Monday, March 27, 2017

Weekly Meal Plan #5 {March 27, 2017}

This week's plan includes two leftover ingredients from last week's plan. I will make notes in the shopping list so you will get the correct ingredient and amount regardless of whether you did last week's meal or not. ;)

Meaty Pizza
adapted from Rachael Ray

Extra virgin olive oil (approx 4 tablespoons)
1 refrigerated pizza dough (Pilsbury artisan wheat is my favorite)
Palmful all-purpose flour or cornmeal
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 lb ground beef ( at least 85% lean) *This should be in your freezer from last week's meals.
1 small onion finely chopped
5-6 garlic cloves finely chopped
(1) 3 oz can tomato paste
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh Parsley chopped (couple tablespoons) (optional)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 lb (12 oz) fresh mozzarella (if in ball form, slice it up) Don't skip this ingredient! It's the BEST part!

Check the packaging on the pizza dough to see what temperature you need to set the oven for. Preheat the oven.
Drizzle a round pan or rectangular baking sheet with extra-virgin olive oil. Dust the pan with flour or corn meal then spread out the dough to form the crust to the pan. Drizzle the top of the dough with the extra-virgin olive oil, then season it with the rosemary and a little bit of salt. Prebake crust according to package directions.

Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat; add the 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, then the meat. Brown and crumbled the meat for a couple of minutes, then add the onions and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, then work in the tomato paste using a spoon. Stir in the cheese, parsley, and oregano.

Once the meat mixture is done and the crust is finished prebaking, top the crust with the meat mixture. Arrange the fresh mozzarella cheese slices over the pizza working from the middle to the outside. Put it back in the oven and bake until the cheese is golden, probably about 10 minutes.

Turkey Burritos Verde (with freezer option)
adapted from Rachael Ray

6 flour tortillas *You should have this already from last week's meals.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or oil of choice
1- 1 1/3 lb. ground turkey breast
1/2 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped or garlic powder to taste
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
1 cup chicken broth
1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 (16 ounce) jar tomatillo (green) salsa
1 tsp. dried cilantro or 2 TBsp. fresh, chopped
1-2 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped
2 cups shredded Monterrey jack cheese or Mexican cheese blend *You will probably have this from last week's meals.
Preheat a large nonstick skillet with the vegetable oil.
Add in the ground turkey and break it up with the back of a spoon as it cooks and browns, about 4 minutes.

Add in the onions, garlic, bell pepper, salt, and pepper; cook for 3 minutes.

Add in the chicken stock, pinto beans, and 1 ½ cup tomatillo salsa (NOT THE WHOLE JAR!); increase the heat to high; continue cooking 5-6 minutes or until the mixture is thickened.

Remove pan from heat and add in the spinach & cilantro; stir to mix. *Continue to the asterisk if not freezing.

Freeze burrito filling if desired.

Thaw for 24 hours in refrigerator.
Heat filling in microwave after thawing.
*Set broiler to LOW.
Warm the tortillas in the microwave.
Fill each tortilla with about 1/4 cup shredded cheese and desired amount of hot filling.
Place the filled burritos in a broiler-safe dish, seamside down.
Top all the burritos with remaining salsa verde & shredded cheese.
Place under broiler (about 6 inches away) for approximately 5 minutes, watching closely.

Crockpot Chicken Teriyaki

1 lb boneless skinless chicken tenders 
1 can pineapple juice 
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar 
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root or 1 teaspoon ground ginger 
1 tablespoon garlic finely chopped (or jarred minced)
1 tablespoon oil 
1 tablespoon molasses 
2 cups hot cooked jasmine rice
frozen vegetable eggrolls (optional)
1 bag frozen stir-fry veggies (optional)

Dump all ingredients except the jasmine rice into the crockpot. Cook on low for 8 hours. Serve over cooked jasmine rice. Vegetable eggrolls make a really good side dish with this. Or you could also get a bag of frozen stir-fry veggies to mix in with the chicken. Add frozen veggies for the last 1-2 hours of cook-time.

