Sunday

 

 

2

 

 

3Prong

 

Slow Cooker Pineapple Chicken with brown rice and roasted broccoli

 

 

I didn’t follow the recipe (not shocking) and the resulting entree did not come out as well as I had hoped (slightly shocking) but I was able to get it back to where it was tasty and not soup (not always a given so some might say: shocking).

 

I gave the chicken recipe 3 prongs in an effort to not always use the 4 prongs but really it was human error in not following the recipe. It shall be avenged!

 

I used

  • about 25 oz of fresh pineapple instead of canned
    • 2 16 oz packages minus my not whistling while I worked
  • 15 boneless skinless chicken thighs instead of 12 bone-in skin-on.

And I didn’t have pineapple juice so I used orange.

 

When I lifted the lid of the crock pot at the 3 hour mark to stir it around I found soup. It was almost overflowing the crock pot. So I stirred it around, put the lid back on and walked away heart broken, fully intending to have Joe dump another crock pot experiment. After a good ol’ “poor me” moment I went back to the kitchen at hour 4.5ish and started making the side dishes and got my brain to thinking how to possibly remedy this. First I tried doubling the cornstarch amount and added that to the crock pot. It barely put a dent in the soup status. So when the rice and veggies were almost done I pulled as much chicken out of the crock pot with as little sauce as possible. I then moved the sauce to a sauce pan and brought it to a boil. I added a little more soy sauce because it was a little pale in color and sprinkled some more cornstarch into it. It turned out edible but not my favorite.

 

I guess I used too much fresh pineapple and the liquid came from that? I’m still not quite sure. I am sure that I changed too much of the recipe to know anything about the original recipe.

 

The side dishes were on point. The brown rice was great- and I made a big enough batch to make the fried rice later in the week. The roasted broccoli and cauliflower was no fuss, no muss because I bought pre-floret-ed because I’m lazy.

 

Monday

 

 

1

 

4Prong

 

Spinach Greek Yogurt Mac n Cheese with pineapple chicken

 

 

 

Special Guest Chef Joe made this dish for us this week. It was nasty hot in our apartment when we got home and I had not had a good day at work so even I didn’t want to cook- which is my stress reliever most days. Captain Awesome-Fiancé came to my rescue and made dinner and did dishes. Sorry ladies and fellas, he’s mine forever. And it got me thinking- maybe I could have him cook more so that recipe’s are Joe tested? Like “so easy, Joe can make it?” Is that mean?

 

This is a tried and true recipe in our home. The white cheddar and spinach and greek yogurt changed the flavor of the chicken enough to not feel like we were eating the same chicken all week which was a welcome surprise.

 

Tuesday

 

 

3

 

 

4Prong

 

Pineapple Chicken Fried Rice

 

 

This was a great use of leftover chicken and rice. My onion had gone bad so I used 2 yellow bell peppers instead. I chopped up the chicken and used all of the leftover pineapple and sauce from the slow cooker recipe.

 

I like to partially reheat the leftover rice and chicken in the microwave while I’m cooking the veggies and eggs. I think it makes everything go faster if I’m not adding fridge-cold ingredients to the hot pan.

 

I used 4 eggs, a handful of baby carrots, a trader joe’s bag of fresh peas and 2 yellow bell peppers. There were maybe 5-6 chicken thighs, maybe 3 cups of rice and at least a cup of sauce/pineapple (because I messed up and made soup out of the chicken recipe earlier in the week) probably closer to 1.5-2 cups. I did not add my usual amount of soy sauce to the fried rice because the pineapple sauce already had soy sauce in it.

 

This variation of my current favorite recipe is a nice reminder to think outside the box/recipe card even if you love the original.

 

 

 

 

The Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls will have to wait a week. I stuck the ground beef into the freezer on Tuesday when I realized how much fried rice I had made and the number of days it would feed us.

What did you cook this week? Was it blazing hot where you live too?

WFD-sm-W9

 

Slow Cooker Pineapple Chicken with brown rice and roasted broccoli

 

Pineapple Chicken Fried Rice

 

Spinach Greek Yogurt Mac n Cheese

 

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

 

 

I spent $45/person on food for this week.

