Meal Plan: August 16-21

We are starting to get the hang of me being back at work part time, and meal planning has definitely helped! It takes the stress out of each day, trying to figure out what to make; it allows me to do all my grocery shopping over the weekend; and it allows me to plan ahead to find the best deals and plan my meals around sales so I’m as to save money. I highly recommend it, even if you don’t work!

Saturday:Copycat Chick Fil A Sandwich and Crispy Green Bean Fries
IMG_2062.JPGI love Chick Fil A, but it is so hard to eat out while I’m still not able to eat dairy. In both of these recipes, I was easily able to make them dairy free by using unsweetened regular almond milk instead of the cream/milk. I couldn’t even tell the difference!
The pickles on the sandwich were homemade (it was also the pickle juice I used to marinade the chicken) using this recipe, but instead of using dill seed I used a few sprigs of fresh dill.
The icing on the cake (or the sauce on the sandwich) was definitely the copycat Chick Fil A sauce. If you haven’t tried this sauce, you MUST! It’s like a BBQ honey mustard sauce, but is way better. I don’t like mustard, at all, but I love this sauce! It also made a great dipping sauce for the green beans!

Sunday: Kale Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
IMG_2072.PNGI made this salad with things I had on hand, so instead of pomegranate I used dried cranberries, instead of pecans I used sliced almonds, and I didn’t add any feta since I can’t eat dairy. I love the quinoa in this, and it would also be good with some grilled chicken.

Monday: Steak au Poivre with Roasted Broccoli and Potatoes
IMG_2123.PNGMatt has started making dinner on Monday nights because I work in the afternoons, and what a treat that has been! His favorite place to find recipes right now is in an amazing book called Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequest. Highly, highly, highly recommend it!

Tuesday: Baked Honey Garlic Chicken with Brown Fried Rice
IMG_2121.PNGThis chicken was so good! Super crispy and the sauce coated it perfectly.
For the fried rice I heat vegetable oil in a wok, add leftover brown rice and cook until heated through. Then I add some diced onion, frozen mixed veggies, scrambled egg, sesame seeds, a couple tablespoons of soy sauce and about a teaspoon of sesame oil. Then I cook it until everything is hot, and add more soy sauce if needed!

Wednesday: Sesame Soba Noodles
IMG_2122.PNGSoba noodles were on clearance at the grocery store so I thought it would be fun to try them. This was the perfect dish for a hot day! I followed the recipe but added some cucumber and added a little chili oil which was delicious! The dressing would be great for a cucumber salad too!

Thursday: Chickpea Salad with Honey Garlic Lime Vinaigrette
IMG_2168.PNGThis salad was AMAZING! I can still taste it days later! It’s best if made ahead of time so the flavors all have plenty of time to meld. I made it around 1pm and it was great for dinner (it tasted great right after I made it, but got even better by dinner and then even better still for lunch the next day). I added an extra tablespoon of red wine vinegar and also added shredded chicken and thin sliced shallots instead of cherry tomatoes. I can’t wait to make this again!

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Meal Plan: August 1-7

Matt got back from his mission trip in Mexico on August 1, so I wanted to make sure he has great meals this week! Plus I went back to work on Monday so I did my meal planning a little early!

Friday: Chicken Parmesan (Matt’s favorite)
20140802-185756-68276573.jpgPound the chicken thin, dredge in flour, then egg, then season bread crumbs. Place the breaded chicken on waxed paper and place in the fridge for 10 minutes (if you skip this step, your breading will be more likely to fall off when you cook the chicken. Then saute/lightly pan fry the chicken in olive oil until golden brown on both sides. Top with mozzarella and then hot tomato sauce. I used my tomato sauce.
I served it with zucchini that I cut into spears, topped with olive oil, basalmic vinegar, and garlic powder and baked at 350 degrees until soft.

Saturday: Pineapple Grilled Mahi Mahi
20140803-193717-70637978.jpgThis was so fun to make! I chose to use Mahi Mahi, but next time I think I’ll try salmon or chicken.
Soaked some twine in water while you prepare the pineapple. Cut the the pineapple so the ends are the same size as your piece of whatever you are grilling. I brushed the fish with a little teriyaki sauce, then sandwich the fish in the pineapple and tie up with twine. This has to grill for a long time, but don’t worry about the fish drying out, the juice from the pineapple keeps is nice and moist! I served this with some rice and fresh pineapple.

For dessert I surprised Matt by making one of his favorite treats…CHURROS! If I had know how easy it was to make churros I would have made them a long time ago! I don’t have a piping bag, so I just used a ziploc bag and cut a hole in the corner!
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Sunday: Corn-off-the-Cobb Chicken Tacos
20140803-195417-71657391.jpgThese tacos were so much better than I expected!!
I cooked the chicken ahead of time (while the baby was napping, since I didn’t know how much time I would have later!). I put olive oil in a pan, browned one side of the chicken, then flip the chicken and pour about a cup of chicken broth in the pan, cover and simmered about 10 minutes or until the chicken was cooked. Once it had cooled a little I shredded for later.
For the corn (a fresh gift from my aunt), I wrapped them in a damp paper towel, husks and all, and microwaved for 4 minutes, flipping half way through.
We had these on warn corn tortillas topped with fresh pico de gallo and guacamole. SO GOOD!

