Saturday, February 23, 2013

Week 18 Themed Menu & Recipes

Here is another week of delicious meals that are quick and easy.  Take note while reading through.  There are a few meals that can be made ahead during the day or even be a freezer meal.  I am running low on make ahead meals so I know this will be a great week for us.
NEW Weekly themes are as follows:
  • Mediterranean Monday - We will mostly do Italian or Greek dishes but this day opens you up to try almost any dish.
  • Tokyo Tuesday - Asian inspired dishes
  • Wrap it Up Wednesday - Wraps, Sandwiches, Burgers, Salads, etc...
  • Taco Thursday - Spanish inspired dishes
  • Free for All Friday - This day is used for leftovers, dining out, or pot luck
  • Slow Cooker/Simmer Saturday
  • Seafood Sunday

***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. Meals that do take longer will have steps to help you prepare ahead of time. We all have busy schedules!!!
Monday - Lasagna Bolognese and Spinach Salad
  • 3 tablespoons EVOO
  • 4 ounces pancetta, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 rib celery, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 pound 85% lean ground beef chuck
  • 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk, warmed
  • 1 1/4 cups grated parmesan
  • 3/4 pound dried lasagna noodles
  • 1 package of fresh spinach, prepared for your salad of choice
  1. In a deep skillet or pot, cook 1 tbsp. EVOO and the pancetta over medium heat, stirring, until the pancetta is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, bay leaf and thyme and cook, stirring, until the veggies are softened, about 5 minutes; push to the side of the pan. Increase the heat to medium-high. Add 1 tbsp. EVOO to the center of the pan and crumble in the ground beef; cook without stirring for 3 minutes. Break up the meat and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes and 2 cups water to the skillet; simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 30 minutes. Discard the bay leaf; season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat; let cool.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk in a steady stream and simmer for 2 minutes, whisking. Remove from the heat, stir in 1 cup parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Let cool, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming.
  4. In a pot of boiling, salted water, add the remaining 1 tbsp. EVOO and the lasagna noodles. Cook, stirring, until al dente. Drain and transfer to a bowl of cold water.
  5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees . Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish; add 34 of the cup meat sauce to coat. Add a layer of noodles, overlapping slightly. Top with 1 cup of the meat sauce, then a layer of noodles; add 1 cup of the bechamel, spreading to coat. Repeat the layers. Add a fifth layer of noodles and top with the remaining meat sauce; dollop with the remaining bechamel. Cover with greased parchment, then wrap the pan with foil.
  6. Make ahead until this point if using for a Make Ahead Meal, freeze and label it.  OR Bake for 1 hour; uncover and sprinkle with the remaining 14 cup parmesan. Bake for 15 minutes more. Loosen the foil; let stand for 30 minutes before slicing.
  7. Serve with your spinach salad

* I also found that I can split this meal and make one for dinner tonight in an 8x8 pan and then use another (disposable) 8x8 pan for the remaining ingredients and freeze that portion.  This gives me two meals for the price of one.

Serves 8 (in a 13x9 pan) or 4 in an 8x8 pan, Ready in 1hr 15 minutes
Rachael Ray Magazine lasagnabolognese

