This week's menus
Each day of the week offers a menu aimed at a different aspect of menu 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 1quick.
Serve this Savory Pork Roast for a family feast. Remove visible fat from a 3- or 4-pound boneless pork loin roast. Rub a split garlic clove over roast. Combine 1 teaspoon each dried rosemary and dried sage and 1/2 teaspoon salt; mix well and rub over roast. Place trimmed side up on a rack in shallow roasting pan. Roast, uncovered, at 325 degrees (do not preheat oven) 26 to 31 minutes per pound or to 155 degrees internal temperature. Cover and let stand 15 minutes. Meanwhile, skim fat from pan; discard. Add 3/4 cup apple juice to pan and deglaze pan over medium-high heat to reduce liquid to about half. Serve the sauce with the roast. Accompany the roast with Rice with Black-Eyed Peas and Corn (see recipe). Add a mixed green salad and multi-grain rolls. A fresh fruit cup is a light dessert.
Plan ahead: Save enough pork and rice for Monday.
Monday/Heat and Eat
Celebrate Memorial Day with a barbecued pork sandwich. Spoon leftover shredded pork on a sesame seed bun, top with your favorite warm barbecue sauce and add sliced pickles if you like. Serve with deli coleslaw and leftover rice salad. Store-bought apple pie is the perfect celebration dessert.
Plan ahead: Save enough pie for Tuesday.
Liz Barclay of Annapolis knows how to win prizes and to make kids happy, too, with her Southwestern Chicken Biscuits (see recipe). Serve the biscuits with canned pinto beans and carrot sticks. Top leftover pie with fat-free vanilla ice cream for dessert.
Plan ahead: Save any leftover carrot sticks and enough ice cream for Wednesday.
Vegetable Lovers Spaghetti (see recipe) says it all. Serve with a green salad and garlic bread. Spoon strawberry sauce over leftover ice cream for dessert.
Plan ahead: Save enough strawberry sauce for Thursday and Saturday.
Pick up frozen pirogies and a 16-ounce bag of coleslaw mix as you dash through the market. In a nonstick skillet, saute the slaw mix with a little olive oil for 5 minutes or until softened; add salt and pepper to taste. Cook the pirogies according to directions; drain. Spoon the cooked slaw over the pirogies and top with reduced-fat sour cream. Serve green beans on the side along with whole wheat rolls. Make instant chocolate pudding with skim milk and top the pudding with leftover strawberry sauce.
Who says you can't have steak on a budget? This Salisbury Steak says you can have your steak and save your money, too. In a medium bowl, mix together a 1/2 pound each lean ground beef and ground turkey breast and 1 packet onion soup mix (from 2-ounce box). Shape into 4 (1/2 inch thick) oval patties. Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties and cook 1 1/2 minutes or until bottoms are browned, turn and cook 1 1/2 more minutes. Add 1 (12-ounce) jar au jus or brown gravy and 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook 7 minutes, or until cooked through, turning patties once. Serve with your own mashed potatoes and any mixed vegetables. Add any biscuits. For dessert, serve sliced peaches and oatmeal cookies.
Make Thai Chicken with Rice (see recipe) for guests tonight. Serve it on your prettiest platter. Add a green salad and crusty bread. Wow your guests with Baked Alaska (see recipe) to continue your travel adventure.
TIP: Look for chili-garlic paste in Asian markets or large supermarkets. If you can't find it, Stella Fong, who teaches Chinese cooking, substitutes 1 teaspoon chili paste with 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes and 2 or 3 cloves minced garlic.
Sunday boneless pork loin roast
fat-free chicken broth
canned black-eyed peas
sesame seed buns
store-bought apple pie
refrigerated flaky biscuits
frozen, cooked Southwestern-seasoned (or plain) chicken breast strips
canned chopped green chilies
shredded Monterey Jack cheese
instant minced onion
fresh cilantro if desired
canned pinto beans
fat-free vanilla ice cream
fresh broccoli florets
fresh sugar snap peas
store-bought spaghetti sauce
packaged coleslaw mix
reduced-fat sour cream
whole wheat rolls
instant chocolate pudding skim milk
lean ground beef
ground turkey breast
packet onion soup mix
jar au jus or brown gravy
potatoes to mash
any mixed vegetables
canned low-fat coconut milk
reduced-fat creamy peanut butter
dark sesame oil
boneless, skinless chicken breasts
red bell pepper
store-bought, fat-free pound cake
fat-free strawberry ice cream
Rice with Black-Eyed Peas and Rice (Sunday)
Makes 8 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: about 25 minutes
1 medium chopped onion
1 clove minced garlic
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can fat-free chicken broth
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 cup cooked long-grain rice
1 cup frozen and thawed corn
1 (15-ounce) can rinsed and drained black-eyed peas chopped parsley for garnish
In a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, cook onion and garlic 5 minutes or until softened. Add broth, Worcestershire sauce, thyme and cayenne. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and stir in rice. Cover and cook 10 minutes. Add corn, peas and mix well; cover and cook 8 to 10 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Spoon into serving dish and garnish with parsley.