Chili Lime Salmon with Sauteed Spinach and Rice

Desired amount of salmon 
1 lime
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon chili powder
Salt and pepper

3 cups baby spinach
cooking oil of choice
 salt and pepper

1 small pkg Mexican rice

Start the rice first. Follow package directions.

Salmon: Combine all ingredients except the salmon in a shallow dish and whisk with a fork. Add the salmon fillets to the lime honey mixture and toss to coat thoroughly. Preheat a medium skillet over medium high heat with 2 tablespoons of oil. And the seasoned salmon to the hot skillet and cook until just cooked through, about four minutes on each side.
Serve on top of Mexican rice and sautéed spinach.

Sauteed Spinach Directions:
Heat 1-2 tbsp oil in deep pan medium-high heat. Toss spinach for 2-5 minutes pacing lid on pan and stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Shopping List:

Dry Goods/:
1 small pkg Mexican rice with seasonings
jasmine rice
6 10" burrito-sized tortillas (Probably already have this from last week.)

1/4 cup soy sauce
1 small can pineapple juice (I can usually only find this in 6-packs.)
1 small 3 oz can tomato paste

salt and pepper
cooking oil of choice
chili powder
ground ginger or fresh ginger root from produce
16 oz jar tomatillo (green) salsa
1 can pinto beans
chicken broth (1 cup)
dried oregano
all-purpose flour or cornmeal for pizza crust

1 lime
1 large clamshell baby spinach
fresh ginger root (if not using dried)
red bell pepper
onion (1 large or 2 small)

1 package salmon (usually two fillets)
1 lb boneless skinless chicken tenders
1 lb ground turkey 
1/2 lb ground beef (Should have this leftover from last week.)

vegetable eggrolls or spring rolls (if desired with chicken teriyaki)
mixed stir-fry veggies (if desired with C.T.)

shredded Mexican cheese blend (May already have this. Check your fridge.)
3/4 lb fresh mozzarella ball (usually in the specialty cheese bins.)
shredded Parmesan cheese
refrigerated pizza dough

Monday, March 20, 2017

Weekly Meal Plan #4 {March 20, 2017}

Did you have a good weekend? We had a busy one! Not much cooking happened on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday; so I'm ready to get back on track this week. ;) Here goes...

Slow Cooker Beef and Barley Soup

1 1/2 lbs boneless beef sirloin steak cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tbsp oil
4 carrots, chopped, 1/2-1 cup chopped onion
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/4 tsp pepper
1/3 cup pearl barley
2 cans (14.5 oz) beef broth
1 can diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning

Heat oil in skillet on medium-high. Brown beef bits on all sides. Put carrots and onions in bottom of crock. Sprinkle seasonings over veggies. Top with the barley and meat. Pour broth and tomatoes over the beef and barley. Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours. Serve with hot bread. Yummmm!

Spinach Quiche

Recipe for two- pie crust (below), or pre-made crust in refrigerated section

Homemade Crust Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose or whole wheat flour
2 sticks (1 cup) butter cut into squares
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup cold water

Directions Homemade Crust:
Mix the flour, salt and sugar in a stand mixer (or in a mixing bowl with a hand mixer or spoon)

Put the butter into the bowl and begin mixing on low-med speed

It will start to combine and look crumbly or cornmeal-ish

Add the water, a little bit at a time.

Increase the speed slightly and scrape the sides of the bowl as it combines.
A dough ball will begin to form and stick to the mixer attachment.
Turn off the mixer.
Lightly flour your two pie plates
Push the dough out of the mixer attachment. Form a ball again.

Divide the dough by eyeballing into your two floured pie plates, sprinkling a little flour on top of each one.

Press dough into pan evenly or roll it out with rolling pin and press into plates.

Refrigerate until you're ready to use it. (Cover it if it will be more than a couple of hours.)

No need to pre-bake this crust. Just pull it out of the fridge, fill it as you desire, and bake!

