Sheet Pan Cajun Chicken & Potatoes with Asparagus, Red Peppers, Swiss Chard and Cheesy Grits

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Sheet Pan Cajun Chicken with Vegetables and Cheesy Grits

Sheet Pan Cajun Chicken & Potatoes with Vegetables


  • Author: RebeccaBlackwell
  • Prep Time: 60 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings + leftovers

Description

Dark meat chicken, potatoes, asparagus, and red bell peppers are coated in cajun spices, roasted, and served with sautéed Swiss chard over cheesy grits. This simple, colorful, hearty meal packs a deliciously powerful punch of flavor and nutrition, and the most tender chicken you’ve ever tasted.

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

This recipe calls for 12 chicken thighs and a whole lot of vegetables. Leftover chicken will be used to make Chicken Lettuce Wraps on Day #2, and leftover vegetables will be served along side Rosemary Braised Steak Tips on Day #3.

Before starting on the Cajun Chicken, mix up a batch of Cajun Spice Rub. The spice mix will be used on both the chicken and the vegetables in tonight’s meal.

After dinner tonight, remove the meat from the leftover chicken and cut it into very small pieces. Reserve in the refrigerator for Chicken Lettuce Wraps on Day #2.

Reserve the leftover potatoes, asparagus, and red peppers in the refrigerator to serve with Rosemary Braised Steak Tips on Day #3.


Ingredients

  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 4 tablespoons + 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
  • 12 bone in, skin on chicken thighs
  • 34 lbs red potatoes, washed, unpeeled, and cut into quarters
  • 1 recipe Cajun Chicken Spice Rub
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 large red bell peppers, seeds removed and cut into 1-inch wide slices
  • 2 lbs asparagus: snap in half and discard bottom portion of the stalk
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/2 jalapeño, minced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 to 6 cups swiss chard (or spinach or kale), leaves removed from the stalks
  • 1 medium lemon, cut in half

FOR SERVING:


Instructions

  1. Stir 2 tablespoons of the salt into the buttermilk. Lay the chicken in a 9×13 rectangle baking dish. Pour the buttermilk over the chicken and turn the chicken to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 36. (At least 24 hours is best.)
  2. Prep your ingredients before you begin: wash and cut the potatoes into quarters, mix up the Cajun Chicken Spice Rub, wash and slice red bell peppers, break asparagus spears in half, mince shallot, jalapeño, and garlic, and tear the Swiss chard leaves from the stalks.
  3. Heat the oven to 425 degrees and line a large sheet pan with aluminum foil or parchment.
  4. Fill a large saucepan about 2/3 full of water. Add 2 tablespoons of salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the quartered potatoes and boil for 5 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander in the sink, leaving them to cool a bit while you prep the chicken.
  5. Lay chicken thighs out on paper towels and blot the excess buttermilk (Don’t try and get them dry. Just blot the excess.). Lay the chicken out on the sheet pan and sprinkle with a generous amount of Cajun Chicken Spice Rub rubbing the spices into the chicken. Flip the chicken pieces over and repeat on the other side so that they are completely covered in spices.
  6. Put the potatoes back into the pan you boiled them in and add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 teaspoons Cajun Spice Rub. Toss to coat the potatoes in oil and seasoning. Spread the potatoes in a single layer on the sheet pan next to the chicken. Sprinkle with about 1/2 tsp more salt. (No need to wash out the pan yet – you can use it for asparagus and red peppers.)
  7. Place the pan inside the preheated oven and roast for 45 – 50 minutes. (To know if the chicken and potatoes are done, poke a fork into one of the potatoes to see if it’s tender. Cut into one piece of chicken, close to the bone. If the juices run clear and the inside of the chicken isn’t pink, the chicken is done.)

While the chicken and potatoes are cooking:

  1. Add the red bell pepper pieces and asparagus to the same bowl you used to season the potatoes and add 1 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon Cajun Seasoning, and 1 tsp salt. Toss the vegetables around inside the bowl to thoroughly coat with the oil and spices.
  2. Prepare cheesy grits.

When the chicken and potatoes are done cooking:

  1. Remove chicken and potatoes from the oven and turn the temperature up to 450 degrees. Put the pieces of chicken and potatoes on a serving platter and cover with foil to keep warm. Pour about 3 tablespoons of the liquid from the sheet pan into a large skillet or sauce pan. Discard any remaining liquid that’s in the sheet pan. Discard the foil or parchment liner and re-line with a fresh sheet.
  2. Dump the red peppers and asparagus on the same sheet pan you cooked the chicken and potatoes on and spread the vegetables out into an single layer. Put the pan back in the oven and roast for about 10 minutes, just until the vegetables are crisp-tender.
  3. Place the pan with the chicken cooking liquid on a burner set to medium. Add the minced shallot, jalapeño, and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add the Swiss chard and sauté, stirring often, until the greens are wilted, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle the greens with some salt and the juice from one half of the fresh lemon. Toss to coat.
  5. When the peppers and asparagus are fork tender, but still crisp, remove them from the oven. Squeeze the juice from the other half of the fresh lemon juice over the cooked red peppers and asparagus and toss to coat.

