Saturday, November 10, 2012

Week 10 Themed Menu and Recipes

Oh man, I struggled with this menu (and the following because of Thanksgiving).  This upcoming week I will actually get two days off of cooking because we will be out and about!!!  However, I love doing this blog and sharing my ideas with you.  I couldn't leave my "fans" without a meal option for each and everyday. 

I are most welcome:)

Week 9 was a success with my family.  The husband enjoyed all the dishes.  The kids enjoyed the majority of the dishes, with the exception of Tuesday, Chicken Enchilada Pasta.  They claimed it was was not!!!  I did promise them that the next time I make it, I will tone down the "heat" for them.

By the way, the meals this week are really quick and easy but extremely delicious!

OK so let's get on with it...

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 - Three Cheese Mac & Cheese w/Panko Crust
This mac-n-cheese recipe was handed down to me by a dear friend.  They do not know the original source since it was also given to them from a friend.  If anyone knows the source please email me so I can give proper credit.

  • 4 cups elbow macaroni noodles (half of a large box)
  • 4 cups shredded Colby Jack cheese
  • 16 ounces of Asiago
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/2 block of Velveeta (I use the one made with 1% milk)
  • 1 tablespoon of pepper (optional)
  • 1 cup of panko bread crumbs, or enough to cover the pasta
  • Sliced ham, warmed (utilizing leftovers from Saturday)
  • Side salad of mixed greens (optional)
  1. Bring 4-6 quarts of water to a boil with a little olive oil and salt
  2. Boil noodles for 8-10 minutes
  3. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
  4. Cut your Velveeta in small squares so that it melts easily
  5. Slice butter into pats so that it melts easily
  6. Rinse for about 30 seconds and drain the noodles
  7. Return the noodles to the pot you boiled them in
  8. Add 1 cup of milk, Velveeta, and butter
  9. Stir until the mixture is all melted
  10. Add 3 cups of shredded Colby Jack cheese (one cup at a time)
  11. Once the mixture starts to resemble the consistency of Rice Krispie treats (you will know once you see it); it is ready for your baking dish
  12. Spread into baking dish and sprinkle with pepper
  13. Spread the remaining Colby Jack on top along with the Asiago cheese
  14. Cover with aluminum foil (pay close attention not to cover it so that the foil takes off the cheese once it is hot)                                                                                                                                                         *This could possibly be made ahead up until here and then refrigerated until ready to bake.
  15. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, during the last 5 minutes sprinkle the panko bread crumbs over the mac-n-cheese and bake until golden brown. 
  16. Serve alongside the reheated ham and mixed green salad.
*Depending on the dish you are baking in, you can place half of the mixture, layer with Asiago cheese, place the remaining mixture over the cheese, and finally place the remaining cheese on top (like a lasagna).

Serves 6, Ready in 55 minutes
Thank you Jessica and Crew!!!

Tuesday - Southwestern Chicken Panini & Mango Slaw
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red enchilada sauce
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts (optional)
  • tablespoons golden raisins (or craisins)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped chipotle chile in adobo sauce plus 1 tsp. adobo sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • cups shredded cooked chicken (or use store bought rotisserie chicken)
  • 1/2-inch slices Italian country-style bread
  • 1 cup shredded colby and/or Monterey jack cheese
  • 1 recipe Mango Slaw (see below)
1. In a large skillet, cook onion in 1 Tbsp. hot oil for 3 to 4 minutes, until softened. Stir in enchilada sauce, pine nuts (optional), raisins, chipotle chile and sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, and cinnamon. Stir in chicken; heat through.
2. Preheat panini press or cast iron skillet. Brush one side of 4 bread slices with some remaining oil. Turn over; place about 1/2 cup filling on each. Top with 1/4 cup cheese and bread slices; brush with oil.
3. Place sandwich(es) in panini press and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until bread is golden and cheese is melted. If using a skillet, toast both sides until golden. Serve with Mango Slaw.
4. In large bowl whisk together 2 Tbsp. olive oil and 1 Tbsp. lime juice. Add 2 cups finely shredded cabbage, 1/2 cup chopped mango, 2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro, and salt and black pepper to taste. Toss to combine.
*Kid Friendly Notes: 
1. I will make the paninis for the kids with plain chicken and cheese (not tossed in the sauce).
2. I will also serve sliced mango and craisins to them in lieu of the Mango Slaw that we will be having.
Serves 4, make for for seconds, Ready in 30 minutes
Better Homes and Gardens southwesternchickenpanini
Wednesday - Healthier Mongolian Beef w/Rice
  • 1 lb beef tenderloin (or whatever steak you have on hand), thinly sliced against the grain
  • 2 TB corn starch (optional)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ginger, grated
  • 3 – 3 1/2 TB tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
  • 3 TB agave nectar (or sugar)
  • 2 tsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 4 TB water*
  • 6 green onion, cut into 2-inch pieces (green parts only)
  • 2-4 TB canola oil for the pan
  • 2 cups of prepared rice, brown or white
  1. Stir together tamari, agave nectar, water, and Chinese rice wine/dry sherry. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Make sure the oil completely coats the bottom of the pan. Dredge the beef in corn starch (if using). Shake off any excess starch. Add the beef and quickly sauté until lightly browned.
  3. Add garlic and ginger. Sauté for a few seconds. Add the sauce from step 1. The sauce should quickly come to a boil. Lower the heat a bit and allow it to bubble. Keep stirring. Reduce until it becomes thicker and glazes the beef. It should happen very quickly, within minutes.
  4. Throw in the green onions at the last minute. Mix. Turn off the heat immediately. Serve with steamed rice.
*Cook’s Note: The corn starch helps to brown the beef and thicken the sauce once the sauce is added to the pan.  Make sure to shake off excess corn starch. It’s not a batter, you just want to lightly coat or dust the beef. If you are not using starch, you do not need to add water to the sauce. Additionally, you can use low-sodium tamari (or half/half) to further reduce the sodium content.
Serves 4, Ready in 15-20 minutes
This recipe was originally made for 2 servings, I have doubled the amounts to make it suitable for 4. 
Chow Divine mongolianbeef
Thursday - Quick Meatball Minestrone

