What to Cook for Dinner this Week:
1.) Ham and Cheese Hand Pies with Sautéed Broccoli, 2.) Italian Tuna Salad Sandwiches, 3.) Butternut Squash Soup, 4.) Slow Cooker Carnitas 5.) Quinoa and Veggie Carnitas Bowls, 6.) Cocktail: French Pear Martini
If you’re not familiar with this blog, here’s the basic idea behind each weekly meal plan: A little advance planning and meal prep work every day is the key to getting delicious, wholesome, good for you, home cooked meals on the table several nights of the week. A little = a lot.
On this page, you’ll find a meal plan for the week. Each meal is designed to build on the previous night’s efforts by using leftover ingredients. You’ll also find a preparation schedule and grocery list.
Meal Prep, Day by Day
Cook Two or Three Meals Instead of Five: Five home cooked meals in one week is not feasible or desirable for everyone. If two or three is more your style, Days #1, #2, and #3, OR Days #4 and #5, work well together, with one meal building from the next. Please note that the grocery list below is for all 5 meals.
These little hand pies are one of those appetizer or party dishes that can easily be made into a simple meal. The pastry couldn't be simpler, but it needs time to chill - at least one hour before you roll it out to make the pies. You'll also want to factor in some time to let the assembled pies chill in the refrigerator before they bake. Cold pastry and a hot oven is key to deliciously flaky pies. Organize the making of these pies around your schedule. The pastry dough can be made up to 24 hours ahead of time. The butternut squash can also be roasted in advance, if you prefer. And, the assembled pies will keep in your refrigerator for up to 12 hours before you bake them.
- Roast extra butternut squash. You'll only need about 1 pound of butternut squash for these little hand pies, but roast 3-4 pounds and reserve all the extra roasted squash for Butternut Squash Soup on Day #3.
- Serve with sautéed broccoli. Follow the recipe for Perfect Sautéed Vegetables to cook a total of 4 cups of broccoli. Serve half with tonight's hand pies and reserve the other half for Italian Tuna Sandwiches on Day #2. Cut broccoli into small-ish pieces (about 1-inch) and sautéed with plenty of salt and pepper and a dash of red pepper flakes (optional).
What’s for Dinner Tonight: Italian Tuna Salad Sandwiches
- These flavor-packed open face sandwiches are a simple, nourishing meal made even easier by the fact that you already sautéed the broccoli on Day #1. These sandwiches will be on the table in about 15 minutes.
- Serving suggestion: I like to serve these sandwiches with nothing more than a few slices of fresh pear. The mild sweetness of the pear is lovely next to the assertive flavors in the tuna salad dressing.
- Cocktail: These are delicious served with a French Pear Martini.
- Optional: Reserve leftover bread for easy homemade croutons, a delicious topping for Butternut Squash Soup on Day #3. Make the croutons tonight or while the soup is simmering on Day #3.
What’s for Dinner Tonight: Butternut Squash Soup
- Thanks to the extra butternut squash you roasted on Day #1, tonight's soup will be on the table in no time.
- If you are planning on making homemade croutons, get those in the oven before starting on the soup so they can cook while the soup simmers.
What’s for Dinner Tonight: Slow Cooker Carnitas Tacos
- Deciding how much to make: This recipe for Slow Cooker Carnitas calls for an 8-10 pound pork roast and makes a lot of carnitas. You'll use about 2 lbs of carnitas for tonight's dinner and about 2 lbs for Quinoa and Veggie Carnitas Bowls on Day #5. So, you can either cook half the recipe, using a 4-5 lb pork roast, or make the full recipe and freeze the leftover carnitas. The meat freezes really well. Simply place in a freezer zip top bag, pour a bit of the cooking liquid over the the meat, seal, and freeze for up to 3 months. This will make you SO happy on those nights when no one wants to cook, but everyone wants to eat.
- Get Carnitas going in your slow cooker in the morning: The carnitas will take about 8-10 hours on low, or 6-8 hours on high.
- To warm and soften corn tortillas: Brush both sides of one corn tortilla with a light coating of corn oil and place in the center of a damp paper towel. Brush only one side of a second tortilla with a light coating of corn oil and place oil side up on top of the first tortilla. Continue with however many tortillas you plan to serve. Cover with a second damp paper towel and microwave for 30 seconds. Remove from the microwave and feel into the center of the stack to see if it’s warm. If not, microwave for a bit longer.
What’s for Dinner Tonight: Quinoa and Veggie Carnitas Bowls with Jalapeño Cream
- Since the carnitas are already cooked, tonight's meal will come together in about 30 minutes, tops. Simply follow the recipe instructions to cook some quinoa and veggies, top with leftover carnitas and a drizzle of jalapeño cream, and you're done.
This Week’s Featured Cocktail: French Pear Martini
- 4 & ½-inch round pastry cutter from this Double Sided Round Cutter Set
- Cuisinart Nonstick Skillet
- Dutch Oven
- Crock Pot Slow Cooker
Suggested Recipes for the Baker:
- Apple Butter and Pastry Cream Hand Pies
- Dulce de Leche Granola Cookie Bars
- Everyone's Favorite Granola
- Apple Slab Pie