What to cook for dinner this week:
1.) Southwest Summer Corn Chowder 2.) Skillet Cod with Blackened Corn Relish and Tomato Bacon Salad 3.) Stuffed Poblano Peppers and Watermelon Salad 4.) Paprika Chicken with Bell Peppers, & Yogurt Sauce 5.) Black Bean Tostadas with Corn Salsa and Enchilada Cream 6.) Cocktail: Watermelon Tequila Spritzers
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 two or three home cooked meals is more your style this week, Days #2, # 3, and #5 – OR – #1, and #4 work well together. 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: Southwest Summer Corn Chowder
Making dinner tonight will be a double-whammy combination of cooking super-yummy Southwest Summer Corn Chowder and getting a bunch of ingredients prepped for the rest of the week at the same time.
- Enchilada Sauce: The recipe for tonight's chowder offers the option of using prepared enchilada sauce or making a batch "from scratch" - a process that only requires about 10 minutes of hands on time and produces a sauce far superior to anything you'll find in a can. Since you'll be using enchilada sauce later this week in Stuffed Poblano Peppers AND Black Bean Tostadas with Enchilada Cream, I encourage you to make a batch. It's really easy and sooooo good. To make the sauce, follow the instructions in this Enchilada Bake recipe.
- Roasted Poblano Peppers: Follow the Corn Chowder recipe instructions to roast a total of 14 poblano peppers. Peel and seed all the roasted peppers. Reserve 8 of the peppers for Stuffed Poblano Peppers on Day #3. Chop the remaining peppers and add ⅔ of the chopped peppers to the chowder. Reserve the remaining ⅓ of the chopped peppers for corn salsa on Day #5.
- Sweet Corn: You'll need a total of 14 ears of sweet corn for this week's meal plan. Shuck all the corn and slice the kernels off the cob. Follow the instructions in the recipe for Corn Chowder to sauté all the corn kernels to "blacken" it. Reserve 3 cups of kernels for the corn relish on Day #2 and 3 cups for corn salsa on Day #5. Use the remaining corn for tonight's chowder.
- Potatoes: Optional - if you want to serve Smashed Potatoes with Paprika Chicken on Day #4, cook a double batch of potatoes (48 oz total) in a large pan of boiling water instead of cooking the potatoes for tonight's chowder in the broth. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and the potatoes to a pan of cold water and set it over high heat. Reduce heat to medium once it begins to boil and cook the potatoes them until they are about 75% of the way done. You should be able to poke a fork into them, but will be able to tell that they aren't quite soft enough to eat. Drain the potatoes and add half to the chowder to allow to cook completely. Reserve the other half of the partially cooked potatoes in an airtight container in your refrigerator for Smashed Potatoes.
- Bacon: Follow the Corn Chowder recipe instruction to cook a total of 16 oz of bacon. Use 12 oz of the bacon in the chowder and reserve the remaining 4 oz for Fresh Tomato Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette on Day #2. Either reserve 1 tablespoon of rendered bacon fat in the refrigerator to make the Bacon Vinaigrette on Day #2, or just go ahead and make the Vinaigrette now, storing it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
To get an even bigger jump on the week:
- Follow this recipe to get a batch of black beans going in the slow cooker. Once tender, scoop the beans along with some of their cooking liquid into an air-tight container and reserve in the refrigerator. You'll use them in Stuffed Poblano Peppers on Day #3, and in Black Bean Tostadas on Day #5. (You can also use canned black beans for both of these recipes. But, slow cooker black beans are much tastier and only take about 5 minutes of hands on work.)
How much do I love tonight's meal? If you could see me right now, you'd see me spreading my arms as wide as I can and yelling, "THIS much!" Tonight's dinner is my definition of the perfect summer meal. Quick, easy, full of summer produce, and packed with flavor. I could seriously eat this every week. Perhaps I will.
- Use the blackened corn that you reserved on Day #1 to make quick work of the Creamy Corn Relish. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- If you didn't make the Bacon Vinaigrett e on Day #1, make that before you cook the cod. The cod only takes a few minutes, so have the corn relish, salad and dressing ready to go before you lay the fillets in the skillet.
- Stuffed Poblano Peppers is a favorite dish at my house and gets made year round. The most tedious part of making these is roasting the peppers and removing their skin. Since you already did that on Day #1, you're already ahead of the game.
- If you didn't make a batch of slow cooker black beans on Day #1, get those going at least 4 hours before you want to make the stuffed peppers. You can also just use 2 cups of canned black beans, drained and rinsed.
- If you've never made homemade flour tortillas, this meal is the perfect excuse to give them a try. They are much easier than you might think and so much better than store bought you'll probably never purchase them again. I suggest making the dough before starting on the stuffed peppers. The dough need a few minutes to rest, giving you time to make the stuffed peppers. Then, roll out and cook the tortillas while the stuffed peppers bake.
- If you've never had a savory melon salad, you might think that watermelon salad with chili, salt and cilantro is not the kind of thing you want to eat. Trust me - this will change with the very first bite. The flavors go together beautifully and are positively addicting.
What’s for Dinner Tonight: Paprika Chicken with Bell Peppers and Herbed Yogurt Sauce and Smashed Potatoes
- In the recipe instructions for tonight's meal, you'll see an option for brining the chicken in buttermilk for a few hours - up to 24 hours. This is optional, but does make the chicken extra juicy and flavorful.
- The recipe includes instructions for grilling or roasting the chicken. Both methods are delicious so do whichever works for you.
- Because you already boiled the potatoes on Day #1 for Smashed Potatoes, this side dish will take a fraction of the time. Simply begin the recipe at step # 2.
What’s for Dinner Tonight: Black Bean Tostadas with Corn Salsa and Enchilada Cream
- Because of all the meal prepping you've done throughout the week, half of tonight's meal is already cooked, prepped and ready. In your refrigerator, you should already have a few cups of slow simmered black beans, a bowl of homemade enchilada sauce, a few cups of blackened corn, and some roasted and diced poblano peppers. Get them out - tonight's dinner will be on the table in no time.
- Tostadas are a great way to use up all sorts of leftovers. If you have any leftover Paprika Chicken in your refrigerator, consider shredding it and adding it as a topping along with everything else.
This Week’s Featured Cocktail: Watermelon Tequila Spritzer
Suggested Recipes for the Baker:
- Peach Cobbler with Brown Sugar Cookie Topping
- Fresh Peach Pie
- Butterscotch Bourbon Praline Ice Cream
- Mixed Berry Plum Pie