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

A juicy Roasted Chicken (see recipe) is always a family favorite. Accompany the chicken with your own scalloped potatoes. Add Spinach With Feta Cheese on the side. Microwave a 10-ounce package of frozen chopped spinach according to directions; drain and sprinkle with crumbled feta. Add whole wheat rolls. For dessert, Cherry Cheesecake (see recipe) takes little time for a big flavor.

Plan ahead: Save enough chicken and cheesecake for Monday.

Monday/Kids

Treat the kids to Broiled Chicken, Apple and Swiss Sandwiches. Heat broiler. Lightly coat whole wheat bread with store-bought Dijon-mayonnaise spread. Top with thinly sliced Delicious or Gala apples, leftover cooked chicken slices and shredded reduced-fat Swiss cheese. Broil until cheese melts. Serve with frozen oven fries and carrot sticks. Leftover cheesecake is a ready-made dessert.

Plan ahead: Save any leftover carrot sticks for Tuesday.

Tuesday/Budget

Stews are a great way to stretch your budget and Spicy Beef Stew (see recipe) is a tasty way as well. Serve with your own carrot and pineapple salad. (Chop and use any leftover carrot sticks, if available.) Add crusty bread. Cookies are an easy dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough stew for Wednesday.

Wednesday/Heat and Eat

Make Beef and Black Bean Soup tonight. Add 1 or 2 14 1/2 -ounce cans beef broth to leftover stew (according to desired thickness); heat and serve; garnish with a little Mexican blend shredded cheese and crushed baked corn chips. Serve with a green salad and extra chips. Angel food cake and any canned tropical fruit salad make a delicious dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough cake for Thursday.

Thursday/Express

The husband who ate many frozen potpies in his youth (don't tell his mother I told you) declared Potato Topped Pot Pies (Swanson's is one brand) another quick dinner option. The 12-ounce packages have about 450 calories and 22 grams of fat, so you wouldn't want to make them a regular menu item. Keep an eye out for coupons; the potpies can be an inexpensive meal. Add a packaged green salad

and multigrain bread to complete the meal. Sherbet with leftover cake is a light dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough sherbet for Friday.

Friday/Meatless

Enjoy flavorful Tex Mex Tacos (see recipe) and never miss the meat. Serve with rice made with tomato juice for a flavor kick. Accompany the feast with thinly sliced cucumbers in cider vinegar. Leftover sherbet makes a cool dessert.

Saturday/Entertaining

Turkey Cutlets With Capers and White Wine (see recipe) will impress any guest. Serve with orecchiette (tiny pasta shapes cooked according to package directions), tossed with cooked frozen tiny green peas and a little olive oil. Stir in fresh chopped mint leaves just before serving. Add baguettes. Fat-free strawberry ice cream served with shortbread cookies is just right for dessert.

Shopping list

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

Sunday

roasting chicken

cooking spray

fresh rosemary

salt

pepper

ingredients for scalloped potatoes

frozen chopped spinach

crumbled feta cheese

whole wheat rolls

fat-free cream cheese

sugar

frozen fat-free whipped topping

ready-to-use reduced-fat graham cracker crust

canned cherry pie filling

Monday

whole wheat bread

Dijon-mayonnaise spread

Delicious or Gala apples

shredded reduced-fat Swiss cheese

frozen oven fries

carrot sticks

Tuesday

package fully cooked boneless beef pot roast with gravy

thick and chunky salsa

fresh zucchini

frozen corn

canned black beans

fat-free sour cream

tomatoes

cilantro

ingredients for carrot and pineapple salad

crusty bread

cookies

Wednesday

canned beef broth

Mexican-blend shredded cheese

baked corn chips

salad greens

angel food cake

any canned tropical fruit salad

Thursday

Potato Topped Pot Pies (Swanson's or another brand)

packaged green salad

multigrain bread

sherbet

Friday

canned vegetarian refried beans

frozen corn

salsa

cilantro

reduced-fat corn taco shells

shredded carrot

jicama

jalapeno slices

rice

tomato juice

cucumbers

cider vinegar

Saturday

turkey cutlets

salt

pepper

flour

vegetable oil

capers

dry white wine or fat-free chicken broth

lemons

limes

margarine or butter

pimiento

orecchiette

frozen tiny green peas

olive oil

fresh mint

baguettes

fat-free strawberry ice cream

shortbread cookies

Roasted Chicken (Sunday)

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: less than 15 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes; Standing time: 5 minutes

1 5- to 6-pound roasting chicken

cooking spray

4 fresh rosemary sprigs

1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper

Heat oven to 450. Remove and discard giblets and neck from chicken; trim excess fat.

