What to cook for dinner this week:
1.) [sg_popup id="5233" event="click"]Spinach Pasta with Baked Cod and Agrodolce and Spring Veggies[/sg_popup] and [sg_popup id="5236" event="click"]Sautéed Carrots and Asparagus[/sg_popup] 2.) [sg_popup id="5240" event="click"]Tahini Marinated Chicken with Couscous[/sg_popup] and [sg_popup id="5244" event="click"]Cucumber Tomato Salad[/sg_popup] 3.) [sg_popup id="5248" event="click"]Couscous Salad with Spring Vegetables and Agrodolce[/sg_popup] 4.) [sg_popup id="5251" event="click"]Thai Chicken Noodle Soup[/sg_popup] 5.) [sg_popup id="5255" event="click"]Perfect BLT's with Special Sauce[/sg_popup] 6.) Cocktail: Gin Julep
If you’re not familiar with this blog, here’s the basic idea:
Using some of the same ingredients in multiple dishes throughout the week is the key to getting delicious, wholesome, good for you, home cooked meals on the table several nights of the week. The recipes in each 5-day meal plan include some prep-work for another meal later in the week.
Like every other meal plan on this blog, this week’s recipes are designed to make healthy, delicious, home cooked meals every night of the week much easier with each meal building on the previous night’s efforts. A little = a lot.
If you’d rather cook three meals instead of five this week…
If three home cooked meals is more your style this week, Days #1, # 3, and #5 – OR – #2, #4, and #5 work well together, with one meal building from the next. Please note that the grocery list at the bottom of this page is for all 5 meals.
Meal Prep, Day by Day
What’s for Dinner Tonight: [sg_popup id="5233" event="click"]Spinach Pasta with Simple Baked Cod and Agrodolce[/sg_popup], and [sg_popup id="5236" event="click"]Sautéed Carrots and Asparagus[/sg_popup]
For me, “Day #1” is usually a Sunday, and it’s the day with the most heavy lifting when it comes to meal prep for the rest of the week. I am always so grateful to myself for taking a couple of hours on Sunday to make getting dinner on the table that much easier the rest of the week.
Whatever day of the week you choose as your “Day #1”, here’s your meal prep task list:
Choose homemade pasta or dried. Tonight's bright and colorful meal will take less than 1-hour unless you're making homemade spinach pasta. My friend Judy got me hooked on pasta making and when I have a couple of extra hours in the afternoon, I find it an immensely satisfying activity. Adding some cooked spinach to the dough makes a gorgeously vibrant green dough and adds some subtle flavor. If making homemade pasta isn't your idea of a fun afternoon, using a package of dried fettuccini is more than acceptable. If your market carries spinach fettuccini, use that. If not, just use plain.
1 batch of agrodolce makes more than you'll need for tonight's dinner. Store the leftovers in the refrigerator in a covered container. You'll use it on Day #3 in Couscous Salad.
[sg_popup id="5236" event="click"]Sautéed Carrots and Asparagus[/sg_popup]: You'll probably need to cook these in batches so as to not over crowd the pan. Serve half the veggies tonight and reserve the other half for Couscous Salad on Day #3.
To get an even bigger jump on the rest of the week:
- If you're planning to make Day #2's dinner tomorrow, you can [sg_popup id="5240" event="click"]get the chicken marinating tonight[/sg_popup]. You can also put the chicken in the marinade in the morning. Either option is good.
- Fresh [sg_popup id="5244" event="click"]Cucumber Tomato Salad [/sg_popup](Day #2) only takes about 10 minutes to make. But, sometimes saving 10 minutes on a weeknight when everyone is starving and you're feeling tired is a big deal. So, make it today if you think it will help tomorrow evening run smoother.
- Prep the onion and cauliflower for [sg_popup id="5248" event="click"]Couscous Salad[/sg_popup] on Day #3. Store each separately in the refrigerator.
What’s for Dinner Tonight: [sg_popup id="5240" event="click"]Tahini Marinated Chicken with Couscous[/sg_popup], [sg_popup id="5244" event="click"]Cucumber Tomato Salad[/sg_popup], and Naan.
Marinate Chicken: If you didn't get the [sg_popup id="5240" event="click"]chicken in the marinade[/sg_popup] last night, make sure to do so this morning so it has plenty of time to soak up all those flavors before this evening.
Warm Naan is the perfect accompaniment to tonight's middle eastern inspired meal. Most supermarkets cary it, and it needs only to be warmed in the oven and (perhaps) brushed with a bit of melted butter before serving. But, if you have time, consider making some naan from scratch. It's one of the fastest, easiest homemade breads to make and soooo tasty.
