I also used two new recipes that I got from a very good friend of mine who happens to be a fabulous cook and hostess. She invited a bunch of us gals over for a pedicure party. We sat around in a circle outside and ate tons of delicious food while soaking and pampering our feet. How clever is she to think of such a fun get together? Here's a picture of all of us (courtesy of her wonderful husband, who selflessly babysat while we gabbed the night away):
Here was my plan this week:
Monday: Turkey Chili with sour cream, scallions, and tortilla chips
Tuesday: Spinach and Cheese Lasagna (using leftovers!)
Wednesday: Thai Chicken Salad
Thursday: Leftover Lasagna and some Fresh Corn Salad for munching
Friday: Chinese Take-out :)
Saturday: We were invited to a party, so I got another night off of cooking
*Warning: There are several paragraphs below describing how I planned out and cooked my meals...don't be overwhelmed...I just went in to detail to show you how easy it is to do things ahead*
This plan worked perfectly. On Sunday night, I came home from cooking class and threw together a big pot of the Turkey Chili while watching Mad Men with one of my favorite friends. (What is Mad Men, you ask? Well, it's only the best show ever that airs on Sunday nights on AMC) You might think I'm crazy for cooking after going to a three hour cooking class...and that may be true...but this chili is so easy to make that it takes me no time at all. I just put the ingredients together and let it simmer on the stove while I watch TV.
The Turkey Chili was ready for me after quite a long day at work on Monday. After dinner was cleaned up and I had gotten a chance to relax for a little bit, I headed back into the kitchen to make the lasagna for Tuesday. I would hardly call this cooking as it literally took me 10 minutes to make. The recipe uses leftover Turkey Chili as the meat. All I did was mix some ricotta cheese with some spinach and layer the whole thing up with no boil lasagna noodles. I popped a lid on the casserole dish and into the fridge it went until Tuesday.
After making the lasagna, I poured a smidge of olive oil over some boneless skinless chicken breasts, sprinkled them with salt and pepper, and put them into a 350 degree oven. While my husband and I watched TV, they roasted for about 25-30 minutes. I took them out of the oven, let them cook and popped them into the fridge as well.
Tuesday night I got home late and my husband had already put the lasagna into the oven. Ahhh, the joys of planning ahead.
On Wednesday, I took out the roasted chicken breasts from Monday night and shredded them for the chicken salad. With the roasting out of the way, the meal came together very quickly (I would say no more than 15 minutes). Part of the prep for making the chicken salad is to blanch some asparagus. Since I had a pot of water already boiling for that, I went ahead and cooked the corn right after I was done cooking the asparagus. Now I already had the most time consuming part of the Fresh Corn Salad done.
Because dinner was so simple, I went ahead and threw the Fresh Corn Salad together and then called it a night. On Thursday, we ate leftover lasagna and also munched on some Fresh Corn Salad with leftover tortilla chips from Monday's chili.
Without further ado...here are the recipes that my dear friend sent me. They are from America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook.
*Fresh Corn is important - do not substitute frozen or canned.*
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 Jalapeno chili, stemmed, seeded, and minced (you can leave this out, if you don't like spice)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 8 ears fresh corn, husks & silk removed (I used 6)
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved, or whatever tomatoes you have on hand (I used a couple large tomatoes that I chopped)
- 1 (15.5 oz) can black beans, rinsed
- 6 scallions (green onions), sliced thinly
- 2 tbsp minced fresh cilantro (I didn't use this because I don't like cilantro...don't hate me, I know everyone seems to like cilantro. But even the smell of it turns my stomach.)
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- For the dressing: Shake all of the dressing ingredients together in a jar with a tight-fitting lid (or a plastic container or plastic baggie).
- Cook the corn in a big pot of boiling water until tender (5-7 minutes). Drain and rinse under cold water. Cut kernels from cob with a paring knife into a large bowl.
- Add tomatoes, beans, scallions, cilantro, and dressing and toss. Season with S&P to taste & serve.
~This keeps well to bring for lunch the next day~
- 8 split chicken breasts, bone in, skin on (or you can use skinless/boneless breasts like I did)*
- olive oil
- ground black pepper
- 1 pound asparagus, ends removed, cut into thirds diagonally
- 2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded
- 4 scallions, white and green parts, sliced diagonally
- 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds (just toss them around in a dry frying pan over medium heat)
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 3 tbsp dark sesame oil (I used the regular stuff)
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
- 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
- 4 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Put the chicken in a pan and rub each breast with olive oil.
- Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 35-40 minutes(more like 25-30 for boneless), or until internal temp is 160. Set aside until cool enough to handle.(Remember, I did this a couple nights ahead of time to save time).
- Remove the meat from bone, discard skin, and shred the chicken. (this is obviously if you decide to use bone-in chicken)
- Blanch the asparagus in a pot of boiling salted water for 3-5 minutes, until crisp-tender. Plunge into ice water to stop the cooking. Drain.
- Cut the peppers into strips, same size as the asparagus.
- Combine the shredded chicken, asparagus, and peppers in a large bowl.
- Whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing and pour over the chicken mixture.
- Add the scallions and sesame seeds and season to taste. Serve cold or at room temperature.
Not only did we have a great dinner each night this week, but we also had plenty of leftovers for us to bring for lunch. The grocery bill came to about $80, but that included daily essentials that we were out of (milk, orange juice, bread, toilet paper...) and some ingredients that were on sale and could be used in future meals (Buy one, get one free frozen shrimp...yes, please!).
I hope you are enjoying the last few days of summer!
*P.S. I don't know why the chicken salad recipe is written in black and the rest of this post is normal...sometimes blogger and I don't get along.*