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Post Vacation Scramble

24 Sep

I know I have no right to complain, but we are back from our last hurrah of summer and I am totally overwhelmed with the prospect of getting back to work, school, daycare, and a schedule. I guess a week on the beach in the Outer Banks will do that to you. So forgive me if all of my dinners for the next two weeks are recycled. Tried and true, they’re all easy and quick and I know I have half the ingredients in my pantry already and I won’t get a lot of eye rolling from the peanut gallery. At least I had some good beach time to catch up on my magazine reading and have lots of new recipes tagged to try out once I get back in the swing of things. In the meantime, I love having a handful of easy go-to recipes in my arsenal to whip out when life is crazy.

1) 20 Minute Skinny Sesame Chicken with roasted broccoli and rice

2) Light Chicken piccata with roasted cauliflower

3) Slow cooker pork tenderloin with black beans over rice

4) Greek shrimp scampi with linguine

5) Slow cooker chicken makhani

6) Spaghetti with meat sauce

7) Slow cooker moussaka

8) Kale with sausage and white beans over mashed potatoes

9) Turkey meatball subs with oven sweet potato fries

Make Ahead Meals and Back to School

21 Aug

So this is officially our last week of summer vacation before B starts Kindergarten and we enter a whole new world of adhering to a school schedule.  I’m honestly not sure who is more nervous, me or B – but I’m sure once we get through a couple of weeks we’ll hit a routine.  In the meantime, to curtail some of my anxiety, I spent some time this past weekend making a few dishes to stick in my freezer and heat up later.  This way if our new routine hits a snag, dinner at least will be covered.  At the same time, a very good friend just had a new baby (yay! Congrats MN!) and I was lucky enoughto be  a) baby’s first visitor at home and b) the recipient of their CSA vegetables this week.  So the next two dinners are a combo of make-ahead meals and various attempts to use up all the yummy fresh corn, tomatoes, cabbage, and mini-eggplants that are in my fridge.  In the meantime, I’m always on the look out for more dishes that can be made ahead of time, and reheated easily, so feel free to share them!

1. Tomato Pie with grilled chicken sausage and corn on the cob
This tomato pie, adapted from Simply Recipes, is so super easy to make and is not like anything you’d expect (hint – it’s not a pizza pie!) 

2.  Pasta with Slow Cooker Eggplant Ragu
This is an easy alternative to spaghetti with meat sauce. 

3. Turkey Shepherd’s Pie
This is one of the dishes I made last weekend and froze.  I’ll pull it out the night before to defrost in the refrigerator and then reheat it for 45 minutes in the oven.

4. Cabbage, Turkey Kielbasa, and Pierogies
At some point I’d like to branch out on cabbage recipes, but for a busy weeknight this is a quick fix. 

5. Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos
This will use up the last of the fresh tomatoes and I’ll add the leftover corn too.

6.  Fiesta Chicken and Rice Bake
This is the second dinner I made ahead to freeze.

7. Pasta with Tuna and Tomato Sauce
This is pretty much a pantry supper, with the exception of ricotta cheese which is easy to keep around. 

8. Oven Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Preserves with Onion Soup Potatoes and Roasted Broccoli
While I love making pork tenderloins in the slow cooker, they’re really easy and quick to make in the oven too.   I make it with mustard and whatever preserves we have on hand.

9. Cheeseburger Mac & Cheese
The Ultimate comfort food from Rachael Ray – but I make it with 1/2 the butter, skim milk, 2% cheese and ground turkey so it’s comfort without the guilt.  Another make-ahead dinner.

10. Pasta Primavera
In case I have any leftover vegetables, this recipe should do the trick.  Use whatever you have about, and in whatever amount you have.  It’s very forgiving and delicious.

