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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.

Sunday/Family

Treat the family to lamb prepared a different way. Green Chili Lamb Roast (see recipe) is not the same old lamb your mother used to prepare. Serve your lamb with canned red beans. Serve rice made with tomato juice; then stir some drained salsa into the cooked rice for your version of Spanish rice. Continue the theme with flour tortillas. Lighten up with lime sherbet for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save the leftover lamb roast and sauce, and make enough rice for Monday.

Tip: Rinse and drain the red beans to remove excess sodium.

Monday/Heat and Eat

Take advantage of leftovers and make Lamb and Rice Stew (see recipe). Add a mixed green salad and whole-wheat rolls. For dessert, fresh fruit is easy.

Tuesday/Meatless

You'll enjoy Pasta With Goat Cheese and Onions Confit (see recipe) and never miss having meat. Serve the flavorful pasta with sugar snap peas and sun-dried tomato bread or other dense bread. Cookies and fat-free strawberry ice cream are a sweet finish.

Plan ahead: Save enough ice cream for Wednesday.

Wednesday/Budget

Tighten your purse strings and make a Crustless Spinach Tart tonight (see recipe). Serve with baked potatoes and a tossed salad. Add store-bought muffins. For dessert, top leftover ice cream with strawberry sauce.

Plan ahead: Bake 4 extra potatoes for Thursday.

Thursday/Express

Hit the fast track and make Fish Tacos tonight. Toss 4 cups shredded coleslaw mix with 1/3 cup low-fat mayonnaise, 1/4 cup fresh lime juice and 1 tablespoon sugar; set aside. Prepare one (11-ounce) package frozen fish fillets according to directions. In the same pan, heat 8 taco shells for 4 minutes. In small bowl, flake fish. Spoon into taco shells and top with slaw mixture. Cut leftover baked potatoes into wedges, coat with cooking spray, sprinkle with paprika and bake until hot. You just made your own oven fries. Chocolate layer cake (store-bought) is a welcome dessert.

Plan ahead: Save leftover cake. Cook 1 cup brown rice in reduced-sodium chicken broth for Friday.

Friday/Kids

Kids always want burgers, so Smorgasburgers will make you a popular order-taker. Heat 1 teaspoon vegetable oil in a large, nonstick skillet. Cook 1 medium chopped onion, 1 medium apple (peeled and chopped) and 1/2 teaspoon dried sage for 3 minutes or until onion is soft. Remove from heat. In a large bowl, combine onion mixture, 1 pound ground turkey breast, 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, 3 cups cooked (1 cup uncooked) brown rice, 1/4 cup ketchup, 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Shape into 6 patties. Using the same skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil until hot. Saute burgers for 6 minutes a side or until thoroughly cooked. Serve the burgers on hamburger buns with lettuce, tomato, low-fat mayonnaise and mustard. On the side, canned vegetarian baked beans are good. Don't forget the leftover cake.

Saturday/Entertaining

Mustard-Tarragon Chicken (see recipe) makes an easy meal for company. Accompany the chicken with boiled new potatoes with fresh parsley and a little butter. Add a romaine and cherry-tomato salad. Fat-free pound cake topped with berries and light whipped cream completes your meal.

Shopping List

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

Sunday

boneless, rolled, well-trimmed lamb leg or shoulder roast

dried oregano

dried sage

pepper

cooking spray

onions

garlic

canned diced tomatoes

canned diced green chilies

cider vinegar

chili powder

salt

canned red beans

rice

tomato juice

salsa

flour tortillas

lime sherbet

Monday

cooking spray

fresh carrots

fresh mushrooms

green bell pepper

salad greens

whole-wheat rolls

fresh fruit

Tuesday

spaghetti

cooking spray

onions

garlic

dried sage

dried rosemary

sugar

white wine or chicken broth

fat-free cream cheese

goat cheese

salt

white pepper

walnuts

sugar snap peas

sun-dried tomato bread or other dense bread

cookies

fat-free strawberry ice cream

Wednesday

cooking spray

frozen chopped spinach

eggs

Parmesan cheese

nutmeg

salt

garlic

pepper

fat-free small-curd cottage cheese

pine nuts

baking potatoes

salad greens

muffins

strawberry sauce

Thursday

packaged coleslaw mix

low-fat mayonnaise

limes

sugar

frozen fish fillets

taco shells

cooking spray

paprika

chocolate layer cake

brown rice

reduced- sodium chicken broth

Friday

vegetable oil

onion

apple

dried sage

ground turkey breast

ketchup

salt

pepper

hamburger buns

lettuce

tomato

low-fat mayonnaise

mustard

canned vegetarian baked beans

Saturday

margarine or butter

cayenne pepper

dried or fresh tarragon

balsamic vinegar

Dijon mustard

salt

black pepper

boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

new potatoes

cooking spray

fresh parsley

romaine lettuce

cherry tomatoes

fat-free pound cake

berries (any kind)

light whipped cream

Green Chili Lamb Roast (Sunday)

Makes 11 to 18 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 1 3/4 to about 3 hours, plus standing time

1 (3- to 5-pound) boneless, rolled, well-trimmed lamb leg or shoulder roast

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried sage

1/2 teaspoon pepper

cooking spray

2 medium onions, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 (14 1/2 -ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice

1 (4-ounce) can diced green chilies, drained

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Place lamb on rack in shallow roasting pan. In a small bowl, combine oregano, sage and pepper. Rub mixture all over lamb. Roast 35 to 40 minutes per pound, or until meat thermometer registers 140 to 145 degrees for medium rare or 150 degrees for medium. Remove from oven. Cover with foil; let stand 15 to 20 minutes.

