Sunday, March 11, 2012

Menu Planning (aka Feeding a Hungry Man)

I'm trying to do a little prep work to make dinnertime less hectic. Josh is ALWAYS hungry and also doing a lot of running so filling meals are really important. Here's what's on the Bills' menu this week.

Sunday -Curried Quinoa with Chicken and Peas from One Dish Dinners via Pinterest
We're trying to eat more whole grains. Quinoa is a superfood that cooks quickly...such a yummy option, too. I like to make enough of something on Sunday night to give us leftover options.

Here are some pictures of our Curried Chicken and Quinoa.

Onion, garlic and chicken cooking in olive oil.

Added tomatoes and seasoning before adding the quinoa.

Finished product! Blurry pic...ugh. We were done eating before I realized it.

Monday -Slow-Cooker Creamy Chicken with Biscuits from Real Simple
I haven't tried this recipe before, but am hoping to use up some ingredients I have on hand. Again, this will likely give us ample leftovers for lunch or dinner. Slower cooker options are great for Mondays when I never feel like cooking! I also like to have Monday's meal prepared early in the evening since Josh heads to small group for church every other week.

Tuesday -Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork Sandwiches from Good Housekeeping
Make this in bulk! I like to scoop leftovers (using my large Pampered Chef Scoop) onto a cookie sheet and freeze for an hour. Then I double bag them in a gallon size freezer bag. It's so nice to have a quick homemade meal on hand! I serve them on a soft bun with a salad and baked beans.

Wednesday -This is usually leftovers night. I have small group, and Josh has class. Needless to say, we don't have time for a lingering meal. I always try do a fresh salad to go with whatever we're finishing up from earlier in the week.

Thursday -White Chicken Chili
We're having Josh's baby sister, Anna, over for dinner Thursday night, and this is her request. It's gluten-free which makes it the perfect meal for when she comes over to hang out. This recipe was originally given to me by a friend, but over the years it has morphed a little.

White Chicken Chili

4-5 chicken breasts
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
16 oz salsa (On the Border brand tastes great -unfortunately I can't get it in NY)
3 -15 oz cans great northern beans (drain liquid off until level with beans)
2 cups or 16 oz Mexican blend shredded cheese ( I like a lot of cheese)
4 oz can chopped green chilies
8 oz frozen corn
1/3 cup sour cream
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp Tony Chachere creole seasoning (optional, double above spices if left out)
Chicken stock, to thin (about 16 oz.)
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut chicken in 1/2 inch cubes. Add olive oil and garlic to a hot pan and add chickenBrown chicken, turn down to medium-high heat, cook fully. About 10 minutes.

While chicken is cooking, heat salsa, beans, 1/2 of the shredded cheese and green chilies over medium in a dutch oven.

When chicken is cooked, add to the dutch oven. Mix well and add sour cream, cayenne pepper, cumin and Tony Chachere Creole seasoning.

Begin to add chicken stock as the cheese melts. Add remaining cheese and corn, mix well. 

Continue to add chicken stock as cheese melts. You want it to be slightly thicker than the consistency of chowder. Don’t add more than 16 oz. of stock.

Once all ingredients are combined and the cheese is melted, let simmer for 45 minutes to an hour to heat thoroughly. Serve with tortilla chips.

Friday -Tagliatelle with Bolognese Sauce from Lidia's Italy in America
We're having friends (who are also family) over for dinner and I want to make something from my new Lidia's Italy in America cookbook Josh got me for Valentine's Day. While I have been reading it, this will be my first adventure! Now that I'm typing this I so wish I could find a link to it online!

Tagliatelle with Bolognese Sauce
Serves 6, plus a quart of sauce for the freezer

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more for pasta pot
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground veal
1 cup dry white wine
Two 28-ounce cans Italian plum tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, crushed by hand
4 fresh bay leaves, or 6 dried bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon peperoncino flakes
Scant 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pound dried egg tagliatelle
1/2 cup grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for passing

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven set over medium heat. Add the onion, and let cook until slightly softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the carrot and celery, and season with 1 teaspoon salt. Cook and stir until the onion is translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes more. Meanwhile, put the ground meats in a large bowl, and pour the wine over the meat into the bowl. Use a fork to stir and crumble the meat to mix with the wine and break the meat into small clumps. Add the meat to the pot, season with 1 teaspoon salt, and cool, stirring with a wooden spoon to break down the clumps, until the meat has given up all of its liquid. Increase heat to medium-high, and reduce away the liquid until you hear a cracking sound coming from the bottom of the pan, about 15 minutes in all.

When the bottom of the pan is dry and the meat is lightly browned, pour in the tomates and slosh out the cans with 2 cups hot water. Pour that into the pot along with the bay leaves, and season with the peperoncino, cinnamon, and remaining salt.

Bring the sauce to a boil, then lower the heat to a rapid simmer. Set the cover slightly ajar, and cook until the sauce is thick and flavorful, about 1 1/2 hours, adding up to 4 cups more hot water during the cooking time to keep the meat covered in liquid.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for pasta. Heat half of the sauce in a large skillet (refrigerate or freeze the remaining sauce for another day!). Plop the tagliatelle into the boiling water. When the pasta is al dente, drain and transfer it directly into the simmering sauce. Drizzle with olive oil, and toss to coat the pasta with the sauce. Remove from heat, and toss in grated cheese. Serve immediately, passing more grated cheese.

Saturday -I don't think I have to cook at all on Saturday! We have a lunch party to go to and then have a dinner birthday party as well.

I hope our weekly menu inspires you to plan ahead for your meals! Have a great week!



  1. You get my vote for wifey of the year!

  2. You are amazing. We have had oven baked salmon and salad twice this week and grilled chicken and salad. SO boring! Your recipes seem so much fancier and more fun. Good job.