 

Sunday

 

1

 

4Prong

 

One Pot Chicken Thai Pasta

 

 

The origin recipe is vegan but I’m not. So I boiled more chicken than I needed for the chicken salad to add to the dish.

…sorry. I should back up. On Sunday in the kitchen I

  • started the garbanzo beans soaking in water first thing in the morning
  • boiled 6 chicken breasts
    • 3 for this thai pasta and 3 for the chicken salad
  • smoothie prepped
    • I blend my green powder into yogurt and freeze it into ice cube trays for the week. I guess I could share my breakfast smoothie sometime
  • combined dill, greek yogurt and cucumber as a no-recipe tzatziki (I had to google how to spell that)
  • made the chicken salad
  • made this thai pasta recipe with the stock water from boiling the chicken

I had planned on also making the falafel after we had thai pasta for dinner but the beans weren’t “done,” the kitchen was a disaster, and I was tired.

 

[Back to the recipe on review]

 

I didn’t have lemon grass so I added more ginger than it called for. Otherwise I follow the recipe fairly closely. It’s a lot of ingredients but once they’re all in the pot it comes together really quickly.

 

I added cubed cooked chicken to the pasta dish once it was done cooking. I had a small amount of sliced almonds left so decided to just use those up instead of the recipe’s peanuts. I highly recommend the lime juice

 

The leftovers have been great too. I put a lime wedge into each portion for fresh flavor each time (take out of container before heating up)

 

Monday

 

2

 

4Prong

 

Crispy Baked Falafel

 

Holy wow you guys. I seriously impressed myself with this one.

 

I soaked the beans for about 24 hours 7am Sunday to 7am Monday, drained them and left them in the colander in a bowl in the fridge while I was at work on Monday.

 

So when I got home all I had to do was

  • pulse the ingredients in the food processor
    • I added the lemon zest before juicing the lemon
  • portion with my small cookie scoop
  • bake
  • flip
    • they stuck to the tin foil. maybe don’t use tin foil?
    • I foiled and greased a second cookie sheet and did an all-at-once pan to pan flip then carefully pulled the foil off the falafel. it was not very clean looking.
  • bake again
  • serve in pita with mixed greens and the previously made tzatziki (I did add the zest and 1/2 juice from a lemon)

It was a relatively long work night in the kitchen but it was so worth it. Even though it took some time it wasn’t difficult. The end result was amazing and it made a huge batch so we were able to just pull together pita pockets Tuesday night very quickly.

 

Wednesday

 

chicken

 

 

4Prong

 

Chicken Salad Sandwiches

 

 

Basic chicken salad recipe. Joe likes it. I’m learning to not hate it. I had a thing against Mayo for a stretch there. Now I don’t hate it but I still would prefer to use greek yogurt. This week I used the mayo but replaced the sour cream/ranch 1/4 cup with greek yogurt. So I win right?

 

 

The overall lesson

this week is the ability to plan ahead to prep food for the week that is fairly simple, fairly healthy, is good leftover and has a variety of flavor profiles so you can mix it up. If I had chicken salad or thai noodles for lunch then a falafel for dinner seems totally different. If you’re one of those people who can eat the same thing every day I am jealous. If I have the same thing more than 3 days in a row I get over it and end up eating out or eating more snacks and less healthy.

 

I spent a good chunk of Sunday in the kitchen 1. because that’s my happy place and 2. because after Monday night I didn’t have to cook again but we had enough food to feed us the rest of the week. Which also means less dishes for Joe on work nights. Pretty cool all around.

 

How do you meal prep? Any suggestions?

WFD-sm-W8

Chicken Pad Thai One Pot

 

Crispy Homemade Baked Falafel

 

Bangin Good Shrimp

 

Chicken Salad Croissant Sandwiches

 

I spent $50/person on food for this week.

Sunday

3Prong

 

Apple Oat Greek Yogurt Muffins

 

 

 

2Prong

 

Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies

 

 

 

In addition to baking muffins and cookies then not taking pictures of them, I also put the pork roast ingredients into the crock pot and left it only partially plugged in for 4 hours. those pesky prongs really do need to be plugged all the way into the wall to be of any use.

