Weekly Meal Plan: April 7-13, 2014

Monday: CrockPot Thai Chicken Curry

First time making this. I liked it all right, but it won’t enter the regular rotation.

Changes: 1) Didn’t add brown sugar or eggplant; 2) I did add the optional fish sauce. Served with brown rice.

Tuesday: CrockPot Pork Tenderloin with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Changes: 1) Used a 2-lb pork tenderloin; 2) Used salt, pepper, and garlic powder to season the pork; 3) Used 8-oz can tomato sauce; 4) Used tamari instead of soy sauce; 5) Didn’t add sugar; 6) Whisked sauce ingredients rather than using food processor.

Wednesday: CrockPot Pumpkin Turkey Chili

Thursday: Spicy Chili Cornbread Casserole

I got the idea for this recipe from the link above, but I used leftover chili from the day before rather than making their version.

I also used regular cornmeal (not instant polenta), and cheddar for the cheese (rather than a combination of cheddar and Parmesan).

Verdict: It was decent, but also not something I’d add to my regular rotation.

Friday: Balsamic-Ginger Marinated Salmon and Black Rice Salad with Edamame, Walnuts & Lemon Vinaigrette

Balsamic-Ginger Marinated Salmon and Black Rice Salad with Edamame, Walnuts & Lemon Vinaigrette

Saturday: Penne with Sausage in Tomato Cream Sauce

I made a few changes this time: 1) Used 12 oz mushrooms; 2) Used a combination of homemade chicken stock and half & half (rather than a full cup of half & half).

Penne with Sausage in Tomato Cream Sauce

Sunday: CrockPot Minestrone Soup

Changes: 1) Doubled the recipe; 3) Used brown rice noodles; 2) Served with shredded cheddar instead of Parmesan.

Weekly Meal Plan: Mar 31 – April 6, 2014

Monday: Pasta Bolognese

Weeknight Bolognese with Penne Rice Noodles

Tuesday: CrockPot Minestrone Soup

Changes: 1) Doubled the recipe; 2) Didn’t have zucchini; 3) Used homemade chicken stock; 4) Used brown rice noodles; 5) Served with shredded Monterey Jack instead of Parmesan.

Wednesday: CrockPot Chicken Cacciatore

First time making this. Paul liked it but I didn’t care for it. I’m not really a fan of having to remove bones from a cooked sauce. I used two large chicken breasts (skin removed).

Thursday: Out to dinner

Friday: Leftovers

Saturday: Chickpea, Sausage, and Spinach Pasta

Chickpea, Sausage and Spinach Pasta

Sunday: Cauliflower Pasta Puttanesca

I served this recipe to my in-laws so I doubled it to make sure I had enough for everyone.

Cauliflower Pasta Puttanesca

Weekly Meal Plan: Mar 24-30, 2014

Monday: Tacos

Tuesday: Pumpkin Chicken Coconut Curry with Walnuts

Pumpkin Walnut Chicken Coconut Curry

Wednesday: CrockPot Turkey White Bean Pumpkin Chili

The last time I made this recipe was June 2012. I made some adjustments (dry beans instead of canned, for instance), and didn’t love it all that much. It definitely needed more liquid, so I’d add another 1-2 cups of broth if you used dry beans like I did.

Changes: 1) Doubled recipe but only used 1.5 lbs of ground turkey; 2) Substituted 1 lb dry Great Northern beans for the canned beans; 3) Used 6 cups homemade chicken stock; 4) Didn’t add green chilies (I didn’t have any, but I would seek them out in the future because the chili could have used more flavor).

Thursday: CrockPot Indian Butter Chicken

Paul is the one who reminded me to add the yogurt (I had eaten my serving already without it), so I was impressed he could tell something was missing. He’s becoming more observant and involved in the food I make!

CrockPot Indian Butter Chicken

Friday: Out to dinner

Saturday: Creamy Pasta with Sausage & Mustard

First time making this. I enjoyed it but it didn’t make as much sauce as I tend to prefer.

Changes: 1) Drained the oil from the sausage before adding the rest of the ingredients; 2) Used a sweet & tangy gourmet mustard (the only kind I had, but we liked the flavor).

Sunday: Out to dinner

Weekly Meal Plan: Mar 17-23, 2014

I made two new recipes this week along with some old favorites.

