Plan B

I had some motivation issues this week. I didn't really feel like lesson planning. I didn't really feel like grading papers. I didn't really feel like doing much of anything.

I'm not going to say for a minute that snow days aren't the most wonderful part of being a teacher. However, they kind of mess with my schedule and I get all off track.

I came up with a plan for the week based on the odds and ends of ground turkey, turkey sausage, soup, and chicken in my freezer. I kind of stuck to my plan and kind of didn't.

Here was the original plan for this week:

Monday: Prosciutto and Pesto Panini with Soup
Tuesday: Spinach-Cheese Casserole with Sausage
Wednesday: Humble Shepherd's Pie
Thursday: Chicken bites with Apricot Mustard Sauce
Friday: Kung Pao Chicken over couscous
Saturday: Eat out
Sunday: Family Dinner (Mexican dishes)

I started off fine because I pre-made the Spinach-Cheese Casserole and Humble Shepherd's Pie mixture on Sunday. But the end of the week got a bit mixed up. Here's what actually happened this week:

Monday: Prosciutto and Pesto Panini with Soup
Tuesday: Spinach-Cheese Casserole with Sausage
Wednesday: Humble Shepherd's Pie
Thursday: Prosciutto and Pesto Panini with Soup again
Friday: Wegman's Bake at Home Pizza
Saturday: Kung Pao Chicken
Sunday: Family dinner canceled due to my poor sister's bad cold. Made an assortment of food items instead.

My point is that I almost always have a plan, but I don't always stick to the plan. And that's OK. I sometimes need to just make something that works with my schedule and how I'm feeling.

Prosciutto and Pesto Panini*
~I serve this delicious sandwich with Roasted Red Pepper soup that I have in the freezer~

1 loaf ciabatta (I buy individual rolls and then freeze them...they are perfect for this)
1/3 cup pesto (I buy Classico)
1/3 lb Prosciutto, thinly sliced

1 roasted red bell pepper, cut into strips (from a jar)
1/4 lb fontina cheese, thinly sliced
1/2 cup baby arugula or basil
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

  1. Preheat a grill pan or skillet over medium high heat. Or heat a panini press if you have one.
  2. Slice the ciabatta horizontally and remove a bit of the soft interior.
  3. Spread one cut side of ciabatta with the pesto and the other side with olive oil.
  4. Layer one side of the ciabatta with prosciutto, red pepper, and basil (or arugula). Top with cheese.
  5. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Top with remaining bread.
  6. Brush the top and bottom of the sandwich with olive oil and place on the grill pan or panini press. If using a grill pan, use the weight of a heavy skillet or pan to press the panini. Grill 3 or 4 minutes on each side until golden and cheese is melted.
  7. Cut into quarters and serve with soup for dipping
*I had plenty of the ingredients left over to make these again later in the week. They are yummy enough to have twice in a week!

Recipe taken from Everyday Food Magazine

Spinach-Cheese Pasta Casserole with Turkey Sausage*

8 oz. uncooked pasta shells
4 links of sweet turkey sausage
2 eggs
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 package (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 jar (26 oz.) marinara sauce
1 tsp salt
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray small casserole with nonstick cooking spray (I use a 1 1/2 quart round corningware dish).
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain.
  3. Heat some olive oil in a skillet and cook the turkey sausage, breaking it up as it cooks. Cook it until it's no longer pink.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk eggs in a large bowl until blended. Add ricotta and spinach to eggs and stir until combined.
  5. Stir in pasta, marinara sauce, sausage, and salt until pasta is well coated. Pour into prepared dish.
  6. Sprinkle mozzarella and parmesan evenly over casserole. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 minutes more or until hot and bubbly.
*I usually make this several days ahead of time by assembling the entire casserole and keeping it in the fridge until I'm ready to bake it.

Humble Shepherd's Pie*
I found this recipe online last year around St. Patrick's Day. I was trying to make an Irish themed meal without using beef. I wish I could remember where I found it so that I could give credit where credit is due, but I have no idea.

I also wanted to mention a couple of things about this recipe. You can use instant mashed potatoes instead of making them from scratch. I often do that to save time. Also, the spices used to flavor the turkey are totally up to you. I have played around with a couple different things and found I like the ones below the best.

2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1 1/2 inches thick
6 tbsp butter, cut into pieces
1 cup milk
salt and pepper
Olive oil
1 lb ground turkey
1 medium onion, chopped
garlic, paprika, Italian seasoning (Mrs. Dash is great)
2 (1 oz.) packages instand chicken gravy mix
1 cup water
1 (16 oz.) package frozen peas and carrots, thawed
2 cups shredded cheese (chedder is good)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a medium baking dish.
  2. Cover potatoes with water in a saucepan and boil for 20 to 30 minutes, or until fork tender.
  3. Drain and beat potatoes until smooth with a mixer. Add butter, milk, salt, and pepper.
  4. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Cook and stir turkey and onion unitl turkey is fully cooked. Add garlic and seasonings.
  5. Add gravy mix and water, stirring often until gravy is thick and bubbly. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Add turkey mixture to bottom of baking dish. Next, layer peas and carrots on top. Cover with mashed potatoes and then a layer of cheese on the top.
  7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until cheese is melted and dish is heated through.
*I often prepare the turkey mixture ahead of time and keep it in the fridge. To finish it off, I layer the turkey mixture, then frozen veggies, then instant mashed potatoes. Because the turkey is already cooked and seasoned, the dish comes together in minutes on a busy weeknight.

Kung Pao Chicken
~This is one of my all time favorite recipes; I serve it over couscous~

1 tbsp canola oil, divided
4 cups broccoli florets (I prefer fresh over frozen for this recipe)
1 tbsp fresh ginger, divided
2 tbsp water
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1/4 inch strips
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp cornstarch
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp coarsely chopped peanuts
  1. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add broccoli and 2 tsp ginger to pan; saute 1 minute.
  2. Add water. Cover; cook 2 minutes or until broccoli is crisp tender. Remove broccoli from pan and keep warm.
  3. Heat remaining 2 tsp oil in pan. Add remaining 1 tsp ginger, crushed red pepper, and chicken. Cook 4 minutes or until chicken is lightly browned, stirring frequently.
  4. Combine broth and next 5 ingredients (through garlic) in a small bowl, and stir with a whisk. Add broth mixture to pan and cook 1 minute or until mixture thickens. Stir constantly.
  5. Return broccoli mixture to pan and toss to coat. Sprinkle with peanuts and pour over couscous.
Recipe learned at The Kitchen Workshop

No comments:

Post a Comment