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.
When I was growing up, Beef Pot Roast (see recipe) was a regular on my mother's personal menu planner. She saved the leftovers like the treasures they were. We always had green salad to accompany the meal. Crusty bread was a must to mop up the savory gravy. Fresh fruit and cookies made a light dessert.
Plan ahead: Save leftover roast and vegetables for Monday.
Monday/Heat and Eat
Warm the leftover roast beef and vegetables for a delicious and easy meal. Frozen green peas with diced pimento make a colorful side dish. Make your own coleslaw or buy some. Add bread. For dessert, make a pineapple upside-down cake from a box mix.
Tip: Cut the cake in nine servings instead of the six listed on the package. Few of us need the extra calories.
Plan ahead: Save leftover cake for Tuesday.
Penne Pasta With Tomatoes and Artichokes is full of flavor and easy to prepare (see recipe). Serve with a spinach salad and bread sticks. Don't forget the leftover cake.
Plan ahead: Save half the pasta for Wednesday.
Part of tonight's pasta with chicken is already prepared. Heat Tuesday's pasta and top it with a 10-ounce package of carved cooked chicken breast. Add a mixed green salad and Italian bread, and you have a complete meal.
Soup-er Joes (see recipe) have "kids" written all over them. Use all turkey or all beef, or a mixture of both, according to your preference. Accompany the sandwiches with baked corn chips and carrot sticks.
Make Choc-Choc Pudding for a creamy dessert (see recipe).
Take it easy tonight. Stop by the store on the way home and pick up a rotisserie chicken, prepared mashed potatoes and carrot salad. Stop by the bakery for bread and a cherry pie. You have a meal that would make your mother proud.
Elisabeth St. John, a friend in Tuckasegee, N.C., served us delicious chicken flautas (see recipe) at a party recently. Like Elisabeth did, you can accompany the flautas with your own black bean and corn salad. For dessert, she made vanilla pudding and swirled it with store-bought caramel sauce. Some people might want to add margaritas to the fiesta. We did.
What you'll need for this week's menus (consult recipes for exact amounts)
boneless beef (chuck) pot roast
dry red wine or tomato juice
instant beef bouillon granules
frozen green peas
jar of diced pimentos
coleslaw or ingredients to make your own
mix for a pineapple upside-down cake
extra-virgin olive oil
carved cooked chicken breast
lean ground beef
condensed vegetable-beef or other vegetable-based soup
whole-wheat hamburger buns
baked corn chips
instant chocolate pudding mix
reduced-fat whipped topping
prepared mashed potatoes
prepared carrot salad
canned cooked chicken breast
canned chopped green chilies
nonfat plain yogurt
shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack jalapeno cheese
ingredients for black bean and corn salad
instant vanilla pudding
ingredients for margaritas, if desired
Beef Pot Roast (Sunday)
Makes 10 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 (2 1/2- to 3-pound) boneless beef (chuck) pot roast, trimmed of visible fat
3/4 cup water, dry red wine or tomato juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon each: instant beef bouillon granules and dried crushed basil
2 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
8 small carrots
2 small onions, cut into wedges
2 stalks celery, bias-cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup cold water
1/4 cup flour
salt and pepper to taste
Heat oven to 325 degrees. In a Dutch oven, heat oil. Brown meat on all sides; drain fat. In a small bowl, combine water, wine or tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, bouillon and basil. Pour over roast. Bake 1 hour. Add vegetables; bake 45 to 60 minutes or until tender. Transfer to a platter and keep warm. Reserve juices in pot.
For gravy, measure juices; skim fat. If necessary, add enough water to juices to equal 1 1/2 cups. Return to pot. Stir together the 1/2 cup cold water and flour. Stir into juices. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 1 minute more. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with meat and vegetables. (Adapted from "Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook," Meredith, 1996, $25.95.)
Per serving: 279 calories, 26 grams protein, 12 grams fat (39 percent calories from fat), 4.7 grams saturated fat, 16 grams carbohydrate, 82 milligrams cholesterol, 186 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.
Penne Pasta with Tomatoes and Artichokes (Tuesday)
Makes 8 servings
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: about 5 minutes plus time to cook the pasta
12 ounces penne pasta
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can tomatoes, chopped and drained
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can water-packed artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1/4 cup sliced ripe olives, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Cook pasta according to directions; drain. Return pasta to pan and add tomatoes, artichokes, olives, olive oil and Parmesan cheese. Toss and cook about 5 minutes or until hot. Serve.
Per serving: 216 calories, 8 grams protein, 4 grams fat (16 percent calories from fat), 1 gram saturated fat, 37 grams carbohydrate, 3 milligrams cholesterol, 270 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.
Choc-Choc Pudding (Thursday)
Makes 6 servings
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Chilling time: 10 to 15 minutes
1 (3.9-ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup skim milk
1 cup reduced-fat whipped topping
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1/4 cup chocolate chips
In a medium bowl, combine pudding mix with milk and whisk together 2 minutes. Fold in whipped topping, marshmallows and chocolate chips. Spoon into dessert dishes and serve.
Per serving: 157 calories, 2 grams protein, 4 grams fat (21 percent calories from fat), 2.7 grams saturated fat, 30 grams carbohydrate, 1 milligram cholesterol, 261 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.
Soup-er Joes (Thursday)
Makes 8 servings
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: about 15 minutes
1/2 pound each: lean ground beef and ground turkey
1 medium chopped onion
1 (10 1/2-ounce) can condensed vegetable-beef or other vegetable-based soup
1 tablespoon chili sauce
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1/4 teaspoon each: salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 split and toasted whole-wheat hamburger buns
TC In a medium, nonstick sauce-pan, cook ground meat and onion until meat is no longer pink and onion is soft, about 6 minutes; drain well. Add soup, chili sauce, mustard and salt and pepper; mix well. Simmer, uncovered, 5 to 10 minutes. Serve on buns.
Per serving: 225 calories, 19 grams protein, 6 grams fat (24 percent calories from fat), 2 grams saturated fat, 24 grams carbohydrate, 40 milligrams cholesterol, 576 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.
Elisabeth St. John's Chicken Flautas (Saturday)
Makes 12 flautas
Preparation time: less than 15 minutes
Cooking time: less than 30 minutes
1 (12-ounce) can cooked chicken breast
1 large chopped onion
2 (4.5-ounce) cans chopped green chilies
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt
2 cups shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack jalapeno cheese, divided
12 (9-inch) flour tortillas
shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, chopped cilantro and salsa for garnish
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Using forks, pull chicken apart to shred. Coat a large, nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Add onion and cook over medium heat until soft or about 5 minutes. Add chilies and cook about 1 minute. Remove skillet and add chicken, salt, yogurt and 1 cup shredded cheese.
Place tortillas between damp paper towels, roll, and heat in microwave on high (100 percent power) 45 seconds. Place about 1/4 cup chicken mixture down center of each tortilla; roll tightly. Place tortillas in a shallow baking dish, seam side down, and coat with cooking spray. Bake 15 minutes. Sprinkle remaining cheese over tortillas and bake 5 minutes. Place flautas on platter of shredded lettuce; top with tomatoes, cilantro and salsa to taste.
Per serving: 304 calories, 17 grams protein, 10 grams fat (30 percent calories from fat), 3.3 grams saturated fat, 35 grams carbohydrate, 28 milligrams cholesterol, 816 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.
Susan Nicholson is an Atlanta-based cookbook author and registered dietitian. She can be reached by e-mail: menuplanneindspring.com.
Pub Date: 12/13/98