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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

Make it a family day with Marinated Top Sirloin Steak (see recipe) on the menu. Serve the steak with your own roasted red potatoes and coleslaw. Add crusty bread. For dessert, a store-bought lemon meringue pie is perfect.

Plan ahead: Save enough pie for Monday.

Monday/Meatless

Make Baked Spanish Rice Casserole (see recipe) and try the frozen and cooked crumbles that look like ground meat but are actually vegetable protein. Serve with fresh steamed carrots and whole wheat bread. Leftover pie is waiting for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough of the casserole for Tuesday.

Tuesday/Kids

Watch the kids line up for tacos tonight. Use your favorite store-bought taco shells and stuff with Monday's heated leftover casserole. Top the filling with salsa and reduced-fat sour cream. Adults might want to add sliced jalapeno peppers to their tacos. Serve with canned pinto beans. Make a chopped salad with lettuce and tomatoes. Enjoy store-bought cupcakes for dessert.

Plan ahead: Buy enough cupcakes for Wednesday.

Wednesday/Express

Make Beef Stew Bowls (see recipe) in a hurry tonight using just two store-bought ingredients. Serve with a packaged green salad. For dessert, try apricot halves along with leftover cupcakes.

Plan ahead: Save enough apricots for Friday.

Thursday/Budget

Here we go again, saving money and enjoying Spinach-Stuffed Meatloaf (see recipe). Baked potatoes are always a welcome side dish with meatloaf. Brighten the plate with any fresh sauteed summer squash. Serve with any biscuits. Fresh fruit is a refreshing dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough meatloaf and bake extra potatoes for Friday.

Friday/Heat and Eat

What's better than meatloaf? Meatloaf Sandwiches, of course. Slice hoagie rolls, slather with low-fat mayonnaise or your favorite spread, add a slice of leftover meatloaf and top with a crisp lettuce leaf. Using leftover potatoes, make baked potato wedges. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Cut the potatoes in 8 wedges, coat with cooking spray and paprika or cayenne. Bake on a cookie sheet covered with foil for 20 minutes or until hot. Garnish them with a little shredded cheese. For dessert, spoon leftover apricots over fat-free vanilla ice cream.

Plan ahead: Save enough ice cream for Saturday.

Saturday/Entertaining

Some lucky guests will enjoy your own baked flounder tonight. Serve with Carolina Brunch-Style Grits (see recipe), from this year's Pillsbury Bake-Off finalist, Inez Duke of Mars Hill, N.C. Green beans are a great accompaniment to the meal. Add dinner rolls. Top leftover ice cream with fresh or frozen strawberries and garnish with light whipped cream for the simplest dessert.

Shopping List

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

Sunday

orange juice

garlic

soy sauce

black pepper

fresh tarragon

olive oil

well-trimmed top sirloin steak

red potatoes

ingredients for coleslaw

crusty bread

store-bought lemon meringue pie

Monday

cooking spray

long-grain rice

vegetable oil

onions

celery

green bell peppers

packaged frozen and cooked textured vegetable protein crumbles

canned Mexican-style (or stewed) tomatoes

canned chopped chilies

Romano cheese

provolone cheese

carrots

whole wheat bread

Tuesday

taco shells

salsa

reduced-fat sour cream

jalapeno peppers

canned pinto beans

lettuce

tomatoes

store-bought cupcakes

Wednesday

cooking spray

packaged refrigerated bread sticks

canned beef stew

shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

scallions

packaged green salad

26-ounce jar apricot halves

Thursday

cooking spray

vegetable oil

fresh mushrooms

onion

garlic

frozen chopped spinach

salt

pepper

shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese

Parmesan cheese

ground turkey breast

quick-cooking oatmeal

1 percent milk

egg

dried basil and oregano

baking potatoes

any fresh summer squash

any biscuits

fresh fruit

Friday

hoagie rolls

low-fat mayonnaise or other favorite spread

lettuce

cooking spray

paprika or cayenne

any shredded cheese

fat-free vanilla ice cream

Saturday

ingredients for baked flounder

quick-cooking grits

canned corn with red and green peppers

frozen chopped spinach

taco seasoning mix

onion

margarine or butter

reduced-fat or regular shredded Cheddar cheese

green beans

dinner rolls

fresh or frozen strawberries

light whipped cream

Marinated Top Sirloin Steak (Sunday)

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Marinating time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 6 to 8 minutes

Standing time: 5 minutes

1/2 cup orange juice

2 teaspoons chopped garlic

3 tablespoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 1-pound top sirloin steak, well-trimmed

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine juice, garlic, soy sauce, pepper, tarragon, oil and steak. Marinate 15 minutes; turn once. Heat grill; grill 3 to 4 minutes on each side, for medium or cook until desired doneness. Remove from grill; let stand 5 minutes before slicing. Thinly slice across grain.

