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A bowl of Zuppa Toscana with potatoes, bacon, and sausage.

Zuppa Toscana


  • Author: RebeccaBlackwell
  • Total Time: 60 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 servings

Description

*This recipe has been adapted to fit this week’s meal plan. Click here for the original Zuppa Toscana Recipe.

Zuppa Toscana is one of my favorite soups of all time. The recipe makes quite a bit on purpose. Leftovers reheat beautifully and are even better the second or third day. It’s a wonderful dish to have on hand for lunch or for one of the nights this week when you’re not planning to cook. If you’d rather not have leftovers, just reduce the recipe.

This recipe calls for 1 pound of sausage. For this week’s meal plan, cook 1 1/2 pounds of sausage, reserving 1/2 pound of cooked sausage for Sausage and Provolone Sandwiches on Day #2.


Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb Italian Sausage, spicy or sweet
  • 1 lb thick cut bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp ground thyme
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 2 lbs yellow potatoes (Yukon gold), cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 cups kale, chopped
  • 1/21 cup cream (to taste)
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • Shredded parmesan, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large heavy bottom sauce pan or dutch oven set over medium-high heat. Crumble the sausage into the hot pan and cook, stirring frequently, until the sausage is cooked through with no pink on the inside of each piece. Using a slotted spoon, remove the sausage from the pan to a plate or bowl.
  2. Add the pieces of bacon to the hot pan and cook, stirring frequently, until crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon from the pan to the same plate or bowl as the Italian sausage.
  3. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan. Turn the heat down to medium and add the chopped onion. Cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, thyme, sugar, salt, and pepper to the onions and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute longer.
  4. Add the wine, turn the heat to high, and use a wooden spoon to scrape any bits and pieces from the bottom of the pan. Boil for 3-4 minutes to reduce. Add the chicken broth and bring back to a boil.
  5. Put the bacon and sausage back into the pan. Add the potatoes and cook until tender, about 10-15 minutes. Add the kale and cook for about 1 minute, until wilted.
  6. Stir in 1/2 cup cream. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add up to 1/2 cup more cream, if desired. Stir in the cooked sausage and bacon, sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve with shredded parmesan if desired.

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An open face sandwich with Italian Sausage, Homemade Marinara Sauce, and melted provolone cheese.

Sausage and Provolone Sandwiches


  • Author: RebeccaBlackwell
  • Prep Time: 8 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 sandwiches

Description

*This recipe has been adapted to fit this week’s meal plan. Click here for the original Sausage and Provolone Sandwich Recipe.

Since you’ve already cooked the sausage and made the roasted tomato sauce on Day #1, tonight’s dinner will be on the table in about 10 minutes.

Serve tonight’s sandwiches with a simple salad of fresh greens tossed with Classic Vinagrette.


Ingredients

  • One loaf hearty bread
  • 1 cup Roasted Tomato Sauce OR a jar of prepared marinara sauce (see note)
  • 1/2 lb cooked Italian sausage, sweet or spicy (use the extra sausage you cooked on Day #1)
  • 8 slices provolone cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat the broiler in your oven. (You can also use a toaster oven.)
  2. Slice the bread into thick pieces and toast. Lay the toasted slices out on a baking sheet that’s been covered with a sheet of aluminum foil.
  3. Spoon some tomato sauce onto each piece of toast. Top each slice with a few crumbles of Italian sausage and two slices of provolone cheese.
  4. Place the toasts under the broiler just long enough to melt the cheese, about 1 minute.
  5. Remove from the oven, place sandwiches on serving plates, and drizzle with another tablespoon or two of tomato sauce.

Notes

  • If you’re using a jar of tomato sauce or marinara instead of homemade, I encourage you to pour the sauce into a saucepan to heat it up, tasting it for seasoning and adding more salt, pepper, or fresh herbs if it’s on the bland side.

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Baked garlic shrimp with roasted tomato risotto

Baked Garlic Shrimp with Roasted Tomato Risotto


  • Author: RebeccaBlackwell
  • Total Time: 60 minutes
  • Yield: 4 generous servings

Description

*This recipe has been adapted to fit this week’s meal plan. Click here for the original Baked Garlic Shrimp with Roasted Tomato Risotto Recipe.

