Saturday, June 27, 2015

June 21 - July 4, 2015

2 Week Summer Food Blog Break!!  I'll be back with our weekly menu on July 12th!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

June 14-20, 2015

We had a week of family birthdays and dinners, so I actually only cooked TWICE!  It was practically vacation.  ;-)  The two meals are both easy, healthy, and tasty.  My kids loved them both!

Pasta with Creamy Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce and Salad

We love this Creamy Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce!  I had some ground chicken and veggie taco meat in the freezer from last week that I thawed out and added to the sauce.  My kids gobbled this up!  I served ours with a huge kale salad topped with blackberries, feta cheese, and Dana's homemade balsamic dressing.

Quinoa Patties with Roasted Zucchini & Sweet Potatoes

These Quinoa Patties are wonderful as a side or for a meatless meal.  I used Costco's frozen quinoa and kale packets.  This time, I added feta cheese instead of parmesan, and also a little extra Italian seasoning.  These are so, so DELISH!  I made more than we needed, so Chad and I had leftovers for lunch the next day.  These also freeze well and can be popped out and warmed up for an easy lunch or dinner.

My current favorite lunch or afternoon snack is this easy salad!!  All you need is half an avocado, a few tomatoes, a little mozzarella, and some balsamic and olive oil, and you are set!  Adding fresh basil makes it really special!

We had my mom over for her birthday dinner on Sunday.  Chad grilled dove and I made veggies inside.  For her birthday dessert, I threw together Pioneer Woman's Blackberry Cobbler #1, which is a hit absolutely any time I make it.  This time, I had peaches and blueberries on hand, so that's what I used.  It is RIDICULOUSLY good, and you should absolutely make it this week with some yummy, seasonal fruit!!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

June 7-13, 2015

This was the week of pulling out some old favorites!

Sunday:  Date Night!
·          Mom had the kids, so Chad and I had a wonderful, low-key, dinner out!

Monday:  Grilled Turkey, Cheese, Pear, & Blackberry Preserve Sandwiches with Salad and Fruit

·          Chad had a softball game at 6:30, so this was a tasty and easy dinner I could throw together before he needed to leave.  

         I actually assembled all the sandwiches and made them in the oven.  It’s a super simple way to make multiple “grilled” sandwiches at the same time!  Just lay foil down on one cookie sheet, then your sandwiches, then another piece of foil, and finally put another cookie sheet on top.  That’s all!  I put mine in a cold oven, then heated it to 400 degrees.  Once it reached that temperature, I checked the sandwiches every 3-4 minutes until they were as brown as I wanted them. 

Tuesday:  Breakfast for Dinner!  Scrambled Eggs with Cheese, Bacon, Cinnamon Toast, & Fruit

Wednesday:  Chicken & Veggie Tacos with Homemade Whole Wheat Tortillas

We haven’t had our favorite tacos in a while!  These are so simple to make…just go up to the “Chicken Recipes” link above, and then find “Meredith’s Chicken & Veggie Tacos.”  So, easy, full of veggies, and full of flavor!  I served ours with hot sauce, cheese, sour cream and homemade, whole wheat flour tortillas that I made earlier in the day.  Yum!  This meat is an excellent leftover for nachos, salads, or even to throw in spaghetti sauce, so go ahead and make a ton!

Thursday:  Grilled “10 Chicken” with Parmesan Cauliflower & Kale Salad

I pulled some chicken thighs out of the freezer on Wednesday to thaw, then marinated them all day Thursday.  It’s the simplest marinade that I learned about from my cousin, Britney, and it packs so much flavor!  Just put your chicken in a ziplock and pour over some soy sauce, Italian dressing, and sprinkle in some garlic powder.  That’s all!  Chad grilled it up for us.  We really like dark meat because it stays so tender and moist, but if you like white meat, please do that instead!

I made our sides inside.  Roasted Parmesan Cauliflower is a hit with everyone in our family, and I’m still completely obsessed with kale salads, so we had that as well.  I love salads in the summer because they are so easy to throw together and require no time over a hot stove!  J

Friday:  Birthday Party at Our Friends’ Home

Saturday:  Family Pizza & Movie Night!

