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

THE BALTIMORE SUN

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

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

Prepare pork tenderloins your way for the day's family feast. Serve with Pan Pacific Rice, a winning recipe in a rice-cooking contest. In a medium bowl, mix together 3 cups cooked long-grain rice, 1 cup sliced scallions, 3/4 cup salted cashews, 1/4 cup seasoned or plain rice vinegar and 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds. Serve warm or cold. Add steamed fresh broccoli and whole wheat rolls to the meal. Make the World's Easiest Banana Cream Pie (see recipe) for dessert.

Plan ahead: Prepare enough pork tenderloin and rice and save enough pie for Monday.

Monday/Heat and Eat

Tonight's Pork With Rice and Peas is easy. Cook 2 cups long grain rice according to directions without oil or salt; cool. In a small bowl, whisk 2 whole eggs and 2 egg whites until frothy. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over low. Add eggs, cover and cook 8 minutes until almost set, but not browned. Turn, using a wide spatula, and cook 2 more minutes or until cooked through. Remove to cutting board and slice into strips. Recoat skillet with cooking spray, add 8 ounces (3 cups) sliced mushrooms and white part of 6 sliced scallions. Cook, stirring often, 4 minutes or until mushrooms release their liquid and are soft. Stir in cooked rice, cooked egg strips, 8 ounces cooked (leftover) chopped pork tenderloin, 2 cups frozen and thawed tiny green peas, 1 8-ounce can drained sliced water chestnuts and : cup stir-fry sauce. Cook, stirring often, 7 minutes or until heated through. Serve with fresh steamed summer squash and crusty bread. Finish with leftover pie.

Plan ahead: To save time, marinate the chicken for Tuesday.

Tuesday/Kids

Kids can't resist this Oven-Fried Chicken. Combine 1/2 cup buttermilk or fat-free plain yogurt, salt and pepper to taste and 1/8 teaspoon minced garlic. Pour over 4 4- or 5-ounce boneless skinless chicken breast halves. Turn to coat and cover. Marinate in refrigerator 2 hours to overnight. When ready to bake, drain chicken well. Heat oven to 425. In a small bowl, combine 1 cup Italian or plain bread crumbs and 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese. Coat chicken in crumb mixture; place on baking sheet covered with foil coated with cooking spray. Chill 15 minutes if time permits. Coat chicken with cooking spray. Bake 35 minutes or until juices run clear and chicken is golden brown on outside. (Adapted from "Meals on the Move," Holly Clegg, Holly Clegg Publisher, 2000, $19.95. Serve with Tater Tots and store-bought carrot/raisin salad. They'll love biscuits, too, yours or store-bought. Popsicles are a cool and slurpy dessert.

Plan ahead: If time permits, cook and chill beets Wednesday.

Wednesday/Meatless

Stuffed Pitas with Couscous (see recipe) will bring everyone to the table. Serve with Summer Beet Salad (see recipe). Fresh peaches for dessert speak summer best.

Thursday/Budget

Tomato Tart (see recipe) takes a little extra time, but it's economical and the tasty results are worth it. Serve with corn on the cob and a mixed green salad. Pears and cookies are a good call for dessert.

Friday/Express

Make it a quick dinner tonight and pick up some sliced smoked turkey breast from the deli. If time permits, serve it with Garden Vegetable Pilaf With Rice (Betty Crocker's is one brand; it's one of several varieties in the line that cost $1.19 in my market and could serve 4.) Pick up a packaged green salad and bread, too. Just add angel food cake from the bakery, and dinner is complete.

Plan ahead: Save enough cake for Saturday.

Saturday/Entertaining

Expect applause when you serve your guests Chicken Breasts With Creamy Basil Sauce (see recipe). Serve with spaghetti. Add a fresh spinach salad on the side. For dessert, strawberry shortcake topped with light whipped cream will give you a standing ovation.

Shopping List

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

Sunday

pork tenderloins

long-grain rice

scallions

salted cashews

seasoned or plain rice vinegar

sesame seeds

fresh broccoli

whole wheat rolls

instant vanilla pudding

skim milk

bananas

store-bought graham cracker pie crust

miniature marshmallows

frozen fat-free whipped topping

Monday

eggs

cooking spray

sliced mushrooms

scallions

frozen tiny green peas

canned sliced water chestnuts

stir-fry sauce

fresh summer squash

crusty bread

Tuesday

buttermilk or fat-free plain yogurt

salt

pepper

garlic

boneless skinless chicken breast halves

Italian or plain bread crumbs

Parmesan cheese

cooking spray

Tater Tots

store-bought carrot / raisin salad

ingredients for or store-bought biscuits

Popsicles

Wednesday

whole wheat couscous

olive oil

salt

pepper

parsley

fresh mint

scallions

tomato

lemon

crumbled feta cheese

pita bread

lettuce

fresh beets

light brown sugar

red wine vinegar

olive oil

Dijon mustard

lettuce, if desired

fresh peaches

Thursday

red or yellow tomatoes or both

refrigerated pie crust

egg

store-bought pesto

crumbled feta cheese

salt

pepper

olive oil

corn on the cob

salad greens

pears

cookies

Friday

deli smoked turkey

Betty Crocker (or another brand) Garden Vegetable Pilaf with Rice

packaged green salad

bread

angel food cake

Saturday

margarine or butter

salt

pepper

boneless skinless chicken breast halves

flour

fat-free half and half

garlic

tomato

fresh basil

spaghetti

fresh spinach

strawberries

packaged or home-made shortcakes

light whipped cream

World's Easiest Banana Cream Pie (Sunday)