Roasted tomato sauce is just one of the ingredients in tonight’s dinner that make it rich and flavorful. The entire meal will take under an hour and utilizes the easiest, most hands-off method I know for risotto. You can use either frozen or unfrozen shrimp in this dish. If using unfrozen, get the risotto going then the baked shrimp. If using frozen shrimp, get that going first, then make the risotto while the shrimp cooks in the oven.


Ingredients

For the roasted tomato risotto:

  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 1/4 cup arborio rice
  • 1 cup Roasted Tomato Sauce (see note)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 6 oz fresh mozzarella, torn into 1-inch chunks

For the baked garlic shrimp:

  • 1 1/22 pounds raw shrimp, fresh or frozen, peeled and deveined
  • 6 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine

For serving:

  • 3 cups fresh arugula
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp chives, diced

Instructions

NOTE: If using frozen shrimp, get the baked shrimp in the oven before starting on the risotto. If using unfrozen shrimp, get the baked shrimp in the oven while the risotto cooks (step 4).

Make the risotto:

  1. Pour vegetable stock into a medium size saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cover and keep warm.
  2. Heat butter and olive oil in a large heavy bottom saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat. Add chopped onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute longer.
  3. Add rice to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until the grains are translucent around the edges, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the vegetable broth, turn the heat to high, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. When the liquid begins to boil, cover the pan, turn the heat to low, and maintain a gentle simmer until almost all the liquid has been absorbed, about 20-25 minutes. Lift the lid and stir 3-4 times while the risotto cooks. 
  5. Remove the lid and add the tomato sauce. Turn the heat to medium and bring back to a simmer, stirring constantly for 2-4 minutes longer until the tomato sauce has been absorbed and the mixture is creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Remove from the heat and add the parsley and mozzarella cheese. Give the risotto a quick stir just to incorporate the cheese, then cover and let it sit for 1 minute to allow the cheese to melt slightly. Remove the lid and stir once or twice. You want the cheese to be melty, but not totally mixed into the risotto so that there are chunks of melty, gooey cheese throughout the risotto.

Make the baked garlic shrimp:

  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine all baked shrimp ingredients in a 9×13 baking dish. Toss to coat shrimp and tomatoes in the olive oil and lemon juice.
  3. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes if fresh, 40 minutes if frozen.

To serve:

  1. Wash and dry arugula. Toss with lemon juice and a few shakes of salt and pepper.
  2. Add about 1 cup of risotto on each person’s plate. Top with a handful of arugula, then spoon the shrimp and tomato mixture over the top. Sprinkle with chives and serve.

Notes

Roasted tomato sauce gives this dish a fantastic flavor boost. It’s also great to have on hand and takes very little effort to make. However, you can substitute a good quality jar of prepared tomato sauce in this recipe if you’d rather not make it. I encourage you to pour the jar of sauce into a saucepan to heat it up, tasting it for seasoning and adding more salt, pepper, or fresh herbs if it’s on the bland side.

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Lemon Rosemary Grilled Chicken Salad with Tahini Dressing

Lemon Rosemary Grilled Chicken Salad with Tahini Dressing


  • Author: RebeccaBlackwell
  • Total Time: 45-60 minutes
  • Yield: 4 large salads

Description

*This recipe has been adapted to fit this week’s meal plan. Click here for the original Lemon Rosemary Grilled Chicken Salad recipe.

If you want to top your Spaghetti Puttanesca with Grilled Chicken on Day #5, grill 4 extra pieces and reserve them in the refrigerator.

Please do not be alarmed by the length of the ingredient list and instructions for this salad. There are a lot of components to this dish, but preparing each component is quick and simple. Also, several components can be prepared ahead of time:

1. Prepare the brine for the chicken and get the chicken in the brine the night before

2. Peel and cut the carrots into sticks up to 4 days in advance, storing them in an airtight container in the refrigerator

3. The candied almonds can be made up to a week ahead of time. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

4. The Tahini Dressing can be prepared up to a week ahead of time. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Prep Schedule if making everything in one night (should take about an hour):

1. Follow the recipe instructions to get the chicken in the brine at least 30 minutes (up to 24 hours) before you want it to be on the grill.

