A few hours of cooking = A lot of meals to enjoy

I've been as busy as ever this past week. When I look at the calendar and see that I've got things to do each night of a given week, I know that I need to prep ahead or we will be eating fast food every night. And I don't know about you, but fast food always seems like a really good idea at the time and then I eat it and wonder why I've put that junk into my body.

Acme had ground turkey for $1.99 a pound so I stocked up to make a couple hearty recipes that would last me for the week. I also got some frozen raw shrimp from Giant to make a quick meal later in the week (it was on sale, of course). I also stocked up on some ingredients for soup and applesauce to add to the freezer.

Basically, I put in a good couple of hours of cooking and got at least 4 meals out of it. Here was my plan:
  1. Assemble meat mixture for Turkey Meatloaf to bake on Monday night
  2. Make Turkey Bolognese sauce to serve over pasta on Tuesday night
  3. Make Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Soup to put in the freezer for a quick meal sometime
  4. Make low fat Cream of Broccoli Soup to put in the freezer
  5. Make Homemade Applesauce to put in the fridge for the week (a little for the freezer)
I did #1-4 and then got tired and made applesauce on Wednesday night instead. I also need to mention that I will not be sharing the recipe for the low fat cream of broccoli soup because we hated it. I still froze it in hope that maybe my Dad will think it's yummy and the ingredients won't go to waste.

So here is what we ate/will be eating this week:

Monday: Turkey Meatloaf (I halved the recipe and still had plenty)
Tuesday: Turkey Bolognese Sauce over pasta (recipe below)
Wednesday: Meatloaf Sandwiches (I heated up slices of leftover meatloaf with some provolone cheese on top. Then I put them onto ciabatta rolls from the freezer that I defrosted in the toaster oven)
Thursday: Hoisin Glazed Shrimp over Couscous (takes less than 20 minutes to prepare)
Friday: Eat out or Take out
Saturday: Having a small dinner party and serving Island Chicken (with the chicken that I bought and froze when it was on sale)

Voila! I cooked for a couple hours on Sunday and ended up with meals for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday as well as soup and extra bolognese for the freezer. Prepping ahead is so much easier than you think!

Emeril's Turkey Bolognese*
~This hearty sauce makes pasta into a one dish meal~

10 slices turkey bacon (6 oz.), finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 carrots, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
salt and pepper
2 pounds ground turkey (97% lean)
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
1 can (14.5 oz.) reduced sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup half and half
1/4 chopped parsley
  1. In a 5 quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, cook bacon over medium until crisp (10-12 minutes).
  2. Add onion, carrots, and celery; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender (8-10 minutes).
  3. Add turkey and cook, breaking up meat with a spoon, until no longer pink (8-9 minutes).
  4. Add wine and garlic and cook until wine has almost evaporated (10-15 minutes). Add tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned (7-10 minutes).
  5. Add broth and half and half; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook until sauce is thick and creamy (about 30 minutes more). Add parsley.
  6. Spoon over pasta and top with Parmesan cheese or layer in a lasagna. One batch will serve around 8 people.
*This takes some time to make and I found it to be easiest to make it while I was already in the kitchen making other things. Also, it can be made a day or two in advance and it will just get better as it sits in the fridge. You can also freeze it and then thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Recipe taken from the March 2009 edition of Everyday Food Magazine

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