Filling:8 eggs
1 cup milk
2-3 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped
2-3 cups shredded mozzarella (or cheese of choice)
Salt and pepper

Whisk the eggs and milk with salt and pepper. Stir in the spinach. Pour egg-spinach mixture into the pie plates. Top with the shredded cheese. Bake at 350 F for about 45 minutes. Let the top get nice and golden-brown. Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting.

Quiche is one of those meals that can really be personalized. Feel free to add cooked crumbled bacon, shredded ham, sundried tomato and pesto, broccoli and cheddar- really whatever sounds good to you!

Ground Turkey Risotto with Roasted Green Beans
from Rachael Ray

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), 2 turns of the pan
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 small onion
2/3 cup arborio rice
2/3 cup barley
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine (or broth)
4 cups chicken broth or low-sodium chicken broth (keep over low flame)
1 pound ground turkey
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan) cheese (a few good handfuls)
A handful of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 pkg fresh prewashed green beans
oil of choice
salt and pepper

Preheat a deep skillet (or wide 4-quart saucepan) over medium heat. Add the EVOO (2 turns of the pan), and the garlic, then grate the onion juice into the skillet. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the rice and barley. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more. Add the wine, raise the heat to medium-high and cook away the liquid, about 1 minute. Add a few ladles of the warm stock to cover the rice and barley, then drop in the ground meat in small bits. Stir frequently and continue to ladle in the stock until the rice and barley are cooked al dente, about 22 minutes. Stir in the cheese, adjust the seasoning and garnish with the parsley.

Roasted Green Beans

Preheat oven to 425F. Toss the green beans with about 1 TBsp oil and salt and pepper spreading evenly on a sheet pan.

Cover with foil. Roast covered for 10 minutes, then uncovered for 10 minutes until they start to brown a little. Yummy!

Mexican Pizzas!
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • dash cayenne powder
  • 1 (16 ounce) can refried beans
  • 4 (10 inch) flour tortillas
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 8 grape tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped jalapeno peppers (optional)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment, Silpat, or foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large skillet, cook beef, onion and garlic over medium-high heat until beef is browned and onion is tender. Drain grease. Stir in chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, and cayenne.

Place two tortillas side by side on baking sheet, and cover with a layer of refried beans. Scatter half of the seasoned ground beef over each tortilla, and then cover with a second tortilla. Bake 10 minutes.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Spread salsa on top of each top tortilla stack. Top with cheeses, tomatoes, green onions, and jalapenos.

Return the pizzas to the oven, and bake for 5 to 10 more minutes, until the cheese is melted.

Remove from the oven, and let cool slightly before slicing each one into 4 pieces.

BBQ Chicken and Kitchen-Sink Corn Muffins
Muffins from "Bless Your Heart" cookbook

1-2 lbs boneless skinless chicken tenders, breasts, or thighs
1 cup BBQ sauce (Sweet Baby Ray's original is my favorite)
BBQ seasoning
salt and pepper
2-4 potatoes to make BBQ loaded baked potatoes (optional)

Place chicken in slow cooker and season well on both sides with salt, pepper, and BBQ seasoning. Pour BBQ sauce over the top of the chicken, but don't dump it. Too much BBQ sauce on the crock will burn. Try to just get the sauce ON the chicken. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for up to 8 hours.
If you want to make loaded potatoes you can shred up the chicken and put it on baked potatoes with extra, warmed BBQ sauce, butter, shredded cheddar cheese, and crisped chopped bacon, and salt and pepper.

Bake potatoes in the oven wrapped in foil and salted well for an hour to an hour and a half on 425 degrees. If you have a second crockpot, you can make the most delicious baked potatoes ever! Wrap them in foil with lots of salt just like you would do for the oven method. Cook in the crock on high for 4-5 hours.

Also, if you don't want to make the corn muffins because you're short on time, grab a can of organic French-style green beans; microwave for about 3-4 minutes with some butter and salt and pepper. Simple, semi-healthy, and delicious!