TO SERVE: Spoon some Cheesy Grits on a plate. Top the grits with a spoonful of Swiss chard and a piece of chicken. Serve potatoes, asparagus, and red peppers alongside the chicken and grits.


Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

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A plate of chicken lettuce wraps with peanuts and chili garlic sauce.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps


  • Author: RebeccaBlackwell

Description

Thanks to leftover Cajun Chicken, tonight’s dinner will be on the table in 20 minutes or less. If you have leftover Asian chicken from tonight’s dinner, it will reheat beautifully for lunch the next day. In fact, I think it might be even better the next day!

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


Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
  • 3 tbsp chili sesame oil (use regular sesame oil, or a combination of the two, if you want a less spicy dish)
  • 3 tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 24 tbsp chili garlic sauce (depending on how spicy you like your lettuce wraps) – plus more for serving
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated or minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 4 cups leftover Cajun Chicken chicken, diced (cut into very small pieces)
  • 8 oz water chestnuts, diced
  • 1 bunch of green onions, white and light green parts sliced thin
  • 1 cup roasted, salted peanuts
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Large romaine lettuce leaves (plan on 3 per person)

Instructions

  1. Add the soy sauce, rice vinegar, chili sesame oil, peanut butter, honey, and chili garlic sauce to a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  2. Set a large saucepan on the stovetop and heat over medium until hot. Add the sesame oil or vegetable oil, letting the oil heat for about 5 seconds. Add the diced onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, salt, and pepper, and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute longer.
  3. Stir in the soy sauce mixture. Cook, staring constantly, until the peanut butter is melted and the sauce looks homogenous. Taste and add more salt or chili garlic sauce if you like.
  4. Add the diced chicken and cook, stirring constantly, until the chicken is heated through. Remove from the heat and stir in the water chestnuts and sliced green onions.
  5. Serve chicken mixture with lettuce leaves, roasted peanuts, cilantro, and additional chili garlic sauce.

Rosemary Braised Steak Tips Over Quinoa

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Rosemary Braised Steak Tips with Quinoa and sautéed asparagus and red bell peppers.

Rosemary Braised Steak Tips Over Quinoa


  • Author: RebeccaBlackwell

Description

Depending on where you are in the world, marinated Steak Tips may or may not be available in your local market. No worries. If you can’t find marinated Steak Tips, use sirloin steak instead. Here’s what to do…

Marinate Sirloin: Cut the sirloin into pieces that are approximately 5 inches long by 2 inches wide and put them in a baking dish. Mix a bottle of purchase Italian Dressing with 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce and 2 tablespoons whole mustard seeds. Pour the dressing over the steak tips, sprinkle the meat with a generous amount of salt, cover the dish, and put in the refrigerator to marinade for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.

Plan to make enough steak so that you have 1 to 1 & 1/2 pounds of meat left over for Vegetable Beef Soup on Day #5. You’ll need at least 1/2 pound of steak for each person for tonight’s dinner – more if you’ll have hungry meat eaters at the table! After dinner, cut the left over steak into small pieces and reserve in a covered container in the refrigerator for use in Vegetable Beef Soup.

Reserve whatever cooking liquid (sauce) is left over from tonight’s meal. It will be added to Vegetable Beef Soup as well, contributing an amazing burst of flavor!

Double the amount of quinoa and reserve 3-4 cups cooked quinoa for Southwest Quinoa Salad on Day #4.

Reheat the potatoes, asparagus, and red peppers you reserved from dinner on Day #1: Heat your oven to 450 degrees. Lay the potatoes on a baking sheet in an even layer. Put the potatoes in the oven and let warm for 5 minutes. Remove the sheet from the oven and add the red peppers and asparagus to the baking sheet. Heat for another 5 minutes. Check to see that all the veggies are warm and cook for a bit longer if necessary.

*This recipe has been modified to fit this week’s meal plan. Click here for the original recipe. 


Ingredients

FOR THE STEAK TIPS:

  • 46 lbs marinated Steak Tips or Sirloin Steak
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil
  • about 1 tsp salt
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • Two 15-oz cans diced tomatoes, preferably fire roasted
  • 1 tsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 35 large fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce

FOR THE QUINOA:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (any variety)
  • 2 cups water or broth
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

MAKE THE STEAK TIPS:

  1. Heat oil in a dutch oven, or large heavy bottom saucepan, over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add a few pieces of steak to the hot oil. Sprinkle the steak with a bit of salt. Let cook for 2 minutes. Flip the steak over, sprinkle with a bit of salt and let cook on the other side for 2 minutes. Remove the steak to a plate and repeat with remaining pieces of steak.
  2. Reduce the burner’s heat to medium and add chopped onions. Cook, stirring frequently, just until they are beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
  3. Add the wine to the pan and use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Turn the heat up to high and let the wine boil and reduce for 10 minutes, until you only have about 2 tablespoons of liquid in the pan. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes in their juice, brown sugar, red pepper and rosemary. Stir to combine.
  4. Put the steak back into the pan with the liquid. Bring to a boil then turn the heat down to low, cover the pot, and let simmer gently for 30 minutes, until tender.

