This week's menus A clip-and-save guide to a week's worth of meals

THE BALTIMORE SUN

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.

Sunday/Family

Oven-Baked Chicken Breasts With Artichoke Salad would impress any family. Prepare your own boneless, skinless chicken breasts or use a convenience product. Serve the salad (see recipe) over the chicken. Accompany with cannellini beans and sauteed fresh zucchini. Add multigrain rolls. You couldn't find a better or easier dessert than Bananas Foster Gratin topped with fat-free frozen vanilla yogurt (see recipe).

Monday/Express

Pick up two packages of Mrs. Paul's frozen Grilled Salmon or Tuna Fillets for an easy meal. Each 7.4-ounce package contains two fillets for about $2 (look for coupons). Prepare them in the microwave, but don't overcook like I did the first time by following the directions on the package. For better results, cook for half the recommended time, then add 30-second increments and check for doneness. Serve with frozen O'Brien potatoes and deli coleslaw. Drain away the slaw's excess mayonnaise and stir in a little chopped green bell pepper. Add bread.

Tuesday/Budget

Pork and Black Bean Stew (see recipe) is high on flavor and low on cost, a perfect combination. Serve with a mixed green salad and corn bread muffins. For dessert, serve fresh fruit.

Plan ahead: Save half the stew for Wednesday.

Wednesday/Heat and Eat

Relax tonight and reheat leftover pork stew. Serve it over rice and add carrot sticks on the side for crunch and vitamin A. Add crusty bread. Fat-free pound cake with fresh strawberries and light whipped cream is a quick dessert.

Thursday/Kids

Every kid will want seconds of Chunky Tomato Pasta Bake (see recipe). They'll never notice the tucked-in carrots. Add bread. Fat-free frozen chocolate yogurt with chocolate sprinkles is cool.

Plan ahead: Save some chocolate yogurt and sprinkles for Friday.

Friday/Meatless

Delicious Tortellini Soup (see recipe) was perfected by Shirley McGehee of Spring Branch, Texas, and published by Southern Living magazine. Serve with a green salad and garlic bread. Top fat-free frozen chocolate yogurt with chocolate sauce for a sweet finish. For a triple chocolate threat, add some chocolate sprinkles left from Thursday.

Saturday/Entertaining

Any guest would welcome an invitation to enjoy the savory flavors of Spaghetti With Oven-Roasted Tomatoes and Garlic (see recipe). Serve with fresh green beans, a mixed green salad and Italian bread. Lemon gelati or lemon ice speaks Italian for dessert.

In response to numerous requests by readers, Menu Planner now includes nutritional breakdowns with all recipes.

Shopping List

What you'll need for this week's menus (consult recipes for exact amounts)

Sunday

boneless, skinless chicken breasts

artichoke hearts

fresh plum tomatoes

kalamata or Nicoise olives

fresh basil

garlic

extra-virgin olive oil

fresh lemon

red wine vinegar

cannellini beans

fresh zucchini

multigrain rolls

Monday

Mrs. Paul's Grilled Fillets

frozen O'Brien potatoes

coleslaw

green bell pepper

bread

Tuesday

pork tenderloin

cooking spray

vegetable oil

onions

garlic

celery

cabbage

canned diced tomatoes and green chilies

chicken broth

canned black beans

mixed greens

corn bread muffins

fresh fruit

Wednesday

rice

fresh carrots

crusty bread

fat-free pound cake

fresh strawberries

light whipped cream

Thursday

cooking spray

penne pasta

fresh carrots

lean ground beef

canned stewed tomatoes

cream of mushroom soup

mozzarella cheese

bread

frozen chocolate yogurt

chocolate sprinkles

Friday

vegetable broth

canned whole tomatoes

canned chickpeas

garlic

dried basil

cheese tortellini

fresh parsley

Parmesan cheese

romaine

garlic bread

fat-free chocolate sauce

Saturday

plum tomatoes

garlic

salt

extra-virgin olive oil

olive oil cooking spray

capers

fresh oregano

fresh red chili pepper or hot red pepper flakes

spaghetti

fresh green beans

mixed greens

Italian bread

lemon gelati or lemon ice

Artichoke Salad (Sunday)

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Refrigeration time: 1 hour

2 5-ounce jars well-drained, marinated artichoke hearts

3 thinly sliced plum tomatoes

1/2 cup rinsed, pitted and sliced kalamata or Nicoise-style olives

1/4 cup packed basil leaves, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon water

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a medium bowl, combine and toss all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend. Bring to room temperature before serving.

-- Adapted from "White Dog Cafe Cookbook," J. Wicks and K. von Klause, Running Press Books, $16.95/paperback.)

