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.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Week Three(ish) - Creamy Chicken Casserole, Baked chicken nuggets, Meatballs and Lasagna cups

Too much to even get into. January was a complete bust. We're all just lucky to have survived. Flu, Sinus Infection, Bronchitis, it just didn't stop. My poor parents are still sick from having to come take care of all us invalids and getting infected in the process.

Back to it!

My new favorite addiction is iamafoodblog.com. A week or so ago I started looking around online to find some new sources of dinners and this one is so great. Some recipes are super easy, some are a little harder but everything I've tried so far has been worth the effort, and in less than two weeks I've made three of her recipes. If you like bacon (and who doesn't?) you have to try the jalapeno bacon twists. Even if you're hesitant on the jalapeno part, trust me, after cooking for 30 minutes and baking with cheesy goodness, it's not all that hot.

Granted she's living that kid free life that I both envy and don't envy all at the same time and has time for things like cooking Sunday Brunch (!??!) so you have to cut her some slack for those posts.

This week's dinner is all pretty basic stuff, but tasty and a little fun (mini lasagna from iamafoodblog). I'm on a big salad kick right now so two of the dinners have a super fast salad option included. Super fast = bag of greens, cherry tomatoes, green onion (the only thing requiring slicing) and feta cheese.

Here's to the hope of a healthy rest of the winter!!

Shopping List

(with Potato Wedges and Green beans)

Meatballs (with rolls or pasta) and Salad

Now, first off, I know you just clicked the link to the mini lasagna cup recipe and probably saw that it is made using wonton wrappers. DO NOT FEAR THE WONTON! I promise your store has them. And yes, you will have to ask where they are. I know my grocery store pretty well and couldn't for anything figure out where they were hidden. Find the store employee who really knows the store, not the teenager stocking shelves who works there part time after school for a couple hours. My grocery store guru knew right where they were, in the produce section with the fancy mushrooms. Figures, the one refrigerated section I did not check. Never thought that wontons would be in produce.

Here's the dinner breakdown. Mini lasagna's are crazy good and best that night, so plan on those (with super quick salad) for dinner on night one and then the rest either prepped or fully cooked for eating during the week. Another quick note on the mini lasagna's, my version includes beef. My husband does not consider a meal without meat acceptable. Also, apparently it's a Parmesan week. I didn't notice it until I was cooking on Sunday and saw that almost every recipe includes Parmesan. Whoops. Hope you like cheese!

Step by Step
Defrost your spinach.

Cook one cup of rice in your rice cooker (or on the stove) and set aside.

Cook green beans (I dumped two cans worth, with juice, into a Pyrex bowl and microwaved it for 2 1/2 minutes, done).

Cut up one and a half chicken breasts (approx 12 oz) into small chunks, spray with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake at 350 for approx 18 min or until done.

Cut up the rest of the chicken breasts into nugget sized chunks and set aside.

Medium Bowl 1
2 cups sliced mushrooms
3/4 cup chopped red & yellow peppers
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic

Small Bowl 2
1/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp pepper

Medium Bowl 3
1 lb ground beef
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 small onion diced (recipe calls for the full onion, but I ended up with massive amounts of diced onion left in the bowl and didn't have enough beef to work in, so I suggest adjusting to half an onion)
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
3/4 tsp oregano
3/4 tsp crushed red pepper (if you have kids who are picky about spicy foods you may want to cut this back to 1/4 tsp, I used the full 3/4 and it's just a little spicy for my three year old. My husband and I think they're fantastic, but for a family friendly version, you might want to cut back).
1 dash hot sauce (see note above)
1 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup skim milk
1/4 cup Parmesan
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs

Medium Bowl 4
3 eggs whisked with 2 tbs milk

Gallon Baggie 1
2 cups bread crumbs (I used panko)
1 cup Parmesan
1 tsp each of: Salt, Parsley, Pepper, Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp each of: Onion Powder, Oregano, Basil

Gallon Baggie 2
1/2 cup Parmesan
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp pepper & pepper

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet.
Add contents of Medium Bowl 1 (veggies) and sautee until onions and peppers are soft.
Add contents of small bowl 2 (flour), mix and then immediately:
Add 2 cups of milk, defrosted spinach, 1/4 cup of Parmesan, cooked rice and cooked chicken.
Spray 9x13 casserole pan and dump contents of skillet into pan.
Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan. Cover with foil.
Either bake now or bake the night you plan on eating it.
350 Covered for 20 min.
Uncover, and bake for 10 more.

Take Medium Bowl 3 (beef) and mush it all up together.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (or spray with oil) and make meatballs.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
Attempt to not eat them all immediately out of the oven (I came pretty close to failing on that one).
Serve later in the week, on rolls with pasta sauce and a super quick salad.

Now for Gallon Baggie #1 (bread crumbs) and Medium Bowl 4 (eggs/milk)
The recipe on the blog I follow shows using wire cooling racks to cook the chicken. I do have one, and only one, but I'm fairly sure it's my sisters, and I'm not confident in it's ability to be cooked. So, I used baking sheets with aluminum foil and a little cooking spray for good measure. You may also notice that her recipe calls for 6 chicken breasts and at this point in the process you should have about 4.5 breasts to use. I did all 6, and then realized that she cooks for 6 kids plus two adults (ok the baby doesn't eat chicken yet) but proportionally she tends to make more. I currently have enough chicken nuggets to feed an army (of 6 children) instead of me, my husband and our 3 and 1 year old. Here I cut it down for you a bit for a family of 4 or 5.
Take the raw chicken that you previously chopped up and set aside. Using a slotted spoon, spoon about a quarter of the chicken into the eggs, and then using the same spoon, into the baggie.
Spoon out and onto prepared baking sheets. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes.
Again, attempt to not eat them all immediately out of the oven.
Store for dinner later in the week and serve with Green Beans and Potatoes (below).

Peel the two potatoes and cut into slices.
Place slices into Gallon Baggie #2 (Parmesan and spices).
Place in a single layer on sheets lined with foil and/or sprayed with oil (I forgot to spray and had a terrible time getting them off the pan in one piece).
Bake at 425 for 25 minutes.


And now, the mini lasagna's. These were so fun and so easy that my three year old put them together. Literally.

Spray muffin tin.
Layer wonton
approx 1 tsp of ricotta
approx 1 tbs beef
spoonful of sauce
sprinkle of mozzarella
basil leaf

And then repeat for a second layer, sprinkle a little more mozzarella on top (because there's always a reason for more cheese) and bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes. Watch them if your oven runs hot because the wontons will get over crispy if unattended. Top with another basil leaf and serve with a super quick salad.


1 comment:

  1. WOW, everything looks amazing! I'm starving now. Hee hee. I must try those mini lasagnas!