Weekly Meal Plan: 4/24 – 4/30

BBQ Chix Packets

Vacation week is coming to an end, but my kitchen project is coming to a head! The good news: Our fabulous contractor built my new kitchen around my old kitchen which means over the weekend I can carry all my stuff from one kitchen and load it directly into my new kitchen.  SWEET! The appliances are all set up and ready to go with one exception… The bad news is our sink faucet won’t arrive until Monday.  As of this morning I have no kitchen sink water until Tuesday.  In the grand scheme of things this is minor and totally manageable.

Friday & Saturday: Per usual, I won’t be cooking at home either night due to various activities not to mention a lack of interest in eating at home on the weekends. ;)

AND back to cooking after a little sabbatical…

Sunday: Honey BBQ Chicken & Sweet Potato Packets I had planned to make this recipe two weeks ago when we thought we would be losing total access to the kitchen.  This is a great little recipe that goes right on the grill.  I still have all of the ingredients on hand so we’ll give it a try along with some grilled asparagus.

Monday: Grilled Pork Chops & Pineapple No recipe for this – We will just lightly season the pork chops and grill rings of pineapple.  Have you ever tried grilled pineapple?  It’s great!  It goes really well with pork or chicken. I’ll also bake sweet and regular potatoes.

Tuesday: Grilled Steak marinated with “The Best Steak Marinade in Existence” – while I’m not certain that’s true, we have tried it and enjoyed it (Note the adaptations I reference in the Pinterest link.). I’m also trying a traditional Greek recipe a friend gave me including green beans, onions and tomatoes called “Fasolakia Giaxni“.  I’ll share the recipe next week if it’s a hit.

Wednesday: Slow Cooker Corn & Chicken Chili I had also purchased supplies two weeks ago to make this when I thought I’d be kitchen-less.  The recipe is in this Weekly Meal Plan post.

Thursday: LEFT OVER NIGHT! I’m the only one in my house that likes this. ;)

School Day Breakfast & Lunch: I’m always on the hunt for new school lunch options for my newly 13yo (who is gluten intolerant and VERY picky) and my 10yo just likes to try new things for breakfast and lunch.

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffin Tops This is a good recipe we’ve made before that my 10yo requested we make again.  These freeze very well too.

Weekly Meal Plan: 4/17 – 4/23

BAA

Next week is April break and while we aren’t going away for the whole week (just a 2-day getaway), we do have a lot of little plans resulting in VERY little cooking going on which works out extremely well given the lack of kitchen I’m expecting to have with our construction project. ;)

As I’m only sharing one recipe this week, I’ll take the opportunity to remind you of other great recipe resources:
Weekly Meal Plan Posts from Previous Weeks

Recipes Tab

Pinterest Boards

Facebook Page – Healthy Food for Hectic Lives

AND if you care to hear about what we’re up to over the next week, read on…

Friday – Sunday: The husband and I are headed into NYC to visit with my bestie and her beau.  The girls will have a visit with Grandma and Grandpa in North Haven, CT.

Monday: The annual running of the unicorn, a.k.a. the Boston marathon.  This time of year is a little tough for me following the bombing two years ago which ended my 6 year streak of running the marathon.  I get multiple inquiries of “Are you running this year?” A response of “No” seems too simplistic given the deep emotions I have about it, but I don’t think people honestly want to hear about why I can no longer face running down Boylston St.  Marathon day last year was surprisingly very cathartic for me.  After a year of being pretty sure I didn’t even want to watch it, I ended up going into Natick and watching the elites run by (something I never had the opportunity to do as a runner).  Watching them reminded me of why I love the marathon and other endurance events.  While it takes a genetic gift and extreme fitness to compete at that level, what sets apart the winners is their mental strength and determination.  I love that.  Anyway, I plan to go watch again this year.  It would be very cool if Shalane Flanagan could get herself on the podium.  I have some friends from GNRC running this year too.  I plan to go celebrate with them at a local watering hole that evening.  I’ll attempt to find something reasonably healthy on the menu.  Knowing where we are going, that may be a struggle…

Tuesday: The one and only night of actually preparing a meal at home this week, but I’m not even really cooking!  I’m taking Slow Cooker Pulled BBQ Chicken out of the freezer. HA!

Wednesday: My baby is turning 10!  Sniff… And, as is tradition in our family, she gets to select a dining establishment of her choice for dinner.  I think she’s leaning toward Met Bar in Legacy Place followed by JP Licks.  I love JP Licks…

Thursday: A good friend of the husband’s is flying into Boston in the afternoon.  We were already planning to bring the girls into the city for the day so picking him up at the airport works perfectly.  Rather than treating him to a kitchen-less meal at hotel Colleran, we will take him out for dinner somewhere yet to be determined.

WOWZA!  That’s a lot of dining out! Lucky me!  Next week I’m hoping to be settled into my new kitchen and cooking up a storm!  Stay tuned…

Recipe Review: Sausage, Cannellini & Tomato Ragout

sausage-cannellini-tomato-ragout-ck

This was a great and VERY simple recipe! The only prep required was rinsing the white beans and chopping the onion.  Otherwise, the steps are very straightforward having you simply add ingredients to the skillet.  I only slightly modified a couple of things: used 1 tsp of dried oregano (instead of fresh), 3 TBS tomato paste (instead of 1) and 1 cup of chicken stock (instead of 3/4 cup).  The recipe link suggests serving it with polenta, which I’m sure is great, but I served it with pasta for the rest of the family and I had it over wilted spinach.

I highly recommend you give this one a try!

