What’s on the Menu? 9/12-9/18

Menu planning. Most of the time I hate it. HATE. I hadn’t had a lot of time to cook, so I kept filling up my meal plans with easy, semi-homemade stuff. It was depressing me.

Then I decided, for the sake of my sanity, to make time. Until my next round of finals. 🙂

Monday 9/12-          Leftovers from Sunday 9/11 (Chicken and Dumplings!)

Tuesday 9/13           Pressed Caprese Sandwiches and salad

Wednesday 9/14     “Leftover” caprese sandwiches w/ baked potatoes (We’ll actually make the sandwiches fresh, we’ll just have enough ingredients to have them two days in a row.)

Thursday 9/15         Blue Cheese Pasta and garlic bread

Friday  9/16              Leftovers

Saturday 9/17         Chad’s family reunion (I’m making (caramel apple? pumpkin spice?) cupcakes, he’s making chili)

Sunday   9/18          Stromboli 

 

My main goal when I make a meal plan is to make stuff that I know will result in leftovers. Either we have them for lunch the next day, or we have them the next evening, so really I’m only cooking three or four days of the week. Plus, on some nights, I con Chad into cooking and just give him the recipe. And that is why I married someone who can cook. (I kid, I kid–he’s kind of awesome in other ways as well.)

How do you do your meal planning?

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Easy Chicken Tostadas

I’m not even sure it’s accurate to call this a recipe. First, I used some leftover chicken, so that part was already done. Just a simple, grilled chicken breast, diced. And this dish is very similar to my black bean nachos in that you bake the corn tortillas, use the same black bean mixture, and just pile the ingredients on top. Regardless, it was a super easy and quick meal, which I am all about these days.

Easy Chicken Tostadas

Ingredients

Four corn tortillas
7 oz of black beans, drained, but reserve a little of the liquid
seasoning for beans (I eye-ball it and use chili powder, ground red pepper, garlic, and cumin)
2 cooked chicken breasts, diced
cheese
lettuce
tomatoes
sour cream
salsa
avocado

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake tortillas 10-12 minutes, or  until they are golden and crisp. Set tortillas aside and leave oven on.

2. In a food processor or blender, puree beans with reserved liquid. Add in spices and seasonings and pulse until thoroughly incorporated.

3. Spread bean mixture on tortillas. Top with diced chicken and cheese. Place in the oven just until chicken is hot and cheese is melted.

4. Top with salsa, sour cream, avocado, lettuce, tomatoes, whatever! Enjoy!

Super easy and super good. This recipe is definitely a keeper!

Easy Meatball Subs (and a small life update)

Holy cow. It’s been almost a month (over a month?) Since I posted. Ridiculous, I know, but–I GOT  A JOB! Anyone who knows me will remember that I had been unemployed since October. Well, not anymore! I am back in the workforce! Working hard, making money…relinquishing all of my free time to my new place of employment. So…basically I will update this when I can, but I make no promises on how frequently that will be. Hang in there with me. 🙂

Now, a recipe that is not really a recipe. After the BBQ pizza I posted, I had some BBQ sauce leftover. I thought, ‘What could be easier than throwing that in a crockpot with some turkey meatballs? Nothing!”. And I was right.

BBQ Turkey Meatball Subs

Ingredients

1 bag frozen turkey meatballs
14 oz BBQ sauce (whatever kind is your favorite)
Hoagie rolls
shredded cheddar cheese

1) Put meatballs and BBQ sauce in the crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

2) Put meatballs on Hoagie rolls and sprinkle with cheddar cheese.

3) Eat.

I know, I know, I should be ashamed of putting this “recipe” on my blog. Whatever, I have no shame. It was delicious, I don’t care if it’s not real cooking. If you have the time and energy, by all means, make the meatballs/sauce from scratch. I might try that some weekend.

I just served these sandwiches with a simple salad and some fruit for dessert.

Hawaiian Barbecue Pizza

The idea for this super easy pizza recipe actually came from Freschetta. They have a new line of pizzas called “Simply Inspired”, and trust me, they are amazing. The one that really surprised me was the Hawaiian style pizza. It had a simple, tangy BBQ sauce, pineapple, Canadian bacon, and bacon. Yep, TWO “bacons”. Of course I loved it. 🙂

But seriously, it was delicious–something I don’t often say about frozen pizza.

Of course I wanted to try to recreate this pizza on my own. I took the basic idea, made my pizza with BBQ, ham, pineapple, and some Italian cheese and it was pretty darn close to the original idea!

Hawaiian BBQ Pizza

Ingredients:

5 oz BBQ sauce (whatever your favorite is)
pizza dough (buy it already made, or make your own!)
6 oz pineapple, roughly chopped
ham
1 cup Italian cheese

1) Preheat oven to 375.

2) Top pizza dough with BBQ, ham, pineapple, and cheese.

3) Bake 10-15 minutes, until crust is golden and crisp and cheese is melted.

Seriously, the easiest weeknight dinner ever. And we had leftover BBQ sauce, so that meant BBQ meatball subs later in the week! I’ll share that recipe later.

