What it's all about:

Each week I will put together an easy, kid friendly menu for a week's worth of meals, cooking tips and a shopping list so all you have to do is go to the store. It's an online support system to help you eat better and easier.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Week 1 - Chicken Soup, Pork Chops, Chili Mac n Cheese, Pesto Pasta Salad

Here's the thing about my normal weekly cooking. Friday's is pizza night in my house and I definitely recommend giving yourself one night off if you can. Pizza, Chinese, Sushi take out (we do that a lot!) anything that doesn't involve kitchen time and is a little more fun. So the plan here is four meals, with two nights of leftovers and one night of Pizza or whatever.

It's an allrecipe kind of week so here are the links to the recipes for this post and the shopping list. I have a few things listed at the bottom under 'make sure you have'. These are things like olive oil and some spices that you would probably have on a regular basis, but it's always good to make sure you have it before you head to the store.

Shopping List


(over rice with green beans on the side)

Step by Step (print version of everything below)

To put this all together quickly in one afternoon here's how I would approach it. The pork chops would be served that evening. The Chili Mac N Cheese, soup and pasta caprese prepped for later.

Slice the raw chicken into strips, add salt & pepper, spray with olive oil (keeps it from drying on top), and bake at 350 for approx 15-20 minutes or until done.

Cook 1 cup of rice in the cooker (or on the stove if that’s your preference).

Put two pots of pasta on to boil; The 8 oz of macaroni and the 1.5 cups of rotini.

While all of that is cooking:

In small bowl #1
Chop ½ cup onion
Chop ½ cup celery

In medium bowl #2
Slice 1 cup carrots
½ tsp dried basil
½ tsp dried oregano

In large bowl #3
½ cup halved grape tomatoes
½ cup (generous ½  cup) mozzarella balls
¼ tsp granulated garlic
1/8 tsp black pepper
2 basil leaves finely sliced.
4-5 Tbsp. pesto (the recipe calls for 3, I didn't think that was enough and added more, it’s up to you)
1 Tbsp olive oil

In large Bowl #4
1 Can Hormel Chili with beans
1.5 cups salsa
1 medium green pepper chopped
1 tbsp chili powder
1.5 cups Marble Jack cheese

Chili mac n cheese
When the macaroni is done, drain and add it to the chili and salsa (bowl #4). Pour mixture into a greased 9x13 casserole dish and top with remaining ½ cup of marble jack cheese. You can either cover and refrigerate it to cook it later, or bake at 350 for 20 minutes. If you refrigerate, it may take a little longer than 20 minutes but you don’t want to overcook (recipe online says 35 minutes, which is too long) or the pasta gets very dry. Serve with sour cream and optional cilantro.

Pasta Caprese
When the Rotini is done, drain and add it to the tomato and mozzarella (bowl #3). To this add approx. ½ lb of chopped cooked chicken.

Chicken Soup
Chop the remainder of the cooked chicken and add to bowl #2.

Here you can either put the soup together and then refrigerate to reheat later as needed, or cover and refrigerate bowls 1 & 2 and put the soup together another night.

In a large pot, melt 1 tbsp butter. Add the onions and celery from bowl #1 and sauté for approx. 5 minutes. Add 4 cans chicken broth and 1 can vegetable broth, bowl #2 (carrots and chicken), 1.5 cups of egg noodles and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until pasta is done. Don't overdo egg noodles, they turn to mush pretty quickly.

Pork with Black beans
Season chops with pepper.
In a large pan, heat 1 tbsp oil over medium high heat.
Cook chops until just brown, 3-4 min per side.
Add can of Black beans with liquid and 1 cup salsa.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 20-35 min until pork is done. (length of time depends on thickness of chops)
Add frozen green beans to pot of water and boil for approx. 10 minutes.
Serve chops & beans over rice with green beans on the side.

All of this done at once will take around an hour and a half.


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