  • 1- 16 ounce package Frozen Cooked Italian-Style Meatballs (unless you have homemade ones in the freezer, like me)
  • 3- 14 ounce cans Reduced-Sodium Beef Broth/Stock
  • 1- 15 ounce can Great Northern Beans or Cannellini Beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1- 15 ounce can Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic, and Oregano
  • 1- 10 ounces package Frozen Mixed Vegetables
  • 1 cup Dried Small Pasta (such as macaroni, small shell, minipenne, or ditalini)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • finely Shredded Parmesan Cheese, optional
  • Bread for dipping, optional
1. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a 4-quart Dutch oven and bring to a boil
2. Add the pasta and return the oven to a boil.
3. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the meatballs are cooked through and the noodles are tender, which takes about 10 minutes.

4. Add the sugar and stir well to dissolve.

5. Serve sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

6. Serve with lightly toasted bread for dippingServes 4-6, Ready in 25 minutes
Friday - Italian Fish & Veggie Pockets
with Rice Pilaf


  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 1/2 pounds sugar snap peas, stemmed
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 (4-ounce) trout fillets, skinned (or other fish about 1/2-inch thick)
  • 8 thin slices lemon
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped mint leaves
  • 1 box of Near East (or your favorite brand) of Rice Pilaf, cooked to package instructions


  1. Special equipment: 4 large sheets of aluminum foil or parchment paper
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl mix together the lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Lay out the 4 sheets of aluminum foil. Place 1/4 of the sugar snap peas, 1/4 of the yellow bell peppers, and 1/4 of the orange bell peppers on each sheet of foil. Over each pile of vegetables drizzle 2 tablespoons of white wine, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and gently toss.
  4. Top each pile of seasoned vegetables with a piece of fish. Sprinkle the fish with some of the reserved lemon zest mixture. Top each fish with 2 slices of lemon.
  5. Fold up the foil into an air-tight packet. Place the foil packets in the oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish.
  6. Sprinkle the fish with mint just before serving alongside prepared rice pilaf.
Serves 4, Ready in 40 minutes
Food Network and Giada DeLaurentiis italianfishandveggiepackets
Saturday - Pot Roast w/Chipotle-Fruit Sauce
& Mashed Potatoes
  • 3 pound boneless beef chuck pot roast
  • 2 teaspoons garlic-pepper seasoning
  • 7 ounce package mixed dried fruit
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 4-5 large potatoes, prepared for mashed potatoes
1. Sprinkle both sides of meat with garlic-pepper seasoning. If necessary, cut meat to fit into a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker. Place meat in the cooker. Add fruit, the 1/2 cup water, and the peppers (I am adding peppers at the very end, after the kids are served).
2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 10 to 11 hours or on high-heat setting for 5 to 5-1/2 hours. Transfer meat and fruit to a serving platter. Cover and keep warm.
3. Transfer cooking liquid to a bowl or glass measuring cup; skim off fat. In a medium saucepan combine the 1 tablespoon water and the cornstarch; add cooking liquid. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly; cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Thinly slice meat.
4. While sauce is thickening, prepare your mashed potatoes.
5. Spoon sauce over sliced meat and fruit and serve with your favorite mashed potato recipe. 
*Kid Friendly Note: Before making the fruit sauce in the pan, I will serve the kids the meat and then add chipotles for the adults.  I will give them their own side of fruit with no spice.
Serves 6-8 (or for 4 and enough for seconds), Ready in 10-11 hours on high or 5 hours on high
Better Homes and Gardens potroastchipotlefruitsauce
Sunday - Sliced Chicken Gyros w/Fries
*This meal is originally for steak gyros, I am changing it up and using chicken instead. 
  • 3-4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 3/4 cup Greek-style yogurt
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 2 sprigs oregano, stems discarded, leaves chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 dashes hot pepper sauce (optional)
  • 4 large pitas or other flatbread
  • Toppings, such as thinly sliced cucumber, tomato and red onion; chopped chiles and kalamata olives; shredded romaine lettuce hearts; flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 4 lemon wedges
  • 1 Package of fries, your choice, cooked according to directions
  1. Preheat the broiler or a grill to medium. Drizzle the chicken (or steak) with the EVOO; season with salt and pepper. Cook, turning once, until fully cooked. Let cool slightly, then thinly slice.
  2. While the chicken (or steak) is cooking, using a food processor, puree the feta, yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, cumin, coriander and hot sauce. Season with salt and pepper; transfer to a bowl.
  3. Char the pitas under the broiler or on the grill. Top with the steak and your choice of toppings. Serve with the lemon wedges and yogurt sauce.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the fries and serve with the gyros.

*Kid Friendly Note: 
1. I made the fries for the kids since they have eaten so well all week.
2. The kiddos get to assemble their own gyros with toppings they want.

Serves 4, make more for seconds, Ready in 30 minutes
Rachael Ray Magazine chickengyros

Hope you enjoy and have a SUPER week!!!

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