Try this recipe and let me know what you think! 🙂

Easy Pizza Roll-Up

I found a new way to eat pizza! I know, I’m probably behind the rest of the world, but I was really excited about this.

This is a fast, easy recipe, and perfect for a weeknight.

**This recipe has been done a million times by a million people and I based mine off of a random picture that I saw online. I don’t know where the recipe originally came from.**

Pizza Roll-Up

Ingredients:

Pizza dough (homemade or refrigerated)
6 oz tomato paste
oregano
red pepper flakes
pepperoni
Italian cheese
banana peppers
spinach
whatever other pizza toppings you like!
olive oil
Parmesan cheese, grated

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees and roll pizza dough into a rectangle.

2) Top dough with tomato paste, oregano, red pepper flakes, pepperoni, cheese, banana peppers, and spinach. Make sure you line the toppings up so each layer has a little of each.

3) Starting with one of the two smaller ends of the dough, roll into a log. Brush top with olive oil, sprinkle with oregano, red pepper flakes, and Parmesan cheese. Cut two or three lines in the top of the pizza log with a knife.

4) Bake 20-25 minutes, or until the pizza dough is brown and crisp. Check the middle to make sure the dough is cooked through. Enjoy!

Super good dinner, and very adaptable. You can easily make it vegetarian or vegan (they make vegan “cheese”!) and it’s definitely a crowd pleaser. We made it for dinner, but I think it would be a fun, easy party appetizer too.

Sloppy Joes

I have been so incredibly lazy lately. No really, it’s getting a little ridiculous.

My third quarter of nursing school (finally) ended and all I wanted to do was lay around to recover. So that’s pretty much what I’ve been doing for the last week. A lot of daytime napping. Some cleaning house. READING for FUN. It has been a really long time since I’ve cracked a book that wasn’t school related.

Anyway, I completely forgot that I had this recipe laying around, but when I remembered I had to share it.

Sloppy Joes

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef, chicken, or turkey, or 16 oz soy “burger” crumbles
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green or red bell pepper
1 1/4 cups ketchup
3 Tablespoons tomato paste
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 Tablespoon vinegar
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire
3/4 Tablespoon dry mustard
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup water

1) Heat a deep skillet over medium heat and add ground meat/soy crumbles. Brown meat until it is cooked thoroughly, or follow the directions on the soy crumbles package until they are also cooked completely.

2) Drain and place meat in a bowl. Reserve for later.

3) In the same skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add onions and peppers, cook for about five minutes or until vegetables are tender. Return meat to pan and add remaining ingredients. Stir to combine meat completely with sauce.

4) Reduce heat to low and cook for 25-30 minutes until sauce has thickened slightly.

**This recipe makes about 4 servings. The original recipe, seen here, makes 12 servings. I cut the recipe in thirds and altered a little bit more from there.**

 

This sauce was so good! My one complaint about it is that it was slightly too sweet, so I won’t use as much brown sugar next time.

I love that it can easily be made vegetarian, and it would be relatively easy to make both vegetarians and omnivores happy just by dividing up the recipe. Cook half a pound of ground meat and 8 ounces of the soy crumbles. You could mix the sauce completely, then divide it in half  and simmer each half with the respective protein. Perfect!

Also, if you’re thinking about getting into meatless Mondays, this would be a great recipe to use to ease into it. Make it with the soy crumbles and the sauce is so spicy and delicious that I bet it’ll be hard to tell it isn’t meat!

Regardless of how you decide to use it, you should definitely try this sauce.


Turkey Enchiladas

The husband and I decided we wanted to make something easy on Super Bowl Sunday. We stayed in and watched the game (well, he watched the game, I waited for the new Glee episode) since Chad was going to be gone the whole next week for work.

I was ridiculously excited to try this recipe because, really, who doesn’t like enchiladas? These were easy to make, delicious, and this is a great addition to my recipe collection!

Recipe Adapted from Robyn’s Blog!

Turkey Enchiladas

Ingredients

1 lb. ground turkey
1/2 small onion, diced
1/4 cup diced tomatoes with green chilies
1/4 cup of water
taco seasoning (you can make your own! I like this recipe, but add a dash of cayenne pepper)
1 can red enchilada sauce
6-8 whole wheat tortillas
1/2 cup fat free shredded cheese (I used cheddar)

 

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. While oven is preheating, brown the ground turkey and drain.

2) Add water, onions, tomatoes, and taco seasoning to meat. Simmer for approx. 10 minutes until the mixture has reduced slightly.

3) Spread a little of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of a a 9×13 baking dish.

4) Fill tortillas with meat mixture, roll, and place in baking dish. We ended up with 6 enchiladas.

5) Top with more enchilada sauce (I didn’t use the whole can, but it was pretty close) and cheese. Cover with foil and bake for about 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

 

These were really, really good and definitely husband approved! The only change I really made is that I added a little more onion than the original recipe called for. Chad loves onion, and I don’t mind it as long as it’s hidden in things. 🙂

Check out Robyn’s blog for the original recipe as well as some other really great, healthy meal ideas.