2. While the chicken soaks in the brine, follow the recipe to prepare the lemon rub and baste mixtures and get the carrots and dates in the oven to roast.

3. While the chicken and pineapple is on the grill, whip up the tahini dressing and candied almonds (if you didn’t already do these tasks on Day #1).


Ingredients

For the Grilled Chicken and Pineapple:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup salt
  • 23 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 3 tbsp lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh, minced rosemary
  • 3 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into large slices or rings. (Can also use canned pineapple rings.)

Roasted Carrots and Dates

  • 1  lbs carrots, peeled
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and black pepper
  • 3/4 cup chopped dates
  • a handful of fresh mint

For the Candied Almonds:

  • 1 cup whole almonds
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • a dash of ground cayenne pepper

For the Tahini Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (add more to taste)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper

For Serving:

  • 46 cups mixed greens

Instructions

Make the Grilled Chicken:

  1. Combine sugar and salt in a large bowl and add 3-4 quarts of cold water. Stir to dissolve the sugar and salt in the water. Submerge the chicken in the water and let it soak in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
  2. Combine the zest, oil, 1 tbsp of the rosemary, 1 tbsp of the dijon mustard, 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp pepper in a small dish. Cover and set aside.
  3. In small saucepan, add the butter, remaining rosemary, mustard, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. Cook over low heat until the butter is melted, stirring from time to time to combine. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice.
  4. Heat the grill. You can use either an indoor or outdoor grill.
  5. Remove the chicken from the brine and dry with paper towels. Lay the chicken on a large plate or platter and rub it with the lemon zest mixture.
  6. Grill, basting the chicken with the lemon juice and butter mixture as the chicken cooks. Chicken is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees, or when there is no pink visible when you cut into a piece.
  7. After grilling the chicken, lay the pineapple slices on the grill. Cook just until they begin to caramelize, about 2-3 minutes per side. Cut grilled pineapple into chunks.

Make the Roasted Carrots and Dates:

  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Cut carrots lengthwise into quarters. If they are particularly thick carrots, cut them into eights.
  3. Lay the carrots on a large baking sheet and drizzle with butter and oil. Toss the carrots around on the baking sheet to coat with butter and oil. Sprinkle with a generous amount of salt and pepper and roast for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove the pan from the oven and scatter chopped dates around over the carrots. Roast for 5-10 minutes longer, until the carrots are crisp tender and beginning to brown slightly.
  5. Scoop the carrots and dates into a serving dish and sprinkle with chopped mint.

To Make the Candied Almonds:

  1. Heat almonds, sugar, butter, salt, and cayenne in a heavy skillet over medium heat.
  2. Cook, stirring constantly, until almonds are toasted and sugar is completely melted and a very deep golden brown, 5-10 minutes.
  3. Dump the almonds onto a sheet of aluminum foil or parchment paper and let cool. Break into chunks.

To Make the Tahini Dressing:

  1. Add all the dressing ingredients to a blender and process until smooth, about 1 minute. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired.

To Assemble the Salad:

  1. Cut chicken into bite-size chunks.
  2. Pile 2 cups of greens on each plate and drizzle with a bit of tahini dressing. Top with a handful of carrots and dates, chicken, pineapple chunks, and almonds.

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Taking a bite of Spaghetti Puttanesca.

Spaghetti Puttanesca


  • Author: RebeccaBlackwell
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings

Description

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

Use the last of the Roasted Tomato Sauce to make this super-simple, flavor-packed pasta dish that only takes about 10 minutes of hands-on time.

If you grilled some extra Lemon Rosemary Chicken on Day #4, pile it onto your pasta to add some protein to this carb-rich meal.