There’s An App For That

23 Jul

I’ve got to be honest, sometimes the last thing I want to do is plan out our dinners and make a grocery list. It’s a double edged sword – on one hand planning out two weeks at a time means I don’t have to think about it again for a long time. But on the other hand, it also means it’s a bigger endeavor when I do sit down to do it. Luckily I’ve recently discovered a couple different apps that help me make it all more manageable. The one I use the most is called Wunderlist and it is a real life saver. It allows me to create tons of different lists that I can share with Michael. What makes this different than most list sharing devices is that either of us can update it at any time and it will automatically synch on our iPads, iPhones, and desktop. I keep a running list of ideas for dinners, as the week goes on I just keep adding to it. Usually when it’s time to put the next two week’s worth of dinners together I’ve got a decent list going already. I’ve also currently got a grocery list, a Costco list and a Target list – all of which Michael and I update whenever we pick anything up at the store. Another great app that I discovered is Evernote. Evernote allows me to capture webpages of things that interest me for access anytime. It’s the 21st Century equivalent of clipping articles out of the newspaper.  If I see a recipe on a blog that piques my curiosity or an article that I think is helpful but I don’t have time to read it right away I “clip” it to Evernote for later. And of course I have the WordPress app too – which not only let’s me edit and post here but also let’s me read all the blogs I follow in one easy place.
Anyway, I definitely used both of these for putting together this latest installment of meals, but I’m always on the look out for more useful apps and websites for organizing and planning. Anyone have any other suggestions to share?

P.S. If you’ve noticed we’re a little short on dinners this time around – it’s because a certain little man is turning 5 this week so we’ll be doing lots of celebrating out with him!

1. One pot salmon with snap peas and rice
A Real Simple recipe I’m looking forward to making – especially as I love anything “one pot”.

2. Kale with chicken sausage and white beans over mashed potatoes
This is easy and quick and delish.

3. Pasta with tuna and ricotta cheese
I have to admit, I think this sounds a little weird but her recipes have never steered me wrong.

4. Baked chicken tenders with steamed asparagus and Onion Soup Potatoes
These potatoes are so easy to make and make a really yummy side dish that requires only three ingredients.

5. Greek turkey picadillo over rice
A favorite with the kids and grown ups.  Plus, I have olives and capers burning a hole in my pocket.

6. Slow cooker Asian-style pork tenderloin with jasmine rice and roasted green beans
We like lean pork tenderloin for a change from turkey and chicken. This is just a new spin on it.

7. Slow cooker Thai lettuce wraps
I love lettuce wraps so I’m going to give these from the queen of slow cooking a try.  But I think I’ll add carrots and water chestnuts towards the end of the cooking time to give them a little crunch.

Four Leaf Clovers and Another New Year

9 Mar

Saint Patrick’s Day is just around the corner, and even though it falls on a Saturday this year, I still have a couple of dinners that I’m planning to make in honor of the day. Now, they aren’t exactly “healthy” dinners – but they’re special treats and I think we’re all entitled to those every now and then. I also want to share my recipe for Irish Potatoes – which, if you’re from the Philadelphia region, like me, you will know are not in any way potato-related, but are in fact, little yummy coconut candies that are rolled in cinnamon and made to look like little potatoes.

And then the following week is the first day of Spring which also marks one of my favorite holidays of the year, the Persian Norouz – or New Year for all you non-Farsi speakers! Yes, it is the third New Year in just as many months in our family (January 1st, Chinese New Year, and Persian New Year) which is fine by me, because who doesn’t love another chance at starting over? Anyway, we will be having a traditional Norouz dinner on the 20th as well. Lots to celebrate this month (don’t even get me started on the fact that my EIGHTH wedding anniversary is also this month – although I will NOT be cooking for that!).

So Eid-eh Norouz Mobarak to all my friends and just remember, if you’re lucky enough to be Irish(or Irish/Iranian), you’re lucky enough!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Tilapia Baked in Couscous with steamed edamame. I made this for the first time about a month ago and was surprised by how delicious and easy it was. And the variations seem endless! Feel free to add olives, capers, or anything you’d like in with the sundried tomatoes! Tuesday,

March 13, 2012

Pasta E. Fagiole

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Curried Ground Turkey and Potatoes over Rice

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Easiest Ever Baked Mac and Cheese

Friday, March 16, 2012

Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage over Mashed Potatoes

Monday, March 19, 2012

Slow Cooker Guinness Beef Stew

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 (Eid!)

A Traditional Persian New Year dinner – Sabzi Polo bah Mahi (Herbed Rice with Fish).  The rice is made super easy thanks to the rice cooker and the fish is an easy, baked lemon and dill tilapia.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Citrus Pork with Egg Noodles and Roasted Apples and Brussel Sprouts. I haven’t made this yet (and I’ll be making it with leaner pork tenderloin) but I know it will be great because it is yet another dish from Simply Recipes.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Slow Cooker Mediterranean Chicken over rice

Friday, March 23, 2012

Shepherd’s Pie

Greek Week(s)