Fish Tacos

This is yet another amazing recipe from Annie’s Eats (and she adapted it from HERE), and let me tell you, she really hits it out of the park with this one.

I am not generally a big fan of fish tacos. Or fish at all. I just don’t really like it, I think it always tastes “fishy”. Yes, I know that is weird. 🙂 But all that went out the window when I tried this recipe.

First, it was ridiculously easy to make, which automatically gives it bonus points in my book. The cilantro cream sauce was so good I could have eaten it by the spoonful. I didn’t, but the thought crossed my mind.

Plus they’re pretty to look at.

Fish Tacos

Ingredients

For the fish/marinade:

1 lb tilapia (or other white fish)
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 Tablespoons of olive oil for marinade + 1 Tablespoon for frying the fish
3 Tablespoon minced cilantro
1/4 teaspoon cumin
2 cloves of garlic, minced

For the cream sauce:

All the juice you can squeeze from 1 lime
2 Tablespoons of cilantro, minced
6 oz light sour cream
1 clove of garlic, minced
pepper to taste

To assemble the tacos:

Cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
Green onion, diced
Red cabbage, shredded
Flour tortillas

Directions for fish/marinade:

1) In a shallow pie plate: mix 2 Tablespoons olive oil, 2 Tablespoons lime juice, cilantro, garlic and cumin. Whisk together until blended, then turn fish in the mixture to coat. Allow to marinate for about 30 minutes.

For the cream sauce:

2) While fish is marinating: in a small bowl combine lime juice, cilantro, garlic, sour cream, and pepper (to taste). Mix thoroughly and refrigerate until ready to use.

To cook the fish:

3) Place remaining 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, cook fish without disturbing for 3 minutes on one side. Then flip and cook an additional 2-3 minutes on the other side.

4) Let fish rest for a few minutes, then shred and assemble tacos with sauce, tomatoes, onions, cabbage, or whatever else you want to throw on! Enjoy!

 

Delicious and filling–the perfect easy dinner for a weeknight!

 

White Chili

I have to admit, Chad is usually the chili cook in our house, and he makes the most amazing “regular” chili. But I found this recipe for white chili, realized I still have about a million pounds of leftover Thanksgiving turkey in the freezer, and thought I would try it out.

Thank goodness I did. This white chili is so easy to make, and so delicious. It reminds me of my favorite restaurant white chili, except it’s even better.

If you’re counting calories you can leave the cream/sour cream out of this recipe and it’s still an amazing, spicy chili.

Recipe adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.

White Chicken Chili

Ingredients

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cans (15 oz each) Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14 oz) can chicken or veggie broth
2 cans (4 oz each) chopped green chilies
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whipping cream
Cilantro to garnish (optional)

1) In a large saucepan or soup pot, cook the chicken, onion, and garlic in olive oil until chicken is cook through.

2) Add beans, green chiles, broth and seasonings.

3) Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30-40 minutes.

4) Remove soup from the heat and stir in cream and sour cream. Garnish with cilantro and serve!

I used the turkey instead of chicken, obviously, and I added a little water to my soup so it wasn’t as thick as the original recipe.

If you decide to leave the cream/sour cream out you’ll want to add about 8-12 ounces of water in at the same time you put the broth in. Either way, you can’t go wrong! I’m almost excited that we still have leftover turkey so I can make this again soon.

Check out the link for the original recipe if you want the slow cooker version of this soup.

Turkey Pot Pie

Oh, Thanksgiving leftovers. I’m not really sure if I shared with y’all the story of our Thanksgiving turkey. It’s kind of a long story that starts with me telling Chad that if he wanted a turkey he needed to get it from a local, humane farm and ends with him bringing home a 20 lb turkey for the two of us. Needless to say, we have a ton of cooked turkey hanging out in our freezer.

Obviously I need to use those leftovers, so expect a few turkey recipes in the coming weeks. Here is the first one adapted from this source:

Turkey Pot Pie

Ingredients

2 cups cooked turkey or chicken
1/3 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/3 cup onion
1 1/2 cups veggie broth
3/4 cup milk
1 bag frozen veggies
1 tube croissant rolls

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2) Melt butter (or margarine) in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent.

3) In a medium bowl stir together the flour, salt, pepper and thyme. Add milk and veggie broth. Whisk mixture until smooth, then add mixture to onion and butter.

4) Bring to a boil and cook two minutes while stirring constantly. Once the gravy mixture has thickened add the chicken and vegetables and remove from heat.

5) Fill pie plate with turkey mixture. Unroll croissant dough and place over mixture. Cut slits in top of dough and bake for 30 minutes or until top is golden brown. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

 

The original recipe called for a double pie crust. but I decided to use croissant dough because I hate pie crust.

This was pretty good. I’m really not a big fan of turkey, and I certainly don’t intend to start cooking with it all the time, but this was definitely a good use of leftovers. It was also husband approved. which is always a bonus. And I can promise that it’s better than the frozen pot pies you can buy at the store.