Never Wonder What’s For Dinner

OK, here we go again!  I hope this works out wonderfully this time!  Here is how this is going to work: I am going to provide six meals per week.  You can decide the order, the skipped ones, etc. but since most of us eat leftovers, feel tired/lazy, order pizza or go out at least once a week, I’m only posting six.  🙂  I’m also going to put up baking projects, because I love baking and I think there is nothing better than providing homemade baked goodies for your family (and yourself) if you can manage.  I am also going to suggest a move towards the organic.  This is just a personal philosophy but I really do believe it is worth the extra money.  Not only does it taste better but it’s time we stop and look at our cancer rates and childhood diseases shooting up like a rocket.  Would you give your children or yourself a shot of hormones and steroids every morning?  Actually take a syringe and shoot it up every morning?  That is essentially what we are doing when we consume the animal products that have been shot up with steroids and crap that is only meant to save the farmer money and ensure quicker “production”.  OK, I’m off my soapbox.

Finally, (before the recipes) a little tip to help you with keeping your recipes handy.  Once you print them out, attach them to a clipboard and then find a plate holder or mini easel.  The holder/easel can hold the clipboard up for you to read while you’re cooking.

Day One

On this day, I suggest boiling twice the amount of chicken breasts you need for this recipe.  Later on in the week you will be making chicken pot pies so it will save you a step there.

Chili Chicken — if you don’t think your children will eat this, make them quesadillas, they’re simple and will still keep the whole family in the Mexican theme.  We had our Chili Chicken with frozen corn (cooked of course) and tortilla chips (oh so yummy to scoop it up with).  Also, remember, you can make this smaller by cutting back on the amount of ingredients you use (I actually made this in 1/2 and just used a smaller baking pan.

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth (feel free to use the water that the chicken was boiled in)
  • 1 can chili without beans
  • 1 package corn tortillas
  • 1 jar salsa
  • cheese (I use the pre-shred Mexican combo package)

Cut the tortillas into three strips.  Boil the chicken (you will do this by letting it boil for about 10-15 minutes depending on the size of your chicken breast….should be white all the way through).  Mix the Soups and broth together.  Cube the chicken and start layering in this order:

  • tortillas
  • chicken
  • soup mixture
  • chili
  • salsa
  • cheese

You will make a total of two layers (don’t worry about perfect spreading….it will all get hot and run together).  Bake, covered for 1/2 hour at 350.

Day Two

Breakfast For Dinner — no recipes here.  We had eggs, bacon, fruit and cinnamon toast.  It was delicious and the kids are always so excited to do this.

 Day Three

Stuffed Chicken Breasts (w/ mashed potatoes), asparagus

So yummy!  I kind of made this recipe up based on something I saw in Rachel Ray’s magazine.  Here goes:

Start with the potatoes.  Get your little ones, if you have them, to help you with this.  If you don’t have two peelers, I really recommend getting two.  Peel your potatoes, cut in half and boil until tender to a fork’s piercing (about 20 minutes).  Mash away with whatever you like (I use butter, lots of salt because the starch in potatoes eats up salt and a little bit of milk….sour cream sometimes).

You want to take however many chicken breasts you need, bone-in and loosen the skin.  You do this by running your finger in between the meat and the skin, just find and opening and pull it apart.  At that point, stuff the mashed potatoes under the skin.  Saved leftover potatoes in case more is wanted at mealtime.

In a baking dish, lay down a lyer of sliced onion (yellow are fine), place the chickens breasts on top.  Then, butter the skins of the chicken and sprinkle with salt, pepper and lemon juice.  Bake at 400 for 45 minutes.

For your asparagus, I suggest roasting it the last 10-12 minutes.  Let the kids (if you’ve got ’em) snap the asparagus.  Did you know that asparagus will break off at the point you should trim it?  Just hand them the asparagus and let them bend them.  Where they snap and break, it where they’re meant to.  Lay them in a roasting pan and sprinkle with the same stuff:  lemon juice, some pats of butter, salt and pepper.

Day Four

Spaghetti and Meatballs, French Bread, Caesar Salad

Could not be easier.  Favorite french bread (mine is from Panera or my breadmaker) and salad.  You will need:

  • 2 jars of your favorite marinara sauce
  • spaghetti pasta
  • romaine lettuce
  • croutons
  • parmesan cheese
  • caesar salad dressing

For the salad, just chop lettuce, add croutons, cheese and dressing.  For meatballs (kids LOVE helping form these):

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 gloves garlic, minced

Just mix it all together.  Form the meatballs.  In a very large, deep skillet pour some olive oil to cover the bottom.  Brown the meatballs on all sides.  Once that is done, pour the sauce from two jars over the top, cover with a lid and let it simmer for at least 30 minutes up to 45.  So, so good.

Day Five

 Pork Chops, Broccoli, Cornbread

Notice how every other day is not so time-intensive?  For the pork chops, I just sprinkle them with garlic salt, salt and pepper.  I let me husband grill them.  Easy.

For the cornbread, I still think Jif is the best cornbread out there.  Broccoli is just steamed.

Day Six

Chicken Pot Pies

If you want a really killer chicken pot pie recipe that takes a little longer, let me know.  For now, I’m sending the easy one.  I made these individual this last time but you can make one big one just as easily.

  • 1 cup each frozen peas and corn
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice (yes, you can use white but it isn’t as good)
  • 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1 can cream of chicken or mushroom soup
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3 cups chopped, cooked chicken

Cook all the vegetables to al dente (slightly firm but not frozen).  Mix them all together.  Give a generous dusting of salt and pepper.  Place in a pie shell and cover with a crust.  Cook at 450 for  15 minutes.  My husband’s favorite!

If you want to make your own pie crust, this is even better.  Trust me, you can do it.  I love this recipe….simple and easy.  Also, remember that you don’t have to make it look beautiful.  This last time, I just cut squares and placed them over the top….very rustic looking.  Remember, pretty doesn’t taste any better sometimes.

Pie Crust:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 t salt
  • 2/3 c shortening
  • 6-7 T cold water

Mix the flour and salt.  Cut in the shortening (if you don’t know what that means, let me know and I’ll explain).  Add the water and mix together.  With crust, the less you mix the better….mixing causes it to get tough.  Go ahead and take about 1/2-2/3 of the dough and form a ball.  Roll out on a floured surface and that is your bottom shell.  Repeat for top shell.  If you have leftover: cut it into strips, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, bake at 400 for about 8 minutes and give to the kids as a treat.

 Bon apetit!  I hope you enjoyed this first week!

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. fran  |  February 18, 2008 at 3:20 am

    so excited!

    Reply
  • 2. gretchenowens  |  February 19, 2008 at 1:48 am

    holy moly…i’m excited about that stuffed chicken…..but you lost me at bone-in…is that a term that i should know…and running your finger across until you find….agghhhh….i’m trying to be a cook cook….but maybe i should wear gloves??? can you put a picture on, so that i can see that process?

    so excited….fran, i’ll beat you to this….

    Reply
  • 3. kelli  |  February 19, 2008 at 11:31 pm

    whoa.this is so cool.
    and so nice of you:)
    what a blessing.

    now, can you come and cook for me too? I love cooking but it’s so hard lately..with school and activties…& cranky tired kids at the end of the day;) LOL.

    Reply
  • 4. Jill  |  September 23, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    Love your recipes Jill! Speaking of chemicals and buying organic, I have switched to using butter in my pie crusts. I know it isn’t as flaky and light, but shortening is partially hydrogenated oil, which is chemically infused with hydrogen to make it solid, which our bodies store as fat because we are unable to metabolize it. Just a thought…

    Reply

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