Rinse chicken under cold water and pat dry. Place chicken, breast side up in a roasting pan on a rack. Coat with cooking spray; tuck wings under.

Place rosemary sprigs under breast skin and sprinkle skin with salt and pepper.

Bake 30 minutes. Reduce oven to 400; roast 45 minutes or until thermometer inserted in thigh (not touching bone) registers 180.

Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes. Slice, discard skin and serve.

Per serving: 200 calories, 30 grams protein, 8 grams fat (37 percent calories from fat), 2.2 grams saturated fat, no carbohydrate, 90 milligrams cholesterol, 235 milligrams sodium, no fiber.

Cherry Cheesecake (Sunday)

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Chilling time: 3 hours to overnight

2 8-ounce packages softened fat-free cream cheese

1/3 cup sugar

1 8-ounce container frozen and thawed fat-free whipped topping

1 9-inch ready-to-use, reduced-fat graham cracker crust

1 cup canned cherry pie filling

In mixing bowl, mix cream cheese with sugar and beat with an electric mixer until well-blended.

Stir in (by hand) whipped topping. Spoon into crust; chill 3 hours or overnight.

When ready to serve, spread pie filling over cheesecake and slice.

Per serving: 268 calories, 9 grams protein, 3 grams fat (11 percent calories from fat), 1 gram saturated fat, 48 grams carbohydrate, 5 milligrams cholesterol, 387 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.

Spicy Beef Stew (Tuesday)

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: about 25 minutes

1 package (about 2 pounds) fully cooked boneless beef pot roast with gravy (see note)

1 cup thick and chunky salsa

3 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise in half, then crosswise into 3/4 inch slices

1/2 cup frozen corn

2 15-ounce cans rinsed and drained black beans

1/2 cup water

fat-free sour cream, chopped fresh tomato, chopped cilantro for garnishes

Remove pot roast from package; set aside.

In a Dutch oven, combine gravy from package, salsa, zucchini and corn and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 5 minutes.

Meanwhile cut beef into 3/4 -inch chunks.

To Dutch oven, add beef, beans and water and stir. Cover and cook about 15 minutes or until zucchini is softened.

Garnish with sour cream, tomatoes and cilantro.

Note: Look for prepared roast and gravy in the refrigerated meat case.

Per serving: 273 calories, 32 grams protein, 6 grams fat (20 percent calories from fat), 2.1 grams saturated fat, 22 grams carbohydrate, 65 milligrams cholesterol, 826 milligrams sodium, 7 grams fiber.

Tex Mex Tacos (Friday)

Makes 12 tacos

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: less than 10 minutes

1 15-ounce can vegetarian refried beans

1 10-ounce package frozen and thawed corn

1 cup salsa

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

12 reduced-fat corn taco shells (from 6.25 ounce package), warmed

1 cup carrots, shredded

1 cup jicama, shredded

rinsed and drained jalapeno slices for garnish

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine beans, corn, salsa and cilantro. Heat 5 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Fill taco shells with mixture. Sprinkle with shredded carrot and jicama. Garnish with jalapeno slices.

Per taco: 135 calories, 4 grams protein, 4 grams fat (26 percent calories from fat), 0.5 grams saturated fat, 23 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 345 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.

Turkey Cutlets With Capers and White Wine (Saturday)

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: about 15 minutes

Cooking time: less than 15 minutes

1 pound (4 pieces) turkey cutlets

1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper

1/2 cup flour

1 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided

3 tablespoons rinsed and drained capers

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

2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon margarine or butter

2 tablespoons chopped pimiento

Between 2 pieces heavy duty plastic wrap, flatten cutlets to 1/4 inch. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and coat with flour on both sides. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1/2 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Cook 2 of the cutlets 2 minutes on both sides or until browned, turning once. Remove from skillet; set aside. Repeat procedure with remaining cutlets and oil. Add capers to skillet and cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly until thoroughly heated. Spoon over turkey. Add wine or broth and 2 juices to skillet; cook, stirring occasionally until reduced by half. Add margarine or butter, stirring until melted. Add turkey and capers, and cook until thoroughly heated. Drizzle each serving with sauce and sprinkle with pimiento. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 255 calories, 29 grams protein, 8 grams fat (27 percent calories from fat), 1.1 grams saturated fat, 14 grams carbohydrate, 77 milligrams cholesterol, 467 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.

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

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