Meal planning for a busy week

On Sundays I am always thinking about what we are going to eat for meals that week. When the boys are napping I scribble out a list of meals and things I need to buy at the store. I got all of the items at the store yesterday for under $100- which isn’t bad considering I bought lunch and snack items too! Here the meals I am going to make this week:

– Creamy chicken soup with crescent rolls. I love that veggies and protein are all in one pot. And leftovers are great for lunches the next day.

– Chopped salad with gorgonzola and avocado. I put a balsamic vinaigrette on this- so yummy.

– Quick spaghetti bolognese. I cheat on this dish and dress up my favorite store-bought marinara sauce with ground beef, shredded carrots and onions and red wine. A rich, hearty meal.

– Thai chicken curry. One of our favorite meals! Coconut milk, lime and red curry. I serve it over basmati rice.

– Stir fried rice. The cheapest, easiest meal! Use the leftover rice from the curry, and veggies you have around. I use carrots, onions, garlic and chives. Topped with soy sauce, lemon and butter- I real treat!

I am going to post the recipes throughout the week! But if you interested here is what you will need at the grocery store:

Creamy chicken soup- bacon- optional, olive oil, butter, chicken breasts, Mrs. Dash garlic and herb seasoning, paprika, salt, pepper, onions, yellow potatoes, carrots, celery, garlic, flour, vermouth or white wine, chicken stock, half and half, and crescent rolls.

Chopped salad with gorgonzola and avocado- olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, salt, pepper, romaine lettuce, red onions, bacon, avocado, lemon and tortilla chips. French bread- optional.

Quick spaghetti bolognese– Spaghetti, onion, carrot, garlic, ground beef, salt, pepper, fresh thyme and or rosemary or Italian seasoning, red wine, marinara sauce and sugar.

Thai chicken curry- Basmati rice, chicken broth, olive oil, chicken, curry powder, salt, pepper, onions, red pepper, garlic, ginger, red curry paste, coconut milk, lime and sugar.

Stir-fried rice- Vegetable oil, butter, eggs-optional, onions, carrots, garlic, Rice- leftover or fresh, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, lemon, pepper, chives.

Later today I will be posting the creamy chicken soup recipe. This is a quick soup that can be done from chopping to eating in one hour.

Happy meal planning! These recipes I am posting this week are all sure family pleasers that are easy! If I can do it with two into everything little boys- anyone can =)

Easy Comfort Food

My husbands favorite meal is pasta with pesto. I make it for him all of the time! Ordinarily I make homemade pesto. I couldn’t make it homemade yesterday for our special pasta dinner because we currently don’t have a food processor! We are in the Boston area for three months for my husband’s job- and don’t have most of our belongings with us.
Using store bought pesto makes this meal super easy. I love that this meal includes carbs, veggies and protein. Everything you need in one pot. I recommend you make a big pot of it- and save the leftovers for weekly lunches. The recipe serves 4- but the servings are very large!

Easy chicken pesto with mushrooms and asparagus
1 pound box of farfalle pasta (bowties) or any other type of pasta of your choice
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts- cut into bite sized pieces
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter divided
1 bundle of asparagus cut into 1 inch pieces
8 ounce pack of button mushrooms- chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped                                                                                                       1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese divided                                                                         1/4 cup half and half                                                                                                                8 ounce container store bought pesto

The veggies all chopped. I buy the sliced mushrooms and chop them smaller.
The veggies all chopped. I buy the packaged sliced mushrooms and chop them smaller.

-Put a large pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta. Add pasta and cook according to directions. Take 1-2 minutes off the cooking time for al dente.

The pasta. We do Barilla Plus a lot of the time for added protein.
The pasta. We do Barilla Plus a lot of the time for added protein.

– Sprinkle the salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder on the chicken.

– In a large pan melt 1/2 tablespoon butter and 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Add the chicken. Spread it out and don’t stir for a while to get the chicken browned. Remove when fully cooked. Set aside.

– In the same pan add the remaining olive oil and 1/2 tablespoon butter. Add the mushrooms. Cook for 3 minutes, then add the asparagus. Brown and cook for 5 more minutes. Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining salt and pepper.

Veggies browning. Make sure to get color on the mushrooms. It brings out so much flavor when they are caramelized.
Veggies browning. Make sure to get color on the mushrooms. It brings out so much flavor when they are caramelized.

– In the pasta pot add the cooked pasta. Top with the remaining butter and 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Stir and add the pesto and 1/2 and 1/2.  Add the chicken and veggies and stir. Top with remaining Parmesan cheese.

Stirring everything together.
Stirring everything together.

Optional- Add crispy bacon for a smoky flavor. Substitute or add onions, peas or whatever other veggies you like. Shallots would be great.