 cups cooked chopped chicken or turkey breast

shredded sharp white Cheddar cheese, chopped tomatoes for garnish

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until hot. Add onions and garlic and cook 20 minutes or until onions are golden; stir often. Add broth, beans, chilis, jalapeno peppers, juice, cilantro, oregano, cumin and cinnamon; bring to boil.

Reduce heat to low and cook 20 minutes. Add meat and cook 10 more minutes or until heated through. Top with cheese and tomatoes.

Per serving: 336 calories, 37 grams protein, 7 grams fat (9 percent calories from fat), 1.2 grams saturated fat, 29 grams carbohydrate, 79 milligrams cholesterol, 692 milligrams sodium, 8 grams fiber.

TUESDAY / Heat & Eat

Warm the leftover chili and spoon it over spaghetti.

Serve deli coleslaw on the side along with hard rolls.

Sliced peaches are good for dessert.

WEDNESDAY / Meatless

Put Tomato and Lemon Risotto on your list. Serve with romaine salad and Italian bread.

Sugar cookies are dessert.

Tomato and Lemon Risotto

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 30 to 35 minutes

4 cups vegetable broth (see note)

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 finely chopped shallots

1 cup uncooked arborio rice

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest (yellow part only)

Heat broth in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat until it begins to simmer. Reduce heat to low and keep warm. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots; cook 3 minutes or until soft.

Add rice and cook and stir 2 or 3 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high; stir in 1 cup broth. Cook uncovered, stirring frequently, until broth is absorbed. Continue stirring and adding remaining broth, 1 cup at a time, allowing each cup to be absorbed before adding another. Cook until rice is tender and mixture has a creamy consistency, about 25 to 30 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, lemon juice and lemon zest. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 282 calories, 7 grams protein, 5 grams fat (15 percent calories from fat), no saturated fat, 53 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 1,007 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

THURSDAY / Kids

The kids will love Barbecued Meatballs. Heat a large nonstick skillet until hot. Add half of an 18-ounce package frozen fully cooked meatballs; cook and stir 7 to 8 minutes or until meatballs are defrosted. Meanwhile, mix together 2 tablespoons apricot preserves and 1/2 cup barbecue sauce. When meatballs are defrosted, add barbecue mixture to skillet; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes or until hot throughout. Serve with rice and a chopped lettuce salad. Pop red and green grapes in your mouth for dessert. Plan ahead: Save remaining meatballs for Friday or use another time.

FRIDAY / Express

Tonight's 15-Minute Soup is a staple around here. Serve with cheese toast and a green salad. For dessert, deli brownies are welcome.

Tips: Add thawed and quartered (leftover) meatballs to the soup if desired. Thin the soup with additional broth or thicken it with additional vegetables or beans.

15-Minute Soup

Makes about 9 cups

Preparation time: less than 10 minutes

Cooking time: about 15 minutes

3 medium diced red potatoes (or about 1 pound)

2 or 3 diced yellow or zucchini squash (or about 1 pound)

one 24-ounce jar Campbell's (or another brand) Country Vegetable Soup (ready-to- serve)

one 15- to 19-ounce can rinsed and drained white or red beans

one 14 1/2 -ounce can fat-free chicken broth

Microwave potatoes 3 minutes on high (100 percent power). Add squash; microwave on high 1 to 2 minutes. Drain. Add soup, beans and broth. Heat in microwave 7 to 10 minutes on high or until hot.

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