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 enter-taining menu that's quick.

Sunday/Family

Make today family time with your own roast turkey breast and gravy. Bake sweet potatoes to accompany the bird. Creamy Baked Spinach (see recipe) is a delicious side dish. Serve with dinner rolls. Add store-bought spice cake for a perfect dessert.

Plan ahead: Save leftover turkey, leftover spinach and enough cake for Monday.

Monday/Heat and eat

Cuddle up to comfort food and enjoy Turkey Gratin (see recipe). Serve with leftover spinach and a green salad. Leftover cake with chunky applesauce is a quick dessert.

Tuesday/Kids

Tamale Pie is so easy, the kids can do most of the preparation. Place 5 cups slightly crumbled baked tortilla chips in a 10-by-10-inch baking dish. Spread 1 15-ounce can vegetarian chili over chips, 1 11-ounce can rinsed and drained corn over chili and 1 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese over corn. Cover with waxed paper. Microwave 7 to 8 minutes on medium-high (75 percent power) or until mixture is hot and cheese is melted. Cover dish with shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes.

(The adults might like chopped green chilies on their tamale pie.)

Serve with a salad of sliced oranges and thinly sliced jicama. Dessert tonight is a low-fat chocolate mousse bar.

Wednesday/Meatless

Enjoy the savory flavors of Rotini With Tomatoes and Lentils tonight (see recipe). Serve with mixed greens and garlic bread. Finish with fresh fruit for dessert.

Thursday/Express

Start with a few simple convenience items and end with teriyaki noodles. Heat a nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat until hot. Add 1 9- or 10-ounce package cooked chopped or sliced chicken breast and cook and stir 1 or 2 minutes or until chicken is hot.

From 1 21-ounce package Green Giant Create-a-Meal Frozen Teriyaki Stir-Fry Meal Starter, add frozen sauce and 1/2 teaspoon seasoning mix (discard remaining seasoning) and heat until sauce is thawed. From 1 3-ounce package ramen noodle soup mix, add noodles and frozen vegetables to skillet. Cover and cook 8 to 10 minutes or until vegetables are softened, stirring frequently.

Serve with crusty bread. Fat-free pound cake with sliced peaches works for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough pound cake for Friday.

Friday/Budget

Squeeze that budget until it hollers Texas Hash for dinner! (See recipe.)

Add a green salad and corn bread from a mix to complete your meal. Leftover cake is an easy dessert.

Saturday/Entertaining

Start your meal with Atlantan Elizabeth Finnan's Squash and Apple Soup (see recipe).

Follow Elizabeth's delicious soup with your own pork tenderloin roast. Serve the pork with orzo sprinkled with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Add a Boston lettuce salad and baguettes. For dessert, fresh fruit with shortbread cookies is simple.

Shopping list

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

Sunday

turkey to roast

ingredients for gravy

sweet potatoes to bake

cooking spray

frozen chopped spinach

garlic

olive oil

1 percent milk

low-fat mayonnaise

salt

pepper

seasoned bread crumbs

Parmesan cheese

dinner rolls

store-bought spice cake

Monday

cooking spray

reduced-fat condensed cream of chicken soup

white wine or fat-free chicken broth

fresh sliced mushrooms

scallions

English muffins

reduced-fat shredded Swiss cheese

nutmeg

salad greens

applesauce

Tuesday

baked tortilla chips

canned vegetarian chili

canned corn

shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese

lettuce

tomatoes

chopped green chilies

oranges

jicama

chocolate mousse bars

Wednesday

rotini or twists pasta

dried lentils

onion

salt

pepper

canned Italian-style tomatoes

carrots

celery

green bell pepper

parsley

shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese

salad greens

garlic bread

fresh fruit

Thursday

cooking spray

cooked chopped or sliced chicken breast

Green Giant Create-a-Meal Frozen Teriyaki Stir-Fry Meal Starter

ramen noodle soup mix

crusty bread

fat-free pound cake

peaches

Friday

lean ground beef

ground turkey breast

vegetable oil

frozen O'Brien potatoes with onions and peppers

chunky salsa

chili powder

shredded jalapeno-flavored (or another flavor) reduced-fat cheese

salad greens

corn bread mix

Saturday

margarine or butter

onion

ground coriander

red or yellow Delicious apples

butternut squash

fresh thyme

vegetable broth

sugar

lemon

plain yogurt

ingredients for pork tenderloin roast

orzo

Parmesan cheese

Boston lettuce

baguettes

fresh fruit

shortbread cookies

Creamy Baked Spinach (Sunday)

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: less than 25 minutes

cooking spray

2 10-ounce packages frozen and thawed chopped spinach

2 cloves minced garlic

2 teaspoons olive oil

1/3 cup each 1 percent milk and low-fat mayonnaise

salt and pepper to taste 1/4 cup

seasoned bread crumbs

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon olive oil

Heat oven to 450. Coat a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. In a large nonstick skillet, cook spinach and garlic in oil over medium heat for 6 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in milk and mayonnaise. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon into baking dish and top with bread crumbs, cheese and olive oil. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until bubbly.

