Meal Plan #2

Monday: Salsa Chicken with black beans and yellow rice

Inspired by a meal we had with friends, I’ll mix a jar of salsa–something good!–with my own mix of taco seasoning (I like to make my own so I can control the amount of salt …cumin, chili powder, red pepper flakes, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, oregano, and salt and pepper), and pour it over 4 chicken breasts. Then I’ll bake those while I saute the black beans with some onions and the rice cooks.

Tuesday: Blackened Salmon with roasted potatoes and sauteed green beans

A go-to meal for us, we LOVE our salmon in this house! I cook it all kinds of different ways [we had it with pasta (in a sauce of capers, lemon zest, lemon juice, basil and olive oil) mixed with fresh spinach leaves–the hot pasta and salmon just wilts the spinach–delish!!]. This week I’ll season both sides of the fillets with blackening seasoning (again, I make my own!) and sear both sides before baking it for about 5 minutes.

We also love roasted potatoes. I just chop them into 1/2-inch pieces, toss them in a bit of olive oil and some rosemary and fresh garlic (or whatever other spices sound good!) and then place them in a HOT oven (400 F), tossing them once. They come out nice and crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.

When I saute the green beans (whether I use fresh, canned or frozen), I drain (if canned), rinse and heat them in some olive oil (or butter–depends on the flavor I’m going for… sometimes I use a little of both!) over medium heat. I also add a little salt and pepper with some parsley and garlic. Some sweet or smoked paprika is also really good!

Wednesday: Chicken Sausage in an Herb Cream Sauce with Whole Wheat Pasta

We have found some delicious Chicken Sausage. It’s the al Fresco brand (there are many others out there, as well). We’ve tried several of the al Fresco flavors, and this week we’re using the Roasted Pepper and Asiago flavor.

For this dish, I remove the sausage from the casing and then (even though it’s fully cooked) I brown it further in our cast-iron skillet. I like to give it some charred pieces. It tastes SO good like this! While it’s browning, I get some pasta cooking. For this dish, I like to use small pasta like an oriechettie or small shells, so they catch the pasta sauce. I also try to get the sauce going as well. Since it is a cream sauce, I use some cream, and then I use our organic skim milk (which is creamier than regular skim milk) and some low-fat ricotta cheese to make up the difference. So I end up with a really creamy sauce, without all the calories and fat from a lot of cream. This is a recipe I’ve created, just by playing around in the kitchen. And I have no idea how much of everything I use. Maybe this time I’ll pay attention and write things down as I go so that I can share the recipe with you. Because trust me, it’s delicious!

Anyway, first I make a bechamel sauce, which is the basis for the herb cream sauce. Then I add some basil and oregano to the mix, while I saute some garlic. Once the garlic is fragrant, it goes into the sauce, and I add a little cream and some ricotta. When the pasta is al dente, I drain it and add it to the sauce with the sausage. Sometimes I add peas or mushrooms to the pasta as well. I prefer mushrooms, but my husband prefers peas… Hmmm, guess we’ll see what goes in this time around!

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Date Night!

Saturday: More leftovers

Sunday: Small Group