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This Week’s Dinner Plan for 8/21 to 8/27

Last week was a great week of meals at my house. It was great having a dinner plan to follow, and made my days easier. And, I even remembered to take some pictures to share. Often, I  get so wrapped in meal prep that  I forget to take pictures!

For those of you with dietary restrictions, my meals should be easy to modify. For example, I leave out salt in my meals, and I’m avoiding gluten and starches right now due to my Meinere’s disease.

To recap last week’s meals, we had grilled bison for the first time on Monday, and it was great! Very tender and tasted just like beef but it’s much healthier for you. Tuesday was chicken fajitas (I’m sharing a picture of the guacamole below). On Thursday, I took photos of the Italian meatballs and even devoted a post to the recipe HERE:

meals

 

This Week’s Dinner Plan

Monday: Teriyaki & Ginger Chicken Thighs with Asian Cashew Chopped Salad

This is a very simple recipe. Just marinade 4 chicken thighs in 8 oz. teriyaki sauce, 2 Tbsp. of sesame oil, and 2 tsp each of minced garlic, ginger, lemon juice, and brown sugar or sugar substitute. Grill or bake at 350 for 30 – 35 minutes. I use pre-made, bagged Taylor Farms Asian Cashew Chopped salad.

Tuesday: Carnitas Tacos with Guacamole

Carnitas are so easy to make. I share my crock pot recipe HERE. The smell of this dish cooking will make your mouth water! 

My secret ingredient for guacamole is Montreal Steak Seasoning (or Mrs. Dash’s Fiesta Lime) and fresh lime juice. Add chopped onion, a little jalapeño, cilantro, and mash it up.

You should check out my guacamole masher below, it’s one of my most used kitchen utensils. 

meals
Making Guacamole

Wednesday: Halibut en Papillote

It’s Wednesday, and if you following my dinner plan you’re enjoying not really having to think about dinner! So, “en Papillote” is French for in parchment paper. Each parchment packet contains 1 fillet of halibut, 1 Tbsp. of unsalted butter, 1 tsp of lemon pepper, 1 tsp of minced shallots, and a pinch of salt. You can add thinly sliced lemons, mushrooms, or matchstick bell pepper, if you prefer. Fold up all sides, crimping edges, and bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Thursday: Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Coleslaw.

How easy is this idea? I use leftover Carnitas from Tuesday! Then, add barbecue sauce when reheating the Carnitas. Top it with brioche buns and you have pulled pork. My family love these. We usually get brioche buns from Wal-Mart or their Neighborhood Market. I use pre-shredded, bagged cabbage and add Marie’s coleslaw dressing.

Friday: Dinner Out

Saturday: Grilled Steaks and Caprese Salad

This is one of my most favorite dinners! I love caprese salad and it’s really easy to make at home. Just buy the sliced, fresh logs of mozzarella cheese and use Roma or Heirloom tomatoes. Slice the tomatoes as thick as the mozzarella cheese, then alternate them across your plate. Sprinkle with sliced fresh basil leaves and balsamic vinegar. Add you favorite grilled steak as your entrée.

meals

 

Sunday: Smoked Pork Chops with Roasted Red Potatoes and Applesauce.

Since our pork steaks are so thick, smoking is a great way to cook them. Combine ¼ brown sugar or substitute, and 1 Tbsp. each of ground fennel, cumin, coriander, and paprika, with 1 tsp of salt and pepper in a bowl. After drying your pork chops with paper towels, rub with spice mixture at least one hour before cooking. Grill at 275 degrees for about 50-60 minutes, until meat registers 145 degrees. For roasted potatoes, cube red potatoes and shake in a large Ziploc bag with 1 Tbsp. olive oil, 2 tsp Italian seasoning, and 1 tsp salt and pepper. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, until golden on top.

