This Week In Food is what I hope will become a regular posting in which I share my menu plans for the week and a few of the recipes for what I'll be making. I'm hoping this will prove useful for you as you try to figure out the age old question, "What's for dinner?" My goal for weekday dinners is that they're relatively healthy, tasty and easy.
So, here's my process: Typically on the night before I plan to do my weekly grocery shopping trip, I sit down and look at our calendar for the week so I can figure out how many meals I need to cook (versus eating out or the super quick-and-easy meals I do when either my husband or I have something going on in the evening, or when he is traveling for work). Then I survey my husband to see if he's craving anything or has any special needs (like when he was in his weight loss challenge at work and everything had to be healthy, low cal and have calorie count info for his tracking...he won, by the way). From there I look at cookbooks, my pinterest recipe board, my stash of recipes from magazines like Real Simple and prior menu plans to come up with a list. When selecting meals I try to mix it up, so we don't end up having chicken every night, and then just go with what sounds good. Once I have my menu for the week, I create a grocery list from it, and then head to the store the next day. And that's it. Pretty basic.
So, here's this week's menu (in no particular order):
- Coconut chicken with apricot sauce, wild rice and pan-seared asparagus
- Spicy Thai tuna cakes with cucumber aioli, green beans and cous cous
- Grape, blue cheese and walnut pizzas
- Baked chicken taquitos and salad
- Guacamole grilled cheese with zucchini tots and salad
- Smoked sausage and vegetable pile-up
- Creamy crockpot chicken alfredo
For this week's menu, there are three new recipes I haven't yet tried (all found on Pinterest). The rest are tried-and-true. I will let you know how the new ones turn out. But for now, here are a couple of the tried-and-true recipes...
1 whole wheat flatbread
3/4 c. seedless red grapes, halved
2 tbsp crumbled blue cheese
2 tbsp chopped walnuts, toasted
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 cup arugula leaves
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place flatbread on rack in oven and bake for 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven; top with grapes, cheese and walnuts. Place back on rack in oven and bake 5 mins. or until cheese is melted and crust is browned. While pizza bakes, bring vinegar to a boil in small saucepan. Boil 1 min. or until vinegar thickens and is reduced by about half. Top pizza with arugula and drizzle with balsamic syrup. Serve immediately. (Amy's Notes: I don't really measure anything for this, I just eyeball it, which means I probably use more than is called for. When reducing the vinegar, it always takes longer than one minute for me, and watch it closely- it goes from doing nothing to thickening into break-your-teeth caramel pretty fast. And for some extra zing, try tossing your arugula in a little salt, pepper and olive oil before you put it on the pizzas. It's yummy.)
Smoked Sausage and Vegetable Pile-Up
7 ozs. smoked turkey or chicken sausage, sliced diagonally
1 c. chopped onion
1 c. chopped bell pepper (mix of your choice of red, yellow, orange or green)
1 c. sliced zucchini
2 c. frozen corn
1 package refrigerated mashed potatoes (garlic or regular)
Heat large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add sausage, saute 2 mins. or until browned. Remove from skillet and keep warm. Return pan to heat and coat with cooking spray. Add onion, bell pepper and zucchini. Coat veggies with cooking spray; saute 5 mins. or until tender and beginning to brown. While veggies cook, heat potatoes according to package directions. Add corn and cooked sausage to onion mixture. Saute for 4 mins. or until heated thru. Serve sausage mixture over mashed potatoes. (Amy's Notes: You can really use any kind of chicken or turkey sausage for this, it doesn't really have to be smoked. I think I cook everything a little longer than called for in the recipe...for sure on the veggies, cuz I like mine a little browned. This recipe is super easy and though it may not sound like much, it's surprisingly good and very satisfying.)
Both of these recipes are from the Cooking Light Fresh Food Fast cookbook, which is my go-to cookbook for weeknight meals. If there are any other recipes from this week's menu that you're interested in, please let me know through the post a comment below and I'll try to get them posted for you.
Thanks. And happy eating!