Easy Meals for a Busy Week

This past week, I felt a little bit like this:

As I said in a previous post, this week was my first week of school. Teaching 2nd grade can be pretty tiring, so I needed easy and delicious meals to whip up each night.

I turned to Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2008 and found some fabulous recipes. All three recipes in this post are from that cookbook. Cooking Light continues to impress me with their easy and healthy recipes.

I made the following menu:

Monday - Spiced Salmon with Mustard Sauce and Sauteed Spinach in Butter
Tuesday - Apricot Turkey Burgers with Tzatziki Sauce, Oven Fries, and Salad
Wednesday - Left Over Burgers and Salad
Thursday - Turkey Tacos
Friday - Date Night Out
Saturday - Stir-Fried Shrimp with Spicy Orange Sauce over Brown Rice

My plan was pretty simple. The salmon came together in a snap on Monday night and didn't need any prepping ahead. The turkey burger meal was also fast and easy, so I threw it together when I got home from work.

While the burgers were cooking, I cooked up the turkey meat for the tacos on Thursday and popped it in the fridge. This was also cost-effective because I bought the family pack (3 lbs) of ground turkey, which is less expensive per lb. I used 1 1/2 lbs for the burgers and 1 1/2 lbs for the tacos.

I had a girls night to go to on Wednesday, so my husband enjoyed left over burgers since the recipe yielded 7 burgers. We even had enough to each bring a burger for lunch! On Thursday night, the tacos were ready to assemble.

On Friday night we went out to a favorite local diner that is inside a small airport. As you eat, you can watch planes land and take off. It's not a very glamorous place, but I find it so romantic. We were there over sunset and got to watch the plans take off into a pink and yellow sky.

My desire is to get all sorts of things done today, so tonight I plan to quickly thaw some frozen shrimp and put the meal together fast! I think that some instant brown rice will round the meal out well. I'll have to update you to tell you what I think of the recipe. We'll head to the movies after dinner for Date #2. My husband likes to take me on dates when I have long and tiring weeks...I'm a pretty lucky girl!

**Update: The Spicy Orange Shrimp was SO delicious. It took minutes to make and my husband and I enjoyed it very much!**

Spiced Salmon with Mustard Sauce*
~This was so easy, it didn't even feel like I was cooking!~
(We were so hungry that I forgot to take a picture of this one!)
  • 2 tsp whole-grain mustard
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground red pepper
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 (6 oz.) Salmon fillets
  • Cooking spray
  1. Preheat the broiler
  2. Combine first 6 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well with a fork.
  3. Rub mustard mixture evenly over fillets. Place fillets, skin sides down**, on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
  4. Broil 8 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.
*I served this with one bag of baby spinach that I sauteed in 2 tbsp of butter until it was wilted. I sprinkled a little Parmesan cheese on it and it went well with the salmon.

**I actually removed the skin beforehand. You can remove it afterward or eat it with the skin. I always take it off, though. I think it's a mental thing...the skin just creeps me out.

Apricot Turkey Burgers*
~These are a fresh take on the typical turkey burger~

  • 3/4 cup drained canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/3 cup minced shallots
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground red pepper
  • 1 1/2 lbs ground turkey
  • cooking spray
  • 6 multi-grain hamburger buns
  • Tzatziki sauce (I got mine from Trader Joe's...although, you can make it yourself)
  1. Prepare the grill or grill pan.
  2. Place chickpeas in a food processor, pulse 3 times or until chopped. Combine chickpeas, apricots, and next 7 ingredients.
  3. Divide mixture into 6 equal portions (I actually had enough to make 7), shaping each into a 1/2 inch thick patty.
  4. Place patties on a grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill 6 minutes on each side or until a thermometer registers 165 degrees. Remove from grill and let stand for 5 minutes.
  5. Serve burgers on hamburger buns topped with Tzatziki sauce and tomatoes (if desired).
*I serve these with oven fries. To make them, I sliced up 1 large potato into thing even pieces. I tossed them with olive oil and placed in a single layer on a sheet pan. I sprinkled them with kosher salt and some Moroccan seasoning (since I thought it would go well with this particular meal...you can season them however you wish). They take about 20-25 minutes to crisp up in a 425 degree oven.

I made a little salad for the side by combining mixed greens, sliced English cucumber, dried cranberries, chickpeas, and Tzatziki sauce.

Stir-Fried Shrimp with Spicy Orange Sauce*
~This was easy and delicious!~

  • 1 1/2 lbs peeled and deveined large shrimp
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice (I will use Simply Orange juice because I don't have fresh)
  • 2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp chile paste with garlic
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onions (scallions)
  1. Place shrimp in a medium bowl. Sprinkle with cornstarch, toss well to coat and then set aside.
  2. Combine juice and the next 4 ingredients, stirring with a whisk. Set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add ginger and garlic to pan; stir-fry 15 seconds or until fragrant.
  4. Add shrimp mixture and stir-fry 3 minutes. Add juice mixture and onions; cook 2 minutes or until sauce is thick and shrimp are done, stirring frequently. Serve immediately.
*I plan to serve this up over brown rice.

If I didn't come up with an easy and attainable plan to get meals on the table, I would've been tempted to grab pizza or fast food this week. The first week of school is always grueling, so cooking with a plan was a must!


  1. Love how you share these great looking recipes! Salmon is our family favorite, so I know I will try this.

    I am sure it is tiring to be back teaching. I think you would be a really good teacher.

    Thanks for the kind comments you made regarding my oldest daughter. She enjoyed you too.

  2. Oh man - do tell the name of that diner and where it is! I've never heard of such a thing :)