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A plate of chicken parmesan.

Eggplant or Chicken Parmesan


  • Author: RebeccaBlackwell
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings

Description

Eggplant and chicken parmesan are all about the sauce. Make an excellent marinara sauce, and the dish is almost guaranteed to be delicious. At least 2 hours before you want to begin making chicken or eggplant parmesan, get the marinara sauce going. The recipe makes a lot – about 11 cups of sauce – and you’ll use most of it, or all of it this week.

Depending on whether you decide to make a half pan (9-in square baking dish) or whole pan (9 x 13-inch baking dish) of chicken or eggplant parmesan, you’ll need 3-6 cups of marinara tonight. Reserve the rest for Chachouka on Day #3 and Indian Shrimp and Rice on Day #5. If you have some leftover at the end of the week, use it for a quick plate of spaghetti, or freeze the sauce for up to 3 months.

This recipe has been modified for this week’s meal plan. Click here for the original Eggplant or Chicken Parmesan recipe.


Ingredients

  • 1 & 1/4 lb eggplant *Double the amount if making ONLY eggplant parmesan.
  • 1 lb thinly sliced chicken breasts *Double the amount if making ONLY chicken parmesan.
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 3 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 5 oz shaved or grated parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 large eggs
  • 11 & 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 6 cups homemade marinara sauce
  • 16 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch chunks

Instructions

  1. Trim the top and bottom from the eggplant and cut it into 1/2-inch thick slices. Lay the eggplant slices in a single layer on several sheets of paper towels. Sprinkle the slices with a generous amount of salt and pepper, flip them over and season the other side. Top the slices with more paper towels and lay a baking sheet over the top. Place a heavy pot on top of the baking sheet, so that the eggplant is being slightly squeezed between the sheets of paper towel. Let sit 45-60 minutes. This will rid the eggplant of excess water.
  2. Lay the chicken slices out onto separate sheets of paper towels and sprinkle on both sides with a generous amount of salt and pepper.
  3. Add the panko, oregano, crushed red pepper, 3/4 cup of the parmesan cheese, and 1 tsp ground black pepper to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the chopping blade. Pulse 5 or 6 times to combine. Dump the mixture out into a pie plate or other shallow baking dish.
  4. Add the flour to a separate pie plate or shallow baking dish, add 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp black pepper and stir to combine.
  5. Crack the eggs into a shallow pie plate or bowl and whisk to combine.
  6. Dredge each slice of eggplant in the flour, dip in the eggs, then press each side into the panko bread crumbs, pressing firmly to coat the eggplant on both sides with the bread crumbs. Set on a plate and continue with the rest of the eggplant slices. Repeat the same process with the chicken.
  7. Add 1 cup of oil to a large saucepan set over high heat. Heat the oil to between 340 and 350. A deep fry thermometer can be super helpful. If the oil starts to smoke, it’s too hot. Do your best to keep the oil between 300 and 325 while frying the eggplant and chicken.
  8. Using metal tongs, add a few slices of eggplant to the hot oil. Let it cook for 1-2 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Using the tongs, remove the slices from the hot oil to a baking sheet that’s been lined with paper towels. Repeat with the remaining eggplant slices than the chicken. Add more oil to the pan if necessary.
  9. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  10. Ladle about 1/4 cup of marinara sauce into the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish and spread it around to coat the bottom of the pan. Lay 1/3 of the eggplant slices on one side of the pan, and 1/3 of the chicken slices on the other side of the pan. Ladle about 1/3 of the marinara sauce over the eggplant and chicken, spreading it with the bottom of the ladle to cover. Sprinkle the sauce with 1/3 of the fresh mozzarella, and 1/3 of the remaining parmesan cheese. Repeat this process – eggplant and chicken, sauce, cheese – two more times.
  11. Spray a sheet of aluminum foil with non-stick spray or brush it with a bit of olive or vegetable oil so that it won’t stick to the cheese and use it to cover the pan. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove the sheet of foil, turn the oven up to 425 degrees, and cook until the cheese is beginning to brown and the sauce is bubbly – about 10 minutes.
  12. Remove the pan from the oven to a wire rack and let rest for 15 minutes before cutting and serving. Letting it rest will make it much easier to dish out.

