Monday: Mexican Vegetable Soup
Tuesday: Southwest Chicken, Side Salad, Green Beans, and Fruit
Wednesday: Asian Lettuce Wraps with Ground Turkey, Avocado-Tomato Salsa, and Fruit
Thursday: Chicken Chili Bake and Side Salad
We were on vacation last week so this is a menu that was tested last September. The pictures of fruit sides might feel a bit like summer – I was clearly trying to hold on to the last vestiges of summer as fall was unfolding. But I will alter the side dishes to be more consistent with the season. As always, adapt to meet the needs and preferences of your family. Questions about an adaptation? Write a comment!
Mexican Vegetable Soup
For 2 Adults and 2 Kids (For 2 Meals or 4 Lunches)
¼ C olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced – include skin
2 large onions, diced
1 1/2 t ground cumin
1 28 oz. can of tomatoes, chopped with their juice
8 C vegetable stock, ½ regular, ½ low sodium
2 t salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
2 carrots, thinly sliced
10 oz. frozen corn
1/2 package frozen okra (I’ll try to come up with a recipe for the rest soon…)
3 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise into sixths, then into 1-inch chunks
1 15 oz. can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
grated cheese (optional)
tortilla chips (optional)
- Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat.
- Saute garlic, onions, and cumin for 10 minutes, stirring often.
- Add tomatoes with their juice, vegetable stock, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
- Add carrots and cook 3-4 more minutes.
- Add corn and okra and cook 3-4 more minutes.
- Add zucchini and kidney beans and cook 2-3 more minutes.
- Using a hand blender, puree about half of the soup, be sure to leave chunks of vegetables!
- Serve with grated cheese, broken corn chips, a dollop of plain yogurt, or just eat it straight out of the soup pot!
- Think about putting some in a thermos for kids’ lunches or label (with Contents and Date) and freeze the other half for one of those crazy nights when you need something fast…
Southwest Chicken, Green Beans, Side Salad and Fruit
For 2 Adults and 2 Kids
Ingredients For the Chicken
1.75 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts
¼ C olive oil
¼ C lime juice
½ C chopped cilantro
1 T ground cumin
½ t salt
1/8 t pepper
Ingredients For the Rest of the Meal
greens for salad
sunflower seeds to top on salad
any other salad toppings
3 C fruit (divided among plates as a side)
4 Cups green beans
Olive Oil or Canola Spray
1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, holding the chicken out until mixed thoroughly. Let marinate 30-40 minutes. I prefer marinating overnight – the flavor is amazing.
Dinner Time Prep
1. Pre-heat grill on high or pre-heat oven to 350
2. Lay plates out and portion greens
3. Put chicken on grill and turn heat down to medium, or pop in oven (in a roasting / baking pan) – Cook chicken for Chicken Chili Bake at the same time. It will make Thursday’s dinner prep so easy!)
4. Add salad fixings and a light drizzle of dressing on the greens
5. If chicken is on grill, flip the chicken, cooking 6-7 minutes on each side. If in oven, leave for 20-25 minutes or until done. Juice should be clear and meat should spring back to the touch.
6. Portion the fruit on each plate
7. Place green beans in a microwavable container and cook accordingly.
8. Pull chicken off grill or remove from oven. Portion and serve!
1. Marinate the chicken a day or two ahead of time and leave in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook dinner.
2. Cook the chicken for the Chicken Chile Bake at the same time you cook tonight’s chicken and you will be way ahead of the game.
Asian Lettuce Wraps, Tomato-Avocado Salsa, and Green Beans
For 2 Adults and 2 Kids
12-16 Boston Bibb or butter lettuce leaves
1.75 lbs. ground turkey
1 T cooking oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1T plus a little bit, soy sauce (or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos)
1/4 C Hoisin sauce
1 T plus a little bit, rice wine vinegar
Asian chile pepper sauce or sweet chili sauce
1 8 oz can water chestnuts, sliced or finely chopped
¼ C chopped green onions
2 t Asian dark sesame oil
For the sides:
4 C green beans, fresh or frozen
2 medium tomatoes
- Rinse lettuce leaves and set aside to dry
- Brown the ground turkey. Remove from pan
- In same pan, sautee onion.