27 Feb

When I plan out menus, I like to try and use up many of the same ingredients so I don’t have some random bottle of something or another that I only needed two tablespoons for in one recipe sitting around for months, or conversely so I can buy stuff in bulk.  In the following recipes, the theme is obviously a variation on Greek/Mediterranean food, which is just fine by me because other than Persian food, I think Greek is my favorite.  The two cuisines share a lot of the same flavor profiles – salty, sour, lots of vegetables playing the main role.  And luckily my kids really like a lot of this food too (especially anything with olives in it).  It is going to be a tough two weeks, as Michael is out of town for a few days (Vegas, baby!) and I have 3 meetings over the next two weeks which will keep me out of the house after work.  So I’ve tried to do a lot of things that are either really quick or can be made ahead the night before.  And then one night we are going out (to a screening of the new documentary Cafeteria Man – about one man’s attempt to fix the school lunch system in Baltimore – check it out!) so that means it’s really just 9 dishes down there.  But it’s still two weeks of not having to think about what to  make for dinner!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Kale, with sausage and white beans over mashed potatoes

I’ve never made this recipe before, but I know it’s going to be fantastic because everything I have ever made from Simply Recipes has been.  I’ll be making it with chicken sausage but either way it sounds great.  UPDATE: I made this last night and not only was it super delicious, inexpensive, and easy to make, but it was also ready from start to finish in about twenty minutes.  Seriously, make this.  And then head over to Simply Recipes and check out her other dishes!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Greek chicken with tomato sauce over orzo

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 (Happy Leap Year!)

Spanokopita

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Pasta with Goat Cheese, baby spinach, and cherry tomatoes

Friday, March 2, 2012

Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin with Mango Salsa

Monday, March 5, 2012

Greek Shrimp Scampi with Linguine

I’ve updated this to how I make it at home – same basic recipe, just a few changes.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore over Spaghetti

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Baked Ziti with Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage

I make this exactly as is – except that I use fresh mozzarella on top – great dish to make ahead of time.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Take Out!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Slow Cooker Eggplant, Mozzarella and Polenta Casserole

Beans, beans, and more beans

27 Jan

K wakes up in the morning asking for rice and beans. Seriously, this kid would happily eat nothing but for every meal. The rest of us prefer a little more variety in our diets, but the next two weeks’ dinners are fairly bean heavy. While Michael prefers only black beans, the rest of us are happy with black beans, pinto beans, great northern, kidney – you name it. The great thing about beans too is that they’re super healthy, super cheap, and if you use canned, super convenient. And since there are so many varieties, there is bound to be one kind even the pickiest eater will like (cough, cough, Michael with his black beans). Since I tweak a lot of recipes, I’ve linked most of these to my own version but tried to include the original inspiration on there somewhere. Some others I’ve just linked directly to the original as its good and easy enough without any changes. So with that in mind, I give you the next two weeks of family dinners!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Tilapia baked in couscous with roasted broccoli

Update: I made this tonight and it was a huge hit. Both boys loved the fish and I thought the couscous was really fantastic – I used smoked sundried tomatoes and it went really well with the spices. This will definitely be added to the rotation – B has already asked that I make it again.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Slow Cooker Eggplant Moussaka

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Spaghetti and Muffin Tin Meatballs with Spinach Balls

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Martha Stewart’s Chickpea and Apple Curry over Rice

Friday, February 3, 2012

Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos with Black Beans and Rice

Monday, February 6, 2012

Vegetarian Mexican Lasagna

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Shepherd’s Pie

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sasauge and Great Northern Bean Casserole

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Persian Jujeh (Chicken) Kabob with Tomatoes, Onions, and Rice

Friday, February 10, 2012

Rachael Ray’s Fiesta Chicken Bake

Dinners: Two Weeks at a Time

17 Jan

Okay, so some of you have noticed the crazy dry erase board in my kitchen. You know the one – it sits on the counter and lists the dinners we’re going to have for the next two weeks. And some of you have been kind enough to express (feign?) interest and some have even asked me to email you the meals to help with your meal planning. And so here is my little blog, TwoWeeksataTime, in which I will post the dinners that I’m making for the next, you guessed it, two weeks. Of course, I only plan out 10 meals (sometimes one or two more) because I figure Saturdays and Sundays are crazy enough that we can just wing it. Also, I’ll try and make sure I link all the recipes to the appropriate source, but you should know that I really don’t pay much attention to recipes. They’re more like a starting point for me. I substitute, I add/delete, and pretty much do whatever it takes to make it something healthy (we don’t do red meat and rarely do pork), well-balanced (if there is nothing green in a dish I will find some way to add something green or red to it), and palatable for me and my boys. Also I usually make things to feed at least 6 as I need to pack lunch for me and the kids every day (Michael is on his own at lunchtime). But this way, I don’t have to think about what to make every day, I can do two large grocery trips a month, with only a couple runs to the store for more milk and fruit. I can work around our ridiculous schedules and don’t have to resort to eating plain spaghetti every night because I forgot to defrost the ground turkey and we didn’t think to buy more sauce. This isn’t exactly the type of meals that would make Martha Stewart proud, but they work for us (plus I can save those meals up for company!) It also means that if you ask me on Monday what I’ll be eating the following Thursday, I’ll know. And now, you will too.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Pot Pie