Corn muffins:
1 10 oz pkg frozen chopped broccoli
2 tbsp finely chopped onion
3/4 cup small curd cottage cheese
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter melted
4 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 cup buttermilk (or regualr milk if you don't want to buy buttermilk)
1 8 oz pkg corn muffin mix

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease approx 18 muffin cups. In a large mixing bowl combine every BUT the muffin mix. Mix well, then add the corn muffin mix gently. Fill each cup 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes.

Shopping List:

Dry Goods/Bread/Bakery
baguette of bread (to pair with beef and barley soup)
(4) 10" flour tortillas
Arborio rice (2/3 cup)
barley (1 cup)

1 small bottle BBQ sauce (I prefer Sweet Baby Ray's Original)
1 can refried beans (any variety!)
salsa of choice (to top the pizzas) (I prefer Frontera.)
small jar diced jalapenos (optional)
1 quart chicken broth (4 cups)
2 cans beef broth
1 can diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning

cooking oil of choice
(1) 8 oz pkg corn muffin mix
BBQ Seasoning
chili powder
cayenne pepper(optional)
flour *(if making homemade pie crust)
sugar *(if making homemade pie crust)
salt and pepper

onion 1 for corn muffins and mexican pizzas
2-4 baking potatoes (Russets are the best)
1 bunch green onions
grape tomatoes
bunch of parsley
2-3 cups fresh baby spinach
4 carrots
1 pkg prewashed green beans (Eat Smart Brand from Food City)

1-2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken tenders, breasts, or thighs
1/2 lb ground beef ( freeze the other half-pound for later)
1 lb ground turkey
1 1/2 lbs boneless beef sirloin steak cut into 1-inch pieces
small pkg bacon (if desired for BBQ potatoes)

(1) 10 oz pkg frozen shopped broccoli

small curd cottage cheese (6 oz)
eggs (12)
shredded cheddar cheese
shredded Mexican cheese blend
shredded mozzarella for quiche 2-3 cups (or whatever cheese you want)
buttermilk (1/3 cup)
sour cream (optional for pizzas)
grated Parmesan
*refrigerated pie crust (pkg of 2)*if not making homemade

dry white wine (1/2 cup) such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc (optional for Risotto)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

St. Patrick's Day "Green" Menu {Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Dessert}

Here are three fun, green meals that will make St Paddy's Day more festive at home!

Breakfast: Green Banana Oatmeal Waffles
adapted from Mother Thyme
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/3 cup old fashioned rolled oats
2 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup milk
7 oz. (2 3.5oz cups) vanilla Greek yogurt
1/4-1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 medium ripe banana, mashed, plus an extra for topping
3 tablespoons butter, melted
green food coloring
maple syrup and softened butter for topping
lime flavored Greek yogurt for extra topping (optional)

In a large bowl stir together flour, rolled oats, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  Make a well in the center of dry ingredients and add in milk, yogurt, chocolate chips, eggs, banana, butter, and a few drops of food coloring.  Mix ingredients together until blended.

Use quantity of batter per waffle maker instructions and cook until desired.

Top with banana slices.

Lunch: Avocado Egg Salad
adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod
2 hard boiled eggs, discard one yolk
1 avocado
1 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped green onion (optional)
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a medium bowl, combine the hard boiled eggs and egg whites, avocado, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, green onion, and mustard. Mash with a fork. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Great served on soft bread, toast, in a wrap, or by itself. Keeps well for a few days.

