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 9-14

My first week back to work went well, the schedule is pretty ideal for being able to see my baby lots! And how could I not want to see this face as much as possible?? I mean, look at her!
IMG_1623.JPGOk, now to the food!

Saturday: Homemade Ahi Sushi
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IMG_1942.JPGA family from church (thanks Tammy!!) gave us fresh caught Ahi, so what better way to enjoy such a treat than in it’s original state!
We used soy paper, spread sushi rice on the paper, then laid cucumber, artificial crab meat mixed with a little mayo and sriracha, avocado, and green onion. Then we carefully and tightly rolled up the sushi and topped with the fresh ahi.
For dipping sauce we made unagi sauce (equal parts soy sauce, mirin, and sugar that is reduced down). It was SO GOOD!!

Sunday: Ahi Sushi…again
It was so good the first time around, so we had it again!! 🙂
This time we had it with yummy egg drop soup
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Monday: Sweet Potato Zucchini Fritters
So I didn’t exactly follow the recipe…at all…I more used this recipe as an idea, so here is my version!

Grate the following into a bowl:
1 zucchini
1 sweet potato
1 onion
Add to the bowl and mix well:
2 eggs
4 tablespoons of flour
a little salt, pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, and paprika
Heat vegetable oil in a pan. Place a spoonful of the mixture into the oil, saute until brown, flip and repeat. Place the cooked fritter on a paper towel to absorb excess oil.
In the mean time, place a cooling rack on a baking sheet and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the cooked fritters on the cooling rack and place in the oven, bake about 10 minutes.
I topped the fritters with an aoli made from mayo, garlic powder, ground coriander, dry mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and lemon juice.

Tuesday: Tex Mex Orzo
IMG_1982.PNGThis one pot meal was super easy and delicious! I added some chopped avocado when I served it!

Wednesday: 5 Ingredient White Chicken Chili
IMG_2022.PNGI made a half batch of this and it was enough for dinner for both of us plus leftovers for lunch. In true VanGent fashion, I put my own twist on it by adding a can of diced tomatoes and a bunch of kale…delicious!
I served it with this homemade focaccia bread. IMG_1999.JPGSince I can’t eat dairy, I topped the bread with sea salt (I only put half the salt in the bread), rosemary, and thinly sliced onions.

Thursday: Grilled Veggie Sandwichthi

IMG_2023.PNGThis is always a hit in our house. So easy and delicious! This time we made it on the focaccia I made last night (see recipe above).

Stay tuned for next week’s meal plan!

Grilled Veggie Sandwich

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This amazing sandwich is definitely one of our favorites right now, and is a go-to meal when we don’t feel like cooking much. We normally grill it outside, but this time I made it on my indoor grill pan and it was actually just as good! (Plus Matt had just gotten home from summer camp and was too tired to grill)
This recipe is from allrecipes.com but is slightly altered (I can never follow recipes directly…)

Ingredients for sauce:
1/4 cup mayo (I use olive oil mayo)
1 T lemon juice (also great with orange or lime!)
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. (We have also used other sauces for our sandwich, like leftover baja sauce from fish tacos)

Ingredients for sandwich
1/2 zucchini, cut into strips
1/2 bell pepper, cut flat
1/2 tomato, slices
2 slices of onion
Bread of choice (see below description for our favorite, but any kind will do)
Feta to sprinkle on the bread (optional)

Arrange cut veggies on a grill pan or on the grill and sprinkle with no-salt garlic herb seasoning.

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Once the veggies start to get grill marks, flip and grill the other side (should only take about 5 minutes on each side).
While the veggies are cooking, spread some mayo on one side of the bread (we have tried thick cut loaves, ciabatta, focaccia, but our favorite by far has been naan). Sprinkle feta on top of the sauce.

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Once the veggies have been removed from the grill or grill pan, place the bread, sauce side up, and grill until the bread starts to brown.

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Once the bread is done, assemble the sandwich and ENJOY!!