- Add garlic, soy sauce (Bragg’s), Hoisin sauce, vinegar, and chili pepper sauce (or sweet chili sauce) to the onions and stir.
- Stir in water chestnuts, green onions, sesame oil, and cooked ground turkey
- Lay out plates and one or two lettuce leaves
- Place green beans in microwave-safe container and cook accordingly.
- Dice a tomato and avocado and mix them together with a touch of salt. (for those kids who have strong preferences, add avocado, tomato or both separately on the plate (see the four settings: the adults got the mixture, and one had no tomatoes and one had avocado and tomato separate on the plate…)
- Make sure turkey mixture is still warm. Spoon the mixture into center of leaves, making sure not to put too much in as it will be difficult to wrap.
- Show the kids how to “wrap” the lettuce like a tortilla – see how many points you get for creativity
Chicken Chile Bake
For 2 Adults and 2 Kids
Ingredients For the “Casserole”
1.75 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 bell peppers diced
1 onion, diced
1 jar salsa (you can mix a few together)
1 C plain yogurt
1/2 C cilantro, chopped
Canola oil spray
8 Whole-wheat tortillas
Ingredients For the side salad
4 C salad greens
sunflower seeds to sprinkle on salad
Pre heat oven to 375
1. Cook chicken – bake or grill. Hopefully you cooked this with the chicken you made earlier in the week which will save you a lot of time.
2. In a large bowl mix all casserole ingredients, except the tortillas, in a large bowl
3. Lightly spray bottoms and sides of a 9 X 13 and 8 X 8 baking pan
4. Place one layer of whole-wheat tortillas on the bottom of the pan, followed by some of the chicken mixture.
5. Repeat step 4, alternating a layer of tortillas and a layer of chicken mixture.
6. Top with a final layer of tortilla and lightly sprinkle cheddar cheese on top.
7. Place in 375 oven for 20 minutes to heat through
8. While Chicken Chile Bake is heating, divide the avocado across the 4 plates and lightly sprinkle salt if desired. Portion some greens and salad fixin’s on each plate.
9. Once Chicken Chile Bake is hot, pull out and serve with salsa on the side. Ol´e!
1. Cook chicken ahead of time and store in the refrigerator.
2. Prepare step 2 ahead of time and store in the refrigerator.
Please check this list against your pantry, particularly the dry goods. There are several items on the list that you might already have, and if you’re like me, you don’t want to buy more than you need, especially if you already have the ingredients in your pantry!
3.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
1.75 lbs ground turkey
1 bunch cilantro
4 onions – can buy pre-chopped
Boston Bibb lettuce
8 C greens for salad
4 cloves garlic
2 bell peppers – you pick the color
2 large carrots
3 medium zucchini
2 limes for 1/4 c of lime juice for cilantro chicken – or purchase a bottle
seasonal fruit for dinner sides
1 C Monterey Jack, cheddar cheese or sheep’s / goat’s milk equivalent
2 C Plain Yogurt or Goat milk yogurt if you don’t do dairy or you can use sour cream)
1 10 oz. frozen corn
1 10 oz. frozen okra
1 10 oz. frozen green beans
1 15 oz. can black beans
1 15 oz. can kidney beans
1 jar salsa
1 T + 1/2 cup Olive oil (or canola oil)
Olive or canola spray
1 T Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids (or soy sauce)
1/4 C Hoisin sauce
1 T Rice wine vinegar
1/2 – 1 C Asian chili pepper sauce (or sweet chili sauce)
1 8 oz can Water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped
2 t Asian (dark) sesame oil
1 1/2 t + 1 T Ground cumin
Salt and pepper
1 28 oz. can tomatoes
4 C vegetable stock
4 C vegetable stock – low sodium
1/4 C sunflower seeds
8 whole wheat tortillas