Dinner: Green Chili French Fry Pie
adapted from Rachael Ray
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), 2 turns of the pan
  • 2 pounds ground turkey breast
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin (a palmful)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 small zucchini (optional) chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper (optional) diced
  • 1 15 ounce can white kidney or cannellini beans, drained
  • 3/4 cup beer (one-half a 12-ounce bottle) or 3/4 cup chicken broth (eyeball it)
  • 2 cups store-bought tomatillo (green) salsa
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro or flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 pinches of cayenne pepper
  • 1 28 oz package shoestring style frozen fries
  • shredded cheese (Mexican blend) (optional)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees . Arrange the fries in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake, tossing halfway through, until browned, 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil smokes, add the turkey and cook, breaking up the meat. Season with salt and pepper, the poultry seasoning and cumin; brown and crumble the meat for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the onion and garlic. Add the chopped zucchini and diced bell pepper and cook for 5 minutes more. Add the beans and stir to heat through. Add the beer and cook for about 1 minute. Stir in the salsa and simmer the chili over low heat. When the fries finish baking, stir the cilantro into the chili. Transfer the chili to a medium casserole (it should be filled to the rim) and top with the scallions.
Mix a teaspoon of salt with the chili powder and cayenne. Remove the fries from the oven and top with the seasoned salt and cheese if desired. Pile the fries on top of the casserole, evenly covering the green chili, and serve.
Dessert: Irish Creme Cake
from Betty Crocker
box Betty Crocker™ SuperMoist™ devil’s food cake mix
box (4-serving size) chocolate instant pudding and pie filling mix
cup vegetable oil
cup Irish cream liqueur
cup sour cream

Irish Cream Frosting

cup butter, softened
oz (half of 8-oz package) cream cheese, softened
cups powdered sugar
cup Irish cream liqueur
teaspoon vanilla

Chocolate Glaze (optional)

oz bittersweet baking chocolate, chopped 
cup whipping cream
cup light corn syrup
teaspoons vanilla
cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pans). Spray 2 (9-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray.
  •  In large bowl, beat all cake ingredients with electric mixer on medium speed 5 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally, until well blended. Pour batter into pans. Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove cakes from pans to cooling racks. Cool completely.
  •  In large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating until blended. Add 1/4 cup liqueur and 1 teaspoon vanilla; beat until frosting is smooth and spreadable.
  •  Place 1 cake layer on serving plate; spread with one-third of the frosting. Top with second layer. Frost side and top of cake with thin layer of frosting to seal in crumbs. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Frost cake with remaining frosting.
  • (Optional)Place chopped chocolate in small bowl. In small saucepan, heat whipping cream over medium heat until bubbles form around edge. Pour warm cream over chocolate; let stand 1 minute. Stir with whisk until chocolate is melted. Add corn syrup and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Stir until smooth. Let stand 10 minutes or until thickened.
  •  Pour glaze on top of cake, letting some glaze drip down side. Sprinkle almonds around edge of cake. Store in refrigerator.
  • Image result for st patrick's day

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Weekly Meal Plan #3 {March 12, 2017}

Hope you are enjoying having some new ideas for family dinners. If you have any requests for certain types of meals please let me know. I am working on breakfast stuff right now.

Simple Crab cakes with Honey Glazed Roasted Carrots
adapted from Betty Crocker and
2 cans lump crab meat (Chicken of the Sea brand is good from Food City; and Kroger store brand is good too)
1/3 cup mayo
1 egg
1 tsp ground mustard
1 tsp seafood seasoning such as old bay
1-2 slices soft bread torn into tiny pieces
3 scallions (green onions)
1 cup dry bread crumbs (for the coating)
cooking oil of choice (vegetable oil worls well in the recipe because it produces the best "crisp," but canola/EVOO is totally fine too.
Roasted carrots:
3 cups baby carrots (cut along the length in half if they are fat; slimmer is better here)
cooking oil of choice (I prefer canola/EVOO blend)
salt and pepper
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1-2 tsp dried or fresh chopped parsley

Heat oven to 425°F. Put the carrots in a heap in the middle of a sheet pan. Toss to coat with 1-2 tbsp oil and salt and pepper. Roast for about 20 minutes. *(Start your crab cakes now.)
After 20 minutes, uncover and drizzle with the cider vinegar/honey mixture** and toss again. Roast for about 10 more minutes. Sprinkle with parsley after cooking.

