Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I L O V E good F O O D

I've been meaning to do one of these posts for a while. I was inspired by Stephanie's post that she did on the meals she prepared for her family for a week. Since her menu basically became my menu that week (Thanks again, Stephanie!), I thought someone might enjoy taking my recommendations.

I plan my menu for the week on Sunday nights. I select either three or four meals since we usually have pizza one night, have left overs others, and then go out once. I've been using Pinterest or searching google for recipes with specific ingredients and then creating one big shopping list. Since I do all my shopping with two babies in tow, I try and minimize how many times I visit the grocery store. Man, sometimes I have to go on the weekend and it is crazy! I'm thankful that the store is nice and quiet during the week mornings when I go. As long as I make my list for the week, I only go to the grocery store once, unless they don't have an ingredient I need. I love using Pinterest because I can just save my recipes and go back to them when I'm preparing my meals and then leave notes on whether or not it was a hit. So far, I don't think there's been anything I've made that hasn't been good. I do have to say that I there are pins on my board that I haven't made yet. They are future meals/cakes/yummy goodies. Things to be enjoyed.

Here's a look back at the week before last and my comments. This weeks menu was mostly courtesy of a website called Weelicious. I had not used this site before, but had heard good things about it. It's meant for families with children. I ended up going back to it two weeks in a row to try other things, but wasn't as impressed the second week. So, I'll be skipping the second week and moving on to last weeks menu.

Menu week of 1/7-1/11:

Monday- Penne pasta with Spinach with Mild Italian Sausage in a cream sauce
This is so delicious and super duper quick and easy. My bestie, Kristin taught me this recipe about 8 years ago and it's something we enjoy every so often. I was going to post a picture I took of this, but when I showed it to Eric he said it looked like worms. Ummm...not the most appetizing. I can promise you this DOES NOT taste or look like worms in real life.

1. Cook penne
2. Brown the sausage out of the casing. I use two regular size sausages. This week I used a turkey Italian sausage they had a WF.
3. Add a dash of red pepper flakes to taste. More if you like it spicy.
4. Once the meat is thoroughly cooked, add about a cup of heavy cream.
5. Add the cooked penne to the pan with the sausage and cream. Mix.
6. Add about 3 cups of spinach. Cook until the spinach is wilted and mixed in with the other ingredients.
7. Season with salt and pepper to preferred taste.
8. Let it simmer for a bit, like 5 minutes to get the flavors to meld and then enjoy!

Tuesday-  Roasted chicken with caramelized lemons, cherry tomatoes, and olives
 I served this with couscous. This was so delicious and fairly quick and easy to make. I'll definitely make this again. These one "pot" type of meals are great for busy parents. Eric was a big fan of this dish. Everything just came out so tender and juicy.

Wednesday- Middle Eastern Chicken Burgers
Again, this recipe is easy to make and fast. Amélie even ate this, so I have to give this a big thumbs up! We had some berries on the side. Amélie is the biggest berry fan. 

I'm going to throw this recipe in between weeks because we actually had this one on the first day of the year and everyone LOVED it. We hosted a little new years brunch at our house. I made this dish and a french toast casserole I saved on Pinterest.

1/1 -Potato, Sausage, and Spinach Breakfast Casserole
This is basically a whole breakfast meal in one pan. I didn't end up creating a good hash brown layer because I was having trouble making it stay in one piece. I just sautéed the potatoes in the skillet and it didn't make a difference. The egg makes it all stick together in the end. This had so many great ingredients. I especially like the surprise appearance by the leeks. Yum! This could easily become vegetarian without the sausage. The recipe was so yummy and easy that I believe it can also be a weeknight dinner.
Potato, Sausage, and Spinach Breakfast Casserole

Menu Week of 1/14-18:
Monday-One-pan Garlic and Lemon Chicken with Green Beans and Potatoes
Anything with lemon always sounds good to me. If it has lemons, count me in! This was easy enough and smelled delicious while baking, but the flavor was good, not great. If I was to make it again, I think I would let the chicken marinate in the lemon, olive oil, and garlic for a few hours before baking it and then maybe also add butter for extra yumminess. Some fresh herbs wouldn't hurt either.
One-pan garlic & lemon chicken with green beans & red potatoes.

Tuesday- Cranberry-Avocado Salad with Candied Almonds and Sweet Balsamic Vinaigrette and Grilled Cheese on Fresh Sourdough Bread
I'm not usually one to crave or make salads, especially when I know the toddler isn't likely to eat it. But, when I saw this picture and read the name, I could not wait to make this. It just sounded so good! Yeah, it didn't disappoint. It was amazing! I even had it with dinner the next night. I didn't make 5 cups of the candied almonds like the recipe suggests. I just measured about a cup of nuts and kinda winged it with the rest of the ingredients. They came out just right. I made grilled cheese since I know Amélie will almost always eat that and I thought it was necessary to have something warm and gooey with a cold salad on a cold night.

Wednesday- We had prepared tortellini(from Whole Foods) with red sauce. Nothing fancy, just fast and easy after a long day.

Thursday- Chicken Tortilla Soup
Of course this was a huge batch, as soup recipes always seem to be. It's nice to have some leftovers, but sometimes it's just too much and I end up delivering a warm dinner to our busy neighbors across the street. This was a big pot of soup! It was delicious. Just a great tortilla soup with lots of yummy ingredients. While I was cooking I realized I had run out of cumin and my neighbor was out too, so no cumin. The soup was still really good, although I think it would have been even better with cumin. My recently learned trick for shredding chicken quickly is to stick the just cooked chicken breasts in my Kitchen-Aid mixer with the paddle attachment and then turn it on. It shreds the meat quickly and perfectly. We had this for lunch and dinner a few nights afterwards and it was just as good. I started preparing dinner while the kids were both napping(very rare) around 3 and finished it with a little help from Sebastian who was very upset every time I put an ingredient in the pot. He thought he was going to get to eat it. It sat covered on the stove until we ate a little after six and it was still perfectly warm. This recipe does require a little bit of time since you have to wait for the chicken to cook in the oven, but meanwhile you're putting together the rest of the recipe. Overall, not too much time or effort.
Chicken Tortilla Soup | Bake Your Day

Since there are so many recipes available on the internet, I don't usually make the same recipes over and over again. I like this because I really enjoy trying out new recipes and cooking. But, I would definitely make all of these recipes again because they were tasty and relatively fast to make on a weeknight when I have two babies vying for my attention.

Do you have any quick and delicious recipes that you've made lately? Please share! =)