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


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.


The family is always pleased when leg of lamb (see recipe) is on the menu. Serve the juicy lamb with packaged long-grain and wild rice. Toss fresh cooked sliced carrots with chopped fresh parsley and a little butter. Add dinner rolls. For dessert, make a fresh fruit cup and serve it with cookies.

Plan ahead: Save some lamb and prepare enough carrots for Monday.

Monday/Heat and Eat

Leftover lamb will make delicious lamb sandwiches. Use dense white bread and brush with a thin coat of olive oil; top bread with thin slices of lamb, roasted red peppers, sliced tomatoes and sliced Kalamata olives. Accompany the sandwiches with leftover carrots. For dessert, top fat-free vanilla ice cream with caramel sauce.

Plan ahead: Save enough vanilla ice cream for Tuesday.


Remind the kids that tonight's pasta looks like little butterflies and they'll enjoy bow tie pasta with basil and Parmesan (see recipe) even more.

Serve with green beans and breadsticks. Help the kids make banana splits for dessert. For one split: Halve a banana and cut in half lengthwise. Place in a dessert dish and top with 1/2 cup each fat-free strawberry and leftover vanilla ice creams, chocolate syrup and light whipped cream. Add a maraschino cherry if you like.

Plan ahead: Save enough strawberry ice cream for Wednesday.


Meatloaf is always a popular budget-stretcher, and Spicy Meatloaf (see recipe) continues the tradition. Serve with baked potatoes and sauteed zucchini squash. Add whole-wheat rolls. Leftover ice cream is an easy dessert.

Plan ahead: Save 2 servings of the meatloaf and bake 4 extra potatoes for Thursday.


Chili-stuffed potatoes will be quick tonight. Heat leftover baked potatoes and a can of store-bought vegetarian chili. Crumble Wednesday's meat loaf into the chili. Slash the tops of the potatoes and spoon chili over potatoes. Sprinkle shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese on top. Serve with a packaged green salad and sourdough rolls. Make instant chocolate pudding with skim milk for dessert.


Black bean frittata (see recipe) is flavorful and easy. Serve with one of the packaged yellow rice mixes and with fat-free flour tortillas. Crunch on jicama and carrot sticks. Add fresh fruit for dessert.

Saturday/Easy Entertaining

Your guests will look forward to your own grilled fish. Serve your specialty with roasted red potatoes. Napa slaw is the perfect accompaniment (see recipe). Add crusty bread. For dessert, sprinkle peeled pear halves with crumbled Gorgonzola cheese.

Shopping List

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


leg of lamb


Parmesan cheese

fresh parsley

salt pepper

cooking spray

packaged long-grain and wild rice

fresh carrots



dinner rolls

fresh fruit



dense white bread

olive oil

roasted red peppers


Kalamata olives

fat-free vanilla ice cream

caramel sauce


bow tie pasta

lean ground beef


canned tomatoes



fresh basil

Parmesan cheese

green beans



fat-free strawberry ice cream

chocolate syrup

light whipped cream

maraschino cherries


lean ground beef

ground turkey breast

white bread


canned diced tomatoes and green chilies


chili powder

black pepper

chili sauce

shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese

potatoes to bake

zucchini squash

whole-wheat rolls


store-bought vegetarian chili

shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese

packaged green salad

sourdough rolls

instant chocolate pudding

skim milk




vegetable oil


baked tortilla chips


canned black beans

jalapeno peppers


shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese

packaged yellow rice

fat-free flour tortillas


carrot sticks

fresh fruit


your own fish to grill

red potatoes to roast





crushed red peppers

soy sauce


dry white wine

canola or other vegetable

oil sesame oil

Napa cabbage

red bell pepper



crusty bread

fresh or canned pears

crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

Leg of lamb (Sunday)

Makes 12 servings

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Standing time: 10 to 15 minutes

1 5- to 6-pound well-trimmed leg of lamb (see note)

8 cloves sliced garlic

3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon each salt and pepper

cooking spray

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut 1-inch-deep slits into lamb (2 to 3 inches apart). Insert garlic slice into each slit. In a small bowl, combine cheese, parsley, salt and pepper. Reserve 1/4 cup of mixture; divide remaining mixture evenly and stuff it into slits. Coat lamb with cooking spray. Press reserved cheese mixture onto lamb. Place lamb on a rack in roasting pan. Bake 90 minutes or until meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 145 degrees. Remove from oven and let stand 10 to 15 minutes or until thermometer reaches 150 degrees (medium-rare).