 

We had pizza.

 

 

Monday

I had a pork shoulder in the freezer and decided to give the crock pot another go Monday before work. Unfortunately, the pork shoulder was a frozen rectangle peg trying to fit into a round hole.

 

We had leftovers for dinner.

 

 

Tuesday

 

pork

 

4Prong

 

Sweet and Sriracha Pork with cauliflower mash and green beans

 

 

 

After the pork shoulder was in the fridge for 24 hours, Tuesday morning I was able to cut it in half and shove the halves into the crock pot. I topped it with the sriracha and brown sugar sauce/paste that I had made the day before. It was a total of about 1/2 cup of sauce. I didn’t write down the exact ratios but I’ve included a recipe card below for ease of printing for anyone who wants it.

 

After work, we removed the pork from the crock pot and shredded it to go along with my second attempt at the cauliflower mash and some sauteed green beans. Lovely. I boiled the cauliflower for 12 minutes instead of simmering for 10 minutes. It was much mushier this time- in the best way possible. I also didn’t measure the polenta or cheese. It may have ended up more like cauli-grits but it was delicious.

 

Sweet and Sriracha Crock Pot Pulled Pork
 
Ingredients
  • sriracha
  • brown sugar
  • 3 pound pork shoulder
Instructions
  1. combine sriracha and brown sugar in a small bowl
  2. place pork shoulder into crock pot
  3. drizzle pork with sugar/sriracha
  4. cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours
  5. remove pork from crock pot and shred
  6. add more sriracha as desired.

 

 

Thursday

 

wowchk

 

3Prong

 

holy wow chicken formerly known as pesto caprese chicken baked in foil

 

 

4Prong

 

spaghetti with chili flakes, parm and olive oil

 

 

 

I used

  • magic green sauce instead of pesto
  • beefsteak tomato instead of roma

 

3 prongs for the chicken because

  • it wasn’t even close to being cooked after 1/2 hour.
  • and there was a ton of liquid in the foil pouch- maybe from the larger tomatoes maybe from the not-pesto sauce.

 

the spaghetti is beyond easy- follow package directions for desired doneness of pasta. drain. drizzle and toss with olive oil, chili flakes and parm. its the kind of spice that doesn’t hit you right away but lingers on your lips after you’re done eating.

 

Overall

this recount was not enjoyable for me to write. i didn’t expect it to be this difficult to write about my less than successes when i set out to share what i’m cooking when i cook it. but i also want to show that for anyone sometimes it just takes 3 tries to get the pork right. [that’s how the lyric goes right?]

 

also- no menu to share this week. my real job is going to kick my butt so I’m buying sandwich fixin’s and trader joe’s wraps and salads. such are the peaks and valleys of kitchen adventures.

 

WFD-sm-W7

I spent $53/person on food for this week.

 

Crock Pot Pork Roast with veggie mash

 

Baked Eggs with Spinach and Mushrooms

 

Pesto Caprese Chicken in Foil using Magic Green Sauce and with spaghetti alla puttanesca

 

Pesto Caprese Chicken in Foil

 

One Pot Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca with Chickpeas & Artichoke

 

 

for breakfasts:

. apple oat greek yogurt muffins .

 

Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies with Cream Cheese Glaze

Monday

 

2

 

4Prong

 

Magic Green Sauce

 

 

I highly recommend making this delicious sauce immediately. It’s as if Mexican Guacamole came to America, fell in love with Italian Pesto and had a baby. This sauce is first generation American. It’s the American Dream personified- or really, sauceified.

 

My avocados took a turn for the worst at the last minute (usual) so the sauce is less awesome than it could be. But the herbs, nuts and garlic made up for the loss. I used cashews instead of pistachios because that’s what I have an abundance of for some reason. It’s great as a dip with chips or bread and its great on some chicken:

 

4Prong

 

Roasted Chicken

 

 

 

This is not from Pinch of Yum but it is my favorite roast chicken recipe to date. The original Lemon Garlic Rosemary is AMAZING. Seriously. I’ve made it multiple times pre-#whatsfordinner. Using your dutch oven in the oven makes it seem so fancy when really it’s just super easy.