Per serving: 134 calories, 5 grams protein, no fat, calories from fat or saturated fat, 28 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 231 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.
Liz Barclay's Southwestern Chicken Biscuits (Tuesday)
Makes 20 biscuits
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 13 to 18 minutes plus biscuits
2 (12-ounce) cans refrigerated flaky biscuits
1 (9-ounce) package frozen, cooked Southwestern-seasoned (or plain) chicken breast strips, thawed and diced
1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chilies
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (4 ounces)
1 tablespoon instant minced onion
1 cup chunky salsa fresh cilantro sprigs for garnish if desired
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 20 muffin cups with cooking spray. Separate dough into 20 biscuits. Place 1 biscuit in each sprayed muffin cup; press to cover bottom and sides of cup. In medium bowl, combine chicken, chilies, cheese, onion and salsa; mix well. Spoon 2 tablespoons mixture into each dough-lined cup; gently press mixture with back of spoon. Bake 13 to 18 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Remove from muffin cups. Serve warm garnished with cilantro sprig if desired.
Per biscuit cup: 142 calories, 6 grams protein, 7 grams fat (41 percent calories from fat), 2.2 grams saturated fat, 15 grams carbohydrate, 13 milligrams cholesterol, 555 milligrams sodium, no fiber.
Vegetable Lovers Spaghetti (Wednesday)
Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 25 to 30 minutes plus spaghetti
10 ounces spaghetti
3 1/2 cups fresh broccoli florets
1 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup each fresh sugar snap peas and sliced celery
2 cups store-bought spaghetti sauce
freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Cook spaghetti according to directions. On an 18-inch-by-24-inch sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil combine broccoli, carrots, peas, celery and spaghetti sauce. Double fold ends and top and seal to make a packet, leaving room for heat to circulate. Bake 25 to 30 minutes on a cookie sheet. Remove from oven and open away from your face, stir the mixture and spoon over spaghetti. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Per serving: 385 calories, 14 grams protein, 3 grams fat (8 percent calories from fat), 0.2 grams saturated fat, 76 grams carbohydrate, 0 cholesterol, 664 milligrams sodium, 7 grams fiber.
Thai Chicken (Saturday)
Makes 8 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: about 20 minutes plus rice
2 (14-ounce) cans low-fat coconut milk, divided
2 cups water
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups long-grain rice
1/3 cup reduced-fat creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 to 3 teaspoons chili-garlic paste
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 1 pound)
6 diagonally sliced scallions
2 medium red bell peppers, cut into thin strips
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring 2 cups coconut milk, the water and salt to boil. Stir in rice; cover reduce heat to low and simmer 20 minutes. In another medium bowl, whisk together remaining coconut milk, peanut butter, soy sauce and chili-garlic paste until blended. In a large nonstick skillet or wok, heat oil over medium-high heat 2 minutes. Add chicken and stir-fry 4 to 5 minutes or until browned. Add scallions and bell pepper. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Add peanut butter mixture, and bring to boil. Cook, stirring constantly, 4 minutes. Spoon rice onto platter and top with chicken. Serve immediately.
Per serving: 396 calories, 20 grams protein, 13 grams fat (31 percent calories from fat), 4.9 grams saturated fat, 47 grams carbohydrate, 33 milligrams cholesterol, 684 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.
Baked Alaska (Saturday)
Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: about 10 minutes
Cooking time: 4 or 5 minutes; Freezing time: 1 to 24 hours
4 (1 inch thick) slices fat-free pound cake
2 tablespoons (leftover) strawberry sauce
4 1/2 cup scoops fat-free strawberry ice cream
4 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
Place pound cake 4 inches apart on a cookie sheet. Brush top with leftover strawberry sauce. Place ice cream in center of cake slice, not extending over sides. Freeze 1 to 24 hours. Heat oven to 450 degrees. In large bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gradually add sugar until meringue has stiff, shiny peaks. Quickly spread meringue over ice cream and cake and cover completely. Use spoon to make decorative swirls. Bake 4 or 5 minutes or until meringue is lightly browned. Transfer to serving plates, serve immediately and take a bow.
Per serving: 361 calories, 10 grams protein, no fat, calories from fat or saturated fat, 81 grams carbohydrate, 0 cholesterol, 267 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.
Susan Nicholson is an Atlanta-based cookbook author and registered dietitian. Her e-mail address is email@example.com.