Menu Planner – Week of April 23rd

Menu planner week of april 23rd

Wow! You want to talk about coming off a busy weekend of food! I had an AVERAGE of ten people a day in my house from Thursday to Sunday and not a day went by that I didn’t bake or cook something. It was a gastronomical wonderland and since I pretty much never have to wash a dish in my house (Mr W earned his nickname for a reason ladies…) I had a blast!

For the most part, I followed last week’s menu pretty closely. I had to change up Monday because my parents were driving home from a trip to Washington D.C. and called from about two hours out to say they were going to swing in for dinner. I’d planned on making jalepeno chicken sausages with Cilantro-Lime Rice…but I only had four of them and didn’t have time to hit the store. So I pulled some shrimp from the freezer and made up a recipe that used honey, lime juice and thai sweet chili paste. It was delicious, but I didn’t get any pictures. I’ll make it again in the coming weeks and snap some shots so I can post the recipe.

Friday rolled around and we were all knee deep in a big project (more on that later this week) and I just didn’t feel like making dinner. Thankfully, my mom had brought a huge bag of DeRusso meatballs with her, so we threw those in some sauce to warm up and had meatball sandwiches and salad for dinner and shifted the Manicotti plan to Saturday night. My in-laws were a big fan of this as they came down to celebrate my birthday that night.

Had time for a few experimental recipes in there too…you’ll see posts later this week for a honeyed banana bread, an unusual no-bake birthday cake and the absolute winner of the week….my first experiment in the new Cuisinart Ice Cream maker my in-laws got me for my birthday.

For now, here’s what I have planned for this week. Slightly less ambitious because I’ve got to crank out another chapter of my book, record a few new training modules and…quite frankly…I’m ready for an easy week. As always, let me know if you try any new recipes from here and what you think of them!

Monday (Pantry and Freezer Meal)

As you know, I don’t go to the grocery store until mid week, so when Monday rolls around, we’re always scraping the barrel a bit and using up things before they go bad. I’ve got most of a bunch of asparagus left from last week, so I’m going to try out a new pasta side dish that ought to use that up. I’ll pair it with some ready to bake tilapia from Sam’s Club and a vegetable from the freezer to pull off a reasonably easy weeknight meal.

Sam’s Club Parmesan Crusted Tilapia (You will NEVER find my freezer without this…we all adore it)
Spring Asparagus & Tomato Pasta with Feta
Sweet Peas

Spring asparagus and tomato pasta with feta

Tuesday (Lazy Way Out Meal)

On Tuesday night we’re hosting our small group for dinner and some social time. The original plan was to have a bonfire and let the kids (there are like 10 kids under the age of 10 in our small group) play in the creek….but since the rain decided to move in, that likely won’t happen. If the forecast still say high of 52 tomorrow morning, I’ll be picking up hot dogs and buns so we can roast hot dogs over a bonfire and the group will bring the sides. If we end up stuck indoors, I’ll make the following.

Soft and Hard Taco Shells
Ground Beef with Taco Seasoning, Diced Chicken Breast from the freezer with Taco Seasoning
Chipotle’s Cilantro-Lime Rice
Various Taco Toppings

chipotles cilantro lime rice

Wednesday (Freezer & Pantry Meal)

I’m not sure about you guys, but I find myself getting bored with side dishes. We have salad all the flipping time and affordable frozen veggies like peas, green beans, broccoli and corn run on a fairly regular rotation in our house. Thankfully, we all love a wide range of veggies, so it’s not the end of the world, but since we try not to eat white potatoes very often, our starch choices sometimes feel repetitious as well. I’ve had some great luck introducing couscous to the mix lately, so I figured it was time to hop on the quinoa train.

Pan fried Kilbasea (just slice it up and fry it in a pan splashed with some apple juice until the juice caramelizes)
Cheesy Quinoa Mac & Cheese

cheesy quinoa mac & cheese

Thursday (Freezer and Grocery Meal)

I actually have everything I need to make this meal on hand already, so it may well get switched to earlier in the week if I don’t make it to the grocery store when I plan to. We haven’t grilled in awhile, so I’m working two different grill recipes in for the week. The first one’s up tonight and will be paired with another new recipe that I’m crossing my fingers and hoping the family will like.

Grilled Balsamic Chicken Breast
Zucchini Tots
Sweet Corn

zucchini tots

Friday (No Dinner, Just Fun)

This is one of our “make the six hour trek to Columbus and back” Fridays, so there will be no dinner making for the evening. Instead, I’ll pack up containers of fresh fruits and veggies, meats and cheeses and other car-friendly foods for Mr W and I to munch on as we make the drive home. So…what you get is a list of a few baked goods and ice cream recipe I’m thinking of trying this week. I’ll probably only get to one or two of them, so let me know if you try any.

Lemon Sorbet Recipe
Deep Dark Chocolate Cookies
Apple Pie Baked in the Apple

deep dark chocolate cookies

Saturday (Freezer Recipes)

This is Jen and Mr W’s in-house date night. As of now, we have no Saturday plans…which likely means having some fun in the afternoon and being home for dinner. I love these nights when it’s just the two of us because I can pull out all the stops and make a drop-dead awesome dinner for far less than the cost of us going out. We end up with our taste buds satisfied and we can take the $50 the meal would have cost us and put it toward some fun activity or item we’ll enjoy much longer-term.  We’ve still got some filets in the freezer from Mr W’s birthday last month and I found 12 packs of frozen, skewered jumbo shrimp at Giant Eagle last month for $9 a pack…so we’ll pull those out and pair them with some leftover mashed potatoes I froze a month or two back for an awesome and easy grilled feast.

Grilled Filet Mignon
Sweet and Spicy Honey Grilled Shrimp
Mashed Redskin Potatoes
My Favorite Spring Salad

sweet and spicy honey grilled shrimp

Sunday (Freezer Recipe)

We’ll be attending a friend’s daughter’s First Communion on Sunday, so we won’t be home until later in the day than usual. That means we’ll miss our post-church Sunday “laze around and do nothing” option…unless I use the crock pot to make dinner and save myself the time later in the day. So, I’m going to try out a new recipe I found on Pinterest for making a whole chicken in a crock pot. I’ve got two birds in the deep freeze that I’ve been meaning to pull out, so this seems like as good a timing as any.

Whole Crockpot Chicken
Whatever Veggies we have left in the fridge

whole crockpot chicken

Keep an eye out for several new recipes coming up in the next few days. I’ve had some great luck in the kitchen lately, so I’ve got some yummy recipes to share. A few failures as well though. If you see a recipe floating around Pinterest for “cream cheese corn,” don’t be fooled. It is no where NEAR as tasty as it looks. In fact, it’s kinda disappointing. Run away and find another option.

Good luck and good eating!

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