Sunday, August 31, 2014

August 24-30, 2014

Sunday:  Orzo Pasta with Sausage, Spinach, Tomatoes, & Bell Peppers with Caesar Salad

Orzo Pasta with Sausage, Spinach, Tomatoes, & Bell Peppers

·          My friend Jamie brought this meal over to our house a few years ago, and I’ve loved it ever since!  It’s quick, easy, and healthy, which make it a family favorite for me.  It’s originally from Giada DeLaurentiis.  I used chicken sausage this time and also added some chopped up spinach to ours.  The full recipe makes quite a bit; I divided ours and gave half to a family from church who just had a new baby.  There was still plenty for us!

3 cups chicken broth
1 pound orzo pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 links (7 ounces total) mild Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
1 garlic clove, minced
2 jarred roasted red bell peppers, cut into 1/4-inch strips
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1) In a large saucepan, combine 3 cups of water with chicken broth. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, making sure to reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water. 

2) While pasta is boiling, get out a large skillet. Heat oil in it over medium-high heat. Add turkey sausage and cook around 4 minutes, breaking it up with the back of a spoon as you go. (It should be cooked through, but not quite browned.) Add garlic. Cook until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Add bell peppers, tomatoes, and red pepper flakes (if using). Saute 2 or 3 minutes, until everything is heated through. 

3) Combine pasta, sausage mixture, and 1/2 the parsley in a large serving bowl. Salt and pepper to taste. If you need the pasta water to moisten it up, add it now. Mix well. Sprinkle parmesan and the rest of the parsley on top. Serve.

Monday:  Chicken Pot Pie with Salad

Chicken Pot Pie
·          This was my mom’s first day of school (she teaches 8th grade), so I made dinner and brought it over to her house so we could all eat together.  This is one of the simplest chicken pot pie recipes I have ever seen.  It can also be adapted to be as convenient, homemade, or store-bought as you need it to be.  For instance, this time I used rotisserie chicken, frozen veggies, and potato soup from the store, but I made my own pie crusts.  You could easily make everything from scratch if you wanted to, or find each ingredient on the shelf of your grocery store.  It is a great recipe to make ahead of time, freeze, or take to people.  J

2 (10.75 oz) cans Cream of Potato Soup
2 cups veggies (frozen, fresh, or canned)
2 cups cooked chicken, diced
½ cup milk
½ tsp thyme
Black pepper
2 (9-inch) deep dish pie crusts
1 egg, slightly beaten

Combine soup, veggies, chicken, milk, thyme, and pepper.  Spoon into prepared pie crust, then cover with the top crust.  Crimp the edges to seal, slit the top crust, and brush with egg.  Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes.

Tuesday:  Dinner on the Road…

·          Chad was out of town, and Callen had t-ball practice at 6pm, so I made dinner for Ranger and Payton to eat at practice, and kept one in the cooler for Callen to eat in the car on the way home.  Turkey, cheese, zucchini muffins, grapes, and veggie straws!

Wednesday:  Breakfast for Dinner:  Spinach & Cheddar Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, & Biscuits

·          Chad was still out of town, so the kids and I had breakfast for dinner on a blanket while watching a movie.  J

Thursday:  Pasta Bolognese with Angel Hair Spaghetti and Garlic Bread

Pasta Bolognese
·          This recipe is from our Uncle Jerry and Aunt Suzanne (or Aunt Hosanna, as our kids call her!).  It’s a flavorful pasta sauce that also has some veggies in it.  The recipe says to chop everything, but in the interest of time (and my sore hands!), I threw all of the veggies in my mini food processor one at a time.  So, everything was chopped pretty small, which is actually better for my picky kids anyway.  I added some additional spinach to pack in a few more veggies.  We needed to run some errands in the late afternoon, so I actually made ours around 3:30 and let it simmer on low until dinner time.  This recipe makes quite a bit, so it’s plenty for a large family, or meals for a couple of days.

¼ cup olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
1 pound ground beef
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
8 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
Salt and pepper
¼ cups freshly grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

In a large pot, add olive oil.  When almost smoking, add the onion and garlic and sauté over medium heat until the onions become very soft, about 8 minutes.  Add the celery and carrot and sauté for 5 minutes.  Raise heat to high and add the ground beef.  Saute, stirring frequently and breaking up any large lumps and cook until meat is no longer pink, about 8 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, parsley, and basil and cook over medium-low heat until the sauce thickens, about ½ hour.  Finish Bolognese with cheese.  Check for seasoning and serve hot.

Friday:  Pasta Bolognese Bake and Roasted Broccoli

Pasta Bolognese Bake
·          I had so much sauce leftover, that we had it again for dinner on Friday.  This time, I boiled some elbow macaroni until it was al dente.  I poured the drained pasta in a baking dish and sprinkled freshly grated Parmesan over it.  Then I poured over the Bolognese sauce and sprinkled mozzarella on top of that.  I baked it in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes until the sauce was warmed through and the cheese was melty and delicious!