Reserve leftover chicken and couscous in covered containers in your refrigerator for Couscous Salad on Day #3 and Thai Chicken Soup on Day #4.
What’s for Dinner Tonight: [sg_popup id="5248" event="click"]Couscous Salad with Veggies and Agrodolce[/sg_popup]
Because you already have agrodolce, sautéed carrots and asparagus, and cooked couscous in your refrigerator, leftover from meals earlier in the week, tonight's dinner will be on the table in no time.
It's important that the agrodolce be at room temperature before adding it to this salad. Either let it sit out at room temperature for an hour or so or heat it in the microwave for 10 seconds. Stir, and if it's still quite cold, heat it for another 10 seconds.
What’s for Dinner Tonight: [sg_popup id="5251" event="click"]Thai Chicken Soup with Noodles[/sg_popup]
Using the chicken you reserved from Day #2 in this flavorful soup, means that this flavor packed soup will be on the table in under 30 minutes.
If you are using this homemade Thai Spice Blend instead of a prepared spice blend, prepare it before starting on the soup.
What’s for Dinner Tonight: [sg_popup id="5255" event="click"]Perfect BLT Sandwiches[/sg_popup]
This is one of those meal plans for which you probably have some odds and ends leftover from previous meals. Tonight is the night to get them out. BLT sandwiches are satisfying all on their own, but will also be tasty served alongside a scoop of couscous or cucumber tomato salad, or a small bowl of Thai chicken and noodle soup.
This Week's Featured Cocktail: The Gin Julep
Suggested Recipes for the Baker:
- Sheet Pan Frosted Brownies
- Olive Oil Cake with Mascarpone Cream
- Perfectly Soft Chocolate Chip cookies
- Strawberries and Cream Pie
Shopping List, Weekly Spring Meal Plan #4
*Does not include ingredients for suggested baked goods.
- 9 large lemons
- 5 limes (enough for 5 tablespoon of lime juice)
- 6 clove garlic
- 3 or 4 large, ripe tomatoes
- 1 English cucumber, diced
- 2 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
- 2 & ½ cup fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- 7 shallots
- 1 medium to large yellow onion
- 16 oz cauliflower
- 16 oz cherry tomatoes
- 2 large tomatoes
- 3 cups arugula, spinach or kale
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 medium red onion
- 2 pounds fresh asparagus
- 6 large carrots
- 1 lb bok choy
- Iceberg or Romaine lettuce (for BLT sandwiches)
- 1 & ½ – 2 lbs cod (fresh or frozen)
- 4 – 6 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 pound good quality, thick sliced bacon
- 8 slices of thick-cut, hearty bread
- ½ cup plain, unsweetened yogurt, preferably Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup butter
- 1 cup roughly chopped almonds, skin on
- 1 ¼ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
- 4 oz red curry paste
- 7 oz pad Thai rice noodles
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 3 tablespoon fish sauce
- ½ cup honey
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon dill pickle relish
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- Two 14-oz cans coconut milk, unsweetened, reduced or full-fat
- ¾ teaspoon chili garlic sauce
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup golden raisins
- 3 & ⅓ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 3 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 3 cups dried couscous
- 1 ½ cups pure ground sesame tahini paste (My two favorite brands are Pepperwood Tahiniand Soom Tahini)
- 2 & ¼ cups olive oil
- Salt and pepper
If making homemade Spinach Fettuchini for Day #1, purchase the following items. If not, purchase 12 ounces dried fettuccini noodles, spinach flavored or plain.
- 1 lb fresh spinach
- 2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
- 1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
- 3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
If making homemade naan bread to serve with Tahini Grilled Chicken, purchase the following items. If not, purchase a package of prepared naan.
- 2¼ teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1½ cups room temperature water
- ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ⅓ cup plain, unsweetened yogurt (preferably greek)
- 3 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 5-6 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 2½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 8 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
If you’d like to make your own Thai seasoning, you’ll need the following ingredients. Otherwise, purchase 1 tablespoon Thai seasoning blend (*I often use this brand of Thai seasoning.)
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon white pepper
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon ground dried hot red Thai pepper
- 2 tablespoon dried lemongrass (see note)
- 2 tablespoon lime zest (zest 1 or 2 small limes)
- 2 tablespoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoon ground ginger
- 4 tablespoon toasted unsweetened coconut, ground in a food processor or spice mill
- 2 tablespoon dark brown sugar
For the Gin Julep Cocktail:
- 8-10 mint leaves
- 1 ounce Rose's lime juice
- 3 ounces gin
- crushed ice
- lime and/or more mint leaves, to garnish
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