Monday, March 21, 2011

Meals for Week of March 21, 2011

OK, so I was actually working on this for last week and got side tracked.  But here it is for you to enjoy for this week.  I also hope that you can browse back at older posts and gain meal planning inspiration from those.  :-)

I want to take a brief moment to talk about breakfast.  There are a lot of breakfast foods that I love, but in spite of that sometimes I get bored or I'm not in the mood to extend the effort to fix myself anything.  I have recently discovered a company that makes delicious breakfast cereals and I'm happy they make some of my childhood favorites but they are natural and they make them with using renewable energy.  Three Sisters Cereal  is based in Minneapolis, MN and I buy it at Whole Foods Market.  The cereal comes in cute bags that has less packaging and my favorite cold cereal is the Sweet Wheat, which is a frosted shredded wheat.  They also make an instant oatmeal, which I tried recently and my kids love it.  Something I love about the oatmeal, is they designed the package so you can use it to measure your water for making it.  So simple, but yet so totally clever!  It makes it easy for older kids to make it themselves and I just love how they created the packaging to multi-task.  We have the brown sugar and maple flavor right now which is delicious, but I plan to try the chocolate soon as I have a certain 5 year old chocoholic who I know that will LOVE it.  Next time you are at Whole Foods, check them out.*  My local store has had them on sale several times, so I stocked up on multiple packages.  I sent one whole bag with my husband to work so that he can just keep it on hand and saves us money so he doesn't eat out.

I also came across this great article from Relish Magazine that I wanted to share- Re-Inventing Breakfast.  It has a great little bullet list of ideas for toast, plus a few delicious recipes.

OK, onto the recipes for this week-

No Prep Veggie Lasagna- For those who would rather assemble something from pre-made items, I like the products that come from Trader Joe’s.  This lasagna doesn’t require making sauce, sautéing vegetables or boiling noodles.  It’s just assembling the dish. 

Mini Skillet Meatloaves- Individual sized meatloaves that you can make on a weeknight.  You just need a skillet with a lid. 

Linguine with Cauliflower and Brown Butter- Fantastic way to eat cauliflower!  And the flavor of sage with browned butter is so good!

Corned Beef Hash- It doesn’t have to come from a can, just make a few extra potatoes to use with any little bits of leftover beef.

Sour Cream Noodle Bake- This is an “old school” recipe that you may have had some variation of it growing up.  I think it’s a good one for making ahead, or if you need to bring a meal to someone.  You can make healthier adaptations; ground turkey instead of beef, brown some veggies like finely diced carrot, celery or orange bell pepper with the meat; use fat free cottage cheese.  I don’t recommend a lower fat sour cream though or cheddar cheese, you need those to melt well. 

Quick Chicken Tostadas- Super easy and so versatile.  This version is perfect for a weeknight.  I've shared this before and it's had rave reviews.

Chicken with Artichokes and Angel Hair- This easy recipe has a little photo tutorial, which is nice because the the method of cooking this recipe is very adaptable to making this kind of chicken with lots of other sauces. 

Ham and Bean Soup- In case a hearty warm soup is still what you need, this soup is great.  It also freezes nicely.  I have made it with a ham bone or with just diced ham. 

Spring Salad with Strawberries and Creamy Oranage Avocado Dressing- I shared this recipe last spring, I love it.  Let’s pretend it’s not raining and there’s no more snow anywhere and it’s actually spring. 

Strawberry Balsamic Sauce or Jam- I love, love love this sauce!  I’ve also made it as jam.  This is a great way to use the not-so-sun-ripened-sweet supermarket strawberries.  It’s so simple and a great sauce to pour over ice cream or on your morning yogurt.  If you follow the instructions to cook it longer into a jam, then you have your own homemade jam for toast! 

Easy Strawberry Jam- Depending on the strawberries you get this may turn out a bit tart.  It’s great if you have wonderful naturally sweet strawberries.  But it is a great low sugar option for jam.

*Just as FYI- I wasn't paid or compensated by Three Sisters, I just wanted to share the love.  :-)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Meals for Week of March 7, 2011

 As I near the end of my pregnancy, I'm waiting for the nesting to kick in.  So far, nothing.  In general I feel fine, outside of the usual discomfort of being heavy, the extra effort of pumping more blood, and having your lungs and bladder squished.  But this leads me to laying down more than sitting.  And sitting up at my computer is not so comfortable, which is why I've been sporadic with posting. But yet why haven't I started to wash laundry, cook extra meals and clean the house?  I seem to be waiting for some physiological need to do these things instead of just knowing that I should do them.  Hopefully I will get it in gear and get our house ready for this new addition.

I want to share an article I had on the previous e-mealplanning website, which I have now archived in the other blog.  It's a great little piece written by my sister, a professional chef, about the delicious artichoke.  I thought it was a good time to pull this out since we'll soon see them in abundance this spring.
All About Artichokes

This week I put together a list of meals that sort of hints at spring with warmer weather, but still included a few recipes that hit the spot on a cold or rainy evening.
 Meals for the Week of March 7, 2011

Creamy Chicken Spaghetti Casserole- There are many versions of a baked spaghetti casserole.  This one is a little rich, but you can make a flour and milk based sauce with fat free milk instead of the half and half listed in the recipe. 

Tomato Sauce with Butter and Onions- Love this simple recipe.  But good quality canned tomatoes are a must.

Panade (Baked Soup)- Love this idea and I plan to make this very soon.  Perfect for this lingering winter weather.  She provides several soup recipe ideas or you can use your favorite hearty or creamy soup. 

Seared Chicken Salad with Green Beans, Almonds and Dried Cherries- If you need/want to eat lighter and healthier, this main dish salad is a good choice.  Strawberries are back in season so you could have fresh sliced strawberries if you want.  You can make the chicken in advance and prep the other parts of the salad. 

Panko Crusted Fish Sticks- This is very easy and cooks in the oven in just 15 minutes.  Panko crumbs make things so crispy without frying.

Chicken Taco Pizza- I love the idea of this.  Follow the recipe, or just use it for inspiration.  Traditional homemade pizza is always great, but unique variations like this are fun too.  Especially if you have leftovers from a taco dinner!

Crockpot Pasta Fagioli- Similar to a minestrone soup, this contains ground beef and it is a sort of copycat of a soup available at The Olive Garden.  The recipe can easily be vegetarian by omitting the meat and using vegetable stock instead of beef.

Ham and Broccoli Pasta- This is a no recipe recipe.  Basically just directions, it’s item #7 on the list. 

Pan Fried London Broil Steak- London broil is actually a method of cooking steak, although many meat supermarket departments label the typical cut used as London broil.  It’s an inexpensive cut that is large and 1 can serve a family.  This is a super easy and tasty method of making it. 

Fish Tacos with Chipotle Cream- Very easy to make and ready in less than 30 minutes.  Chipotle chilies in adobo sauce are spicy, so add a little at a time when making the sauce.  Leftover chilies can be stored in the fridge for quite awhile or frozen.  

Spinach and Feta Hummus- What an incredible snack!  Great protein along with the healthy spinach greens.  Serve it with vegetables and this could be a lunch meal.