Per serving: 177 calories, 26 grams protein, 7 grams fat (37 percent calories from fat), 2.5 grams saturated fat, 1 gram carbohydrate, 75 milligrams cholesterol, 227 milligrams sodium, no fiber.

Baked Spanish Rice Casserole (Monday)

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 35 minutes plus rice

Standing time: 5 minutes

cooking spray

1 cup long-grain rice

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

4 chopped onions

4 ribs thinly sliced celery

3 chopped green bell peppers

1 12-ounce package frozen, cooked, textured vegetable protein crumbles

2 14 1/2 -ounce cans Mexican- style (or stewed) chopped tomatoes, drained

1 4-ounce can chopped, drained chilies

1/4 cup grated Romano cheese

4 ounces shredded provolone cheese

Coat a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Cook rice according to directions without salt or oil. Heat oven to 375. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, celery and peppers. Cook 15 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Add cooked rice, vegetable protein crumbles, tomatoes, chilies and Romano cheese; mix well. Top with provolone. Bake 20 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted.

Per serving: 305 calories, 20 grams protein, 7 grams fat (20 percent calories from fat), 3.2 grams saturated fat, 41 grams carbohydrate, 13 milligrams cholesterol, 711 milligrams sodium, 6 grams fiber.

Beef Stew Bowls (Wednesday)

Makes 8 bowls

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 16 to 20 minutes plus stew

cooking spray

1 11-ounce (8-stick size) container of refrigerated bread sticks

1 24-ounce can beef stew

shredded sharp Cheddar cheese and sliced scallions for garnish

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Turn a 12 regular-size muffin tin (or two 6-muffin size tins) upside-down. Coat 8 of the 12 cups with cooking spray. Remove bread sticks from package; do not uncoil. Place 1 stick of dough over each coated muffin cup; press dough over entire surface of inverted cup. Bake 16 to 20 minutes or until browned. Meanwhile, heat stew according to directions. Spoon about 1/3 cup stew into each warm bread "bowl." Garnish with cheese and scallions.

Per bowl: 177 calories, 8 grams protein, 5 grams fat (24 percent calories from fat), 0.9 grams saturated fat, 25 grams carbohydrate, 12 milligrams cholesterol, 639 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.

Spinach-Stuffed Meatloaf (Thursday)

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: less than 45 minutes

Standing time: 5 minutes

cooking spray

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 cup coarsely chopped fresh mushrooms

1/3 cup finely chopped onion

2 minced garlic cloves

1 10-ounce package frozen spinach, chopped, thawed and squeezed dry

1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided

1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese, divided

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 1/4 pounds ground turkey breast

3/4 cup uncooked quick-cooking oatmeal

1/2 cup 1 percent milk

1 slightly beaten egg

1/2 teaspoon each dried basil and oregano

Heat oven to 350. Coat a 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. In a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, onion, and garlic and cook 6 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Remove from heat; drain. Stir in spinach, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1/4 cup mozzarella and the Parmesan. In a medium bowl, combine remaining salt and pepper, turkey, oatmeal, milk, egg, basil and oregano. Spoon , of the turkey mixture into loaf pan. Make a 7-inch by 1 1/2 -inch indention lengthwise down center of mixture; fill with spinach mixture. Spoon remaining turkey mixture on top. Press edges to seal. Bake 35 minutes or until internal temperature is 180 degrees. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella; bake 1 more minute or until cheese melts. Remove from pan; let stand covered 6 minutes. Slice and serve.

Per serving: 190 calories, 25 grams protein, 6 grams fat (29 percent calories from fat), 2.2 grams saturated fat, 9 grams carbohydrate, 81 milligrams cholesterol, 333 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Inez Duke's Carolina Brunch-Style Grits (Saturday)

Makes 10 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 22 to 27 minute plus grits

1 cup quick-cooking grits

4 cups water

1 11-ounce can rinsed and drained corn with red and green peppers

1 9 or 10-ounce package frozen spinach, chopped, thawed and squeezed dry

1 1.25-ounce package taco seasoning mix

2 tablespoons chopped onion

2 tablespoons margarine or butter

2 cups (8-ounces) reduced-fat or regular shredded Cheddar cheese, divided

Heat oven to 350. Cook grits in water according to directions. In an ungreased 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish, combine cooked grits with corn with red and green peppers, spinach, taco mix, onion, margarine or butter and 1 cup cheese; mix well. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese. Bake 22 to 27 minutes or until edges are bubbly and cheese is melted.

Per serving (reduced-fat cheese): 189 calories, 10 grams protein, 7 grams fat (33 percent calories from fat), 3.3 grams saturated fat, 21 grams carbohydrate, 12 milligrams cholesterol, 521 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Per serving (regular cheese): 215 calories, 9 grams protein, 10 grams fat (43 percent calories from fat), 5.2 grams saturated fat, 22 grams carbohydrate, 24 milligrams cholesterol, 516 milligrams sodium, 2 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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