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A plate of garlic mascarpone mashed potatoes topped with Tuscan Braised Beef and fresh parsley.


  • Author: RebeccaBlackwell
  • Prep Time: 60 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 1/2 - 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 1/2 - 5 hours
  • Yield: 6-8 servings

Description

Tonight’s braised beef is falling-apart tender from a long, slow simmer in a wine and vegetable broth.

Plan ahead: The hands on time for this dish is only about 30 minutes, but it needs to cook in the oven for about 4 hours.

This recipe calls for 6 lbs of chuck roast so that you have enough leftovers to make Tuscan Braised Beef Pot Pie with a Puff Pastry Crust on Day #4. After dinner tonight, reserve all the leftover meat, veggies and sauce; it will form the basis for the pot pie.

This recipe has been modified for this week’s meal plan. Click here for the original Tuscan Braised Beef Recipe.


Ingredients

For the Braised Tuscan Beef:

  • 6 lbs beef chuck roast
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup grape seed oil (or canola oil, or any other oil with a high smoke point)
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled, cut in half, each half sliced into 1/4-inch slices
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 8 ounces baby Bella mushrooms, cut into 1/4-inch slices (or portabella mushrooms)
  • 1 red bell pepper, stem and seeds removed and chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes, preferably fire roasted
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 or 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • OPTIONAL: grated parmesan cheese, for serving

For the Garlic Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes:

  • 3 lbs Yukon gold potatoes (yellow potatoes)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 large cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 8 oz mascarpone cheese (OR – 4 oz cream cheese + 2 tbsp butter)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Cut chuck roast into eight pieces. Sprinkle the steaks generously on both sides with salt and pepper.
  3. Add the flour to a pie plate or shallow dish and dredge each steak in the flour to coat it on all sides with flour. Shake off excess flour and set on a plate.
  4. In a large heavy bottom, oven proof saucepan or dutch oven, heat the 1/4 cup grape seed oil over medium high heat until shimmering – just before it begins to smoke. Add 2 or 3 of the steaks to the hot oil, allowing them to brown for about 4 minutes on both sides. Remove the steaks to a clean plate and repeat with remaining steaks. Adjust heat as necessary so that the oil remains quite hot, but the flour on the steaks is not burning. You want to get a nice golden crust on each steak – if you notice black spots as you turn the steaks over, reduce the heat.
  5. Pour the oil out of the pan, add the butter, and set over medium heat. Add the onion slices to the pan and sprinkle with about 1/2 tsp salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until soft and just beginning to brown. Add the mushrooms and red peppers to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are a light golden brown, about 5-6 minutes.
  6. Add the minced garlic, red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, and another 1/2 teaspoon salt and ground black pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute longer. Pour in the wine, turn the heat up to high, and cook, stirring frequently, until nearly all the liquid has evaporated.
  7. Add the chicken stock, diced tomatoes, and Worcestershire sauce to the pan and stir to combine. Return the steaks to the pan, nestling them down into the sauce. Add the rosemary sprigs and bay leaves, pushing them down into the sauce, in between the steaks.
  8. Bring the liquid to a boil, cover, and place in the oven. Let roast, covered, for 2 hours. After 2 hours, remove the lid and let roast for another 1 & 1/2 – 2 hours, until the meat is very, very tender.

