Each day of the week offers a...


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 Chicken Waldorf Salad With Barley today for a different family meal. Then, amaze them with Cantaloupe Soup. Place 1 medium seeded and chopped cantaloupe and 1/2 cup orange juice in a blender or food processor. Cover and process until smooth. Pour into a large bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 1/2 cups additional orange juice; mix well. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Ladle into bowls and garnish with fresh mint. Add store-bought bran muffins to your refreshing meal. For dessert, make or buy chocolate mousse and garnish it with light whipped cream.

Plan ahead: Grill 2 extra chicken breasts for Monday.

Chicken Waldorf Salad With Barley

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: about 30 to 40 minutes

Cooling time: 30 minutes

3 / 4 cup pearl barley

3 3 / 4 cups water

1 1 / 4 teaspoon salt, divided

2 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise

3 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt

1 / 4 teaspoon lemon zest (yellow part only)

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 / 4 teaspoon sugar

1 1/2 cups green and red seedless grapes, halved

1 cored and diced Gala or Delicious apple

1/2 cup thinly sliced celery

six 4- or 5-ounce grilled boneless skinless chicken breast halves (see note)

1 / 4 cup toasted chopped walnuts

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat 2 minutes. Add barley, stir and cook 4 minutes or until lightly toasted. In a 3-quart saucepan, combine toasted barley, water and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt; bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 25 to 35 minutes or until tender. Drain; cool 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, yogurt, lemon zest, juice, the remaining salt and sugar. Stir in cooled barley, grapes, apple and celery. Spoon onto serving platter. Slice and arrange 4 chicken breasts over salad. Garnish with walnuts.

Note: Reserve 2 chicken breasts for Monday.

Per serving: 403 calories, 32 grams protein, 8 grams fat (17 percent calories from fat), 1.1 grams saturated fat, 53 grams carbohydrate, 66 milligrams cholesterol, 897 milligrams sodium, 9 grams fiber.

MONDAY / Heat & Eat

Head South for Chicken and Broccoli Grits. Serve with a mixed-green salad and cornbread from a mix. Add peaches for dessert.

Chicken and Broccoli Grits

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 32 to 38 minutes

cooking spray

4 cups 1 percent milk

1 / 4 teaspoon salt

1 cup uncooked quick grits

2 cooked (leftover) chopped chicken breast halves

one 16-ounce package frozen chopped broccoli (thawed and well-drained)

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese, divided

1 small finely chopped onion

2 slightly beaten egg whites

Heat oven to 350. Coat a shallow 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. In a large saucepan, bring milk and salt to a slight boil over medium heat. Slowly whisk in grits. Reduce heat to low and simmer, 7 to 8 minutes or until thickened. Add chicken, broccoli, 1 cup cheese, onion and egg whites; mix well. Spoon into prepared dish. Bake uncovered 15 minutes. Sprinkle with the 2 remaining tablespoons cheese and bake 10 to 15 more minutes or until bubbly.

Per serving: 293 calories, 26 grams protein, 7 grams fat (20 percent calories from fat), 3.9 grams saturated fat, 33 grams carbohydrate, 40 milligrams cholesterol, 375 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

TUESDAY / Budget

Linguine and Tuna makes a penny-pinching dinner. Serve with sugar-snap peas and garlic bread.

Cool off with lime sherbet for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough lime sherbet for Thursday.

Linguine and Tuna

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: less than 15 minutes plus linguine

Standing time: 1 minute

8 ounces linguine

1 tablespoon margarine or butter

2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms

1 / 4 cup sliced scallions

1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil

2 tablespoons minced parsley plus parsley for garnish

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 / 4 teaspoon pepper

1 whole egg

2 egg whites

2 / 3 cup evaporated skim milk

16-ounce can drained and flaked water-packed tuna

Cook linguine according to directions but without salt or oil; drain and rinse. In a 2-quart casserole combine margarine or butter, mushrooms, scallions and basil. Cover and microwave on high (100 percent power) 3 1/2 to 5 1/2 minutes or until mushrooms are tender; stir once. Add linguine, parsley, salt and pepper. Toss to coat. In a small bowl, blend whole egg, egg whites and milk. Pour over linguine and toss to coat. Microwave uncovered on high 3 1/2 to 8 minutes or until mixture is thickened and creamy; stir after first 2 minutes and then after every 1 minute to prevent boiling over. Add tuna. Gently toss to mix. Let stand covered 1 minute. Garnish with additional minced parsley.

Per serving: 356 calories, 26 grams protein, 6 grams fat (14 percent calories from fat), 1.1 grams saturated fat, 50 grams carbohydrate, 67 milligrams cholesterol, 563 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.


For a fast meal, we had Hormel's Beef Roast Au Jus with no complaints (or use another brand and flavor). Serve with quick brown rice and fresh broccoli. Add multigrain rolls. Plums are an easy dessert.

THURSDAY / Meatless

Bye-bye meat, hello flavor with tonight's Onion Olive Pizza. Serve with a green salad. Leftover lime sherbet is dessert.