Makes 8 slices

Preparation time: less than 15 minutes

Chilling time: 1 hour or more

13.4-ounce package instant vanilla pudding

1 3/4 cups skim milk

3 medium bananas

19-inch store-bought graham cracker pie crust (9 ounce)

1 cup miniature marshmallows

1 cup frozen fat-free whipped topping, thawed

Prepare pudding according to directions EXCEPT use 1 3/4 cups milk. Allow pudding to set 3 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, slice bananas into pie crust. Fold marshmallows and whipped topping into pudding. Pour pudding / marshmallow mixture over bananas.

Chill 1 hour or longer, slice and serve.

Per slice: 286 calories, 4 grams protein, 8 grams fat (24 percent calories from fat), 1.7 grams saturated fat, 52 grams carbohydrate, 1 milligram cholesterol, 385 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Stuffed Pitas With Couscous (Wednesday)

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: couscous

3/4 cup whole wheat couscous

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

2 cups boiling water

3/4 cup packed parsley leaves

1/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves

2 coarsely chopped scallions

1 large seeded and chopped tomato

1/4 cup each fresh lemon juice and crumbled feta cheese

4 pita breads, halved

Lettuce leaves

In a large bowl, combine couscous, oil, salt and pepper. Pour water over mixture and cover. Let stand 5 minutes or until water has been absorbed. Uncover and fluff with a fork. Let cool completely. In food processor, chop parsley, mint and chopped scallions (to finely chop them). Add to couscous along with tomatoes and lemon juice. Toss to blend. Gently stir in feta. Line pita halves with lettuce. Stuff with couscous mixture.

Per serving: 344 calories, 12 grams protein, 4 grams fat (11 percent calories from fat), 1.7 grams saturated fat, 64 grams carbohydrate, 8 milligrams cholesterol, 588 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.

Summer Beet Salad (Wednesday)

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 9 to 12 minutes

1 pound whole scrubbed beets

2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon each light brown sugar, red wine vinegar and olive oil

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon salt

Lettuce if desired

Microwave beets and water, covered, 9 to 12 minutes on high (100 percent power); stir once. When cool enough to handle, slip skins from beets and cut into wedges. In a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, vinegar, oil, mustard and salt. Add beets and toss to coat. Serve at room temperature or chilled on lettuce leaves.

Per serving: 63 calories, 1 gram protein, 3 grams fat (34 percent calories from fat), 0.3 grams saturated fat, 10 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 199 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Tomato Tart (Thursday)

Makes 8 slices

Preparation time: 15 minutes plus draining tomatoes

Cooking time: crust about 20 minutes; tart 25 to 30 minutes; Standing: 10 minutes

2 or 3 medium thinly sliced red or yellow tomatoes or both (about 3/4 pound)

1 refrigerated pie crust from a 15-ounce package

1 egg white

2 tablespoons store-bought pesto

3 ounces crumbed feta cheese (about 1/2 cup)

1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper

1 teaspoon olive oil

Heat oven to 400. Place tomato slices on paper towels and drain 30 minutes on one side and 15 minutes on other side. Press crust into bottom and up sides of a 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Trim any excess dough. Prick bottom of crust with fork; line shell with foil. Fill with pie weights or dried beans (to hold down crust). Bake 14 minutes. Remove from oven; remove weights and foil. Brush crust with egg white. Bake 5 more minutes. Cool pan on rack. Spread pesto over crust; sprinkle with cheese. Arrange drained tomatoes, slightly overlapping in concentric circles (circles within circles). Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until tomatoes are soft and crust is golden. Brush with oil. Cool on rack 10 minutes. Remove pan sides. Slice and serve.

Per slice: 185 calories, 4 grams protein, 12 grams fat (58 percent calories from fat), 5.1 grams saturated fat, 16 grams carbohydrate, 15 milligrams cholesterol, 295 milligrams sodium, no fiber.

Chicken Breasts With Creamy Basil Sauce (Saturday)

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 13 to 18 minutes

2 tablespoons margarine or butter

1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper

4 (5- or 6-ounce) boneless skinless chicken breast halves

1 tablespoon flour

1 cup fat-free half and half

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 large coarsely chopped tomato

1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil

Basil leaves for garnish

In a large nonstick skillet, melt margarine or butter over medium-high heat until sizzling. Stir in salt and pepper. Add chicken; cook 8 to 12 minutes or until juices are clear (turn once). Remove from skillet; set aside. Reduce heat to medium. Stir flour into skillet. Add half and half and garlic, stirring constantly 1 minute or until slightly thickened. Stir in tomatoes and basil. Return chicken to skillet. Cook 4 or 5 minutes or until heated through. Garnish with basil leaves.

Per serving: 266 calories, 38 grams protein, 8 grams fat (26 percent calories from fat), 1.4 grams saturated fat, 12 grams carbohydrate, 82 milligrams cholesterol, 369 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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