 

This time around I decided to use lime instead of lemon- partially because I didn’t buy lemon and partially to coordinate with the lime in the magic green sauce. I also omitted the rosemary. The subtle lime garlic flavor of the chicken went really well with the sauce.

 

But I quickly found a cut on my pinky finger from my food processor blade with the acidic juice. #worthit

 

I also only had one onion instead of 2- because my shopping list game was not on point this week. So I chopped up a couple of carrots as stand in aromatic cushions for the chicken.

 

3Prong

 

with Cauliflower Mash

 

 

I’m not sure what I did wrong with this recipe. It tastes ok if a little too chunky. My florets were probably too big to simmer fully in 10 minutes but it also didn’t seem like there was enough liquid to properly simmer the cauliflower. I had Joe smash it up with a potato masher instead of the back of a spoon as the recipe said and there were a couple of beans left whole…

 

but it’s still a 3 prong side dish. It has great potential for being my go-to mash since I don’t like mashed potatoes very much and it’s a tasty way to eat your veggies. I just have some tweaking to do to the recipe for my own self. Stirring in some magic green sauce certainly didn’t hurt anything.

 

 

 

1

 

4Prong

 

Blueberry Slab Pie

 

 

A coworker (yes, named Pam. how did you know?!) requested an encore blueberry slab pie to celebrate her birthday. How could I say no?!

 

Again, I didn’t buy any lemons this week so I used limes in the recipe instead. I could taste the lime in the first bite but otherwise it was just a great pie.

 

 

Tuesday

 

3

 

1prong

 

Creamy Garlic Roasted Red Pepper Pasta with Leftover Roasted Chicken

 

 

  1. The distance between my broiler and the top rack position was not sufficient for bell peppers. So they were in the middle of the oven and took longer to blacken.
  2. I started the pasta too soon (thinking the broiling wouldn’t take as long) so I rushed through the sauce making
  3. I tried to combine this recipe with my roasted eggplant greek yogurt pasta sauce so I added greek yogurt with peanut butter and the almond milk. And I added sriracha which was awesome but it was an orange color reminiscent of buffalo wing sauce.

I’m learning about myself that when I don’t really like a dish I list off the reasons I messed up. Weird. Well, try the original recipe(s) and let me know what you think. I won’t be more specific about what I actually did because it really wasn’t that great.

 

 

Thursday

 

 

4

 

4Prong

 

Creamy Thai Sweet Potato Curry

 

 

 

 

4Prong

with my favorite Brown Rice

 

 

 

This dish was great. It was quick and easy to prepare. The final product was hearty and if you didn’t pay too much attention you wouldn’t notice that it was vegan. The leftovers are still pretty decent too. Simple but elegant dinner.

 

Differences from original recipe:

  1. I used half a can of coconut cream and whisked it into about 1 and a half cups of broth before adding it to the sweet potatoes. I didn’t have regular coconut milk so there’s that.
  2. I also used 3 sweet potatoes and half a bag of spinach.

So now I used a list even though I loved the recipe. I am large, I contain multitudes.

 

 

and that’s it for my pinch of yum inspired week. it had it’s ups, downs and middles. and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

WFD-sm-W6

Pinch of Yum is one of my food blog idols. The writing is infectious and the food style is very similar to mine- healthy, nutritious, mostly quick and easy to make with fresh ingredients. I didn’t go into this week’s meal planning looking for a blog to inspire me but that’s how inspiration works sometimes.

 

 

This week’s menu is a small taste of Pinch of Yum’s recipe arsenal.

 

Creamy Thai Sweet Potato Curry

 

Magic Green Sauce Roasted Chicken with Cauliflower Mash

 

Creamy Garlic Roasted Red Pepper Pasta with Chicken

 

 

I spend $50/person on food for this entire week.

