Sunday, October 25, 2015

October 18-24, 2015

Sunday:  Turkey Parmesan Topped with Pesto Tomatoes, Pasta, & Roasted Green Beans

Turkey Parmesan Topped with Pesto Tomatoes
  This meal was one of those meals that starts out as a bit of an experiment and turns out incredible.  Chad had pulled some turkey out of the freezer to thaw (from a hunting trip last winter).  This turkey was the equivalent of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, so chicken or turkey would both be great. 

  Chad decided that a Turkey Parmesan would be good, so while he was playing at a friend’s house with the kids, I started on dinner.  I’ll write out the recipe below.  Nothing is too different from a regular Chicken Parmesan, until it comes to the sauce.  I didn’t realize that I didn’t have any marinara on hand, so, since I already had the turkey breaded and cooking, I needed a new plan.  This is the fun part of cooking at home and staying on a budget…using what you have on hand to make a delicious meal!

  I had some fresh cherry tomatoes and some frozen pesto (store-bought, and a genius invention!)  in the freezer.  (Obviously it was in the freezer…where else would it be frozen.)  So, I threw in one of the frozen pesto cubes and the tomatoes that I had cut in half and warmed it all together.  This was the sauce over our turkey and pasta, and it was amazing!  It was so simple, yet so full of flavor and bright colors.  The kids gobbled up all their turkey, and Chad kept going back to refill his plate.  He kept telling me how good it was!  I can honestly say I haven’t “wowed” him in a while with a dinner...not that I’ve made bad food, just not something new and wow-worthy.  J

Here are the steps:
  Soak your pieces (small tenderloin size works well and cooks quickly and evenly) of chicken or turkey breast in milk and 1 egg in a plastic bag.  While it soaks, make a breading of panko crumbs, freshly shredded Parmesan, garlic salt, pepper, and paprika.  Remove the poultry from the milk and egg and dredge each piece in the breading until it’s evenly coated on all sides.
  Put the pieces in a hot skillet that has some oil already heated over medium heat.  I used avocado oil because of its high cooking temperature.  Don’t have your burner too hot, or you’ll blacken your poultry without it being cooked through to the center. 

  Once it’s browned on one side, turn the pieces over to brown the other side.  Once both sides are browned and the pieces are cooked through, put them on a plate and cover with foil to keep them warm.  Turn your burner down to medium-low.  Using the same skillet, put in your sliced tomatoes and your pesto (frozen or fresh is fine) and stir them together until everything is warmed through. 

  At some point, you should also boil some pasta…any kind is fine!  I used spirals.
  All that’s left is plating the food and making it pretty!  Lay down pasta, then the breaded turkey or chicken, and then add the pesto tomatoes over the top.  Add a salad or green veggie to the side, and dinner is ready!  This whole meal took me 20 minutes to make!

Monday:  Pizza at a Birthday Party

Tuesday:  Baked Honey Mustard Chicken with Brown Rice & Salad

I planned to make a different chicken dish, but my chicken wasn’t thawed enough for that recipe.  I also had to go pick up the kids from a friend’s house, so I went to the ever-trusty Pinterest (where I literally typed in “frozen chicken recipes”) to look for a different recipe.  Enter this easy recipe that can be made with frozen chicken breasts and ingredients you likely already have on hand!  Thanks to The Proverbial Homemaker for this dinner-saver!  I didn’t have any curry on hand for her Curry Honey Mustard recipe, but I had everything else, so I chose that sauce for the chicken before I put it in the oven.  I think I should have added some type of spice or salty flavor to it, but we just added season salt (Chad added sriracha to his) as we ate it.

  I also used my rice cooker to make some brown rice.  The rice cooker is nice because in about 45 minutes with almost no work on my part, we have a nice side for a chicken or fish dinner.  I started both the chicken and the rice before leaving the house to pick up the kids, and when we arrived home, everything was ready to eat!  I added a spinach salad, and dinner was good to go!  Ranger and Chad had to leave for baseball practice, l it made me happy to know that I sent them off with a good, healthy dinner in their bellies.  J

  One of the things I’m working on is keeping to our grocery budget but also keeping a usable pantry and freezer stock.  Having staples on hand makes it easier to make dinner on with unexpected circumstances without defaulting to running through a drive thru or eating out.

Wednesday:  Dinner with Small Group

Thursday:  Dinner at Mom’s

Friday:  Sweet Chili Lime Chicken with Cilantro Lime Orzo & Roasted Broccoli

  I haven’t made this in a while, but it’s one of our favorites.  I love the flavors, but I also love how easy it is to throw together.  Her original recipe calls for cous cous, but I had orzo, so that’s what I used.  I've also made this recipe with quinoa, and that's great too!  I also squeezed a little fresh lime juice in the orzo along with the cilantro.  I don’t add much of the red pepper since my kids don’t love the spice.  It’s easy to spice up on your own once it’s plated.

Saturday:  Pinto Beans, Cornbread, & Spinach Salad

My plate:

Kid plate:

  Fall weather means beans and cornbread!  I used a mix for my corn bread and baked it in our cast iron corn sticks pan that the kids love.  Pioneer Woman’s recipe for pinto beans is nice because you don’t have to remember to soak your beans overnight.  J  They also make easy leftovers for quesadillas, a side dish, homemade refried beans, or added to salads.  I actually took our leftovers to our friends’ home the next night to add to the meal they were making for us.

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