Each day of the week offers a menu aimed at a different aspect of meal planning. There's a family or holiday meal, usually Sunday, a kids' menu aimed at younger tastes, a heat-and-eat meal that recycles leftovers, a budget meal that employs a cost-cutting strategy, a meatless dish for people who may not be strict vegetarians but are trying to cut down on meat, an express meal that requires little or no preparation, and an entertaining menu that's quick but worthy of company, usually the Saturday meal.
Treat the family to Pork Loin Roast With Honey Mustard (see recipe). Serve with mashed sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts. Add dinner rolls. For dessert, peach crisp would be ... peachy. Buy one from a bakery, or find a recipe for one in a cookbook.
Plan ahead: Save half the pork and leftover peach crisp for Monday.
Monday/Heat and Eat
Use Sunday's leftovers and make sliced roast pork sandwiches on dense white bread tonight. Add extra honey mustard sauce and reheat the pork if you like. A few Lay's Wow Snack Chips add some crunch and no fat. Up everybody's vitamin A with carrot-raisin salad. Warm the leftover peach crisp and top with fat-free frozen vanilla yogurt.
We liked the Stockpot Classic Soup flavor we tried, Azteca Chicken and Rice With Cilantro and Jalapenos. All you need to add to the 10-ounce, low-fat refrigerated packages (about $3 each) are 2 3/4 cups water. Not being able to leave things as they are, I added a drained 16-ounce can of garbanzo beans and a 14 1/2-ounce can of Mexican-style crushed tomatoes and juice jazz up the flavor and stretch the amount. The Redmond, Wash.-based company also makes sauces, gravies and chilies. Just add a green salad and crusty bread for a complete meal.
Ziti With Minted Summer Squash (see recipe) makes you want to plant a garden with plenty of squash and mint. Serve with escarole salad and garlic bread.
Plan ahead: Save flat-leaf parsley for Thursday.
Tip: If the squash becomes dry during cooking, add 1 to 2 tablespoons hot water.
Serve Atlantan Jan Krug-Fite's Meatloaf tonight (see recipe). Jan can spot a good, economical meatloaf at 50 paces. Serve the meatloaf with baked potatoes and fat-free sour cream. Squeeze a fresh lemon over fresh broccoli spears for a colorful and nutrient-packed side dish. Add dinner rolls.
Plan ahead: Bake 4 extra potatoes and save half the meatloaf for Friday.
If your kids like tacos, they should love Mexican-style meatloaf -- reheat leftovers and top with salsa, and, if you like, a sprinkling of grated cheese. Serve with baked potato wedges. Cut leftover baked potatoes into wedges, coat with cooking spray, and sprinkle with chili powder or paprika and bake in a 400-degree oven until hot, about 20 minutes. Serve with carrot and celery sticks. Have cookies and fruit for dessert.
For an easy, delicious meal, serve your guests Mongolian Grilled Ginger Lamb Kebabs (see recipe). The light glaze is a simple mixture of ginger, soy and honey. Serve with your own rice pilaf and stir-fry vegetables. For dessert, Summer Fruit in Sweet Wine (see recipe) is a perfect finale.
What you'll need for this week's menus (consult recipes for exact amounts)
sage and thyme
boneless center-cut pork loin roast
(or prepared honey-mustard sauce in place of three previous
peach crisp ingredients
dense white bread
honey mustard sauce
Lay's Wow Snack Chips
carrot raisin salad
fat free frozen vanilla yogurt
packaged Azteca Chicken and Rice with Cilantro and Jalapenos Stock Pot Soup mix or other
canned garbanzo beans
Mexican-style canned tomatoes
ziti or other short, tubular pasta
extra-virgin olive oil
fresh yellow squash
hot pepper flakes
frozen chopped spinach
lean ground beef
chili powder or paprika
mixed greens for salad
rice wine, sake or white wine
Asian (toasted or dark) sesame oil
rice pilaf ingredients
vegetables to stir fry
dessert wine such as late-harvest Riesling or Gewurztraminer
Pork Loin Roast With Honey and Mustard (Sunday)
Makes 8 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour, 50 minutes
1 minced garlic clove
1 teaspoon each minced fresh rosemary, sage and thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4-pound boneless, well-trimmed, center-cut pork loin, patted dry
1/2 cup honey
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Heat oven to 450 degrees. In small bowl, combine garlic, rosemary, sage and thyme, salt and pepper to taste. Rub mixture all over pork. Place pork in roasting pan and roast 20 minutes, or until browned. While meat browns, combine honey, mustard and lemon juice in a small bowl (or use a prepared honey-mustard sauce).