Monday: Crock Pot Honey Garlic Chicken with Protein Garlic Mashed Potatoes with sauteed onions, kale, and green beans
20140805-074248-27768353.jpgToday was my first day back at work so we decided to have a crock pot meal (when I was pregnant I prepared a few crock pot meals and froze them). Unfortunately, with my pregnancy brain I didn’t save the recipe, but I believe it was some combination of honey, minced garlic, soy sauce, ketchup, and oregano. I do apologize!
The mashed potatoes were left over from another meal, so I decided to spruce them up by sauteing diced onions, cut green beans (I used frozen), and kale, then adding the mashed potatoes and sautéing until the potatoes were hot and starting to brown.

Tuesday: The plan was to make sweet potato zucchini fritters but my poor hubby got sick so we had matzo ball soup from a local diner instead

Wednesday: Broccoli Apple Salad
20140806-193651-70611240.jpgI pretty much followed this recipe except I used sliced almonds instead of walnuts and added avocado. I also blanched the broccoli for about 30 seconds in hot water just to take a little of the bite off.
The dressing called for sour cream, so I used the vegan sour cream that I’ve written about a couple times.

Thursday: Dragon Bowl
IMG_1920.PNGI saw this recipe on The Chew. It sounds a little strange…but it’s so good! Matt even said it was in the top 10 dishes I’ve ever made! Sautéed kale and rice, roasted sweet potatoes, fried chickpeas, avocado, fried egg…each component is delicious on it’s own, and even better together!

Meal Plan: July 27-29

My mom is here this week to visit and help out before I go back to work next week (sad day, it’s been so nice being off for 15 weeks!). I asked my mom to pick some of the recipes I’ve been making that she wanted to try, so here they are!

Sunday: Grilled Ginger Sesame Chicken Salad
I know, not vegetarian, but the dressing makes it all ok! This salad could easily be made sans chicken and would be just as good, or use the marinade for tofu if you’d like! It’s the perfect amount of salt and vinegar that you want in a Chinese chicken salad!
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Monday: CauliPower Alfredo
One of the things I craved most while pregnant (and still do) is fettuccini Alfredo. While this is definitely not as soon as the real deal, creamy, fattening Alfredo sauce I know and love, it is a great alternative until I can eat dairy again! It has a similar mouth feel to dairy Alfredo and is thick and creamy, but is made from cauliflower so it’s much healthier! I like to add broccoli to it, but you could add anything you’d like!
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Tuesday:Taco Chicken with Zucchini Pasta
This dish is so easy and delicious, and comes together super fast! I bought a mandolin with a julienne part that works great for making the zucchini noodles! This recipe is with chicken but you could just as easily use tofu or shrimp!
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Unfortunately I won’t be cooking the rest of the week, but here is a bonus recipe! I made this delicious dessert while my mom was visiting so she could try a vegan raw dessert! I added an extra tablespoon of maple syrup to the filling, and also added about 1/4 cup of cocoa powder 🙂
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars
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Stay tuned for next week’s meal plan!

Meal Plan: July 20-25

Alright, so the plan from here on out (or for now, at least, until we have time to start experimenting again), is to post our weekly meal plan with links to the recipes we are using! I apologize for the lack of pictures this week…I had every intention of taking daily pictures, but a crying baby, my hunger, and my lack of patience kept interfering!

Sunday: Zucchini with Garlic Lemon Vinaigrette
We added grilled chicken to make it our main dish, otherwise it would be great as a side dish!

Monday: Quinoa Black Bean Tacos
These tacos were incredible! I baked shells using Mission Artisan Whole Wheat tortillas (our favorite), and topped them with avocado and vegan sour cream.
With the leftovers I made baked flautas one day (place avocado and filling on a tortilla, roll is tightly, place on a baking sheet and spray with cooking spray. Bake until crispy), and had enough leftover after that to make quesadillas another day! (And there is still more in the fridge!)
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Tuesday: Vegan Crispy Potato Pizza
This was so much fun to make! From the homemade baked potato chips to the beer pizza crust, it was all delicious, and surprisingly we didn’t even miss the cheese! I added thin sliced onions under the chips for a little extra flavor, and next time would add more and maybe a little spinach!
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Wednesday: Spinach Barley Salad
I followed the recipe but used pearl barley instead of wild rice which I think was a great choice because it really absorbed the delicious dressing!
We went to the LA Galaxy vs. Manchester United soccer game and this was the perfect healthy tailgate food because I was able to make it ahead of time and stick it in the cooler!
Tip: the salad minus the spinach was even better leftover the next day!
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Thursday: Grilled Thai Chicken with Coconut Jasmine Rice
This chicken marinade was so good! Next time I would reserve some of the marinade and reduce it to make a sauce to drizzle over the chicken when I served it, because it was that good! It would also be a great marinade for veggies like zucchini!

Friday: BBQ Crock Pot Ribs, Grilled Corn on the Cob, and High Protein Garlic Mashed Potatoes
These ribs are always requested for special occasions, and are AMAZINGLY easy and delicious! (No picture because it was way too good to wait and eat…we are working on our patience!)

All the meals this week cost about $60 and made enough for both of us to have leftovers for lunch the next day! The biggest tip was waiting for the ribs to go on sale and then I had a Just For U coupon on top of that (from Vons)

Orzo Salad with Spicy Ranch Dressing

I’m not a huge fan of pasta salad, but this dish completely changed my mind!

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1 C uncooked orzo
1 can of corn, drained and rinsed
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
3 green onions, diced
6 cherry tomatoes, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2 T mayo
1/4 C ranch
3 T lime juice
1 t chili powder
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 avocado, cut in wedges

Cook the orzo, drain and rinse. Combine orzo, corn, beans, tomatoes, green onions, and bell pepper (also good with broccoli)

Combine ranch, mayo, lime juice, chili powder, and garlic. Pour the dressing over the other ingredients and mix. Service and top with avocado! ENJOY!