Monday: Sausage and Chickpea Soup

Tuesday: CrockPot Red Curry Pork with Pickles

Wednesday: Easy Pasta Bolognese

Thursday: Turmeric Chicken & Beans

New recipe #1. Verdict: It was okay, but likely not something I’d go out of my way to make again. The photo shows my plate once the chicken was removed from the bone (that’s a spoonful of Greek yogurt on top).

Changes: 1) Used two large chicken breasts (bone-in, but removed the skin); 2) Didn’t add spinach.

Turmeric Chicken & Beans

Friday: Smoky Tomato Lentil Soup with Spinach & Olives

Saturday: Penne with Sausage in Tomato Cream Sauce

Penne with Sausage in Tomato Cream Sauce

Sunday: CrockPot Sausage Lentil Soup

New recipe #2. Verdict: So, so good!

The major change I made was cooking the soup in the CrockPot rather than on the stovetop. I did boil the chicken stock and lentils on the stovetop for about 15 minutes before adding it to the CrockPot (I wanted to make sure the lentils would be soft enough when we were ready to eat). I cooked it on High for about 5 hours.

Other changes: 1) Used homemade chicken stock; 2) Didn’t add zucchini; 3) Added extra carrots and celery; 4) Used petite diced tomatoes instead of crushed; 5) Served with shredded Monterey Jack cheese.

Sausage and Chickpea Soup

This soup is quick and easy to put together for a weeknight meal. Even better…it’s delicious!

It’s also easy to adapt. When I took this photo, it was a night I decided to add a few handfuls of fresh baby spinach and sliced black olives (something I had never done before). I didn’t include that in the recipe below, but feel free to add extra veggies and greens from your fridge to bulk up this recipe.

Sausage and Chickpea Soup

Sausage and Chickpea Soup
(Adapted from The Kitchn)

  • 1 lb mild, hot or sweet Italian sausage (I use mild)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 stalks celery, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp dried thyme, minced
  • 2 small cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup dried parsley
  • Salt and pepper

Add sausage to a large skillet and cook thoroughly, breaking into small pieces as you go. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels.

Add olive oil to skillet and turn heat to medium. Add onions and celery; cook until soft. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for several minutes, until fragrant.

Return sausage to pan, then add the chickpeas. Cook for another minute, stirring, until the beans are well coated with the onions and oil.

Add the broth, white wine, and parsley and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper before serving.

Weekly Meal Plan: Mar 10-16, 2014

Monday: Chickpea, Sausage, and Spinach Pasta

I had an 8-oz package of mushrooms in the fridge so I threw those in the mix. Yum! Good choice.

Chickpea, Sausage and Spinach Pasta

Tuesday: CrockPot White Bean Chicken Chili with Zucchini

Wednesday: Baked Chicken in Creamy Tomato Sauce

Thursday: Burrito Bowls

I made homemade burrito bowls with CrockPot Mexican Pulled Pork, CrockPot Black Bean Soup and brown rice. Paul ate his with salsa. We had shredded cheese and sour cream for garnishes but ended up not using it. I would have liked some guacamole, though!

Changes to the Pulled Pork recipe: 1) Used 2 lbs pork tenderloin but didn’t double the amount of sauce; 2) Didn’t add brown sugar.

Changes to the Black Bean Soup recipe: 1) Used one red onion instead of two; 2) Cooked on High for five hours.

Friday: Pan-Seared Salmon and Black Rice Salad with Edamame, Walnuts & Lemon Vinaigrette

Saturday: Tacos

Sunday: Crockpot White Chicken Chili

First time making this recipe. It was a big hit! I’ll definitely be making this again.

CrockPot White Bean Chicken Chili with Zucchini

I just discovered this soup a few months ago but it’s been a hit whenever I’ve made it. I’m sure it’ll show up regularly on future meal plans.

CrockPot White Bean Chicken Chili with Zucchini

CrockPot White Bean Chicken Chili with Zucchini

(Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe)

  • 1.5 – 2 pounds boneless/skinless chicken breasts
  • 2-3 cans white beans (I use Great Northern), rinsed and drained
  • 1-2 zucchinis, chopped (I usually add two)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, diced
  • 8 oz frozen corn
  • 32 ounces (4 cups) chicken broth (add more if needed)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2-3 Tbsp lime juice (I use lime juice from a bottle but you could also use fresh
  • Optional garnishes: Sour cream, diced avocado, chopped cilantro, shredded cheese, tortilla chips

Place chicken in bottom of the CrockPot. For the white beans, I usually set aside half and put them in a blender with some chicken stock to add thickness to the soup.

