Weekly Menus January 2014

Monday: Split Pea and Ham Soup with Crusty Bread
Tuesday: Chicken Thigh, Tomato and Fennel Bake
Wednesday: Thai Noodles with Shrimp and Peanut Sauce
Thursday: Sloppy Joe’s
Friday: Rigatoni and Meatballs

Monday’s soup will cook in about 20 minutes in a pressure cooker. If you don’t have one or simply would prefer to let this cook in a slow cooker, it will be ready in approximately 4 hours on high. If you have neither, make this soup over the weekend or on your day off. Simply reheat when you are ready to serve. This soup is a great addition to any lunchbox.

If you have left over baked chicken on Tuesday, make sandwiches for work and the office the next day. Or shred the thighs and use the meat in a pasta salad. If you started off with fresh chicken thighs you can go ahead and freeze left over chicken as well.

Don’t splurge on the shrimp in your Thai noodles on Wednesday. You really do not need a whole lot of them for this dish. If you want to stretch the shrimp even farther, slice it in half horizontally — always after the vein has been removed. The shrimp will be thinner and you will need to use much less.

Sloppy Joe’s are easy to make and are always a huge hit. Make sure you serve them with an abundance of napkins! Thursday night will be a favorite this week.

Make an extra batch of meatballs for your Friday rigatoni. Bake and freeze the extra batch and use it for next week in meatball subs. This is also a great meal to include in lunch boxes and take to work. You can make your meatballs in advance. They are a great project for little helpers. They absolutely love making little meatballs. Make sure you wash their hands very well before and after they give you a helping hand!

Beef Broccoli Stir Fry

Monday: Spiced Coconut Cream of Squash with Crusty Bread
Tuesday: Chicken and Brown Rice Casserole
Wednesday: Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry
Thursday: Baked Fish with Salsa Verde and Sour Cream
Friday: Meatball and Cheese Subs with Marinara Sauce

Monday’s soup is a great way to start the week. It is very light and super easy to make. This soup will warm your body and soul with goodness. It will keep well for a couple of days in the refrigerator so you can make it ahead of time. No problem.

Tuesday’s chicken and rice casserole is something that you can also prepare very easily and quickly. You will need cooked brown rice so go ahead and make it the day before if you can. This is a big casserole which serves eight so you will definitely have left-overs. This will not freeze very well but will keep in the fridge for 2 to 3 days. It is great for sending to school and work in lunchboxes.

On Wednesday all you really need is to prep all your ingredients before you start cooking. Once that is done you will be able to whip up your stir-fry very quickly. In fact, don’t even start making it until you have all of your ingredients ready to go. Otherwise, you will find yourself in a bind. Make sure to have your white rice ready before you start stir-frying as well.

Thursday’s fish is uber easy to make. Go ahead and use store bought salsa verde for this recipe if you want. Your meal will be ready on no time and you will be very pleased at how tasty it is.

Use the meatballs you froze last week for Friday’s dinner. Take them out of the freezer the on Thursday night and let them thaw in the fridge. Go ahead and use store bought Marinara sauce for this as well. Although, making Marinara sauce at home is very easy.

Butternut, Corn Blackbean Chipotle Chili

Monday: Black Bean Chili with Butternut Squash
Tuesday: Chinese Fried Brown Rice
Wednesday: Cream of Broccoli Soup with Cheese and Crusty Bread
Thursday: Stewed Chicken with Chipotle and Mexican Rice
Friday: Parmesan Crusted Fish Sticks with Tartar Sauce and Salad

You might want to make Monday’s black bean chili over the weekend. Or change it to the day after your day off. This takes a little while to be ready but is absolutely worth the time and effort. As most chilies this one will taste better the day after anyway. It is excellent to send to school and the office in a lunch box.

Tuesday’s meal is nice and easy as it can be done with frozen veggies and left over meats such as rotisserie chicken or small pieces of ham. You will need to have cooked brown rice for this but you will also be able to get your meal made fairly quickly.

Wednesday’s cream of broccoli with cheese is an all time favorite. It is not very timely to make and I will be surprised if you have left overs. If you happen to have some place it in a thermos and send it to school or the office in a lunch box.

Thursday’s stewed chicken freezes beautifully so go ahead and make it in advance. Pull it out of the freezer on Tuesday night and let it thaw in the fridge. I always prefer to heat my food in a pot on the stove rather than the microwave. Not a big microwave fan even if it is more convenient.

Friday night’s meal is divine. You can go ahead and purchase your tartar sauce if you prefer but making it at home is no big deal. These beat any store bought processed sticks by far. They are healthy and you can pronounce every single one of the ingredients without a problem!

Spiced Chicken Thighs

Monday: Potato Casserole with Meat Sauce
Tuesday: Pan Fried Citrus Tilapia with Oven Sweet Potato Fries
Wednesday: Cuban Black Bean Soup with Crusty Bread
Thursday: Spiced Roasted Chicken Thighs with Steamed Quinoa
Friday: Roasted Tomato and Garlic Pasta with Garlic Bread

Monday’s casserole can be made a day before and cooked that same day. If you think you might not have enough time go ahead and cook it the day prior and simply heat it up. You will need mashed potatoes for this recipe and instant ones are a good substitute if you are short of time.

Tuesday’s meal is really easy to make and it is loaded in flavor. It cooks very quickly and is very healthy as well. The sweet potato fries will take longer than the fish so start with those first.

Your Wednesday’s Cuban black bean soup will cook in a slow cooker while you are at work. How convenient is that? This is a great soup to send to school and work in lunchboxes. This is truly a wonderful soup. Leftover’s will keep for a few days in the fridge.

Thursday’s chicken thighs practically cook themselves. All you have to do is spice them up and place them on a roasting rack. The oven will do the rest and you home will be inundated with exotic aromas that will make everyone hungry. Promise. You can go ahead and steam the quinoa as the chicken cooks.

Friday’s meal is to die for. It is full of bold flavors that will make you hanker for more. This is a vegetarian meal but I can guarantee you will not miss the meat. The only other thing you will not be able to do is kiss anyone who did not eat this with you. If you are not a garlic lover you will not like this meal. But is you are . . . well . . . you will be in Heaven. This meal is absolutely perfect the following day. My husband insists that it is actually BETTER.

Eat well my friends without going broke!

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