Onion Olive Pizza

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 21 to 37 minutes

cooking spray

flour or cornmeal for dusting

1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil

2 large thinly sliced sweet onions (like Vidalia or Walla Walla)

1 / 4 cup water

3 cloves minced garlic

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

one 10-ounce container refrigerated pizza dough

2 ounces goat cheese

8 pitted and chopped black olives

Heat oven to 450. Coat a large pizza pan or baking sheet with cooking spray. Dust with flour or cornmeal. Heat oil on medium-high heat in a large nonstick skillet. Add onions and cook 10 to 15 minutes or until golden and tender; stir occasionally. Add water, garlic and rosemary and cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes or until fragrant. Season with salt and pepper to taste. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 12-inch circle and transfer to prepared pan. Spread onion mixture over dough. Crumble goat cheese and scatter over onions along with the olives. Bake 10 to 20 minutes or until edges are golden and topping is bubbling. Slice into wedges and serve.

Per serving: 308 calories, 11 grams protein, 9 grams fat (27 percent calories from fat), 3.3 grams saturated fat, 45 grams carbohydrate, 11 milligrams cholesterol, 629 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.


OK, make it Dressed-Up Dogs for tonight for a new twist on an old theme. Heat oven to 350. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Separate dough pieces from one 11-ounce package refrigerated bread stick dough; roll each piece into a 15 inch rope. Insert 8 Popsicle (or other) sticks into 8 fat-free hot dogs. Starting at one end, wrap dough in a spiral around hot dog; pinch ends to seal. Place 1 inch apart on baking sheet. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until dough is golden brown. Serve with your favorite toppings. Serve oven fries (prepared from a frozen package) with the dogs and add a lettuce and cherry tomato salad. It's the season for fresh strawberries, so enjoy them for dessert all the more.

SATURDAY / Easy Entertaining

Your guests won't be disappointed with your Pasta With Artichokes and Prosciutto. Serve with a red-tip lettuce salad with sliced mushrooms and tomatoes. Add sourdough rolls. For dessert, buy or make an unfrosted chocolate (sheet) cake and top with Raspberry Sauce. Puree 2 cups thawed frozen raspberries in syrup (reserve enough whole berries for garnish); strain. Stir in 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 tablespoon cornstarch. In a small saucepan, cook raspberry mixture 1 to 2 minutes over medium or until thickened. Cover and chill. To serve, spoon sauce over cake and garnish with whole raspberries and a mint sprig.

Pasta With Artichokes and Prosciutto

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: less than 10 minutes plus pasta

16 ounces orecchiette or penne pasta

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 clove minced garlic

one 14 1/2 -ounce can water-packed whole artichokes, drained and halved

2 cups frozen or fresh tiny green peas

1/2 cup finely shredded prosciutto or Smithfield ham (2 ounces)

one 14 1/2 -ounce can 98 percent fat-free chicken broth

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided

Cook pasta according to directions but without salt or oil. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 1 minute or until fragrant, stirring often. Add artichokes and cook and stir 2 or 3 minutes until lightly browned. Add peas, ham and broth. Cover and simmer 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper. Drain pasta and place in a large serving bowl. Add artichoke mixture and 1 / 4 cup of the Parmesan and toss. Pass remaining Parmesan at the table.

Per serving: 400 calories, 20 grams protein, 6 grams fat (13 percent calories from fat), 2.2 grams saturated fat, 67 grams carbohydrate, 12 milligrams cholesterol, 593 milligrams sodium, 5 grams fiber.

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

Sunday pearl barley


low-fat mayonnaise

plain low-fat yogurt



green and red seedless grapes

Gala or Delicious apple


boneless skinless chicken breast halves



orange juice



fresh mint

bran muffins

chocolate mousse or ingredients to make it

light whipped cream


cooking spray

1 percent milk


quick grits

frozen chopped broccoli

reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese



salad greens

cornbread mix




margarine or butter

sliced fresh mushrooms


fresh basil





evaporated skim milk

canned water-packed tuna

sugar-snap peas

garlic bread

lime sherbet


Hormel's Beef Roast au Jus (or another brand and flavor)

quick brown rice

fresh broccoli

multigrain rolls



cooking spray

flour or cornmeal

olive oil

sweet onions (like Vidalia or Walla Walla)


fresh rosemary



refrigerated pizza dough

goat cheese

black olives

salad greens


cooking spray

refrigerated bread stick dough

fat-free hot dogs

your favorite hot dog toppings

frozen oven fries


cherry tomatoes

fresh strawberries


orecchiette or penne pasta

olive oil


canned water-packed whole artichokes

frozen or fresh tiny green peas

prosciutto or Smithfield ham

98 percent fat-free chicken broth

Parmesan cheese

red-tip lettuce

sliced mushrooms


sourdough rolls

chocolate sheet cake or ingredients to make it

frozen raspberries in syrup



fresh mint

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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