Note: Before cooking, remove all the fat and the thin white membrane that covers lamb for the best flavor and aroma.

Per serving: 202 calories, 28 grams protein, 9 grams fat (40 percent calories from fat), 3.6 grams saturated fat, 1 gram carbohydrate, 84 milligrams cholesterol, 372 milligrams sodium, no fiber.

Bow Tie Pasta (Tuesday)

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: less than 15 minutes

Cooking time: about 11 minutes plus pasta

1 1/2 cups bow tie pasta

3/4 pounds lean ground beef

1 clove minced garlic

1 14 1/2-ounce can drained and chopped tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to directions without salt or fat; drain. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook beef and garlic 6 minutes or until beef is no longer pink; drain well. Stir in tomatoes, salt and pepper and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. In a large serving bowl, toss beef mixture, pasta and basil together; sprinkle with cheese and serve.

Per serving: 328 calories, 25 grams protein, 10 grams fat (27 percent calories from fat), 4.1 grams saturated fat, 33 grams carbohydrate, 35 milligrams cholesterol, 558 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Spicy Meatloaf (Wednesday)

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Standing time: 5 minutes

3/4 pounds each lean ground beef and ground turkey breast

3 slices white bread, torn into small pieces

2 egg whites

1 10-ounce can diced tomatoes and green chilies

1 small chopped onion

2 teaspoons chili powder

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/3 cup chili sauce

1/4 cup shredded reduced-fat

Cheddar cheese

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine beef, turkey, bread, egg whites, tomatoes and green chilies, onion, chili powder and black pepper. Mix to combine all ingredients, but do not overmix. Spoon into an 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-by-2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Bake 1 hour; drain well. Spoon chili sauce over cooked meat loaf, then sprinkle with cheese. Bake an additional 15 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes; slice and serve.

Per serving: 188 calories, 23 grams protein, 6 grams fat (27 percent calories from fat), 2.2 grams saturated fat, 11 grams carbohydrate, 46 milligrams cholesterol, 448 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.

Black Bean Frittata (Friday)

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes

1 cup salsa

1 teaspoon chopped cilantro

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1/4 cup chopped scallions

3 cups slightly crushed baked tortilla chips (about 3 ounces)

4 lightly beaten egg whites

3 lightly beaten eggs

1 (15-ounce) can rinsed and drained black beans

2 tablespoons sliced jalapeno peppers

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese

Heat broiler. In a small bowl, combine salsa and cilantro. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add scallions and chips; saute 2 minutes. Remove from heat. In a medium bowl, combine egg whites, eggs, beans and peppers; pour into skillet. Sprinkle with cumin. Wrap handle of skillet with foil; place skillet in oven. Broil 2 1/2 minutes or until center is set. Sprinkle with cheese. Broil 20 seconds or until cheese melts. Cut into wedges and serve with salsa.

Per serving: 301 calories, 19 grams protein, 10 grams fat (31 percent calories from fat), 3.1 grams saturated fat, 32 grams carbohydrate, 167 milligrams cholesterol, 821 milligrams sodium, 6 grams fiber.

Napa Slaw (Saturday)

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes


2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon peeled and minced gingerroot

1 1/2 tablespoons honey

1/8 teaspoon crushed red peppers

1 tablespoon soy sauce

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1/4 cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons canola or other vegetable oil

1 tablespoon sesame oil


5 cups shredded Napa cabbage

1 red bell pepper cut into 1/8-inch matchsticks

1/2 carrot cut into 1/8-inch matchsticks

3 thinly sliced scallions

In a small bowl, combine cilantro, garlic, gingerroot, honey, red peppers, soy sauce, lime juice, wine, canola and sesame oil. Whisk ingredients together. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine cabbage, bell pepper, carrot and scallions. Pour dressing over salad and mix well.

Per serving: 86 calories, 1 gram protein, 5 grams fat (51 percent calories from fat), 0.5 grams saturated fat, 9 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 130 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

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

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