Saturday:  Basil Pesto Tilapia, Fish Sticks, Roasted Green Beans, and Fries

·          Earlier during the day, we celebrated our Callen Ty’s upcoming 4th birthday with a party at our neighborhood pool.  I was pretty exhausted by dinner time, and Chad was doing some painting in our house, so it was a freezer/Costco kind of night.  I have Basil Pesto Tilapia and fish sticks from Costco that I try to always keep on hand.  I also buy Costco’s big bag of organic frozen green beans and whichever “healthy-ish” version of frozen French fries they have.  J  I threw everything on foil-lined baking sheets and into the oven, and in about 25 minutes, we had a dinner that everyone was happy with!  And clean-up was a snap!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

August 17-23, 2014

Sunday:  Market Street Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas with Avocado, Tomato & Basil Salad

·          Chad was out of town, Payton was sick, and my mom took the boys to church with her.  Market Street to the rescue!  They have wonderful prepared foods, and their enchiladas are some of my favorite.  There was enough for Mom and I to share for lunch, and I made an avocado, tomato and basil salad to go along with it.  The kids ate sandwiches, and were perfectly happy!

Monday:  Breaded Spinach and Mozzarella Ravioli with Roasted Green Beans

·          The boys had dinner with some friends, and Chad was still out of town, so it was just my Payton girl and me for dinner.  Payton still wasn’t feeling well, so I only made dinner for myself and let her have toast and bananas.  We have some spinach and mozzarella ravioli in the freezer, so for an easy, one-person dinner, I dipped a few in a beaten egg and then I dredged them in bread crumbs.  Then I sautéed them in a little oil until they were brown and crispy.  I dipped mine in a little marinara sauce.  Yum!

Tuesday:  Family Dinner at Chad’s Parents’

Wednesday:  Dinner Out with Friends for a Birthday  J

Thursday:  Crock Pot “10 Chicken” with Roasted Broccoli and Whole Wheat Garlic Toast

Crock Pot “10 Chicken”
·          This is a wonderfully easy recipe that can be made ahead of time and stuck in the freezer for a quick meal.  Marinate chicken in soy sauce, Italian dressing, and garlic powder.  You can marinate it for only an hour or two before grilling it, or, in this case, I had it in the freezer and took it out and threw it straight in the crock pot on low all day.  When we were ready to eat, the chicken just fell off the bone.  It was also tasty the next day as leftovers for lunch!

Friday:  Slow Cooker BBQ Pork, Sweet Potato Fries, and Baked Beans

Slow Cooker BBQ Pork
-          1 pork roast
-          1 jar BBQ sauce
-          1 Coke

Place the roast in your slow cooker and pour over the coke and the BBQ sauce.  Cook on low 7-8 hours, then shred the pork and let it simmer in the sauce until you are ready to eat.  We had ours as sandwiches, but tacos and nachos are also great options.

Saturday:  Hot Dogs, Roasted Green Beans, and Cantaloupe

·          A fun evening with friends means a simply, family friendly meal.  J

Sunday, August 17, 2014

August 10-16, 2014

I only made 2 actual dinners this week.  Our week was filled with unexpected emergencies and family in town.  So, here are the 2 meals I made...the other 5 nights we were either in survival mode or with family.  Have a good week!

Roast, Potatoes, and Carrots

We had a couple from church over for lunch on Sunday, and due to some of his allergies, I needed to make a very simple, meat and potatoes type meal.  Of course, nothing is better on Sunday than a roast!  I simply seared the roast with olive oil and generous amounts of salt and pepper until it had a nice brown coating on each side.  Then I threw in quartered red potatoes and baby carrots and about half a cup of water.  I put a lid on my pot and put the roast in the oven at 250 degrees before we left for church.  3 hours later, I pulled it out, and it was perfect!  With the juice left in my pot, I made a gravy by adding corn starch and water and whisking on the stove.  There were a few lumps, so I strained it out before serving.  :-)

Turkey Meatballs with Mushrooms, Asparagus, Carrots, and Rice

I needed a simple meal one evening, but I didn't want us to eat drive through or take out.  I had some turkey meatballs from Costco in the freezer.  I made them in the oven as directed, and at the same time, I roasted asparagus, mushrooms, and carrots.  While that was cooking, I made brown rice on the stove top.  When the meatballs and veggies were done, I added them to the rice on the stove and flavored it with sesame oil, rice vinegar, and Hoisin sauce.  It was a delicious and healthy stir fry that was on the table in less than 30 minutes!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

August 3-9, 2014

Sunday:  Costco Pizza and Spinach, Blueberry, and Feta Salad

·          I had been to Costco the day before, so I bought one of their delicious (and large!) pizzas.  Since our kids are still young, we actually only eat half of the pizza.  I froze the other half so we can have another easy dinner later on.  I made us a salad of spinach, blueberries, feta, and blackberry balsamic vinaigrette that I bought at the farmer’s market.  Yum!  Then, we all ate upstairs and watched a movie.  J

Monday:  Garlic Maple Dijon Chicken with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Macaroni and Cheese

·          This was A-MAZING!  It might possibly be my new favorite chicken dish now.  It’s also crazy easy, which adds to its awesome-ness.  Thanks to Pinterest and The Honour System blog for this fantastic find!  I made sides of roasted Brussels sprouts (Hosannah-Style:  after roasting melt 2 tablespoons butter and combine with 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, then pour over hot veggies) and macaroni and cheese.  The kids were pretty happy about that last one.