Make the garlic mascarpone mashed potatoes:

  1. Fill a large saucepan about 3/4 full with cold water and add 1 tablespoon of salt. Peel the potatoes, cut them into 2 or 3 inch chunks, and add them to the cold water.
  2. Set the pan over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and let simmer until very tender, about 20 minutes.
  3. While the potatoes cook, add the olive oil and chopped garlic to a small saucepan and set it over medium heat. As soon as the oil begins to simmer, reduce the heat too low. Let the garlic cook until golden, about 13-15 minutes. Stir in the milk, turn the heat back up to medium high and bring to a simmer. When the milk begins to simmer, remove the pan from the heat and cover to keep warm.
  4. Add the mascarpone cheese to the bowl of a standing mixer – Or to a large mixing bowl.
  5. When the potatoes are fork tender, drain them in a colander set inside the sink. Dump the hot potatoes onto the mascarpone cheese and let sit for a minute or two to soften the cheese.
  6. If using a standing mixer, fit it with the paddle attachment, and pour in the hot milk and 1/4 tsp ground black pepper. Mix on low speed until mostly smooth, with only a few small chunks of potato. Taste and add as much more salt and pepper as you like.
  7. If using a potato masher or whisk to mash the potatoes, add the milk and 1/4 tsp ground black pepper while mashing the potatoes. Mash to desired consistency; taste and add more salt and pepper if desired.

To finish and serve:

  1. When the beef is finished cooking, gently stir in the chopped parsley. Taste and add more salt and pepper if desired.
  2. Spoon some mashed potatoes on each plate and top with a chunk of beef and plenty of sauce. Serve with grated parmesan cheese if desired.

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Simple Perfect Roasted Cabbage

Simple Roasted Cabbage


  • Author: RebeccaBlackwell
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cabbage
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Trim the bottom and core from the cabbage. Cut the cabbage in half, crosswise. Then cut each half into three thick slices, for a total of six slices. Lay the cabbage slices in a 9×13 baking dish; it’s ok if they overlap a bit.
  3. Melt the butter in the microwave in a small dish. Stir the olive oil into the butter. With a pastry brush or a spoon, brush the cabbage with the butter and oil. Sprinkle each slice generously with salt and pepper.
  4. Roast until the edges of the cabbage slices are brown and crispy, about 35-40 minutes.

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Chachouka - North African Pepper and Tomato Stew with Eggs

Chachouka ~ North African Pepper and Tomato Stew with Eggs


  • Author: RebeccaBlackwell
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 14 minutes
  • Total Time: 34 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings

Description

Chachouka is a North African pepper & tomato stew topped with eggs that is surprisingly delicious and extremely simple. Use 2 cups of the marinara sauce you reserved from Day #1.

Serving suggestion: Serve tonight’s Chachouka with some good quality bread and a tossed salad, which you might have prepped on Day #1. Dress the salad with a bottled dressing, whip up a simple vinaigrette, or simply toss with a squeeze of lemon, some olive oil, salt, and pepper.

This recipe has been modified for this week’s meal plan. Click here for the original Chachouka Recipe.


Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and cut into slices that are about 1/2-inch wide
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 48 eggs – depending on how many you want to serve per person. If people are quite hungry, serve 2 eggs per person. But, you’ll be surprised at how filling a serving of this stew with just one egg is.

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Heat olive oil in an oven proof skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are a slightly golden. Add the garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute longer. Stir in the marinara sauce and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute longer.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and make a slight indentation in the stew for each egg you plan to use. Crack the eggs in the indentations and sprinkle them lightly with salt and pepper.
  4. Put the pan in the oven and cook for 14-16 minutes, just until the whites of the eggs are set.

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Braised Beef Pot Pie with a Puff Pastry Crust

Tuscan Beef Pot Pie


  • Author: RebeccaBlackwell
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings

Description

Tonight’s dinner couldn’t be simpler thanks to the leftover braised beef you reserved on Day #3. Simply shred the beef, and mix some frozen peas and carrots into the sauce, pour it into a baking dish, top with a sheet of frozen puff pastry, and bake.