 

Here’s to another terrific week of meals! Now, go make something special…

See more dinner plans here:

Italian Meatball Casserole Dinner

Since it came out terrific, I had to share the recipe for this week’s Italian Meatball Casserole. I started a new series here on the blog called Weekly Meal Plans (see HERE). This recipe was listed for Thursday night. It is one of the best low-sodium meals I have made so far!

I used a recipe from Modern Low Carb Recipes as the basis for the meatballs, but modified the sauce and toppings. What I loved about their meatball recipe is that the meatballs tasted so close to Italian sausage, minus all the salt and fat.

Assembling The Casserole

Make the meatballs first, so that the flavors of the seasonings and the ground pork can meld together in the fridge.

Missing from photo – the red wine!

 

I mixed the ground pork with the seasonings and red wine in the clear bowl, then put it in the fridge for a few hours.

Then, I assembled the meatballs, placed them on a cookie sheet, and returned to the fridge until I was ready.

 

 

Next, I turned to creating the sauce.

meatball
My favorite starter for marinara sauce

 

The sauce cooking

 

Browned the meatballs

Assembling the casserole

 

Ready for the oven!

15 minutes later, I added the ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, basil, and parsley, then returned it to the oven for another 15 minutes.

And it’s ready to eat!

The Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 2 Tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 container Pomi strained tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup Italian cheese blend
  • 8 oz. fresh mozzarella, small balls or slices into 1/4″ slices
  • 8 oz. fresh ricotta cheese
  • 3 cloves minced garlic, divided
  • 1/2 chopped onion, divided

Instructions

Combine ground pork, red wine, and the next 4 spices in a medium bowl. Mix with your hands and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Use a melon baller to scoop meatball mixture into similarly sized meatballs and roll by hand into a round shape. You should have 18-20 meatballs. If not making right away, return to refrigerator on a cookie sheet until ready to use.

In a medium saucepan, add Pomi tomatoes, Italian seasoning, 1 clove of minced garlic, and 1/4 cup of chopped onion. Bring to a boil and simmer until thickened.

Heat olive oil in a skillet on medium to medium-high heat until shimmering. Add remaining onion and garlic and cook until translucent. Add meatballs to skillet and brown on all sides, about 6-8 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

To assemble the casserole: add half of the sauce to the bottom of a 13 x 9″ low-sided casserole dish, then place meatballs on top of the sauce, evenly spacing them in the dish. Pour remaining sauce over the meatballs and top with Italian blend cheese. Bake, uncovered for 15 minutes.

Remove casserole from the oven, place mozzarella cheese and ricotta cheese in spaces between the meatballs. Top with chopped parsley and basil. Return to the oven for an additional 15 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

 

Without pasta

 

With pasta for the hubby

 

This turned out to be a delicious meal! I couldn’t wait to share it you.

Looking for a some dinner inspiration? Here’s a weekly dinner plan:

https://thefeatherednester.com/meal-planning/

Let’s Make Some Blueberry Hand Pies

recipes

I have always struggled with baking. I believe it’s because although I had the desire, I didn’t have the  knowledge to create delicious baked goods. Thank heavens for technology! You can watch a You Tube video on how to do or make anything.

Several years ago, I discovered Cook’s Country and America’s Test Kitchen, which really helped take my kitchen skills to a new level. Have you seen their television shows on PBS? If not, you should check it out. They’re amazing. I still struggled in the baking arena, though. Then I began using King Arthur Flour and visited their website (http://www.kingarthurflour.com) to take a look at their recipes. It is now my go-to website for baking. Not only do they have hundreds of great recipes but they have video’s, too! Through their website, I’ve learned how to make a sourdough starter, french bread, and now Blueberry Hand Pies!

Let’s Get Baking!

Pies
Blueberry filling

 

What’s a hand pie? Well, I wondered the same thing. It’s just like a turnover, except its square. And, it’s like a pie except it fits into your hand so it’s easy to eat. These hand pies are about 3 1/2″ inches square.

I decided to make the filling first, so it would have plenty of time to cool off. The crust took a little longer than I expected. It’s summer here and my kitchen is usually around 78 degrees or more if I’ve been cooking. So, I needed to pop the pastry into the fridge frequently to keep it firm after cutting and before filling.

