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

THE BALTIMORE SUN

This week's menus

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

Steak Jamaican reminds you of the islands (see recipe). Serve with baked potato wedges. Coat them with cooking spray and a little paprika before baking. Sugar snap peas are a good side dish. Add crusty bread. For dessert, a store-bought angel food cake with fat-free strawberry ice cream is a treat.

Plan ahead: Save half the steak for Monday and enough ice cream for Wednesday. Bake 3 pounds (or six 8-ounce) extra whole potatoes (do not cut into wedges) for Tuesday.

Monday/Heat and Eat

Steak Stir-Fry takes advantage of leftovers. In a large, nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil over high heat. Add 1 (10-ounce) package coleslaw blend and 3/4 cup sliced mushrooms; cook, covered, 3 minutes. In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1/4 cup barbecue sauce and 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger. Add sauce and leftover steak to skillet and cook 2 minutes or until heated through. Serve with quick brown rice and sourdough bread. Pineapple chunks garnished with toasted coconut make a simple dessert.

Tip: To toast coconut, spread 1/4 cup sweetened coconut in a pie plate and microwave on high 30 to 60 seconds or until browned; cool before using.

Tuesday/Meatless

Hold the line on food costs with savory Baked Potato Soup (see recipe). Add a spinach salad and crackers. For dessert, gingersnaps and pears are easy.

Wednesday/Budget

Quick Red Beans and Rice (see recipe) will put a lock on high grocery bills and will not take all day to cook like the traditional version. Serve this New Orleans favorite with packaged collard greens. You'll have to have cornbread with this meal. (Use a mix for convenience.) Leftover strawberry ice cream is a soothing finish.

Thursday/Kids

Make 'em smile when you serve your little darlings Kids' Favorite Grilled Drumsticks (see recipe). Serve with oven-cooked potato nuggets and deli carrot/raisin salad. The kids can make slice-and-bake sugar cookies and serve them with peaches for dessert.

Tip: Remove the skin from chicken to save fat and calories.

Friday/Express

Make a fast Pantry Chili tonight. In a large saucepan, combine 2 (15-ounce) cans great Northern or other white beans (rinsed and drained), 2 (16-ounce) jars picante sauce, 2 (5-ounce) cans chicken breast in broth and 1 teaspoon cumin. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes. Ladle into bowls over rice. Garnish each bowl with 1 tablespoon shredded Monterey Jack cheese. Serve with a green salad and crusty bread. Add fresh fruit for dessert.

Saturday/Entertaining

Citrus Baked Dover Sole is perfect for guests (see recipe). Serve with steamed whole artichokes and this honey mustard dip: In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup prepared mustard with 2 tablespoons each of cider vinegar and honey, and mix well.

Wild rice and couscous is a delicious side dish. Prepare 1 cup wild rice and 1/3 cup couscous according to directions on each package. In a medium bowl, combine cooked rice and cooked couscous along with 6 sliced scallions and 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts. Fluff with fork and serve. Add dinner rolls. For dessert, store-bought fruit tarts are colorful.

Shopping List

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

Sunday

honey

limes

vegetable oil

Dijon mustard

garlic

salt

pepper

well-trimmed top round steak

baking potatoes

cooking spray

paprika

sugar snap peas

crusty bread

angel food cake

fat-free strawberry ice cream

Monday

vegetable oil

packaged coleslaw blend

fresh mushrooms

hoisin sauce

soy sauce

barbecue sauce

ground ginger

quick brown rice

sourdough bread

pineapple chunks

coconut

Tuesday

margarine or butter

onions

garlic

fat-free chicken broth

1 percent milk

salt

white pepper

scallions

fresh spinach

crackers

gingersnaps

pears

Wednesday

long-grain rice

vegetable oil

red onion

celery

garlic

canned red or kidney beans

Canadian bacon

fat-free chicken broth

Worcestershire sauce

parsley

red-pepper sauce

packaged collard greens

cornbread mix

Thursday

maple syrup

chili sauce

cider vinegar

prepared horseradish

dry mustard

chicken drumsticks

potato nuggets

deli carrot/raisin salad

slice-and-bake sugar cookies

peaches

Friday

canned great Northern or other white beans

jarred picante sauce

canned chicken breast

cumin

rice

shredded Monterey Jack cheese

salad greens

crusty bread

fresh fruit

Saturday

sole fillets

salt

white pepper

oranges

lemons

cornstarch

whole artichokes

prepared mustard

cider vinegar

honey

wild rice

couscous

scallions

pine nuts

dinner rolls

fruit tarts

Steak Jamaican (Sunday)

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: less than 10 minutes

Marinating time: 6 to 8 hours

1/3 cup each: honey and fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon grated lime peel (green part only)

1/2 teaspoon each: salt and pepper

2 pounds well-trimmed top round steak, scored on top

lime wedges

In a small bowl, whisk together honey, lime juice, oil, mustard, garlic, lime peel, salt and pepper. Place steak in shallow baking pan. Pour marinade over steak, turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate 6 to 8 hours, turning occasionally. Remove from refrigerator 15 minutes before broiling. Broil 4 to 6 inches from heat 3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Continue to cook until desired doneness. Let stand 2 or 3 minutes. Slice thinly on diagonal. Serve with lime wedges.