Monday, June 8, 2015

May 31 - June 6, 2015

Sunday:  Church Fellowship and Dinner at the Park

Monday:  Sweet Chili Lime Chicken Tacos with Fresh Fruits and Veggies

·          Chad had a softball game at 6:30, so we needed a quick, early dinner before going to watch him play.  I pulled out some Sweet Chili Lime Chicken (one of my fave recipes!) from the freezer, thawed it out, warmed it on the stove, and served it inside some tortillas we had leftover from the week before.  We added in fresh fruit and veggies, and dinner was served!  Some nights, I piece together our dinner based on what we have around, which is a great way to use leftovers AND save money!  J

Tuesday:  Dinner at Mom’s

Wednesday:  Baked Cheesy Chicken Pasta with a Kale & Fresh Fruit Salad with Homemade Balsamic Dressing

I found this yumminess on Pinterest from Simply Mrs. Edwards.  If you are watching your carbs or dairy intake, you should probably avoid this recipe.  ;-)  But, thankfully for us, we are fine with all pasta and all dairy, so we were all in on this dish!  I made ours earlier in the afternoon so that all I had to do was stick it in the oven and bake it for dinner.  We had a friend over, and there was plenty for everyone.  I actually topped ours with panko bread crumbs and a little Italian seasoning before baking to give it a crispy topping. 

We all really enjoyed this, but we did need to add some salt and pepper.  I’ll make this again, but I’ll add in some more seasonings when making the sauce.  It made a wonderful leftover for lunch the next day, and I even topped it with some feta cheese, which made it super yummy!

Kale & Fresh Fruit Salad with Homemade Balsamic Dressing
I’m a little salad-obsessed right now, and I am especially fond of tossing on all of the fresh, seasonal berries and fruit that are available in the summer months.  Salad is such an easy side dish for any meal, and it requires little prep and no oven or stovetop, helping to keep you cool when a hot kitchen isn’t a fun place to be.  J  For this salad, I tossed some fresh chopped kale with a few mixed salad greens.  Then I toasted some pine nuts in a pan on the stovetop for a few minutes.  (Watch them closely and toss them around so they don’t burn!)  On top of the salad I threw on blackberries, oranges, the toasted pine nuts, and feta cheese.  I dressed our salad with this Homemade Balsamic Dressing from my friend, Dana and her blog Real Food – Real Family.  Check her out!  She’s an amazing cook, and she’s SO healthy!  (I have a salad dressing shaker, which is what I use to make, mix, and store my homemade dressing.)

Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
2 tsp honey
1 clove of garlic, minced (or 1/8 – 1/4 tsp garlic powder)
1 tsp dried oregano or other herb of your choice
½ tsp salt
1/3 cup olive oil
{update 5/13/15:  I’ve started adding about 1 T lime juice (if I have any on hand) and it’s a great addition.}

pepper to taste (I usually add pepper to my salad rather than the dressing)

1.Mix first 6 ingredients with a wire whisk.  Slowly add in the olive oil while whisking.  Put a top on your container and shake well.  Homemade dressing works best in some type of jar that has a tight lid, rather than a bowl with lid.
2.  Store container in the fridge.
3.  Pull the dressing out a little while before using to allow it to come to room temperature.  (The olive oil hardens in the fridge.)  Give it a vigorous shake and then spoon out what you need.  I usually pull my dressing out in the morning so I don’t forget.  I put it back in the fridge after lunch.

Thursday:  Crispy Tortilla Tilapia with Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Zucchini

This night was a total, throw it together night.  I meant to have a yummy Honey Lime Tilapia, but I forgot to thaw my tilapia.  :-/  In order for Chad and Ranger to have dinner before leaving for baseball practice, I threw out my original plan and just pulled some yummy Costco tilapia out of the freezer.  I made the crispy tortilla tilapia for Chad and me, but I made the basil pesto for the kids because it’s not spicy.  I diced up sweet potatoes and zucchini and roasted them at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes.  Dinner was ready, and everyone cleaned their plates!

Friday:  Family Pizza & Movie Night!

My kids’ favorite night of the week!  J  This week, I bought some inexpensive meat and cheese pizzas from Aldi. I left the kids’ pizza just as it was, but I added fresh kale, basil, grape tomatoes, and bell peppers to the pizza for Chad and me; I also added a spritz of olive oil and fresh-cracked pepper.  I brushed both crusts with garlic butter before baking as well for extra yumminess!  

I do bake my pizzas directly on the rack, but for the first 10 minutes, I lay foil on the bottom rack to catch any falling, melting cheese and butter.  That prevents it falling to the bottom of the oven and stinking up my house!

Saturday:  Breaded, Fried Turkey Cutlets, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Rice, & Kale Salad

Chad breaded and fried some of his wild turkey he shot a few months back.  Our parents were over, so it was fun to prepare a meal for everyone!  While Chad worked on the turkey and fried it outside on the grill burner, I made a salad, rice, and sweet potatoes inside.  Voila!  It was delicious!

(Proof that my husband killed AND cooked our dinner!)