**This is the first post in a weekly meal planning series. For background information and links to other weekly plans, read here. Check out the recipes for week one here !**
Things to remember: Not every meal plan will fit every person, but I’m hoping it will help those unsure of where to start in the kitchen!
Remember, click that Print Friendly button at the bottom of this post to print the plan! These are intended for you to print!
Recipe 1: One Pot Chili Casserole ( Whole Foods Market ) Equipment: Square baking dish Dinner for: 2+ leftovers Fare: Vegetarian
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Spray the inside of the baking dish with nonstick spray. Crumble half of the premade cornbread into the dish and combine the chili, beans, salsa and optional chopped veggies in a large bowl. Spoon the chili over the cornbread and crumble the remaining cornbread over top. Sprinkle with the shredded cheese and bake for 30 minutes, until the cheese melts and top is golden. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes before serving. Top with scallions!
Note: If you’re only cooking for 1+ leftovers, try using a loaf pan, or smaller casserole dish, and halving the recipe! Also, I would add some fresh chopped veggies, including bell peppers, carrots, onion, corn, and/or garlic! Just mix it in with the other ingredients.
Recipe 2: Spaghetti Carbonara ( Eat Live Run) Equipment: Full spice rack, skillet, large pot Dinner for: 1 (easily doubled) Fare: Meaty
2 ounces (small handful) dry spaghetti
1 garlic clove, minced
1-2 strips bacon (more for snacking!)
1 egg, slightly beaten
Parmesan cheese (fresh!)
Salt and pepper
Cook the bacon in the skillet and drain on paper towels, then crumble. Add the minced garlic to the skillet with the bacon grease and cook until you can smell it, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and immediately put back into the pot with the bacon, bacon grease, and garlic. Put the pot on low heat. Add the egg and whisk constantly for three minutes. The egg will thicken and coat the spaghetti. Don’t stop whisking or the egg will scramble! Top with Parm, salt, and pepper.
Note: Bacon is a key ingredient in Carbonara, so don’t skip it! Add zucchini or squash to use some fresh farmer’s market veg, or serve with a side of bread with melted mozzarella and basil on top.
Recipe 3: Tortellini Soup ( see post) Equipment: large pot Dinner for: 2
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
Misc veggies, including leeks, onion, garlic, spinach, kale
In a large pot, simmer the carrots and celery in the chicken broth until they’re tender, 10 - 12 minutes. Add the torts and the rest of the veggies and simmer until tortellini's are cooked according to package direction. Season with salt, pepper, and chives or parsley.
Note: Be careful with your frozen torts! The popular Buitoni brand is laden with ingredients you don’t want, even though it claims “all natural.” Just remember, "If they have to put the word 'natural' on a box to convince you, it probably isn't." - Eric Schlosser
Hope this helps you plan a few meals this week! Please leave feedback and let me know what you think. This is the first week so I’m open to comment!
(Remember to print!)
As a bonus, here’s a recipe I made a few weeks back for Pork Chops with Leeks in Mustard Sauce. It was delicious and I can’t wait to make it again. I think I’m getting better at making sauces :)
2 cups thinly sliced leeks (about 2 large, white & green parts only)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1.5 cups chicken broth
2 tsp sage
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/3 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
I’ll let you check out the original recipe for all the details but basically, you sear the outside of the seasoned pork chops, then set them aside. You’ll cook the bacon, then the leeks and garlic. Adding the broth, you’ll bring the whole thing to a boil, then add back the chops and simmer the whole skillet until the pork chops are cooked (pork chops are done when they read about 145 degrees on a meat thermometer, letting the pork rest for up to 3 minutes after removing from heat)
The sauce that’s left is your mustard sauce. After the chops are done and removed, you’ll mix in the mustard and sour cream with the leeks. Spoon the sauce over (or under) your chops.
The photo isn’t pretty but this dish was phenomenal. We both loved it!