Weekly meal plan – 4/10/16

melon-625130_1920
x

I’m inconsistent with some things – like blogging and exercising. Let’s leave it at that. But I’ve actually kept up the meal planning, which has been great. It really is a time saver and we waste much less food now.

I’m going to try to add meal prepping into my week now that I have a more consistent work schedule. I think having some things prepped will also save me time during the week and I won’t feel the need to go out too often for lunch.

Here is what is on the menu* this week:

Sunday: Lemon orzo risotto

Monday: Vegetarian tortilla stew with crispy tortilla strips

The rest of the week: sweet potato and black bean enchiladas, Thai chicken lettuce cups, miso salmon with roasted carrots

*All of these links aren’t the exact recipes I will use, but they’re pretty close to what I’ll make. Maybe someday I’ll get back to photographing my food and typing out my exact recipes. Again, inconsistent …

Weekly meal plan – 2/21/16

egg-944495_1920

Planning meals for the week saves me a lot of time and money. It also frees space in my brain. So win-win-win. For Sunday and Monday, I generally plan specific meals. For the rest of the week, I plan what I’ll make, but don’t assign a particular day. And two days a week (Thursday and Saturday) are completely up to Jim!

I’ve been doing this since the week of Jan. 3 and it really has been so helpful. There are nights when we go out or something comes up and it’s not a big deal. But having an outline of the week really helps with shopping and not buying food we don’t need and wasting food we don’t eat. I’m definitely going to keep it up.

Here is what is on the menu this week:

Sunday: Turkey tenderloin, butternut squash*/potato gratin, cornbread dressing

Monday: Butternut squash macaroni and cheese with a side salad

The rest of the week: Greek French bread pizzas, black bean veggie burgers with leftover butternut squash gratin,  crab cakes with roasted potatoes and … something green. Maybe broccoli, which is in season.

*I bought four pounds of butternut squash last week (like a crazy person), so I’m trying to come up with creative ways to use it so that we’re not completely over it and, again, not wasting food.

 

Three soups for you

Image

(photo c/o CookingLight.com)

All I want to eat lately is soup.

Let me rephrase that: All I’m eating lately is soup.

Within the past week, I’ve made three big pots of soup. Lunch at work every day this week has been leftover soup and my favorite Fall salad (which I can share with you another day, if you’re interested). Soup every day sounds boring, I know, but it’s not. Most soups/stews taste even better the second day – or fourth, in my case – because the flavors have had time to settle in and get comfortable.
Here are links to the three soups I made this week. They’re all really easy to make and have a ton of flavor. Enjoy!

North Woods Bean Soup: I buy whole carrots and chop them into bite-size pieces (think the size of  a chickpea)  instead of using baby carrots.
Autumn Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup: I roast the carrots, sweet potatoes and apple instead, but I’m sure the recipe as is, is great, too.
Split Pea Soup: I use this recipe for smoked turkey lentil soup, but use green split peas instead. It’s an easy substitution.

Curried Roasted Vegetable Farro Salad

Image

Grain + vegetable + protein = an amazingly easy, tasty and healthy salad.

I make a lot of these types of salads. I even blogged one not too long ago. I hesitated sharing this one, but it’s so good, SO GOOD, that I just had to share.

The thing I love about these salads is that they pack a lot of flavor. They’re also full of vegetables, so I feel good eating a big bowl. Or two. And they’re easily adaptable. Use what grain(s) you like. Use what vegetables you like. Add chopped chicken for protein or garbanzo beans to make it vegetarian or quinoa to make it gluten-free.

There are two tips to make these salads really stand out. The first is to season everything as you go. The second is a well-seasoned vinaigrette. Please make your own. The vinaigrette I use for this salad comes from Giada De Laurentiis. Many, many years ago, I watched her (on Everyday Italian) make a curry vinaigrette to top a carrot and pear salad. While that particular fruit/vegetable combination didn’t knock my socks off, the vinaigrette did. If you’re not a fan of curry, this vinaigrette is not for you. If you are a fan, you’ll love it and want to use it all the time.

So here’s another salad recipe. This is the combination I used this time, but I’ve made it before with other ingredients. I often make it with whole wheat couscous for the grain. Sometimes, I’ll chop a cucumber and throw it in there. Oftentimes, I use golden raisins for a little sweetness. One big thing I did differently this time was roasting the vegetables first and, wow, was that a good idea. It’s not necessary, but if you have 20 minutes, I recommend it.

Enjoy!

Curried Roasted Vegetable Farro Salad

Cook 1 cup of farro according to package directions, drain and place in a large bowl

2 carrots, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 cup garbazno beans

1 small handful of cilantro, chopped

1 small handful of dried cherries

salt and pepper

Curry vinaigrette*

Preheat the oven to 450. Toss the carrots and red pepper in a bowl with oil (whatever you have. I like to use neutral oils when roasting such as grapeseed), about a 1/4 teaspoon of curry powder and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Roast on a baking sheet for 20 minutes, turning once or twice.

While the vegetables roast, make the vinaigrette.