Per serving: 100 calories, 5 grams protein, 4 grams fat (37 percent calories from fat), 0.9 grams saturated fat, 12 grams carbohydrate, 2 milligrams cholesterol, 373 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

Turkey Gratin (Monday)

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 25 to 30 minutes

cooking spray

1 10 3/4-ounce can reduced-fat condensed cream of chicken soup

1/4 cup dry white wine or fat-free chicken broth

2 cups chopped cooked (leftover) turkey

1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms

1/2 cup sliced scallions

2 English muffins cut into 1-inch cubes

3/4 cup reduced-fat shredded Swiss cheese

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Coat an 11-by-7-inch baking dish with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine soup and wine or broth; mix well. Add turkey, mushrooms and scallions; mix well. Spread mixture into baking dish. In a separate medium bowl, toss muffins and cheese together, and then spread evenly over turkey mixture. Sprinkle nutmeg over all. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

Per serving: 325 calories, 31 grams protein, 11 grams fat (31 percent calories from fat), 5.2 grams saturated fat, 22 grams carbohydrate, 78 milligrams cholesterol, 815 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Rotini With Tomatoes and Lentils (Wednesday)

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: about 1 hour 10 minutes, plus pasta

8 ounces rotini or twists pasta

1 1/2 cups dried lentils

1 chopped onion

3 1/2 cups water

1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper

2 15-ounce cans Italian-style drained and chopped tomatoes

2 medium thinly sliced carrots

2 thinly sliced celery ribs

1 chopped green bell pepper

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1 cup shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese

Cook pasta according to directions; drain. In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, combine lentils, onion, water, salt and pepper; bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 40 minutes. Add tomatoes, carrots, celery and bell pepper; bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in pasta and parsley. Sprinkle each serving with cheese.

Per serving: 392 calories, 23 grams protein, 5 grams fat (11 percent calories from fat), 2.5 grams saturated fat, 64 grams carbohydrate, 10 milligrams cholesterol, 443 milligrams sodium, 14 grams fiber.

Texas Hash (Friday)

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: less than 30 minutes

1/2 pound each lean ground beef and ground turkey breast

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

3 cups frozen O'Brien potatoes with onions and peppers

1 cup chunky salsa

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 cup shredded reduced-fat jalapeno-flavored (or another flavor) reduced-fat cheese

In a large nonstick skillet, cook beef and turkey 6 minutes or until mixture is no longer pink; drain well. Remove meat from skillet, cover, set aside and keep warm. Wipe skillet with paper towel. In same skillet, add oil and heat over medium heat until hot. Add potatoes; cook and stir 8 to 10 minutes or until browned. Stir in salsa, chili powder and reserved ground meat and mix well. Cook 5 to 8 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover; cook 2 to 4 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 371 calories, 36 grams protein, 12 grams fat (29 percent calories from fat), 5.4 grams saturated fat, 29 grams carbohydrate, 74 milligrams cholesterol, 571 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

Elizabeth Finnan's Squash and Apple Soup (Saturday)

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: about 30 minutes

1 tablespoon margarine or butter

1 medium chopped onion

1 teaspoon ground coriander

3 red or yellow peeled, cored and chopped Delicious apples

1 pound peeled and chopped butternut squash

leaves from 1 bunch fresh thyme

4 cups vegetable broth

1 teaspoon sugar juice of 1 lemon

plain yogurt for garnish

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt margarine or butter; add onion and cook 8 minutes or until softened. Add coriander and cook 1 minute. Add apples, squash and thyme leaves. Cook 2 minutes. Add broth and sugar. Cover and bring to boil over medium heat; reduce heat to low and simmer 15 minutes. Stir occasionally. Pour mixture into blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Stir in lemon juice, season to taste and pour mixture back into pan. Heat on low until heated through. Garnish each serving with a dollop of yogurt if desired.

Per serving: 176 calories, 4 gram protein, 4 grams fat (20 percent calories from fat), 0.5 grams saturated fat, 36 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 1,040 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

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