meal plan 1/13/14

Last week I cooked most of our recipes from the magazine CLEAN EATING.  Definitely try Tuesday and Wednesday, both are kid friendly!

MONDAY . . . Well, monday was kind of a cheater for me.  Weeks ago I bought the the Thai Curry sauce from Trader Joe's.  Once in a while I go through our cabinets and prepare meals with things I need to use up.  For example if I have a can of coconut milk, I figure out a recipe to use up the milk.  Anyway, I had this Thai Curry sauce from TJ's so we had that over chicken, Parmesan couscous and artichokes.  Here's how (and try doing it in my order, it should all come out at the same time) . . .

ARTICHOKES

  • 3 artichokes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 pepper corns
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed

Rinse your artichokes.  If you want to get fancy cut all the thorns off each leaf.  So the artichoke lays flat in the pan, cut the stem off so there is about 1/4 an inch left.  Be sure to cut the stem as flat as you can so it can sit upright in the sauce pan.  Now find a sauce pan large enough to hold your artichokes, fill it with 2 - 3 inches of water.  Bring the water to a boil, add everything to the pan, cover and simmer for 45 minutes.  When you pull the artichokes out, put them in a colander upside down so all the water can drain out of the leaves.  Serve with melted butter, mayo or mayo mixed with smoke paprika.  Or just eat 'em plain.

CHICKEN

  • 1# chicken breast, cubed
  • 1 jar of Trader Joe's Thai Curry sauce

While the artichokes are cooking, chop up your chicken.  In a prepared frying pan (with Pam or olive oil) cook up your chicken until it is not longer pink.  Turn the heat all the way down and add the sauce.  Let it heat up and serve.

COUSCOUS - just buy this stuff, Near East Parmesan Couscous.  Follow the directions and add veggies if you would like.

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TUESDAY - Creamy broccoli & Pea soup served with bread and cheese.  This soup was very good right after I made it.  But . . . I made it around 2:00PM and put it in the slow cooking on the 'keep warm' setting and it over cooked.  It didn't have the same zing when I served it to the crew.  They all ate it, but I knew it was better right after I made it.  I cooked it early because I thought it would be difficult to cook with kids around, it turns out it was a pretty easy recipe.  The serving size is 4 good healthy servings and maybe one serving leftover.

creamy broccoli & pea soup (serves 4 big servings)

  • INGREDIENTS
  • 1 ½ T olive oil, DIVIDED
  • yellow onion, diced
  • s & p
  • 3 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1 t ground ginger OR 3 t of fresh, diced
  • ½ t dried thyme OR 1 ½ t fresh thyme
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups of broth, whatever
  • 1 ½ pounds broccoli diced (I put my cutting board in the sink when I cut broccoli.  It’s kinda awkward, but the little pieces of broccoli that spray everywhere just go into the sink)
  • 1 c shallots (thinly sliced)
  • 2 c frozen peas
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • ¼ c greek yogurt
  • 1 ½ T fresh mint or chives, chopped (I chose mint,  and then use the leftovers to make a cranberry, fresh lime, muddled mint and vodka cocktail)

Here’s how to whip this soup together.

  1. First get all the chopping done.
  2. In a very large pot heat ¾ T of oil and add onion.  Saute for 8 minutes with medium heat.
  3. To the same pot add the garlic, thyme, ginger and pepper flakes.  Saute for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the broth, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil with the lid on.  You don’t want to loose any of the steam (that’s your soup broth).
  5. Once the soup is at a rapid boil turn the heat down to a simmer, add the broccoli put the lid on and let simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. While that is simmering.  In a small skillet add the remaining olive oil, shallots and salt and pepper.  Saute at medium heat for 8 minutes.  Let the shallots brown up just a tiny bit.  Set aside.
  7. Once the 18 minutes of simmering has finished add the peas.  Cover and simmer again for 3 minutes.
  8. Stir in the lemon juice.
  9. Now it’s time to puree the soup.  The original recipe called for an immersion blender.  I don’t have one, so I used my blender.  This worked great, remember to let the heat out with the removable portion on the lid of your blender.  I would recommend NOT to puree the entire soup, but to leave 1/3 or ½ of it chunky.  It’s your call.
  10. Lastly serve up the soup in the bowls and top with yogurt, fresh herb (mint or chives) and shallots.

WEDNESDAY - Chicken, Butternut Squash & Sage Penne.  The recipe I cooked from Clean Living was OK.  We all ate it, but it didn't have strong flavors I thought it would.  The flavors were awesome, but they were weak.  So here is my version of the recipe VERY doctored up.  I really think you should try this, if you don't or haven't cooked with sage before, try it.  It's a great, mellow, toasty flavor . . . awesome in the winter.

serves 4 OR easily double and serve 8

  • cooking spray
  • 1 -2 pound butternut squash, cubed (buy this in produce section already cubed)
  • olive oile
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 T fresh sage, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 t chili powder
  • 8 oz whole wheat pasta
  • 8 cups baby spinach, diced
  • 1/3 cup grated parm

HOW TO DO IT . . .

