Here is what we have been eating this week. For some meals, I used a recipe and am posting a link. The rest of the meals I put together as they are pretty basic, I am including my notes for those. I am also sharing my tips on how I adjust recipes for the kids. I hope it will be helpful to some of you.
Monday: Chicken Francese with green beans.
Wednesday: Chicken enchiladas.
Thursday: Salisbury steaks, sweet peas, buckwheat.
Friday: Split pea soup, crock pot.
Saturday: Steak, twice baked potatoes, sauteed spinach.
Sunday: Pesto pasta with veggies and kielbasa.
Chicken Francese, green beans
This was very good, although not the quickest recipe. You have to dredge the chicken in flour and then in an egg-parmesan mixture. But with everything set up on the counter, it took under 30 minutes. Everyone liked it. The sauce– white wine and cream with some garlic and lemon juice– adds a lot of flavor.
While I was at it, I made some extra chicken to be used later in the week for Chicken Enchiladas. These are just plain chicken breasts seasoned with salt and pepper and sauteed, covered, for about 10 minutes on medium-low heat. Once cooled, I put them in a ziplock bag and store in the fridge until needed. This is one of the ways I save time on cooking. If I am not going to cook them the same week, I freeze them.
I only have the “in-process” pictures. I wanted to show how I adjust recipes for kids. Like I said before, I normally don’t cook separate meals but if I am making something spicy, I separate a portion of the recipe before adding the spices.
In the little bowl is the chicken mixture before salsa verde and enchilada sauce were added. This is Phoebe’s portion. Sonia and Ethan had the “grown-up” version.
I baked her enchilada in a mini loaf pan. If you don’t have a small pan, just make a “wall” out of foil and place it in the main casserole pan. I sprinkled cheddar cheese over the mini-enchilada but didn’t add any sauce to it because it was definitely too spicy. It was baked covered with foil and turned fine, not dry at all.
Shrimp with asparagus and white bean puree
We LOVED this recipe and I can’t wait to make it again. Highly recommended. My only change was using chicken broth instead of water for the beans. This meal came together very quickly, and it is so-so good.
Salisbury steaks with sweet peas and buckwheat
Another winner here. Salisbury steaks are not fancy, they are a variation of a meatloaf. Sometimes they come out like hockey pucks but these turned out very tender and flavorful. The secret ingredient is FRESH breadcrumbs which I discovered by accident. I ran out of regular breadcrumbs and had to improvise. I made my own breadcrumbs out of an “Everything” bagel (a quarter of a bagel or so).
I added fresh dill to the gravy and served with buckwheat and peas. Buckwheat is fantastic with beef dishes. I buy mine at Natural Grocer’s here in Austin. I know regular grocery stores carry it but the quality can be hit and miss. Barley would make a great substitute for buckwheat.
Split pea soup, crockpot
I normally use green split peas but I had some yellow dried peas and that’s what I used this time. For 1 lb of dried peas, you’ll need 6 cups of low-sodium chicken broth (or 3 cups chicken broth and 3 cups water), 2 carrots, 1 celery rib, half of a medium onion chopped, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1 bay leaf, 1 tsp dried thyme, and 2 smoked pork neck bones or ham hocks. I cooked on high for 5 hours. Since the neck bones are salty, I recommend not to add any salt and use low-sodium chicken broth. This came out a little too thick so I added some water before serving.
Steak, twice baked potatoes, sauteed spinach
I am looking forward to this dinner. Brian will grill steaks, and I will make these potatoes (I freeze half of the batch for later) and spinach. For the spinach, I saute a minced clove of garlic for a few seconds, add fresh spinach and cook, stirring, until wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Pesto pasta with veggies and kielbasa
Brian will be out of town for work, so I am planning to make this really quick kielbasa and veggies skillet. I use whatever vegetables look good at the store: squash, zucchini, bell peppers, onion. I start with the vegetables and cook them for 7-10 minutes on medium heat, and then add kielbasa and a couple tablespoons of pesto. I will serve pasta with this and sprinkle grated parmesan on top, as well fresh basil from my crazily overgrown basil plant (the thing refuses to die).
It may seem like I spend days cooking but it usually takes me under 30 minutes of hands-on time. I am going to write a post about my cooking process and the tips I use to not spend a lot of time cooking. Let me know if you have any specific questions!