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, March 25, 2015

Week 7 - BH&G Spaghetti Pie, Prosciutto Spinach & Pasta, Spicy Chicken & Rice, Pork Chop & Broccoli Tots

Well, I'm going to have to admit a dinner fail. Sunday afternoon I got three out of the four dishes done while the girls were sleeping. I had planned on the pork chops, broccoli tots and sweet potatoes for dinner and so saved that for last and I guess it turned into a scramble to finish in time while working around the girls. The pork chops were overdone and the broccoli tots were a complete miss. *sigh* The sweet potatoes were good though; plain, boiled sweet potatoes, can't go wrong. I will keep this as part of the dinner plan and just cross my fingers that you have better luck.

This week I went a little old school. I used a cookbook. An actual physical cookbook, so I've copied out the recipes for you. Better Homes & Gardens is my go to for pretty much anything, when I'm not on a computer. These definitely qualify as basic meals. Nothing fancy. Nothing spicy. Basic meals that go together pretty quickly.

(with chicken)


Pork chops with Broccoli Tots and Sweet Potato

Slice, oil, salt & pepper two chicken breasts, bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes or until done. Set aside.

Cook 8 oz (approx half a box) of ziti and set aside.

While the chicken and ziti are cooking.

Chop one large onion and one large green bell pepper.

Put half the onion and pepper into Large Bowl 1. Add one clove of garlic, half a pound of raw ground beef and 1/2 tsp fennel seeds crushed. (If you have fennel seeds on hand, I would recommend using them. If you don’t, don’t worry about it. To crush them use the flat side of a kitchen knife and push down with the palm of your hand. Doesn't take a lot of work, just until you can smell the seeds.)

Put the other half into Medium Bowl 2. Add two cloves of garlic.

Take second onion and slice into crescents.


Spicy Chicken & Rice Bake

In a large sauce pan heat 1 tbs vegetable oil and cook Medium Bowl 2 onion mix.

When onion is tender, stir in:
1 can black beans (drained & rinsed)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup tomato juice
1 cup frozen corn
2/3 cup uncooked rice
1 tsp chili powder (I only used half)
1/8 - 1/4 tsp ground red pepper (I omitted)
1/2 tsp salt

Allow mixture to boil and then transfer to a 3 quart casserole dish.
Arrange 3 lbs of chicken pieces on top, sprinkle with paprika.
Bake, covered, for 45-50 minutes at 375 until chicken is done and rice is tender. Mine took the full 50 minutes.


Spaghetti Pie

Cook 4 oz of spaghetti. If you have a kitchen scale I recommend using it to weigh the pasta. Using too much more than the 4 oz the recipe calls for results in more pasta than topping in your 'pie.'

While the pasta cooks, in a large sauce pan (freshly washed in my case) cook Large Bowl 1, beef and onion mixture until the meat is brown and the onions are tender. Drain if necessary.
Stir in:
8 oz can tomato sauce
1 tsp dried oregano

Heat through.

Once spaghetti is done, drain and return to warm pan.
Stir in:
1 tbs butter
1 beaten egg
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Spray a 9" pie plate with nonstick spray. (I actually forgot to do this and it's been fine)

Using a wooden spoon press the spaghetti into the pie plate and up the sides.
Spread 1 cup cottage cheese on top and over sides.
Spread meat mixture over cottage cheese.
Sprinkle with 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella.
Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees. Cut into wedges to serve.


Prosciutto, Spinach & Pasta
(with chicken)

In a large saucepan (once again, freshly washed) heat 1 tbs butter and cook sliced onions with 2 gloves of minced garlic.

Stir in 1/4 cup flour and 1/2 tsp anise seeds, crushed. (I consider these optional. If you have anise seeds on hand, and want to use them, great. If you don’t, don’t worry about it. To crush them use the flat side of a kitchen knife and push down with the palm of your hand. Doesn't take a lot of work, just until you can smell the seeds.)

Immediately add
1 3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cup chicken broth

Cook and stir until slightly thickened and bubbly. (5 minutes or so)
Stir in:
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Precooked Ziti
10 oz chopped fresh spinach (the recipe called for frozen, which I used, and regretted, fresh is better)
2 oz prosciutto sliced into thin strips
2 precooked chicken breasts chopped into bite size pieces.

Transfer mixture to a 2.5-3 quart casserole dish.
Bake covered at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
Top with chopped fresh tomatoes to serve (totally forgot that part, but Alice hates tomatoes, so, oh well.)


Pork Chops, Broccoli Tots and Sweet Potato

I don't have an actual recipe for my pork chops. I use the 'pinch of this' method.

Peel and slice sweet potatoes. Boil for 10-15 minutes or until done. Mash and set aside.

Line a casserole dish with foil.
Spray chops with olive oil.
Sprinkle with: Salt, pepper, dried thyme and paprika...and whatever else you feel the need to try. I sometimes add some parmesan, or garlic powder, or red pepper if the girls aren't eating it.
Bake at 350 for about 18-20 minutes depending on the thickness.

Add 12 oz of broccoli to boiling water for one minute and then quickly run them under cold water.
Finely chop.
Mix together with:
1 beaten egg
1 cup shredded cheddar (Calls for 2/3, I thought it needed more)
1/4 cup sliced green onion
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
salt & pepper

Line a pan with parchment paper. Mush about 1.5 tbs of broccoli mix into a ball...sort of...
I had some trouble with the Broccoli tots. They wouldn't ball up well and this whole thing pretty much fits into the category of 'I don't have time for that'. I don't know if I didn't chop them finely enough or what, but I gave up and it turned into this:

Bake for 18-20 minutes at 400 degrees.

This one was kind of a miss for us. They were 'fine'. We all ate them, but it was not the crunchy, cheesy, broccoli experience I had hoped for.

I hope yours come out better!