Tuesday - Rotisserie Chicken Potstickers
  • Rotisserie Chicken, shredded
  • Handful of chopped cilantro
  • 1 onion, sauteed
  • 1 tbls of ginger, grated
  • Soy sauce, to taste
  • Wonton Wrappers
  • Soy sauce (for dipping)
  • 1 package of stir fry veggies, steamed and seasoned
  1. Mix shredded chicken with chopped cilantro, sautéed onions, and ginger, and season with soy sauce.
  2. Seal in store-bought wonton wrappers and pan-fry in vegetable oil.
  3. Serve potstickers with vegetables.
*Make Ahead/Freezer Meal ALERT...this will make roughly 24 potstickers.  Take half and lie on a baking sheet to freeze.  Once frozen place potstickers in a freezer bag and label. 
Serves 4 (with extra for the freezer), Ready in 30 minutes
Wednesday - Steak Salad with Horseradish Dressing
Horseradish Dressing
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
Steak Salad
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 11-pound rib-eye, flank, or skirt steak
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 12 ounces fingerling potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 English hothouse cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 6 radishes, cut into thin wedges
  • 2 cups greens (such as arugula or torn Bibb lettuce leaves)
Horseradish Dressing
  1. Whisk sour cream, horseradish, chives, honey, and vinegar in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper.
Steak Salad
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet, preferably cast-iron, over medium-high heat. Season steak with salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat until cooked to desired doneness, 5-8 minutes per side for medium-rare rib eye, about 4 minutes per side for flank steak, or 3 minutes per side for skirt steak. Transfer meat to a plate and let rest for 10 minutes.
  2. While steak rests, wipe out skillet and heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add potatoes, season with salt, and cook, tossing occasionally, until tender, 8-10 minutes.
  3. Slice steak and serve with horseradish dressing, potatoes, cucumber, radishes, and greens.
*Kid Friendly Note: serve their salad with their favorite dressing.  Horseradish tends to be too hot for my kids.
Serves 4, Ready in 30 minutes
Thursday - Fiesta Chili Mac
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef (I am using Ground Turkey)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 jar (16 oz.) Chunky Mild Salsa
  • 1 jar (8 oz.)  Taco Sauce
  • 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed, drained
  • 3/4 cup elbow macaroni, uncooked
  • 1-1/2 cups water


  1. COOK meat and garlic in 3-quart saucepan over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes or until meat is evenly browned; drain.    
  2. ADD remaining ingredients; mix well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover; simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  3. Serve with optional toppings: shredded cheese and sour cream.   
Serves 4-6, Ready in 35 minutes
Kraft Recipes fiestachilimac
Friday - Free for All
Take this day off of cooking and use up the leftovers from the week
OR get pizza delivered for a fun family night!!!
Saturday -  Slow Cooker Maple & Brown Sugar
Pork Tenderloin

  • 2 pork tenderloins, about 1 pound each
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons grainy Dijon mustard or country-style
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar
  • (I used Champagne Orange vinegar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried leaf thyme, crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup or Maple Sugar Seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 2-3 Sweet potatoes, peeled/mashed/seasoned
  • 1 package of fresh broccoli, steamed and seasoned
  1. Wash and trim the pork and pat dry; sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Place pork in the slow cooker. Combine garlic, mustard, honey, brown sugar, vinegar, thyme and maple syrup; pour over the pork. Turn pork to coat thoroughly. Cover and cook on LOW for 7 to 9 hours, or on HIGH for 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours.
  2. Remove pork to a plate, cover with foil, and keep warm. Pour the juices into a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, or until reduced by about one-third. Combine the cornstarch and cold water; whisk into the reduced juices and cook for 1 minute longer. Serve pork sliced with the thickened juices.
  3. Also serve this pork tenderloin with mashed sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli

Serves 4-6, Ready in 7-9 hours on low or 3.5-4.5 on high
What's Cookin Chicago? mapleandbrownsugarporktenderloin
Sunday - Seared Rainbow Trout with Herbed Butter & Lemon



  • 2 10-ounce trout filets
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • canola oil (or olive oil, but I was out of everything but extra-virgin--not good for frying)
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 shallot, chopped (optional)
  • chopped fresh herbs (I used about a tablespoon each fresh flat-leaf parsley and fresh chives)
  • 1 box Near East Rice Pilaf, prepared to package directions
  1. Place trout, skin side down, in a shallow dish. Season trout with salt and pepper. Sprinkle lightly with flour (you'll shake much of the flour off before cooking).
  2. Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add approximately 1 tablespoon oil to skillet and place fish into skillet, skin side up.
  3. Meanwhile, combine remaining ingredients (butter through fresh herbs) in a small bowl.
  4. Cook trout for approximately 4 minutes on medium to medium high. Turn, placing skin side down. Top of trout should be a golden brown. Add butter sauce to skillet, pouring some over trout and some around. Turn heat down to medium-low and cook for approximately 5 minutes.
  5. Serve immediately with prepared rice pilaf.
Serves 4, Ready in 30 minutes
Hope you enjoy and have a SUPER week!!!

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