 

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Cooling off

 

These pies turned out even better than I expected! I was definitely looking forward to taking them to our family’s 4th of July get-together. One of the best things is that the recipe only made 8, so there wouldn’t be lots of leftover temptations!

 

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Ready!

 

I would definitely recommend this recipe. If a baking-challenged person like me can make them, you can, too! They were a real hit with my family, especially my granddaughter. She loved the blueberry filling.

 

pies
Delicious!

 

Head here to get the recipe: Recipe or view it step-by-step on their blog: Here. This post is in no way affiliated or supported by King Arthur Flour, I just happen to love their website and products!

Planning Ahead and Meals

recipes

So, how do you handle meal planning? My ideal way is to take a moment on Sunday and formulate a plan for the week. Then, I pick the recipes I’ll use and make a list of the ingredients needed. But, there’s times when life gets in the way of my weekly meal planing and prepping.

The Market

I stopped at my favorite grocery store, The Market, on my way home from another appointment yesterday. I really like this smaller, personalized store for a number of reasons. They have a great selection of specialty foods, their deli is extensive with an area of gourmet cheeses, and they have a wide variety in their meat department. Perfect for my cooking style.

The Market isn’t in my neighborhood, so I usually only go there once or twice a month. While I was there there yesterday, I did some mental meal planning for the week ahead and bought what I needed.

I like to plan my meals and a create grocery list based on them. For some reason, though, I’ve gotten out of that planning habit lately. When I have a meal/dinner plan, it feels so good to put it in writing and share it with you, and on Instagram and Facebook.

So, I’m sharing this week’s meals with you.

Dinner Tonight

I started prepping the Black Bean and Kale Soup, the night prior by soaking the beans overnight. But, a pressure cooker will let you cook the beans in minutes. I share how in this post: https://thefeatherednester.com/lighter-dinner-menu-march-4th/.

This morning, I put them in the crockpot, along with chicken stock, smoked ham shanks, carrots, shallots, lime zest and juice, and spices. They’ll stay in the crockpot all day.

This afternoon I’ll add the kale, a little more lime juice, and check on the seasoning. I love fix-it and forget-it meals. A little organization goes a long way with them.

planning

Black Bean and Kale Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of dried black beans, soaked overnight
  • 500 ml of chicken stock
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 shallots or 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 cup of carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1-2 smoked ham shanks
  • 7 oz. can of mild diced green chilies, drained
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (add more if you like it spicy)
  • A bunch of kale, chopped or ribboned
  • For garnish: Cilantro, diced tomato, hot sauce, grated cheese, sour cream

Preparation:

After rinsing the beans that soaked overnight, place the beans in a crockpot and add 500ml of chicken stock and 2 cups of water. Add diced vegetables, smoked ham shanks, green chilies, lime zest and 1/2 of the lime juice, and spices. Set on low for 8 hours.

Check for seasoning and adjust as needed. Remove ham shanks, cut off the meat and discard the bones. Add the kale and let cook about 1 more hour.

For a thicker soup, use an immersion blender. Just before serving, add the last of the lime juice. Place in bowls with your choice of garnishes, and serve.

Dinners This Week

Here are the meals I came up with during my mental planning session:

Wednesday: Pasta Bolognese, Green Beans, Garlic Bread

Thursday: Stuffed Pork Chops, Farmhouse Salad, and French Bread

Friday: Skirt Steak, Baked Potato, and BBQ Ranch Salad

Saturday: Grilled Chicken Breasts, Rice, and Green Beans

I know our veggies look awfully redundant. Sadly, salads and green beans are usually the only “greens” we eat around here, though I did add kale to our bean soup. I try to sneak kale and spinach in where I can. Eating better and healthier is always a work in progress in my house.

How do you plan your meals? Do take an organized approach? Or shop on the fly while you’re at the grocery store?
Share your method with us in the comments below.
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