Monday, August 25, 2014

Meal Plan Monday

I totally cooked all seven nights last week! We did eat some leftovers for dinner last night though. I had to make a fresh veggie to go with, but at least the entree was a total reheat.

I'm not going to waste any time today. Here's your meal plan for the week. 

Monday: Lasagna with Side Salad
I think I love pasta more than dessert. Lasagna is one of the things I make that Payton requests on the regular. Thanks to my wonderful mother for teaching me how to make it!! I made a smaller one than normal. When I use a 9x13 inch pan, we have leftovers for days (which you may want), but we are watching out weights, so although I could eat it every night of the week, I should pass. We has a simple side salad with this. Greens, tomato, red onion, carrot and Italian dressing.

For the sauce:
1 pound lean sausage 
1 pound ground turkey
2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 cup white or yellow onion, chopped
2 cans petit diced tomatoes
1 can of tomato paste
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp oregano
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 375˚Brown meats in skillet over medium-high heat with onions and garlic.
  2. Brown meats in skillet over medium-high heat with onions and garlic
  3. Drain meat and wipe out pan. Return pan to heat.
  4. Add tomatoes, paste and spices and put the meat back into the pan.
  5. Let simmer on low heat an hour (or more if you 'd like). This allows all the ingradients to blend well.
Package of lasagna noodles (I use the kind you don't have to precook)
1 16 oz container ricotta cheese (I use part skim)
1 egg
1 tsp parsley
3 cups part-skim mozarella cheese, shredded
1/3 cup parmesan cheese, shredded

  1. While your sauce is cooking, prepare your ricotta by mixing it with the egg and parsley. Also use this time to grate cheese.
  2. In an 8x8 dish, add a thin layer of sauce.
  3. Place 2 noodles on top.
  4. Smooth out a layer of the ricotta mixture on top the the noodles (just enough to cover noodles with a thin layer)
  5. Spinkle mozarella over ricotta.
  6. Cover cheeses with another layer of sauce.
  7. Repeat until dish is full. (I typically get 3 noodle layers)
  8. Top with fresh parmesan.
  9. Cover with tinfoil (I place my dish on a baking sheet in case it bubbles over) and bake for 30 minutes.
  10. Remove tinfoil and bake until top layer appears melted and golden (approx. 12 minutes)

Tuesday: Jalepeno Turkey Burgers with Spicy Avocado Spread
In case you don't know this yet, I love a good burger. We also love spicy food! And these bad boys have the perfect amount of kick!

Burger Ingredients:

1 pound ground turkey
1 jalepeno pepper, diced
1 egg
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 tbsp olive oil, for cooking

  1. Combine all ingredients (except olive oil) in a large bowl.
  2. Form into patties. (I made 4 and they were a bit thick, next time I will make 5)
  3. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat. 
  4. Once oil is hot, add burgers, making sure they do not stick to pan.
  5. Cook 10 minutes on both sides, or until meat is no longer pink in center and juices run clear.
Spicy Avocado Spread:
1 avocado
1 jalepeno, diced
1 clove garlic, pressed
salt and pepper to taste
  1. Mash all ingredients together in a bowl until completely blended.

For the build:
Buns (we like Kaiser rolls)
Sliced tomoato
Sliced Pepper Jack cheese
Sliced red oinion
Or anything else you'd like to top your turkey burger with!!

Wednesday: Pesto Quinoa with Roasted Asparagus and Sun-dried Tomatoes
I found a recipe for pesto that is both easy and delicious from Damn Delicious. Instead of using it in a pasta dish (because we already had lasagna this week), I decided to use the pesto to create a quinoa salad. I must say, it was pretty amazing!

1 cup quinoa, uncooked
2 cups water
1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained
pesto (you can use store bought if you prefer)

  1. Rinse qiunoa in cold running water.
  2. Bring water and quinoa to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat and cover. Continue cooking for 14 minutes.
  4. In a skillet, heat olive oil on medium.
  5. Add aspargus and sautee for 10 minutes or until tender-crisp (if you like it softer, cook longer)
  6. In a medium bowl, combine cooked quinoa and asparagus, pesto and sun-dried tomatoes. Serve warm.
*If you want to use pasta with this recipe, instead of the quinoa, go for it!!

Thursday: Bruschetta Chicken with Side Salad
This is the first recipe I have tried from Blog Chef. After eating this, it will not be the last! We eat salads as our side for many meals these days. Such a lighter, more healthy option. I promise we like them, it's not just an easy out on a side. This would also be great with a pasta side or served over pasta. 

We had some of this chicken left over and chopped it up and put it on a Capri inspired salad and it was delicious! Greens, red onion, roma tomatoes, shredded mozarella and a balsamic glaze. You could make a balsamic glaze, but I keep this in my fridge and it's yummy!

Friday: Crunchy Black Bean Tacos
Another favorite in our house: the black bean. We use them a lot on our meatless meal nights. Payton has loved them ever since she was a tiny tot. It seriously used to be the only protein we could get the girl to eat. These tacos though, are packed to the brim with flavor and all out goodness. We cheated a bit this night and had some chips and salsa from a Mexican restaurant as our side...
Crunchy Black Bean Taco Recipe

Saturday: Garlic Balsamic Pork Tenderloin with Asparagus
We buy asparagus in bulk because it is probably our favorite vegetable. It's a good source of bothe Vitamins A and C too. So, when we have it in the house, we will eat it more than once in a week. So, hopefully you like asparagus too! If not, this one is a side, so you can replace it with a different veggie.

We enjoy Pork Tenderloin, as it is a leaner meat. Typically, we prefer it grilled and not roasted in the oven. (we'd opt to eat everything grilled though if we could...we have a charcoal grill and there is just something about it that takes us to a happy place!). That being said, my husband said this recipe is by far the best non-grilled pork tenderloin we've ever had!
Garlic Balsamic Pork Tenderloin

1 pound of asparagus, trimmed
1 cup water
olive oil spray
1 tsp black sesame seeds
salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a saute pan, bring water to a boil.
  2. Add asparagus and blanch for 3 minutes.
  3. Drain and place asparagus aside on a paper towel.
  4. Dry pan and spray with olive oil, then put back on medium heat.
  5. Put asaragus back into pan, add salt, pepper and sesame seeds. 
  6. Saute for 8-10 minutes, flipping several times.
Saturday: Cilantro Lime Shrimp with Black Bean Salad
I think shrimp is making its way into our hearts via our mouths very quickly. I seriously couldn't get enough of this shrimp and the black bean salad was a perfect pairing!

2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
30 jumbo shrimp (I used precooked with tail on)
4-5 limes, sliced (optional)

  1. Mix cilantro, limes juice, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper together in a small bowl.
  2. Place shrimp on skewers (if using bamboo skewers make sure you soak them in water for about an hour before starting), alternating with a lime slice if you choose.
  3. Place skewers in a shallow dish or rimmed cookie sheet and pour marinade over. Place in refrigerator for at least one hour before grilling.
  4. Cook shrimp for 4-5 minutes on each side over medium heat. (shrimp is already cooked, you are just heating and giving it a slight char)

So, silly me didn't take a picture of the black bean salad, but it is a Pampered Chef recipe and oh, so scrumptious! Here is it:

Hope you and your family enjoy one or more of the meals as much as we did!!! As always, I wanna read your comments, especially if you make these at your house!

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