When the vegetables are done, add to the bowl with the farro, toss in 1 cup of garbanzo beans, a handful of dried cherries and the cilantro. Pour the vinaigrette over the mixture and stir to coat.

Refrigerate or serve at room temperature (I like it at room temp).

*Curry vinigrette

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon curry powder

1/2 a small shallot, chopped

2 teaspoons honey

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

In a blender combine the white wine, curry powder, shallot, honey, salt and pepper and blend to combine. With the machine running add the olive oil.

Freekeh salad

freekeh 007

Freekeh salad

2 cups cooked freekeh (or quinoa, farro, brown rice) (cooled after cooking)

1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup diced English cucumber

1/4 cup golden raisins

1 pint of roasted grape tomatoes*

1/4-1/2 cup feta cheese (omit the feta cheese for a vegan salad)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/2 red onion, diced

2 cloves minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon of cumin

A pinch of oregano

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Juice from 1/2-1 whole lemon

Toss the first 7 ingredients in a large bowl.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, onion, garlic, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper.

Pour the vinaigrette over the freekeh mixture and toss gently to combine.

Sprinkle the juice of half a lemon over the salad. Taste and add more salt, pepper and/or lemon juice to taste.

Keeps for several days.

*Roasted tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the tomatoes in half and toss with a teaspoon of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt. Place the tomatoes on a baking dish lined with parchment paper. Roast for 20-30 minutes until the tomatoes burst and start to shrivel.

Want to know more about freekeh? Freekeh is young green wheat that has been toasted and cracked. It’s a healthy whole grain food, much like bulgur wheat and other whole grains.

Southwest Stuffed Peppers

Inspiration can come from anywhere.

Sometimes I’m inspired by a meal I’ve eaten in a restaurant. Sometimes I’m inspired by other blogs or magazine articles. Sometimes I’m inspired by ingredients already in my kitchen. And sometimes I’m inspired by friends.

A friend inspired these stuffed peppers.

I’ve been wanting to make stuffed peppers for ages, but they always took a back seat to other meal ideas. Then a friend showed me a picture of stuffed tomatoes and that was it: I finally had the motivation to make these stuffed peppers.

They’re as easy as … I was going to write pie and then I realized that pie isn’t so easy. But these? Super easy. And very tasty. I stuffed these with couscous, corn, black beans, red bell peppers, cilantro and smoked Gouda. The possibilities are endless. I think next time I’ll try orzo, sun-dried tomatoes, chickepeas, basil and mozzarella.

Have fun. Play around with flavors. Be inspired.

Stuffed peppers

4 bell peppers (I used red and yellow)

1 cup of cooked couscous (or quinoa)

1 cup black beans

1 cup corn

1/2 bell pepper, diced

1/2 red onion, diced

1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped

handful of cilantro, chopped

handful of shredded smoked Gouda

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon (smoked) paprika

dash of cayenne pepper

salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Prepare the peppers: Chop off the top of the peppers (or slice them in half) and scoop out the seeds and ribs. Place the peppers in a microwave safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 5 minutes.

For the filling: Mix all the other ingredients, except the cheese, in a large bowl. Taste the filling and adjust your spice levels as needed.

Assemble the peppers: Spray a baking dish with cooking spray. Place the peppers in the dish and stuff the peppers with the couscous mixture to the top. Top with cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes, just until the mixture is heated through.

Creamy Avocado Potato Salad

Guacamole and potatoes? Yes, please.

This is one of those “why didn’t I think of that?” recipes. I like guacamole. I love potatoes. Why didn’t I ever think to put them together?

Besides being delicious on its own, the avocado in this salad is a great, healthy alternative to mayonnaise. Avocados area an excellent source of monounsaturated fat, which may improve blood cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart disease.

With temperatures inching higher, and spring and summer on the way, I anticipate many servings of this creamy, delicious, slightly-unexpected side dish.

Creamy Avocado Potato Salad

Adapted from Vegan Brunch

2 lbs fingerling or baby Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 3/4 inch chunks

1 tablespoon cilantro

1 clove of garlic, peeled

2 ripe avocados

2 tablespoons lime juice, from a lime or two

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)

1 plum tomato, chopped

1/2 small red onion, diced small

1/2 English cucumber (or regular cucumber), diced very small

Put the potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil. Lower the heat to a rolling boil and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Drain and set aside to cool. I put them in the refrigerator while I prepared the dressing.

To prepare the dressing, place the garlic clove and cilantro in the food processor and process for about 10 seconds, until the cilantro and garlic are chopped. Next, split the avocados in half, remove the seeds and scoop the flesh into the food processor. Add the garlic, lime juice and salt and puree until smooth, scraping down the sides with a spatula as needed. Once smooth and creamy, add the tomato and onion. Pulse three or four times, until they are incorporated but not completely blended.

Put the potatoes and cucumbers in a large mixing bowl. Add the avocado mixture and mix well, being sure not to mash the potatoes. Taste and add more salt and lime juice to taste. Sprinkle a little extra cayenne pepper on top, if you like.

—————

Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/theshelledpea

Follow me on Instagram: shelledpea