  1. Turn your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Get everything diced, measured out and ready to go . . .
  3. Line two baking sheets with tin foil and spray with cooking spray.
  4. Even though the squash I bought was cubed for me, I cubed it again so it could fit in the little mouths at our table.  Put all the squash in a bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons of olive oil with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.  Pour over the squash, mix well and then spread the squash onto the prepared baking sheet.  Set aside.
  5. Mix together chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.  Get your hands dirty and rub it all over the chicken breast.  This will be messy and it won't all rub in, but do your best.  Place chicken breast on the prepared baking sheet.
  6. Get the pasta water boiling and cook the pasta, not the whole bag.  The recipe only calls for 8 ounces not a pound!
  7. Place both the squash and chicken (put the chicken on the top rack or side by side) in the oven and bake for 12 minutes.  Stir the squash around (don't touch the chicken) and bake another 13 minutes.  Pull the squash out (don't touch the chicken) and add the garlic and sage and mix around as best you can.  Put back in the over and bake for 3 more minutes (or until the garlic is soft and brown).  Now pull the squash AND the chicken out.  Set them both aside.
  8. As soon as the chicken cools, chop it up.  Or if you can handle the heat, chop it up while it's hot.
  9. Get a large skillet or pot (large enough to hold the pasta, chicken and squash).  Mist with cooking spray and cook the spinach until wilted.  As you are cooking sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper in.  If you are having trouble with spinach sticking to the pan add a tablespoon or two of water to the pan.  Just cook until all is wilted and set aside.
  10. Once the spinach is cooked, added the pasta, squash and chicken.  Mix it all up.  Serve it on individual plates and top with parm.

THURSDAY - I made Pad Thai from the same Clean Eating Magazine.  Folks it was horrible.  We ate it, but I would not recommend it.  I have a GREAT Pad Thai recipe that is tried and true.  Try this, your whole family will love it!

INGREDIENTS . . .

  • 1 pound rice noodles
  • 8 ounces of radishes, sliced
  • vegetable oil
  • 6 eggs
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 pound of meat (your choice, fish, chicken or beef)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup peanuts, ground up small
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 2 T chili powder
  • 1 T chie paste in soybean oil
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 1 cup green onion, chopped
  • 1 cup cilantro chopped

HOW TO DO IT . . .

  1. Get everything out on the counter and all your veggies chopped up and ready to go!
  2. Soak the noodles in lukewarm water for 40 minutes to an hour and drain.
  3. Soak the radishes in water for 2 - 3 minutes, pour off and drain.  Repeat 2 more times.  This will get them crispy!
  4. Crack all eggs into a bowl and whisk.  Then add one tablespoon of vegetable oil to the wok or non-stick pan and cook the eggs.  Just cook them until they are soft, not dried out.  Remove them from the pan and cut into strips.
  5. Mix together peanuts, sugar,  and chili powder.  Set aside.
  6. Mix together chili paste and fish sauce.  Set aside.
  7. Heat almost 1/4 cup of oil in the wok or non-stick pan and add the garlic.
  8. Right as you start to smell the garlic add the meat.
  9. When the meat is about 1/2 way done add the radishes.
  10. When the meat is fully cooked add the noodles and vinegar.
  11. Cook until the noodles just get soft and then add eggs, fish sauce mixture and sugar mixture.
  12. Continue tossing and cooking lightly until everything is mixed together and warmed up.  Remove from the pan.
  13. In the hot wok or non-stick pan toss in the bean sprouts for one minutes.
  14. Dish Pad Thai onto individual dishes topping with cilantro, bean sprouts and green onions.  Enjoy!

FRIDAY - A friend had brought us enchiladas and spanish rice.  I had six little kiddos to feed, a babysitter, a teenager and David and I.  They were awesome.

 

SATURDAY - Last night we went to Fire on the Mountain.  We took a friend out to dinner and it was her choice.  I and T wanted to go there too!  So unhealthy, so good.  Have you tried their fried nutterbutters?

 

SUNDAY - Our groceries are being delivered today.  I am going to use up all the veggies in the fridge to make chicken veggie stir fry.

Here's what I have in the fridge

  • zucchini
  • fennel
  • garlic
  • carrots
  • spinach
  • shallots

This turned out delicious.

  1. Like sage pasta dish above, I cooked the chicken the same way.  Covered it with paprika (this time I used smoked paprika) salt and pepper.  Then I baked it at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.
  2. While it was cooking I chopped up all the veggies in to separate piles and cooked up one cup of rice.
  3. I added the shallots and fennel and two teaspoons of curry with some olive oil to the pan.  I cranked the heat and moved the veggies around a lot.  I really wanted to get the flavors going.  I didn't think the fennel would be a great addition to the stir fry so I wanted to mask the flavor, but use up the veggie too.  I cooked that until the veggies started to brown.
  4. I dumped that into a big soup pot.  I threw in the rice into the big pot because that was done.  In addition to that I tossed in 5 frozen cubes of coconut milk I had in the freezer and about a 1/4 of kikkoman teriyaki sauce.  I didn't turn on the heat yet, I didn't want to over cook anything.
  5. Next I sauted up the spinach and broccoli together for a few minutes and at the end threw in the zucchini.  When that was done I tossed it in the big pot.
  6. The chicken finished up so I chopped it up and threw it in the big pot.
  7. Lastly I added 8-10 drops of fish sauce and turned on the heat to warm everything back up.
  8. I served it up.  They all ate it!