For the sauce: In a medium, nonstick saucepan coated with cooking spray, cook onion and garlic over medium heat until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and juice, chili peppers, water, vinegar, chili powder and salt. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Transfer half of sauce to small saucepan; set aside. Spoon remaining sauce over roast the last hour of roasting. Heat remaining sauce and serve with lamb.

Per serving: 191 calories, 26 grams protein, 7 grams fat (34 percent calories from fat), 3.2 grams saturated fat, 5 grams carbohydrate, 79 milligrams cholesterol, 363 mgs. sodium, 1 gram fiber.

Lamb and Rice Stew (Monday)

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: less than 20 minutes

cooking spray

2 large carrots, cut in 1/2 -inch slices

8 ounces fresh mushrooms, halved

2 tablespoons water

1 green bell pepper, chopped

2 cups cubed cooked lamb

leftover lamb sauce (if desired)

Coat large, nonstick saucepan with cooking spray. Add carrots, mushrooms and water; cook until carrots are soft or about 8 minutes. Add bell pepper; cook until soft or about 5 minutes; drain. Add lamb and leftover sauce if desired and heat through or about 5 minutes.

Per serving: 173 calories, 22 grams protein, 6 grams fat (30 percent calories from fat), 2.6 grams saturated fat, 8 grams carbohydrate, 63 milligrams cholesterol, 64 mgs. sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Crustless Spinach Tart (Wednesday)

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes plus time to cook spinach

cooking spray

2 (10-ounce) packages chopped spinach

4 slightly beaten egg whites

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon each: nutmeg and salt

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 cup fat-free small-curd cottage cheese, drained

2 tablespoons pine nuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9- or 10-inch pie pan with cooking spray. Cook spinach according to directions and drain very well. In medium bowl, combine spinach with egg whites, Parmesan, nutmeg, salt, garlic, pepper and cottage cheese. Spread evenly in pan. Top with pine nuts. Bake 20 minutes. Slice into wedges and serve.

Per serving: 143 calories, 19 grams protein, 4 grams fat (26 percent calories from fat), 1.7 grams saturated fat, 9 grams carbohydrate, 10 milligrams cholesterol, 1,043 mgs. sodium, 5 grams fiber.

Pasta With Goat Cheese and Onion Confit (Tuesday)

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 35 to 40 minutes, plus time to cook pasta

8 ounces spaghetti

cooking spray

4 cups thinly sliced onions

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon dried sage

1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken broth

2 ounces fat-free cream cheese

2 ounces goat cheese

salt and white pepper to taste

1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Cook spaghetti according to directions; drain.

Heat a large, nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray until hot. Add onions and cook, covered, over medium-low heat until onions are very soft, about 20 minutes. Stir in garlic, sage, rosemary and sugar; cook, uncovered, over medium-low heat until onions are caramelized and brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in wine or chicken broth. Simmer 2 or 3 minutes longer. Stir in cream cheese and goat cheese and cook over low heat, stirring until melted, 2 or 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and white pepper.

Spoon pasta and onion mixture on serving platter and toss; sprinkle with walnuts.

(Adapted from "Simply Vegetarian," by Sue Spitler, Surrey Books, 1998, $14.95.)

Per serving: 423 calories, 17 grams protein, 11 grams fat (23 percent calories from fat), 4.2 grams saturated fat, 60 grams carbohydrate, 16 milligrams cholesterol, 138 mgs. sodium, 5 grams fiber.

Mustard-Tarragon Chicken (Saturday)

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

1 tablespoon margarine or butter

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3/4 teaspoon dried tarragon or 1 tablespoon fresh

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon each: salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 pound)

cooking spray

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium container, melt margarine or butter and stir in cayenne, tarragon, vinegar, mustard, salt and black pepper. Coat chicken in mixture and place in a shallow baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake 15 minutes, uncovered, or until the juices run clear.

(Adapted from "Quick Cuisine," by Ann Clark, Plume, 1993, $13.95.)

Per serving: 168 calories, 27 grams protein, 5 grams fat (29 percent calories from fat), 0.9 grams saturated fat, 2 grams carbohydrate, 66 milligrams cholesterol, 682 milligrams sodium, trace fiber.

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

Pub Date: 01/31/99

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