Ingredients

  • About 4 cups Tuscan Braised Beef, shredded (approximately 1& 1/2 lbs)
  • About 2& 1/2 cups of sauce from Tuscan Braised Beef
  • 16 oz bag frozen peas and carrots
  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed according to package instructions
  • 1 large egg

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the shredded beef, sauce, and frozen peas and carrots. Scoop the mixture into a 9-inch square baking dish.
  3. Unfold the sheet of puff pastry and use a rolling pin to gently roll it to a size that will fit over the pan with a bit of pastry hanging over the edges. Lay the pastry over the pan so that it covers the filling. Using a sharp knife, cut 5 slits in the top of the pastry for steam vents.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk the egg with 1 tbsp cold water. Brush over the top of the crust.
  5. Bake the pot pie until the puff pastry is a rich golden brown and you can see the filing bubbling through the steam vents, about 30 minutes.

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Indian Shrimp and Rice

Indian Shrimp and Rice


  • Author: RebeccaBlackwell
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4 servings

Description

Use 2 cups of reserved marinara sauce from Day #1 to make this simple, Indian spiced meal. If you have any leftover tossed salad, put that out as well.

This recipe has been modified for this week’s meal plan. Click here for the original Indian Shrimp and Rice Recipe.


Ingredients

  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • 1/4 cup plain, unsweetened yogurt
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 3 tsp garam masala, divided
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 teaspoons of minced garlic, divided
  • 1 1/2 lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined, thawed if frozen
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions

Instructions

  1. Cook the rice according to the package instructions.
  2. Add the yogurt, cumin, paprika, 2 tsp of the garam masala, lime juice, salt, ground ginger, and 2 teaspoons of the garlic to a bowl and stir to mix. Add the shrimp and toss to coat all the shrimp completely in the sauce. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes, and up to 1 hour.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan set over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the grated ginger, remaining clove of minced garlic, and remaining teaspoon of garam masala, and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute more.
  4. Stir in the marinara sauce and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Cook until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 5-10 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream.
  5. Remove from the heat and stir in the shrimp and its marinade. Cover the saucepan and let sit for about 5 minutes to let the shrimp cook through. Test one of the shrimp for doneness – the exterior should be pink and the flesh will be slightly opaque and slightly white.
  6. Add the rice to a serving bowl. Spoon the shrimp over the rice, top with the chopped scallions, and serve.

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Perfect Homemade Marinara Sauce


  • Author: RebeccaBlackwell
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1-2 hours
  • Total Time: About 2 hours and 20 minutes
  • Yield: 11 cups of sauce

Description

The recipe makes a lot – about 11 cups of sauce – and you’ll use most of it, or all of it this week. Depending on whether you decide to make a half pan (9-in square baking dish) or whole pan (9 x 13-inch baking dish) of chicken or eggplant parmesan, you’ll need 3-6 cups of marinara.

Reserve the rest for Chachouka on Day #3 and Indian Shrimp and Rice on Day #5. If you have some leftover at the end of the week, use it for a quick plate of spaghetti, or freeze the sauce for up to 3 months.

This recipe has been modified for this week’s meal plan. Click here for the original Homemade Marinara Sauce Recipe.


Ingredients

  • 2 large yellow onions, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 12 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 4 tbsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 12 tsp crushed red pepper (depending on how spicy you want your sauce to be)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp salt (more to taste)
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper (more to taste)
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Four 28-oz cans crushed tomatoes (I like to use fire roasted tomatoes)
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Instructions

  1. Add the onion, garlic, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper, sugar, salt, and pepper to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the chopping blade. Pulse until the ingredients form a paste.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed sauce pan or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion mixture to the hot oil and cook, stirring constantly for 5 minutes.
  3. Add one of the cans of crushed tomatoes and cook, stirring frequently, until thick and darkened in color – 5-10 minutes.
  4. Stir in the wine, the rest of the crushed tomatoes, and the Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil and cook, partially covered to avoid splatters, over medium low heat for an 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Stir in the fresh parsley and basil.