Over holiday break I watched Rachel Ray prepare a full week's worth of meals in a one hour show, and I thought to myself, this is totally up my alley! Now that my energy levels vary from day to day and all I crave is a nice, home-cooked meal, why don't I try this? So when I returned on Sunday I set off to the market with recipes in hand in hopes of becoming a food star in my very own home. (Even though my husband already regards me as a shining star), I have to say that it was a pretty easy feat and there's truly nothing better than having a home-cooked meal on nights that you don't have the time or energy to put in the work.
So here's what I made:
Dinners # 1 & 2: Black Bean and Chorizo Chili (We ate this on Sunday and Monday night)
I featured this chili last year and it's by far my favorite. I substitute nitrate-free chicken sausage for chorizo (when I'm pregnant), and use half ground round/half ground turkey meat instead of beef stew meat. I do this because I personally don't like chunks of real meat in my chili. This recipe yields 10 servings, so if you're a party of 2, it could last you 5 nights. Or else 1-2 nights and you can freeze the leftovers.
-Serve it with sliced avocado, american cheese, chopped onion, crushed tortilla chips and fresh corn bread.
Corn bread: I often use a mix that I have in the pantry with other ingredients that I always have on hand (like milk, oil, and eggs). This time I actually used the recipe from the back of the Corn Flour mix since I had to buy it for the chili.
Dinner #3: Turkey Tacos with Refried Beans (We ate this on Tuesday night)
When I browned the turkey meat for the chili, I added on an extra 1 3/4 lbs of turkey knowing that I would use part of it for a night of tacos and the other for spaghetti casserole. For turkey tacos, I don't use anything fancy but the trusty Ortega taco kit. And since I already had the toppings on hand from the chili (avocado, shredded lettuce, tomato) all I needed was salsa and refried beans from my pantry. How easy is that?
Dinner # 4: Easy Spaghetti Casserole (Wednesday night's dinner)
On Sunday, I took the remaining 3/4 lb of browned turkey meat and mixed it with a bottle of San Marzano marinara sauce I had on hand (about 8-10 oz sauce). I doctored it up with some salt, oregano, and garlic powder, and threw in some sauteed chopped onion and garlic. Since I wasn't sure if the sauce would stay in my fridge, I threw it in the freezer until Wednesday morning when I allowed it to thaw out. All I needed to do then was boil some whole wheat spaghetti (8 oz), mix it with the sauce, and throw it in a 8" x 8" casserole and top it with parmesan and shredded mozzarella. You just bake it in the oven at 400 for 35 minutes until it's piping hot. I also baked some frozen broccoli since I had it in the freezer. This casserole was inspired by my Grandma Rose who used to make it for Mom as a kid.
Dinner #5: Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
I figured that by Thusday we could 'cheat' and just eat some Campbell's Tomato Soup along with a grilled cheese made in our panini maker. I'll use Whole Food's 9 grain bread with some American cheese and a little butter and call it a day.
Dinner #6: We're going out. I need a change of pace.
PC: Cooking.com, Today's Turkey, mybrands, Everything and Nothing, Uncommon goods.