MAKE THE QUINOA:

  1. Pour quinoa into a fine-mesh strainer. Rinse thoroughly with cool water and allow to drain.
  2. Pour water or broth into a medium size saucepan along with the salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the quinoa, turn the heat to low, cover and let simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Remove the pot from heat, keep covered, and let stand for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and gently fluff  with a fork.

TO SERVE:

Put about 1/2 cup cooked quinoa on each plate and top with 2-3 pieces of steak. Ladle some of the steak’s cooking liquid over the steak and quinoa and serve.


Southwest Quinoa Salad with Bell Peppers and Zucchini

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Southwest Quinoa Salad

Southwest Quinoa Salad


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

Description

This salad will use up the leftover quinoa you reserved from Day #3, and will come together quickly.

Note: A bag of tortilla chips can be used instead of making homemade chips. If you are making homemade chips, plan on making enough for at least 6 chips per person. Since each corn tortilla makes 4 chips, you’ll need 6 tortillas for a family of four. BUT – I strongly suggest you make more than that because while you’re cooking them, your family will come along behind you and sneak a few. Who are we kidding? You will too.

*This recipe has been modified to fit this week’s meal plan. Click here for the original recipe.


Ingredients

For Homemade Tortilla Chips:

  • Corn tortillas
  • About 1 1/2 cups corn oil
  • Kosher or coarse ground sea salt

For the Southwest Quinoa Salad:

  • 12 oz frozen corn
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups diced zucchini (2 small zucchinis)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 14 oz can black beans, drained
  • 34 cups cooked quinoa, cold or at room temperature
  • 2 cups chopped fresh cilantro

For the Southwest Quinoa Salad Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (23 limes)
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup tomato based salsa, any kind

Instructions

Make the chips:

  1. Add the oil to a large, deep saucepan or frying pan and place over high heat. You want to heat the oil until a small piece of tortilla placed in the oil begins to sizzle immediately, about 350°F. Be careful to not allow the oil to get so hot that it smokes. If that happens, move the pan off the heat immediately and allow to cool down slightly before placing it back over the heat. Adjust the burner heat as necessary to maintain the temperature.
  2. While the oil is heating, cut each tortilla into 4 triangle shaped wedges.
  3. Line a baking sheet with a couple of layers of paper towels and have a small dish of salt near by.
  4. When the oil is hot, add a handful of tortilla wedges – enough to cover the bottom of the pan, but not so many that they are laying on top of each other. Fry the chips for 2-4 minutes, until they are a deep golden brown.
  5. Using tongs, quickly remove the chips from the oil and onto the paper towel lined baking sheet. Immediately sprinkle with some salt. Repeat with the remaining tortilla wedges.

Make the Southwest Quinoa Salad

  1. Put the frozen corn in a colander placed in the sink. Run cool water over the corn to defrost slightly and separate the kernels. Let sit in the sink to drain.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the diced onion and sauté until just starting to brown.
  3. Add the zucchini and sauté for another minute or two, until crisp tender.
  4. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, and corn. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute longer. Remove from the heat and dump the mixture into a separate bowl. Stir in the black beans and quinoa, allow to cool to room temperature, then stir in the chopped cilantro. *While the mixture cools, make the dressing.

Make the Southwest Quinoa Salad Dressing:

  1. In a medium size bowl, whisk the lime juice, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Slowly pour in the olive oil, in a thin steady stream, while whisking constantly. Whisk in the salsa. Taste and add more salt, pepper, or salsa if you like.

Assemble the Salad and Serve:

When the quinoa salad has cooled to room temperature, toss with about 3/4 of the dressing. Taste to see if you want to add in the remaining dressing, or if it’s good as is. Serve with tortilla chips for crumbling over the salad.


Vegetable Beef Soup

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A bowl of vegetable beef soup.

Vegetable Beef Soup


  • Author: RebeccaBlackwell
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings

Description

Having reserved some cooked steak tips and sauce from Rosemary Braised Steak Tips on Day #3, you are in for a hearty flavor packed soup that requires only about 20 minutes of hands on time. Serve with a good quality loaf of bread if you like, pour yourself a glass of wine, and bask in all your culinary glory, because everyone you serve this soup to is going to sing your praises. It’s that good.

*This recipe has been modified to fit this week’s meal plan. Click here for the original recipe. 


Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 lb cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 medium celery ribs, sliced thin
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • A total of 8 cups cooking liquid: as much as you have reserved from Rosemary Braised Beef plus chicken or beef stock
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 to 1& 1/2 pounds leftover Rosemary Braised Beef, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 12 oz frozen peas
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large heavy bottom saucepan or dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the diced onions and sliced mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are a rich golden brown, about 8-12 minutes.
  2. Add the carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper to the pot and cook, stirring constantly, for another 2 minutes.
  3. Add the cooking liquid and soy sauce. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, scrape up any brown bits clinging to the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if you like.
  4. Stir in the steak and peas. Remove from the heat, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes to warm the steak and cook the peas.
  5. Remove the bay leaves, top with fresh parsley, and serve.