Add remaining ingredients and stir. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Remove chicken and shred, then return to CrockPot. Serve with garnishes.

Weekly Meal Plan: Mar 3-9, 2014

We ate out more than usual this week because my sister-in-law was visiting and my mother-in-law celebrated a birthday.

Monday: CrockPot Pork and Edamame Soup

CrockPot Pork & Edamame Soup with Rice Noodles

Tuesday: CrockPot Chicken Curry

Changes: 1) Used minced jarred ginger; 2) Didn’t add optional cashews or cilantro; 3) Served with brown rice.

Wednesday: Yum-Yum Fish Stew

Thursday: Out to dinner

Friday: Balsamic-Ginger Marinated Salmon with Curried Rice & Lentils

I love this salmon and make it pretty often. The curried rice and lentils is something I made and enjoyed several times in 2012 and then forgot about. It is being reintroduced to the meal plan rotation!

Curried Rice & Lentils

Saturday & Sunday : Out to dinner

Weekly Meal Plan: Feb 24 – Mar 2, 2014

I feel like I’ve been relying too much on my staple food favorites recently, so I took time this week to 1) evaluate recipes I’ve only made once or twice in the past to decide whether I should make them again; and 2) search through my file of all the enticing recipes I’ve come across online, saved, but haven’t yet made.

I did start a new job last month so I don’t have a lot of free time during the day anymore, but even with my busier schedule I have plenty of time to prepare a decent dinner (I’m usually home by 445-5pm). I’m craving the variety of adding new recipes to my rotation.

All that to say…I’m hoping to have some new options appearing on my meal plans soon!

Monday: CrockPot Pumpkin Turkey Chili

Tuesday: Balsamic Salmon with Sweet Potato, Walnut and Edamame Quinoa Salad

I’ve made the fish before but this was a new recipe for quinoa salad (courtesy of my sister’s blog). It was an interesting combination — savory but also with a hint of sweetness thanks to the addition of the maple syrup. We liked it!

Changes to the quinoa salad: 1) Substituted a bag of frozen edamame for the goat cheese; 2) Used homemade chicken stock

Balsamic Salmon w/ Sweet Potato & Walnut Quinoa Salad

Wednesday: CrockPot Chicken Tikka Masala

Thursday: Cauliflower Pasta Puttanesca

Cauliflower Pasta Puttanesca

Friday: Tacos

Made with ground turkey, hard taco shells, salsa, and shredded cheddar cheese.

Saturday: Spicy Creamed Steak

I hadn’t made this since March 2013! I served it with rice noodles this time (instead of regular brown rice) and we really enjoyed it.

Sunday: Rotisserie Chicken Soup with Pasta, Tomatoes, and Zucchini

Changes: 1) Used 6 cups of homemade chicken stock; 2) Added 28-oz can diced tomatoes (undrained); 3) Only added one onion instead of two; 4) Used brown rice pasta (spiral shape).

Rotisserie Chicken Soup with Pasta and Tomatoes

CrockPot Red Curry Pork with Pickles

This recipe is easy to make and only has a few ingredients, but it’s super good. It appears regularly in my meal plan rotation. (This isn’t the best photo — you’ll generally have a lot more sauce on the plate.)

CrockPot Red Curry Pork with Pickles

CrockPot Red Curry Pork with Pickles
(Adapted from Paleo Pot)

  • 2-2.5 lb pork tenderloin, fat trimmed, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 Tbsp red curry paste (I use Thai Kitchen)
  • 1 can coconut milk (light or full-fat)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cups dill pickles, chopped

Place pork in CrockPot. Season with freshly-ground salt and pepper.

In a bowl, whisk the red curry paste and coconut milk together. Add to CrockPot and mix with the pork, making sure the meat is well covered with the sauce.

Layer diced onions evenly on top of the pork, then add chopped pickles on top. (Do not stir.)

Cover and cook on Low for 6 hours. Stir well before serving.

Serve with brown rice.