New Recipe: Tomato & Zucchini Gratin

tomato and zucchini

I made this great new recipe last week.  I really enjoyed all the flavors of the caramelized onions, tomatoes and zucchini together along with a little salt, garlic and olive oil.  Very simple, but big flavor!  It needs to bake for approximately an hour.  So, you may want to prep the sliced vegetables in advance.

This is a great side for any protein or fish dish!

Weekly Meal Plan: 4/13 – 4/16 – TAKE TWO!

sausage-cannellini-tomato-ragout-ck

I shared Friday that our house is under construction and that I thought I would be losing access to our old kitchen tomorrow.  I learned yesterday that I will actually have access to my kitchen for an additional week.  On one hand that’s great, right?  BUT, on the other hand, I already made a meal plan for this week. Now I don’t want to use the great “no kitchen” meals and plans I had when I do actually have a kitchen.  Geez.. So, back to the drawing board…

Monday: My Cooking Light mag came in the mail over the weekend and there is a yummy looking Grilled Chicken with Strawberries & Feta Salad recipe (NEW).  The weather report is claiming it will be 70 tomorrow.  Perfect recipe for one of the first warm spring days of the season. Surprisingly I can’t locate the recipe on-line to provide a link, but it’s pretty straightforward:
*Marinate the chicken breasts  with 2 TBS of olive oil and 2 TBS of balsamic vinegar for 10 minutes then grill.
*Make a dressing of 1 TBS olive oil, 1 TBS balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.
*Add grilled chicken and dressing to a salad of mixed greens, strawberries and feta (OPTIONAL: add thinly sliced red onions)

I’m also grilling asparagus.

Tuesday: Balsamic Chicken & Tomatoes This recipe can be varied to include fresh basil or caramelized onions.  I’m going with the caramelized onion option this time.

Thursday: Sausage, Cannellini & Tomato Ragout (NEW) This is another great looking recipe from my Cooking Light mag I’m looking forward to trying.

In regard to school lunch, I’m no longer planning to have the girls buy lunch at school due to the lack of a kitchen, but I’m also not rallying to make something exciting worth sharing.  I’ll stick with some basics like hard boiled eggs or egg salad, turkey and cheese roll-ups or hummus with veggies, etc.

*If a recipe name isn’t followed by “(NEW)”, that means we’ve tried before and it’s so good we are making it again!

Weekly Meal Plan: 4/10 – 4/16

Cottage Pie

Can I make healthy meals without a kitchen?  Well, we are about to find out!  Our house is undergoing a major renovation including ripping out the entire kitchen and relocating it to a different area of the house. Our contractor tells me Monday is the day when I lose access to the old one.  From that point I will have access to a microwave, slow cooker, grill and two single plug-in burners. A motto I live by: “Where there’s a will, there’s a way!” So, I’m meeting this challenge head on!

Friday/Saturday: We will be enjoying our meals out on the town! Lucky girl! ;)

Sunday: Cottage Pie I made this recipe for the first time a few weeks ago and had enough on hand to put a pan in the freezer.  We’re going to enjoy it and a big pan of roasted broccoli before I’m oven-less for a few weeks.

Monday: Honey BBQ Chicken & Sweet Potato Packets (NEW) I’ll try this new recipe without the bacon.  I’ll prep the chopped potatoes and chicken on Sunday night before I lose my kitchen.  I’m aiming for as little dishwashing in the tub as possible. ;) We’ll also throw some asparagus on the grill.

Tuesday: Slow Cooker Corn & Chicken Chili I can’t locate a link to this recipe.  I’m noting it below.  I’ll also buy some frozen brown rice to add to it.

Ingredients:
1 can of pinto beans
2 cups of canned or frozen corn
1 small can of tomato sauce
1 jar of salsa (I like Green Mountain Gringo brand)
1 LB of chicken breasts
2 TBS of cumin
2 TBS of chili powder
1 TBS of minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Mix all ingredients excluding chicken in slow cooker, add chicken (push down into mixture), turn slow cooker on to HIGH for 3-4 hours or LOW for 6-8 hours.  Approximately 1 hour prior to serving remove chicken from slow cooker, shred, return to slow cooker, stir and cook for an additional hour at LOW.

Wednesday: The husband and the girls are fending for themselves while I go out to dinner with my Medfield besties. ;)

Thursday: Slow Cooker Pulled BBQ Chicken I made this recipe a couple of weeks ago and froze half anticipating life without a kitchen.  I’ll pick up some rolls for the husband and my 9yo, gluten free english muffin for my 13yo in freezer and over greens for me.

School Day Breakfast & Lunch: While I usually try a new school lunch or breakfast option each week, during this phase of construction I’m taking a sabbatical from this.  I’ll let the girls buy school lunch next week, the following week is April break and I think after that I’ll be back in business in my new kitchen.  For breakfast we’ll have cereal, smoothies, yogurt and fruit, frozen whole wheat waffles, etc. along with fruit.

*If a recipe name isn’t followed by “(NEW)”, that means we’ve tried before and it’s so good we are making it again!

Recipe Review: Asian Lettuce Wraps

lettuce wraps

In my Weekly Meal Plan Friday I mentioned that a friend shared a recipe in an email for Asian Lettuce Wraps that I would share with all of you too if we liked them (I’m sure you remember all this!).  Well, guess what?!  We liked them a lot!  They were incredibly easy to make – minimal ingredients and only about 15 minutes to prepare.  What a great combination! I excluded the chopped scallions and peanuts her recipe called for.  You can add them back in if you decide to make it.

I made some brown rice on the side to serve with it and had a brilliant idea to add in a cup of it to the mixture.  I had my meat mixture without the rice (served over a large bed of lettuce rather than in the wraps), but served the remaining meat mixture to the family with the rice mixed in.  They liked it that way and I sampled a spoonful and agree that’s a great variation you may want to try.