Lower oven to 325, brush pork with honey-mustard sauce and continue roasting and basting for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours or until meat thermometer registers 155 degrees. Remove, cover loosely with foil about 10 minutes, slice and serve. (Adapted from "Reasons to Roast," by G. Downard and E. Righter, Houghton Mifflin, 1997, $15).
Ziti With Minted Summer Squash (Wednesday)
Makes 6 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: about 20 minutes plus time to cook the pasta
1 pound ziti or other short, tubular pasta
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 large, peeled, smashed garlic cloves
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions (white part only)
2 pounds diced yellow squash (4 medium)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
Cook pasta according to directions. In a large, nonstick skillet, heat oil and saute garlic until well-browned; discard garlic. Add scallions and cook until softened, not browned. Add squash, salt, hot pepper flakes. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until squash is completely softened, about 15 minutes. Combine with pasta and toss with parsley and mint. (Adapted from "We Called It Macaroni," by Nancy Barr, Knopf, 1996, $18.)
Jan Krug-Fite's Favorite Meatloaf (Thursday)
Makes 8 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes; standing, 10 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
1/2 cup minced onions
1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well-drained
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons brown sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
3 egg whites
1 pound each lean ground beef and ground turkey
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard
Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine tomato sauce, oatmeal, onions, spinach, parsley, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, salt, pepper and egg whites. Add ground meats and stir until just blended (do not overmix). Shape into a loaf about 8 by 4 inches and place on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. In a small bowl, combine remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar, ketchup and prepared mustard and brush over meatloaf. Bake 1 hour 20 minutes. Cover loosely and let stand about 10 minutes before slicing.
Mongolian Grilled Ginger Lamb Kebabs (Saturday)
Makes 6 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes plus marinating time -- 8 hours or overnight
Cooking time: 10 to 14 minutes; standing, 5 minutes
2 tablespoons each soy sauce and water
2 tablespoons rice wine, sake or white wine
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoons Asian (toasted or dark) sesame oil
1 clove minced garlic
3 tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 pounds boneless lamb, trimmed of all fat and cut into 1-inch cubes
freshly ground black pepper to taste
bamboo skewers, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes
In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, water, rice wine, sake or white wine, honey, oil, garlic and ginger; add lamb. Toss lightly to coat. Cover and marinate 8 hours or overnight in refrigerator; turn occasionally. Thread lamb onto skewers. Grill over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes per side; baste with marinade the last few minutes of cooking. Remove from fire. Discard marinade. Let lamb stand 5 minutes before serving. Add pepper to taste. (Adapted from "Pacific Light Cooking," by Ruth Law, Donald Fine Books, 1998, $27.95.)
Summer Fruits in Sweet Wine (Saturday)
Makes 6 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes; marinating, 8 hours
1/2 small, ripe, seeded cantaloupe
1 firm ripe, peeled, seeded sliced papaya
24 medium strawberries
1 cup sweet dessert wine, such as late-harvest Riesling or late-harvest Gewurztraminer
Scoop out cantaloupe balls, using a 1-inch melon-baller. Combine cantaloupe, papaya, raspberries and strawberries in a bowl. Add wine and toss gently. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. To serve, arrange fruit in wine goblets. Spoon liquid over fruit. (Adapted from "Pacific Light Cooking," by Ruth Law, Donald Fine Books, 1998, $27.95.)
Susan Nicholson is an Atlanta-based cookbook author and registered dietitian. She can be reached by e-mail: menuplannermindspring.com.
Pub Date: 5/31/98