Per serving: 133 calories, 2 grams protein, 11 grams fat (71 percent calories from fat), 1.5 grams saturated fat, 9 grams carbohydrate, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 498 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

Bananas Foster Gratin (Sunday)

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: about 10 minutes

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

3 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon dark rum or fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons butter

4 medium bananas

1 almond or hazelnut biscotti, crushed (1/4) cup

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Coat 4 1- to 1 1/2-cup gratin dishes with cooking spray. In medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, water, rum or lemon juice and cinnamon; bring to a simmer, stirring. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Peel bananas and slice diagonally. Add to sauce and toss to coat. Spoon into gratin dishes. Sprinkle with biscotti crumbs. Bake about 10 minutes or until bubbly.

-- From Eating Well magazine).

Per serving: 208 calories, 2 grams protein, 3 grams fat (14 percent calories from fat), 1.7 grams saturated fat, 44 grams carbohydrate, 6 milligrams cholesterol, 42 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

Pork and Black Bean Stew (Tuesday)

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 40 to 45 minutes

1 pound well-trimmed, boneless pork tenderloin, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

2 medium chopped onions

2 cloves minced garlic

1 cup chopped celery

2 cups chopped green cabbage

1 10-ounce can diced tomatoes and green chilies (Rotel), lightly drained

1 14 1/2-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth

2 15-ounce cans rinsed and drained black beans

In a large, nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, saute pork in hot oil until browned on all sides, about 4 or 5 minutes. Add onion, garlic, celery, cabbage, tomatoes and chilies and broth; heat to boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 30 minutes or until vegetables are softened, stirring occasionally. Stir in beans and cook 5 minutes or until heated through.

Per serving: 167 calories, 18 grams protein, 4 grams fat (20 percent calories from fat), 0.8 grams saturated fat, 16 grams carbohydrate, 37 milligrams cholesterol, 536 milligrams sodium, 6 grams fiber.

Chunky Tomato Pasta Bake (Thursday)

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes plus time to cook pasta

12 ounces penne or other tube pasta

1/2 pound lean ground beef

1 cup shredded carrots

1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced stewed tomatoes

1 can (10 3/4 ounces) reduced-fat condensed cream of mushroom soup

1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta according to directions. Coat a 7- by 11-inch baking dish with cooking spray. In a large, nonstick skillet, brown meat and drain well. Combine meat with pasta, carrots, tomatoes and soup and mix well. Spoon into prepared dish. Cover and bake 25 minutes; uncover, top with cheese and bake 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Per serving: 365 calories, 18 grams protein, 9 grams fat (21 percent calories from fat), 3.6 grams saturated fat, 53 grams carbohydrate, 31 milligrams cholesterol, 585 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

Tortellini Soup (Friday)

Makes 7 cups

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: under 10 minutes

2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) vegetable broth

1 16-ounce can chopped whole tomatoes with juice

1 16-ounce can rinsed and drained chickpeas (garbanzo beans)

2 pressed garlic cloves

1 teaspoon crushed, dried basil

1 9-ounce package refrigerated cheese tortellini

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, combine broth, tomatoes and juice, chickpeas, garlic and basil and bring to a boil. Stir in tortellini and return to a boil. Simmer 3 minutes. Stir in parsley and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

-- From Southern Living magazine.

Per 1 cup serving: 173 calories, 9 grams protein, 4 grams fat (19 percent calories from fat), 1.2 grams saturated fat, 28 grams carbohydrate, 21 milligrams cholesterol, 804 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.

Spaghetti With Oven-Roasted Tomatoes and Garlic (Saturday)

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 2 to 3 minutes plus time to cook pasta; 3 to 3 1/2 hours for drying tomatoes

3 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch rounds

4 or 5 garlic cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons rinsed capers

1/3 cup fresh oregano leaves

chopped fresh chili pepper or hot red pepper flakes to taste

1 pound spaghetti

Heat oven to 250 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or foil and coat with olive oil cooking spray. Place tomato slices on sheet and scatter garlic in empty spaces between the slices. Season with salt. Roast the tomatoes for 3 to 3 1/2 hours, or until they have lost all their liquid and look shriveled.

Remove from oven, cool and remove skins. Roughly dice tomatoes and garlic. Heat oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat; add tomatoes, garlic, capers, oregano and hot pepper. Stir long enough to heat through, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off heat. Cook pasta according to directions; drain and add to skillet. Season with salt. Toss spaghetti and tomato-mixture over medium heat, about 1 minute. Taste, adjust seasonings and serve.

-- Adapted from "Italy al Dente," Biba Caggiano; William Morrow, $25.

Per serving: 374 calories, 12 grams protein, 7 grams fat (16 percent calories from fat), 0.9 grams saturated fat, 68 grams carbohydrate, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 325 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.

Susan Nicholson is an Atlanta-based cookbook author and registered dietitian. She can be reached by e-mail: menuplannermindspring.com.

Pub Date: 6/14/98

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