Saturday, September 22, 2012

Week 3 Themed Menu & Recipes

I realize that I missed the post for meals last week, I apologize! 

Here is this weeks dinner menu for my family.  Some of the meals we are trying for the first time. Please make some or ALL of them and try with us and make sure to let me know what your family thinks. My kids will definitely tell me if dinner is a WIN or a LOSS.

You can click on the image to the right and print this awesome template to write out the weeks meals.  It is courtesy of

Weekly themes are as follows:

  • Mac-n-Cheese Monday - a jazzed up version of mac-n-cheese each week with a protein
  • Taco Tuesday - Mexican fare
  • Wang Chung Wednesday - Asian fare (sometimes becomes "Wacky Wednesday" and it's pot luck)
  • Tuscan Thursday - Italian cuisine
  • Fish Friday
  • Slow Cooker/Simmer Saturday
  • Sandwich Sundays - this can be anything from burgers to panini's to cold cuts
***Saturday and Sunday are interchangeable depending on your families schedule that week.
As always, at the end of each recipe there will be a link to direct you to the site where I found these meals. You can print from the blog page or from the link that I provided.


  1. My daughter has a peanut allergy so we substitute and/or omit items that may be in a particular recipe, please do the same if you or anyone in your family has any allergies/dietary needs/personal preference (vegetarian).
  2. Some meals that I put on the menu will be my first time making them as well. So feedback is always appreciated
  3. If there is a meal that I know my kids will not eat I will make a "kid friendly" version of it for them, I will make note of this within the recipe.
  4. All families grocery budgets vary so please adjust ingredients or brands to fit the needs of your family.
  5. The majority of the meals are 30 minutes or less. We all have busy schedules!!!

Monday - Extra Creamy Mac-n-Cheese
w/ Buffalo Chicken Tenders (plain tenders for the kids) and Steamed Green Beans


1 16oz box pasta (shells, macaroni, bow tie) I used 3/4 of the box or 12 oz for this recipe
(if you have a larger family 5-6+ use the whole box but add more milk and cheese)
7 Tablespoons butter (4 for mac-n-cheese, 3 for buffalo sauce)
1 can cheddar cheese soup (10 3/4 oz)
1 can evaporated milk (12oz)
1-2 cups grated cheddar cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste
8-10 chicken tenders (breaded or non-breaded, your choice)
1/3 cup of hot sauce
1 package of fresh green beans
  1. Preheat oven and bake chicken tenders according to package instructions
  2. Cook and drain noodles. Add back to warm pot, stir in butter, and cheese soup
  3. Add half the can of evaporated milk. Stir until combined
  4. Add 1 cup of shredded cheese to start with, add more until desired cheesiness
  5. Keep the burner on low to help melt things together, if it gets too thick, add some reserve evaporated milk to thin it down
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste
  7. In a small pot steam a bag of fresh green beans until desired tenderness, season w/ S&P
  8. In another small pot melt 3 tablespoons of butter with 1/3 cup of hot sauce.  Once melted, toss desired amount of chicken tenders in the buffalo sauce.  Leave some tenders plain for the kiddos.
  9. Serve pasta warm and along side chicken tenders and green beans.
Serves 4, Ready in 25 minutes
Clever, Crafty, Cookin' Mama  extracreamymacncheese
Tuesday - Southwest Stuffed Peppers
Olive Oil
1/2-3/4 lb lean ground turkey breast (vegetarians can use tofu)
1 cup chopped onions
1 heaping tbsp of homemade taco seasoning (or you can use the packaged type if you like)
2 cups of cooked rice (any type you like – I like brown)
3-4 organic bell peppers, halved and seeds removed
1 can of black beans, drained & rinsed
½ cup of organic frozen corn
1 (15 -16 ounce) jar of salsa
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
fresh cilantro
sour cream
sliced avocado
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Lightly coat the peppers with olive oil and roast in a baking dish about 20-25 minutes just until cooked thru. Remove the peppers from the oven and allow to cool until you can handle them.
  3. While peppers are baking, brown ground turkey and saute the onions.
  4. In a bowl add the taco seasoning, cooked ground turkey, chopped onions, black beans, corn and rice. Add in the jar of salsa and mix well.
  5. Once peppers are cooked and mixture is made, carefully spoon the turkey mixture into each half of the bell peppers and place back into the baking dish. Cook the peppers for another 15-20 minutes or until the peppers are cooked all the way thru.
  6. Before removing from the oven sprinkle the tops of each pepper with shredded cheddar cheese. Place back into the oven just until the cheese has melted.
  7. Remove from the oven and top with fresh cilantro, avocado slices and/or sour cream just before serving.
*You can serve this with your favorite chips and salsa.
Serves 4-6, Ready in 50 minutes.  You can make this dish ahead and set aside until ready to bake
Simply Love Food  southwesternstuffedpeppers
Wednesday - Crock Pot Orange Chicken & Rice
w/Stir Fry Veggies

