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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

Your family will stand in line for this Old-Fashioned Pot Roast With Carrots and Potatoes (see recipe). It's a lot lower in fat than our mothers' recipes. Serve the roast and vegetables with a green salad and crusty bread. For dessert, surprise Mother with that good frozen apple cobbler you've discovered. She'll be impressed.

Plan ahead: Save enough cobbler for Monday.

Tip: If you can't find a 1-pound roast, ask your butcher to cut off the amount you need for this recipe and freeze the rest for later.

Monday/Express

No need to go out (or call out) for pizza with all the varieties of gourmet pizza in your grocery store's frozen-food department. We're fond of a portobello mushroom flavor, one of the lower-fat versions. Look for a packaged romaine salad in produce to add crunch. Warm leftover cobbler and top with fat-free frozen vanilla yogurt for an easy dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough yogurt for Tuesday.

Tuesday/Budget

It seems we're never tired of chili at our house (nor is our pocketbook), and this Smoky White-Bean Chili is one of the reasons (see recipe). Serve the chili with your own coleslaw and store-bought corn bread. Strawberry sauce over leftover yogurt is a cool dessert.

Plan ahead: Save half the chili for Wednesday; save some of the strawberry sauce for Thursday.

Wednesday/Heat and Eat

Dinner is easy tonight. Heat leftover chili and serve it over rice. Add a splash of hot sauce to the chili mixture, if you want a little extra heat. Make a mixed greens salad with light vinaigrette and add crusty bread. For dessert, fresh fruit completes a simple meal.

Thursday/Kids

The kids will like the mild flavor of Tomato Beef Pasta (see recipe). Let them make a lettuce salad to go with their pasta. They might want bread sticks, too. For dessert, swirl leftover strawberry sauce into instant chocolate pudding made with skim milk.

Friday/Meatless

While you're enjoying the savory flavors of an Avocado, Sun-Dried Tomato and Lime Omelet (see recipe), you'll forget about meat. Serve the omelet with frozen hash-brown potatoes and whole-wheat rolls. Pineapple chunks and cookies make a good dessert.

Saturday/Entertaining

Perciatelli and Broccoli (see recipe) takes its roots from Sicily. Serve the thick, tubular pasta with a Fennel and Orange Salad. Remove stalk, brown leaves and the green stem from fennel bulb; cut into quarters and slice; set aside. Over a bowl, peel and cut 3 medium oranges into 1-inch cubes, preserving as much juice as possible. Measure 3 tablespoons juice and discard or refrigerate the rest. Add the 3 tablespoons juice and 1 tablespoon olive oil to bowl; mix well. Add salt to taste. Add fennel and toss. Divide among six salad plates. Add Italian bread. The perfect dessert is sorbet and macaroons.

Shopping List

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

Sunday

beef top or bottom round roast

cooking spray

canned tomatoes

dried thyme

black peppercorns

bay leaf

baby carrots

new potatoes

celery

onion

fresh parsley

salad greens

crusty bread

frozen apple cobbler

Monday

frozen gourmet pizza

packaged romaine salad

fat-free vanilla yogurt

Tuesday

vegetable oil

ground turkey breast

onions

salsa

canned Mexican-style tomatoes

canned white beans

chili powder

white wine vinegar

liquid smoke flavoring

ingredients for coleslaw

corn bread

strawberry sauce

Wednesday

rice

bottled hot sauce

salad greens

light vinaigrette

crusty bread

fresh fruit

Thursday

spiral pasta

lean ground beef

onions

shredded carrots

canned cut green beans

mild salsa

salt

pepper

Parmesan cheese

lettuce

bread sticks

instant chocolate pudding

skim milk

Friday

avocados

lime

oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes

eggs

skim milk

salt

pepper

olive oil

frozen hash-brown potatoes

whole-wheat rolls

pineapple chunks

cookies

Saturday

perciatelli, bucatini or other long, thick tubular pasta

fresh broccoli

cooking spray

onion

garlic

canned whole tomatoes

salt

pepper

raisins

pine nuts

pitted green olives

fresh basil

pecorino or Parmesan cheese

fennel bulb

oranges

olive oil

Italian bread

sorbet

macaroons

Old-Fashioned Pot Roast (Sunday)

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: about 3 hours

1 (1-pound) beef top or bottom round roast, trimmed of all visible fat

cooking spray

3/4 cup water

1 (14 1/2 -ounce) can finely chopped tomatoes and juice

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

4 black peppercorns

1 small bay leaf

1 package baby carrots (1 pound)

12 ounces new potatoes, halved and quartered

2 ribs celery, cut into 1-inch slices

1/2 medium onion, sliced

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced

Heat broiler. Place beef on rack in broiling pan. Broil 4 inches from heat about 4 minutes on each side or until surface is browned. Drain, then pat with paper towels.

Coat a large, deep skillet with cooking spray. Place beef, water, tomatoes and juice, thyme, peppercorns and bay leaf in skillet. Bring to boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 2 hours. Add carrots, potatoes, celery and onion. Cover and simmer over low heat 45 to 60 minutes more or until beef and vegetables are tender. Add more water if necessary during cooking.

