Each day of the week offers a menu aimed at a different aspect of meal planning. There's a family meal, 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 or "less meat" 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.
Gather everyone together for a warm-weather-friendly Pasta Salad With Fresh Vegetables (see recipe). Serve the pasta with sesame bread sticks. For dessert, raspberry sorbet with fresh raspberries is light and refreshing.
Plan ahead: Save leftover pasta for Monday and leftover berries for Tuesday.
Tip: For the pasta salad, instead of green beans, substitute blanched broccoli florets or sliced summer squash. Use another shape of pasta if desired.
Prepare your own favorite barbecued chicken. We always like coleslaw and baked beans with our barbecue. Don't forget the leftover pasta salad. For an easy dessert, angel food cake with fat-free rocky road ice cream is a winner.
Plan ahead: Make 4 extra servings of barbecued chicken and coleslaw and save leftover cake for Tuesday.
Tip: Remove skin from chicken to cut fat and calories.
Tuesday/Heat and Eat
Enjoy barbecued chicken sandwiches on toasted kaiser rolls with Monday's leftovers. Top the chicken with pickles. Serve the leftover coleslaw on top of your barbecue sandwich, as I do, or on the side, as most people do. Red potato salad is a good addition. Finish the meal with leftover angel food cake, fresh berries and a dollop of light whipped cream.
For a quick and inexpensive dinner, try Banquet Family Size Brown Gravy and Salisbury Steaks. I found the 28-ounce packages with 6 patties on sale, three for $5. Eat the patties and lose most of the gravy to cut the fat and calories. Accompany the meat with rice and frozen tiny mixed vegetables. Add crusty bread, and fresh fruit for dessert.
Teach the kids the meaning of alliteration with Turkey Tamale Treat (see recipe). Rinse and drain canned pinto beans and heat with a little salsa to accompany the tamales. The adults might like chopped scallions on the beans. Then crunch on some carrot sticks. Next, let the kids show you how to make fat-free chocolate pudding with chocolate sprinkles. Isn't learning fun?
Plan ahead: Save half the turkey tamales for Friday.
Save money and time with tonight's leftover tamale treat. Serve it with rice cooked in tomato juice. Stir leftover pinto beans into the rice, if available. Add a mixed green salad with a light vinaigrette. For dessert, sugar cookies and sliced peaches are quick.
Your guests will arrive early for Savory Lamb Chops (see recipe). Heat broiler. Serve with Minted Orzo (see recipe) and steamed fresh spinach. Add multigrain rolls.
Tip: Look for black olive paste (tapenade) in the condiment section of the grocery store.
What you'll need for this week's menus (consult recipes for exact amounts)
fresh green beans
sesame bread sticks
fresh green beans
red wine vinegar
sesame bread sticks
red potato salad, store-bought or homemade
canned light whipped cream
Banquet (or other family-size) Brown Gravy and Salisbury Steaks
frozen tiny mixed vegetables
reduced-fat shredded Mexican-blend cheese
corn muffin mix
frozen whole-kernel corn
canned pinto beans
fresh carrot sticks
instant fat-free chocolate pudding
greens for salad
fresh, frozen or canned peaches
loin lamb chops
unsalted butter or margarine
bottled black olive paste
canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
dried mint leaves
Pub Date: 6/07/98