*Tear up the bread and dice the scallions. Drain the cans of crabmeat. Mix all the ingredients except the dry bread crumbs in a small mixing bowl. Form 4-5 patties depending on your size preference. Coat both sides with the dry bread crumbs in a small bowl. Heat about 2 tbsp oil on medium-high heat in a skillet. Cook crab cakes for about 6 minutes each side or until it looks nice and golden. **Mix the vinegar and honey together in a small measuring cup.

Honey Mustard Chicken with Bacon and Avocado Salad
Dressing / Marinade:
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons whole grain mustard (mustard with the seeds in it)
  • 2 tablespoons smooth and mild Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (use your kitchen shears to mince it up)
  • Salt to season
  • 4 skinless and boneless chicken thighs or chicken breasts
For Salad:
  • ¼ cup diced bacon, trimmed of rind and fat (Fry, then cut it up with your kitchen shears)
  • 4 cups Romaine lettuce leaves, washed
  • 1 cup sliced grape or cherry tomatoes (use your kitchen shears to cut in half)
  • 1 large avocado, pitted and sliced
  • 1/2 can corn kernels, drained and patted dry (optional)
  • ¼ of a red onion, sliced (optional)
  1. Whisk marinade / dressing ingredients together to combine. Pour half the marinade into a shallow dish to marinade the chicken fillets for two hours if time allows. Refrigerate the reserved untouched marinade to use as a dressing.
  2. Heat a nonstick pan (or grill pan or skillet) over medium heat with about a teaspoon of oil and sear / grill chicken fillets on each side until golden, crispy and cooked through. (Grill in batches to prevent excess water being released.) Once chicken is cooked, set aside and allow to rest.
  3. *Wipe pan over with paper towel; drizzle with another teaspoon of oil and fry the bacon until crispy.
  4. Slice chicken into strips and prepare salad with leaves, tomatoes, avocado slices, corn, onion strips and chicken.
  5. Whisk 2 tablespoons of water into the remaining untouched marinade / dressing and drizzle over the salad. Sprinkle the bacon over the top and season with a little extra salt and cracked pepper (optional).
*Bacon can be fried and chopped ahead of time.

adapted from
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 can corn, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped
  • 2-4 INDIVIDUAL chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced or pureed (not the whole can!)
  • 1 ounce light cream cheese
  • ¼ cup light sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon salt (+ more to taste)
  • ½ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 6 tablespoons shredded cheese (Pepperjack, Cheddar, Colby Jack... anything will work)
  • 1/2 lb cooked, shredded chicken (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the sweet potatoes for 45-60 minutes.
While sweet potatoes are baking, place corn in a heavy cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat with no butter or oil. Sprinkle with salt and other Mexican seasoning (as much as you want). Do not stir! Let corn roast for several minutes before stirring. Let it roast for a few more minutes before stirring again. Continue this for about 10 minutes, until corn is browned and roasted on the outside. Set aside in a small bowl with the black beans.
Saute the onion in the butter over medium heat until soft and translucent. Set aside.
Remove sweet potatoes from the oven when fork-tender. Let cool for 5-10 minutes. Cut the sweet potatoes in half. Scrape the flesh of the sweet potatoes out, leaving the skins intact. Sometimes leaving a thin layer of potato inside of the skins helps them hold together better.
Mix the flesh of the sweet potatoes with the cream cheese, sour cream, chipotle peppers, and salt. You can use a mixer or just a spoon, depending on how soft the potatoes are. When well-mixed, gently stir in the black beans, roasted corn, sauteed onions, and cilantro.Scoop the filling into the skins and top each with 1 tablespoon shredded cheese. Broil for about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Eggplant and Zucchini Bake: A One-Dish Meal!
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
  • 8 slices day-old Italian bread (could also used cooked spaghetti, or  do neither and make it low-carb)
  • 1 large eggplant
  • 4 beefsteak tomatoes or 8 plum tomatoes
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 1/2 cup basil, torn
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pkg mild Italian sausages* (optional)
Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.  
Fully grease a baking dish, using the first 2 tablespoons of oil. Line the baking dish with the eight slices of bread. Drizzle another 2 tablespoons of the oil over the bread.
Slice the eggplant into 1/4-1/2-inch thick slices. 
Slice the tomatoes and zucchini the same thickness. 
Line the eggplant over the bread. Next, layer the tomatoes and zucchini. 
*Slice the Italian sausages into rounds and layer them in here if desired.*
Sprinkle the torn basil over the veggies and drizzle the rest of the oil over everything. Sprinkle the cheese over the veggies, followed by the salt and pepper. 
Bake, uncovered, for an hour and serve hot by slicing into squares.