Ingredients

  • 1 lb spaghetti, dried – OR 1 1/2 to 2 lbs fresh pasta
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 oz anchovy fillets
  • 1/41/2 tsp (or more if you like it spicy) crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup (about 2 oz) black olives, chopped
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups Roasted Tomato Sauce – OR 32 ounces canned crushed tomatoes, preferably fire roasted
  • 4 oz nonpareil capers, drained
  • Chopped fresh parsley and shredded parmesan for serving

Instructions

  1. Bring a pot of water to boil and add 1 tbsp of salt. Cook dried pasta according to the package directions, cooking it so that it’s just slightly underdone. If cooking homemade, fresh pasta, cook for 1-2 minutes. Drain in a colander set in the sink and toss with a drizzle of olive oil to keep the pasta from sticking.
  2. Add the garlic, anchovies, red pepper flakes, chopped olives, sugar, salt, and pepper to a small bowl.
  3. In a heavy bottomed saucepan or dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and anchovy mixture. Sauté 2-3 minutes, breaking up the anchovies with your spoon.
  4. Add tomato sauce or canned crushed tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, over medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring from time to time.
  5. Stir in the capers. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
  6. Add the pasta to the pot with the sauce. Toss the pasta around in the sauce for 1-2 minutes to finish cooking the pasta and allow it to absorb some of the sauce.
  7. Serve the pasta topped with chopped fresh parsley and shaved parmesan.

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Baked garlic shrimp with roasted tomato risotto

Baked Garlic Shrimp with Roasted Tomato Risotto


  • Author: RebeccaBlackwell
  • Total Time: 60 minutes
  • Yield: 4 generous servings

Description

*This recipe has been adapted to fit this week’s meal plan. Click here for the original Baked Garlic Shrimp with Roasted Tomato Risotto Recipe.

Roasted tomato sauce is just one of the ingredients in tonight’s dinner that make it rich and flavorful. The entire meal will take under an hour and utilizes the easiest, most hands-off method I know for risotto. You can use either frozen or unfrozen shrimp in this dish. If using unfrozen, get the risotto going then the baked shrimp. If using frozen shrimp, get that going first, then make the risotto while the shrimp cooks in the oven.


Ingredients

For the roasted tomato risotto:

  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 1/4 cup arborio rice
  • 1 cup Roasted Tomato Sauce (see note)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 6 oz fresh mozzarella, torn into 1-inch chunks

For the baked garlic shrimp:

  • 1 1/22 pounds raw shrimp, fresh or frozen, peeled and deveined
  • 6 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine

For serving:

  • 3 cups fresh arugula
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp chives, diced

Instructions

NOTE: If using frozen shrimp, get the baked shrimp in the oven before starting on the risotto. If using unfrozen shrimp, get the baked shrimp in the oven while the risotto cooks (step 4).

Make the risotto:

  1. Pour vegetable stock into a medium size saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cover and keep warm.
  2. Heat butter and olive oil in a large heavy bottom saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat. Add chopped onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute longer.
  3. Add rice to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until the grains are translucent around the edges, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the vegetable broth, turn the heat to high, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. When the liquid begins to boil, cover the pan, turn the heat to low, and maintain a gentle simmer until almost all the liquid has been absorbed, about 20-25 minutes. Lift the lid and stir 3-4 times while the risotto cooks. 
  5. Remove the lid and add the tomato sauce. Turn the heat to medium and bring back to a simmer, stirring constantly for 2-4 minutes longer until the tomato sauce has been absorbed and the mixture is creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Remove from the heat and add the parsley and mozzarella cheese. Give the risotto a quick stir just to incorporate the cheese, then cover and let it sit for 1 minute to allow the cheese to melt slightly. Remove the lid and stir once or twice. You want the cheese to be melty, but not totally mixed into the risotto so that there are chunks of melty, gooey cheese throughout the risotto.

Make the baked garlic shrimp:

  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine all baked shrimp ingredients in a 9×13 baking dish. Toss to coat shrimp and tomatoes in the olive oil and lemon juice.
  3. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes if fresh, 40 minutes if frozen.

To serve:

  1. Wash and dry arugula. Toss with lemon juice and a few shakes of salt and pepper.
  2. Add about 1 cup of risotto on each person’s plate. Top with a handful of arugula, then spoon the shrimp and tomato mixture over the top. Sprinkle with chives and serve.

Notes

Roasted tomato sauce gives this dish a fantastic flavor boost. It’s also great to have on hand and takes very little effort to make. However, you can substitute a good quality jar of prepared tomato sauce in this recipe if you’d rather not make it. I encourage you to pour the jar of sauce into a saucepan to heat it up, tasting it for seasoning and adding more salt, pepper, or fresh herbs if it’s on the bland side.