Tuesday:  Dinner Out

Wednesday:  15-Minute Lasagna with Roasted Broccoli and Bread

·          I had been painting all afternoon while the kids stayed with my mom. Chad went to pick them up, but I didn’t just want us to eat out or pick up something on the way home.  I made this lasagna from the Kevin & Amanda blog, and it was easy and delicious!  I didn’t have quite enough lasagna noodles on hand, so I also threw in some rotini to soak up some of the sauce.  I also didn’t have any sausage on hand, but we didn’t miss it.  This made a huge skillet, so we had leftovers for a couple of days.

Thursday:  Breakfast for Dinner!

·          Chad had a work dinner, so I made breakfast for the kids.  I had some leftover lasagna.  J

Friday:  Basil Pesto Tilapia, Roasted Asparagus, and Rice

·          Some days, it’s just Costco to the rescue.  We had a busy day, and I wasn’t in the mood to cook much at all.  I have a box of basil pesto tilapia in the freezer from my last Costco trip, so I made those and just roasted some asparagus on a baking sheet right next to it.  After the asparagus was done, I squeezed on some fresh lemon juice.  With some rice, we had a yummy, healthy, and easy meal on the table in less than 20 minutes. 

Saturday:  Sliders and Sweet Potato Fries

·          The boys have been asking for burgers for a few days, so we obliged!  

Sunday, August 3, 2014

July 27 - August 2, 2014

Sunday:  Small Group Potluck Dinner

Monday:  BBQ Chicken, Spinach, & Havarti Quesadillas with Roasted Broccoli and Carrots

·          We had chicken leftover from a few night before, so I wanted to use it to make another dinner.  Chad had a softball game at 6:30 that we were all going to, so I also needed a fast and easy meal.  Quesadillas fit the bill!  I added spinach and Havarti and also sprinkled a little garlic salt on the buttered tortillas before cooking them in the pan.  We all cleaned our plates!

Tuesday:  Dinner at Mom’s

Wednesday:  Swedish Meatballs with Roasted Broccoli, Carrots, and French Fries

Swedish Meatballs
·          These are Ranger’s all-time favorite meatballs!  They are quite easy to make, especially if you make the meatballs earlier in the day.  I made the full recipe of meatballs, but froze half of them after baking.  If you plan to serve all of the meatballs, you will need to double the gravy ingredients, as the recipe will only make enough for half of the meatballs.  This recipe originally came from E-meals.  J

1 lb extra lean ground beef or ground turkey
1/4 onion, finely chopped
1/2 c bread crumbs or quick oats
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1/4 t allspice
1 pkg onion soup mix
1 c water
1 T flour
1 c milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all meatball ingredients together.  Form into 1″ balls.  Place in 9x13 pan and bake for 30 minutes.  In a large skillet, mix together the onion soup mix, water, flour, and milk.  Heat until thickened.  Add cooked meatballs to skillet.  Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Serve over egg noodles, if you choose.

Thursday: Dinner Out for a Friend’s Birthday

Friday:  Grilled Orange-Soy Chicken Tenders, Corn on the Cob, and Zucchini

·          We’ve had some wonderfully cool days this week, so Chad was more than happy to grill outside.  J  I marinated some chicken tenders in soy sauce, orange juice, garlic powder, and pepper.  He grilled those along with corn on the cob and zucchini.  I put olive oil and Ranch dressing powder on the veggies before he grilled them.  We enjoyed our dinner on the porch!  Easy prep and easy clean-up for me.

Saturday:  Chicken and Veggie Tacos, Sautéed Kale, and Homemade Whole Wheat Flour Tortillas

·          We were supposed to go to our friends’ house for dinner, but their kids were sick.  Still, my sweet friend, Sharon, brought us the dinner she planned to make anyway!  She made wonderful chicken and veggie tacos and delicious sautéed kale.  It was so good!  I didn’t have any tortillas on hand, but I thought it was time to try and make some homemade tortillas.  I know it’s fairly simple; I had just never actually tried it.  I chose an easy recipe for whole wheat tortillas on Pinterest and whipped them up!  It was incredibly simple, and we all enjoyed the taste and texture.  I’ll definitely try more homemade tortillas now that I know how easy (and inexpensive!) they are.  J