To serve: Transfer beef and vegetables to serving platter. Cover with foil. Skim fat from cooking juices. Stir in parsley. Bring to a boil; boil, uncovered, about 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove and discard bay leaf. Drizzle juices over beef and serve. (Adapted from "Stop Dieting and Lose Weight," Mary Jo Plutt, editor, Rodale, 1994, $27.95.)

Per serving: 295 calories, 31 grams protein, 5 grams fat (15 percent calories from fat), 2 grams saturated fat, 32 grams carbohydrate, 71 milligrams cholesterol, 267 milligrams sodium, 5 grams fiber.

Smoky White Bean Chili (Tuesday)

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: less than 25 minutes

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 pound ground turkey breast

2 medium onions, chopped

2 cups salsa, slightly drained

1 (14 1/2 -ounce) can Mexican-style tomatoes

2 (15-ounce) cans white beans, rinsed and drained

3 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

2 teaspoons liquid smoke flavoring

In a Dutch oven, heat oil until hot. Add turkey and cook until no longer pink or about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add onions and cook until they are softened or about 6 minutes. Add salsa, tomatoes, beans, chili powder and wine vinegar. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes. Stir in liquid smoke. Serve.

Per serving: 237 calories, 21 grams protein, 4 grams fat (17 percent calories from fat), 0.6 grams saturated fat, 27 grams carbohydrate, 39 milligrams cholesterol, 448 mgs. sodium, 6 grams fiber.

Tomato Beef Pasta (Thursday)

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: less than 15 minutes plus time to cook the pasta

8 ounces spiral pasta

1/2 pound lean ground beef

1/4 cup chopped onions

1 cup shredded carrots

1 (14 1/2 -ounce) can cut green beans, rinsed and drained

1 1/2 cups mild salsa, drained

salt and pepper to taste

grated Parmesan cheese for garnish

Cook pasta according to directions; drain. In a large nonstick skillet, cook beef until no longer pink, about 3 or 4 minutes; drain. Add onions and carrots and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add beans and salsa. Mix well. Add pasta and heat through, 3 or 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with Parmesan.

Per serving: 366 calories, 20 grams protein, 6 grams fat (16 percent calories from fat), 2.2 grams saturated fat, 52 grams carbohydrate, 37 milligrams cholesterol, 651 mgs. sodium, 4 grams fiber.

Avocado, Sun-Dried Tomato and Lime Omelet (Friday)

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: less than 5 minutes

2 ripe avocados, pitted, peeled and cut into 3/4 -inch dice

juice of 1 lime

8 oil-packed sun-dried tomato halves

8 egg whites

4 whole eggs

2 tablespoons skim milk

1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper

1 teaspoon olive oil

In a small bowl, gently toss avocado with lime juice to coat. Cut tomato halves lengthwise into thick strips. In a medium bowl, combine egg whites, eggs, milk, salt and pepper; whisk until blended. In large, nonstick skillet, heat oil over high heat. When oil is hot but not smoking, pour eggs into skillet. Reduce heat to medium. Cook, lifting edges to let uncooked egg flow underneath, until omelet is nearly set but still moist in center, 3 or 4 minutes. Quickly spread tomatoes over half of omelet. Scoop avocado from juice with slotted spoon and arrange over tomatoes. Fold plain side over filling. Cook 1 more minute. Slide onto platter and serve immediately. (Adapted from "365 Ways to Cook Eggs," by Elaine Corn, Harper Collins, 1996, $12.95.)

Per serving: 298 calories, 16 grams protein, 22 grams fat (65 percent calories from fat), 4.3 grams saturated fat, 11 grams carbohydrate, 213 milligrams cholesterol, 348 milligrams sodium, 5 grams fiber.

Perciatelli and Broccoli (Saturday)

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes, plus time to cook the pasta and broccoli

1 pound perciatelli or bucatini (or other long, thick tubular pasta)

1 pound broccoli florets

cooking spray

1 medium onion, sliced

2 medium cloves garlic, crushed

1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes and juice

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1/4 cup each: raisins and pine nuts

12 pitted green olives, halved

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

1/3 cup freshly grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to directions; drain. Microwave broccoli, covered, 5 minutes on high (100 percent power). Drain and set aside. Heat a large, nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray on medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, cutting in half with spoon in pan. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Add raisins, pine nuts, olives and broccoli; cover and simmer 5 more minutes. Transfer pasta to serving dish; pour sauce over pasta and toss well. Mix in basil leaves. Sprinkle cheese on top. (Adapted from "Vegetarian Dinner in Minutes," by Linda Gassenheimer, Chronicle, 1998, $16.95.)

Per serving: 417 calories, 17 grams protein, 7 grams fat (14 percent calories from fat), 1.8 grams saturated fat, 75 grams carbohydrate, 4 milligrams cholesterol, 515 milligrams sodium, 7 grams fiber.

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

Pub Date: 02/07/99

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