This is an adaptation of Rachael Ray’s Buffalo BBQ Pulled Chicken with Blue Cheese Cornbread Topper but I made it with blue cheese mashed potatoes instead of cornbread because for some unknown reason K and B don’t like corn bread. I really like RR’s recipes though – true, they aren’t high cuisine and they’re not exactly the stuff I would make for company, but they’re from scratch, can be modified to be healthy, and she’s true to her word, because they are quick.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Crockpot Chicken ala King

Parent Teacher Conferences for B tonight which means just one thing: Crock Pot. I changed this around a bit so its chicken breasts, onion, celery, portabella mushrooms, cream of celery, poultry seasoning, garlic, and 3/4 cup of skim milk on high for 4 hours in the crockpot. Add peas about 20 minutes before serving on top of rice or oven biscuits. I generally try and stay away from processed foods but every once in a while I’ll use Campbell’s 99% fat free cream of mushroom or cream of celery. It just makes life easier and its not that bad for you.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Turkey Picadillo

This is so VERY VERY GOOD. I mean it. I make it with orange and yellow bell peppers, double the black beans and skip the raisins (too raisin-y for me) but otherwise stick to the recipe and it is delish. I serve it over rice although apparently it can be eaten on buns too. Seriously, make this.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Chicken and Rice Casserole

We do a lot of chicken in our house. And because K typically refuses to eat pasta, we eat a lot of rice. Luckily this woman has a lot of great recipes. Seriously – check out her website. I have yet to find a bad recipe on there.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Crockpot Sloppy Joes

Michael is in charge as I head up to the Poconos for a weekend away with some girlfriends (yay!) and so I leave him with the easiest dinner in the world. Ground turkey, sloppy joe sauce, I usually add a can of diced tomatoes and maybe sneak in a red pepper. Serve with baked fries and edamame.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Tuna Puttanesca

A lot of Rachael Ray recipes this week – I tend to go through phases. This one is especially good because a) the boys love it as it has olives and capers in it and b) it can be made entirely with things out of the pantry, yet still tastes really fresh. I don’t use tuna packed in oil, mainly because I’m too lazy and its easier to buy fresh water tuna, and I probably double (or triple) the amount of capers and olives. Oh and we serve it with spaghetti as that is the only pasta K seems to eat.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Greek Chicken over Orzo with Roasted Broccoli

Okay, so the Greek chicken is really this recipe from Real Simple, except I’m going to make it with grape tomatoes instead of zucchini (although I’ve had it with zucchini too and its wonderful). And then for a side I’m making Roasted Broccoli, which if you haven’t done this yet, get to it. It also works really well for Cauliflower and for Asparagus. Such an easy way to make really yummy, really fresh vegetables.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Moroccan Chicken over Couscous

Another Rachael Ray recipe. I do this without the nuts as the boys can’t take nuts to school. And you’ll notice more olives – which they love – but really I try and do dishes with the same ingredients so I don’t have to buy a big jar of olives for one recipe and then have them go bad (not likely, but still).

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Tamale Pie

There are lots of versions of this and you really don’t need to follow a recipe for it but if you need one, this one is nice.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Crock pot Chicken Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken)

I use half the butter and Lite Coconut Milk to make this a little healthier. And for some reason I always like peas and cauliflower in my curry so I add that when I get home from work just before making the rice. Also, that website is pretty much the go-to place for all things crockpot.

So there you have it. 10 meals for the next two weeks. So if you want to stop by our house for dinner you can pick according to what you’d like to eat!

P.S. Even though I don’t plan for Saturdays, if you’re reading this you are most likely a friend and so I have to mention that Saturday, January 28th is the Polar Bear Plunge! And its not too late to donate!

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