Sunday

 

1bowl

 

4Prong

 

one pan sweet potato burrito bowls

 

I love this recipe so much. it’s in my top 10 all-time favorites. It’s a meatless but hearty and nutritious meal topped with cheese.

 

The only part of the origin recipe that I don’t do regularly is add the frozen corn. Our former roommate doesn’t like corn (Hi Christopher! I know you don’t read my “fluffy” blog! especially now that it’s just torture to see the food you can’t eat) so I omitted the corn to begin with and now I’m just out of the habit. I intended to add it this time (and did not compensate for the lack of corn with something else) and it still came out perfectly.

 

 

1muffin

 

 

4Prong

 

wacky blueberry muffins

 

the reason i made this particular recipe: I forgot to buy eggs and didn’t buy muffins for Joe’s breakfast. So I searched pinterest for vegan blueberry muffins- which was difficult because Joe also can’t have bananas and we don’t have applesauce in the house because I can’t not eat it one giant spoonful at a time.

 

These muffins were quick and easy. I did a double batch of the origin recipe and filled the muffin tins to the top- you’re “supposed to” fill 2/3rds full. The muffins only took a minute or 2 longer than the recipes suggested time. But I wonder if their unusual appearance is because I filled them to the top.

 

Tip: definitely leave the muffins in the tin for a minute or 5 before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. These are not your ordinary store bought muffins. They are super moist and have lots of blueberries in them and one fell apart when I pulled it from the tin.

 

let me know what you think of them.

 

 

1pie

 

 

4Prong

 

blueberry slab pie

 

 

My Sunday needed some serious baking time and Monday was Pi Day (3.14.16) so I decided to make pie with the last 8 cups of frozen blueberries that Joe and I picked last Spring. It’s almost blueberry season again! I’m talking about you santabarbarablueberries.com!

 

The origin recipe is great. This was my first time trying it- over the holidays I made an apple and cranberry Star Wars ugly sweater slab pie that you can see on social media. I learned that I can’t put 5 cups of flour and 2 cups of butter into my food processor at once. I definitely made a mess but I don’t think the final product suffered too much. Joe ended up running errands so was able to get eggs- so I did an egg white wash on the top of the pie and sprinkled with dusting sugar.

 

check out my pie crust tips here.

 

Picture taken Monday morning when I was saving some pie for Joe before taking the rest/majority to work.

 

 

Monday

 

1noodle

 

4Prong

 

chilled spicy thai noodles

 

 

and

 

3Prong

 

bangin good shrimp

 

 

I love these spicy chilled thai noodles. They are made ahead and served cold so they’re the perfect work week lunch right? That can’t be considered a leftover right?

 

This was the first time I made the shrimp recipe. I thought the sauce had too much mayo and I should have added more srircha. But I won’t know how awesome the actual recipe is until next time because i didn’t follow the recipe. shocking? no. but this time it was unintentional, i swear.

 

The recipe says to dredge the raw shrimp in cornstarch before frying in canola oil. I had a handful of shrimp in the hot pan, straight from the strainer, before I realized I skipped a step.

 

Major Bummer.

 

So maybe the sauce was too gooey because there wasn’t a coating of cornstarch on the shrimp to soak it up?! Well I won’t know until next time.

 

 

Otherwise

The spring broccoli salad variation with tuna will have to wait. My work week absolutely kicked my butt. And the burrito bowls and thai noodles with shrimp fed us for most of the week.

 

If you recall, I only spent $15/person this week on food. That’s because I did a serious overhaul of my pantry/fridge/freezer. I had everything I needed for the burrito bowls, muffins and pie (except the egg wash which is optional in pie land).

 

I bought the thai sweet chili sauce but otherwise had everything for the noodles and shrimp. Everything else on last week’s shopping trip was for either the broccoli salad (which I ended up not making yet) or for other foods i.e. bananas and yogurt for my breakfast smoothies.

 

What’s in your pantry that you need to use up?

WFD-sm-W5

 

sweet potato burrito bowls

 

chilled spicy thai noodles and bangin good shrimp

 

spring broccoli salad variation with tuna

 

i spent $15/person on food at trader joe’s for this week.