This is a large recipe (8 servings) You can certainly half it or slightly reduce, but the leftovers could be frozen for a quick meal later on. ;)
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 2-1/2 pounds Ground Beef
  • 1/2 whole Large Onion, Diced
  • 1 whole Large Green Bell Pepper, Diced
  • 5 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1-1/2 cup Ketchup
  • 1 cup Water
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Chili Powder (more To Taste)
  • 1 teaspoon Dry Mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (more To Taste)
  • Worcestershire Sauce, To Taste
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste (optional)
  • Tabasco Sauce (optional; To Taste)
  • Salt To Taste
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
  • Kaiser Rolls
  • Butter
  • 1 bag pre-rinsed Brussels sprouts (or green beans- your choice)
  • cooking oil of choice
  • salt and pepper
Heat oven to 425°. Trim ends off of Brussels and then cut in half (or quarters if larger). Toss Brussels with 1-2 tbsp oil and salt and pepper. Roast for about 20 minutes. (Start on Sloppy Joes here.) 
Stir and roast for 10-15 more minutes.

Add butter to a large skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add ground beef and cook until brown. Drain most of the fat and discard.

Add onions, green pepper, and garlic. Cook for a few minutes, or until vegetables begin to get soft. 

Add ketchup, brown sugar, chili pepper, dry mustard, and water. Stir to combine and simmer for 15 minutes, adding salt and pepper to taste. Also add tomato paste, Worcestershire, and Tabasco if desired. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. 

Spread rolls with butter and brown on a griddle or skillet. Spoon meat mixture over the rolls, topping with a slice of cheese if it makes your skirt fly up. Serve hot with kettle cooked chips!

Shopping List:

Breads/Dry Goods:
4-8 Kaiser rolls from bakery/deli
Italian loaf from bakery/deli
2 pieces bread
bag of kettle-cooked salt and pepper potato chips

1 small can tomato paste (only need 2 tbsp)
Worchestershire sauce
1 small can Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (in Mexican food aisle)
1 can corn (divided for two recipes)
1 can black beans
smooth, mild dijon mustard
whole grain mustard
2 cans lump crabmeat

Baking Supplies/Herbs/Spices:
cooking oil of choice
salt and pepper
red pepper flakes
dry mustard
chili powder
dark brown sugar (light is fine)
apple cider vinegar
dried parsley
seafood seasoning (such as Old Bay)
ground mustard
dry bread crumbs

1 1/2-2 1/2 lbs ground beef (depending on how many sloppy Joes you want to make) This would be a great freezer meal!
1 pkg mild Italian sausages
1/2 lb chicken (if desired for stuffed sweet potatoes) (Cook it all at once, and save the other half pound for lunches for the week!)
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 bag pre-rinsed Brussels sprouts (or green beans)
1 green bell pepper
1 onion (1/2 for one recipe and 1/2 for another)
 fresh basil
2 zucchini
8 plum tomatoes or 4 large round tomatoes
1 large eggplant
fresh cilantro
3 medium sweet potatoes
4 cups Romaine lettuce (bagged is fine)
1 cup grape tomatoes
1 large avocado
red onion small (optional)
3 cups baby carrots

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
shredded cheese of choice (for stuffed sweet potatoes)
sour cream 1/4 cup
cream cheese 1 oz
1 egg