 3-4 boneless chicken breasts, chopped into small chunks
 1/3 cup flour
 olive oil
 1/2 T salt
 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
 3 T ketchup
 6 oz. frozen orange juice concentrate (thaw or throw it in the microwave for 45 seconds)
 4 T brown sugar
 2 cups of minute rice, cooked
 1 bag of frozen or fresh stir fry vegetables, cooked to your liking. 
  1. In a bowl, mix the orange juice, brown sugar, vinegar, salt, and ketchup
  2. Pour the flour in a small bowl.  Cover the chicken breast chunks in flour and shake off the excess.
  3. Pour a small amount of olive oil in a skillet and brown the flour-covered chicken.  The chicken doesn't need to be fully cooked since it's going in the crock pot.
  4. After the chicken is done cooking, pour the pieces into the crock pot.
    Then cover the chicken with your sauce mixture and give the pot a stir.
  5. Cook on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 2-3.
  6. Serve over rice and alongside veggies.
Serves 4, Ready in 5-6 hours on low or 2-3 on high
Team-T-Adventures  crockpotorangechicken
Thursday - Penne w/Asparagus & Balsamic Butter
*This is a meatless meal, but you could easily add sliced grilled chicken to this dish*
1 pound asparagus
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1 pound penne
1/4 pound butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  1. Heat the oven to 400°. Snap the tough ends off the asparagus and discard them. Cut the spears into 1-inch pieces. Put the asparagus on a baking sheet and toss with the oil and 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Roast until tender, about 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, put the vinegar in a small saucepan. Simmer until 3 tablespoons remain. Stir in the brown sugar and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Remove from the heat.
  3. Cook the penne in a large pot of boiling, salted water until just done, about 13 minutes. Drain the pasta and toss with the butter, vinegar, asparagus, Parmesan, and the remaining 1 3/4 teaspoons salt. Serve with additional Parmesan.
Serves 4, Ready in 30 minutes
Friday - Grilled Halibut
w/Mango-Avocado Salsa & Rice Pilaf
Gwyneth Paltrow from Bon Appetit
  • 1medium ripe avocado, peeled and cut into 1/2" dice
  • 1medium ripe mango, peeled and cut into 1/2" dice
  • 1cupcherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 4large fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 3tablespoonsextra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for brushing
  • 3tablespoonsfresh lime juice, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 46-ounce halibut or mahi-mahi fillets
  • 4lime wedges
  • 1 box of Near East rice pilaf (flavor of choice), cooked

  1. Prepare a grill to medium-high heat. Gently combine the avocado, mango, tomatoes, basil, 1 tablespoon oil, and 1 tablespoon lime juice in a large mixing bowl. Season salsa to taste with salt and pepper and set aside at room temperature, gently tossing occasionally.
  2. Place fish fillets in a 13x9x2" glass baking dish. Drizzle remaining 2 tablespoon oil and 2 tablespoon lime juice over. Season fish with salt and pepper. Let marinate at room temperature for 10 minutes, turning fish occasionally.
  3. Brush grill rack with oil. Grill fish until just opaque in center, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to plates. Spoon mango-avocado salsa over fish. Squeeze a lime wedge over each and serve.
  4. Serve with prepared rice pilaf.
Serves 4, Ready in 30 minutes
Bon Appetit, Gwyneth Paltrow  halibutmangoavocadosalsa
Saturday - Balsamic Honey Pulled Pork Sandwiches
(or sliders)
  • 2 1/2 - 3 poundboneless pork shoulder roast 
  • 1 cup chopped onion (1 large)
  • 3/4 cup chopped green sweet pepper (1 medium)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cuphoney
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
  •  1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • round dinner rolls, split and toasted
  • Deli coleslaw
  • Sweet or dill pickles, coarsely chopped
  • 1 package of frozen french fries
1. Trim fat from meat. If necessary, cut meat to fit into a 3 1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker. In the cooker, combine onion and sweet pepper. Add meat; sprinkle with thyme and rosemary. Pour broth over meat.
2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 9 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 1/2 to 5 hours.
3. Meanwhile, for barbecue sauce, in a medium saucepan, combine vinegar, ketchup, brown sugar, honey, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, garlic, black pepper, and salt. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.
4. Transfer meat to a cutting board. Using two forks, pull meat apart into shreds, discarding fat. Strain vegetable mixture, discarding liquid. Return shredded meat and strained vegetables to cooker. Stir in barbecue sauce. If using high-heat setting, turn to low-heat setting Cover and cook for 1 hour.
5. To serve, spoon meat mixture onto bun bottoms. Top with coleslaw and pickles. Add bun tops.
6. Meanwhile, bake french fries to have alongside the sandwiches.
If making sliders serves 20, on regular buns serves 8-10, Ready in 9-10 hours on low or 5-6 hours on high.
Better Homes and Gardens  balsamicporksandwiches
Sunday - Steak Em Up Pitas
1/4 cup 2% greek-style yogurt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish, drained
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
EVOO, for brushing
2 onions, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices, rings left intact
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 pounds filet mignon (I use flank steak), cut crosswise into 4 even pieces
4-6 plain pitas
1 bunch spinach--stemmed, thoroughly washed and dried
  1. Preheat a grill to medium. In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt, mayonnaise, horseradish and garlic. (I serve horseradish on the side so it is not to hot for the kids)
  2. Lightly brush EVOO on the onions. Place them, rings intact, on the grill (if you have a grill topper, use it here). Season with salt and pepper, cover the grill and cook, carefully turning once, until softened and lightly charred, about 5 minutes; transfer to a bowl.
  3. Pat the beef dry and brush with EVOO; season with salt and pepper. Grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes before thinly slicing crosswise.
  4. Grill the pitas, turning once, until just warmed through but not crisp, about 1 minute. Slice off the top third of each pita and spread the insides with 2 generous tsp. of horseradish sauce, then stuff with the spinach, sliced meat and grilled onions. Finish with a dollop of the remaining sauce and serve immediately.
***Choose your own side tonight:)
Serves 4, Ready in 30 minutes
Rachael Ray  steakemuppitas
Don't forget your comments!
Have another SUPER week and happy eating!


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