Per serving: 168 calories, 27 grams protein, 5 grams fat (26 percent calories from fat), 1.4 grams saturated fat, 3 grams carbohydrate, 71 milligrams cholesterol, 111 milligrams sodium, no fiber.

Baked Potato Soup (Tuesday)

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: about 20 minutes plus time to cook the potatoes

6 (8-ounce) baking potatoes, baked and peeled

1 tablespoon margarine or butter

1 1/2 cups finely chopped onions

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 (14 1/2 -ounce) can fat-free chicken broth

3 cups 1 percent milk

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

chopped scallions for garnish

Slightly mash 5 of the cooked potatoes with potato masher; dice other potato. Set aside. In a Dutch oven over medium heat, melt margarine or butter. Add onions and garlic and cook, covered, 10 minutes or until softened. Add 5 "mashed" potatoes, broth, milk, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Add diced potato and continue cooking until hot. Ladle into bowls and garnish each serving with scallions.

Per serving: 370 calories, 13 grams protein, 5 grams fat (12 percent calories from fat), 1.8 grams saturated fat, 69 grams carbohydrate, 7 milligrams cholesterol, 927 milligrams sodium, 5 grams fiber.

Quick Red Beans and Rice (Wednesday)

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

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

1 cup long-grain rice

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 thinly sliced red onion

2 ribs thinly sliced celery

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 (15-ounce) cans red or kidney beans (rinsed and drained)

6 ounces sliced Canadian bacon, cut into thin strips

1 cup fat-free chicken broth

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced

red-pepper sauce, to taste

Cook rice according to directions without salt or fat.

In a large, nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, 5 minutes or until onions are softened. Stir in beans, bacon, broth, Worcestershire sauce, parsley and red-pepper sauce.

Cook 5 minutes or until hot, stirring occasionally.

To serve, spoon rice around edge of large bowl; fill in center with bean mixture.

Per serving: 421 calories, 22 grams protein, 7 grams fat (16 percent calories from fat), 1.3 grams saturated fat, 66 grams carbohydrate, 21 milligrams cholesterol, 1,092 milligrams sodium, 11 grams fiber.

Kids' Favorite Drumsticks (Thursday)

Makes 12 drumsticks

Preparation time: about 5 minutes

Cooking time: about 25 minutes

1/2 cup maple syrup

2 tablespoons each: chili sauce, cider vinegar and water

1 tablespoon prepared horseradish

2 teaspoons dry mustard

3 pounds chicken drumsticks (about 4 per pound)

In a small saucepan, combine syrup, chili sauce, cider vinegar, water, horseradish and mustard.

Cook over medium heat, stirring to dissolve mustard. When sauce is hot (after about 1 or 2 minutes), remove from heat. Grill chicken, turning and basting with sauce 20 to 25 minutes; discard any remaining sauce.

Per drumstick: 133 calories, 15 grams protein, 7 grams fat, (45 per cent calories from fat), 1.8 grams saturated fat, 3 grams carbohydrate, 62 milligrams cholesterol, 74 milligrams sodium, no fiber.

Citrus Baked Dover Sole (Saturday)

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: less than 15 minutes

Cooking time: about 10 minutes

Marinating time: 1 hour

1 to 1 1/2 pounds sole fillets

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

1/4 cup each: fresh orange juice and lemon juice

1 teaspoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons cold water

1 whole orange, peeled and sectioned

Arrange fish in a flat baking dish large enough to hold them flat in 1 layer. Season with salt and pepper. Pour juices over fish and cover. Refrigerate 1 hour. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Remove fish from refrigerator and cover dish tightly with foil. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until fish is opaque throughout. Reserve liquid. With a wide spatula, carefully transfer fish to warmed individual serving plates and cover with foil. Pour reserved liquid into a small saucepan. Dissolve cornstarch in water. Stir into liquid in saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until thickened, about 1 minute. Spoon sauce over fish and garnish with orange sections.

Per serving: 105 calories, 19 grams protein, 1 gram fat (11 percent calories from fat), 0.3 grams saturated fat, 4 grams carbohydrate, 53 milligrams cholesterol, 373 milligrams sodium, no fiber.

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

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