Split Pea Soup with Smoked Turkey Thighs and Oatmeal Muffins

Split Pea Soup with Smoked Turkey Thighs

This split pea soup recipe is a twist on the saying, “Hard work pays off.” I dare you to find a recipe this good that is this easy.  I made and blogged about this recipe in the fall.  Those who tried it got rave reviews from spouses and kids alike and said this pea soup was going to be “added to their dinner rotation”.

Now its winter and I am thinking about warm, hearty, satisfying meals.  Split Pea Soup with Smoked Turkey Thighs fits the bill.  It gets bonus points for fast and easy preparation too.  I served it with an oatmeal muffin recipe that I baked in an 8×8 pan to keep things easier. Try it and let me know what you think!

Oh, and if you do have a recipe that is this good and this easy, please share!!!!

Split Pea Soup with Smoked Turkey Thighs and Oatmeal Muffin

Recipe

Split Pea Soup with Smoked Turkey Thighs and Oatmeal Muffins

Serves 10-12 (2 dinners for families of 4 plus lunches)

Ingredients

3 C (1 lb.) Split Peas

10 C Water

1 C Celery, chopped

1 C Carrots, chopped

2 C Onions, chopped

2 Bay leaves

3 Garlic cloves, minced

2 t Ground cumin

½ t Dried thyme

2 T Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids or low sodium soy sauce

½ t Salt

2 Smoked turkey thighs

Dr. Oetker’s Oatmeal Muffin Mix (or other preferred muffin recipe or box mix) and whatever ingredients you need for the mix.*

*Note: Dairy and/or egg allergies? Substitute applesauce for the oil and 1 T of Flaxseed meal + 3 T Water for the egg. Gluten allergy?  There are many good gluten-free muffin mixes to choose from.

Instructions

  1. Put everything in a crock pot and cook on high for 6-8 hours.

OR

  1. You can also cook on high for 3-4 hours the night before, put in the fridge before you go to bed, and finish cooking the next day.  Taking into account that the soup will be cold, cook on high for 6 more hours.
  2. Once soup is done, remove the smoked turkey thighs discarding the bones and skin.  Shred the meat and return to the soup.
  3. Serve with a dense whole grain bread (optional but delicious), and see how many recipes you can think of that taste this good and are this fast!

Feb 20 – 23 Weekly Menu and Shopping List – Tested Feb 13 – 16

Menu

Monday:  Split Pea Soup with Oatmeal Muffin

Tuesday: Zesty Salmon, Green Beans, and Side Salad

Wednesday: Split Pea Soup With French Bread

Thursday: Bulgar Wheat With Onions, Squash, Peas, and Cherry Tomatoes with a Side Salad

Bulgar Wheat?!  My friend, Chef Chris, recommended it when I asked about vegetarian meal ideas.  It is a grain that is partially cooked so it is relatively fast to prepare at meal time. It is also very hearty and satisfying with a nutty taste. Gluten free?  Make a rice substitute instead and add all the great veggies!

Recipes

Split Pea Soup with Smoked Turkey Thighs

Serves 8-10

Split Pea Soup with Oatmeal Muffin

Ingredients

3 C (1 lb.) Split Peas

10 C Water

1 C Celery, chopped

1 C Carrots, chopped

2 C Onions, chopped

2 Bay leaves

3 Garlic cloves, minced

2 t Ground cumin

½ t Dried thyme

2 T Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids or low sodium soy sauce

½ t Salt

2 Smoked turkey thighs

Dr. Oetker’s Oatmeal Muffin Mix (or other preferred muffin recipe or box mix)

Instructions

  1. Put everything in a crock pot and cook on high for 6-8 hours.

OR

  1. You can also cook on high for 3-4 hours the night before, put in the fridge before you go to bed, and finish cooking the next day.  Taking into account that the soup will be cold, cook on high for 6 more hours.
  2. Once soup is done, remove the smoked turkey thighs discarding the bones and skin.  Shred the meat and return to the soup.
  3. Serve with a dense whole grain bread (optional but delicious), and see how many recipes you can think of that taste this good and are this fast!

Zesty Salmon, Green Beans, and Side Salad

Serves 4

Zesty Salmon with Green Beans and Side Salad

Ingredients

canola oil spray

2 T canola oil, divided

1.75 lbs salmon filet, skin cut off

6 garlic cloves, chopped

2 t paprika

1 1/2 t ground cumin

1/4 t ground cinnamon

3 T tomato paste

1 t dried oregano

1/2 t chili powder

1 T minced onion- dried

1/2 t dried red pepper flakes

1/2 C water

2 T fresh lemon juice

2 t sugar

1 t salt

1/4 t ground pepper

2 T chopped fresh cilantro

lemon wedges

2 1/2 C frozen green beans

3 C salad greens, divided

8 strawberries

1 avocado

Low fat or non fat salad dressing

Instructions

1.  Lightly spray a pan with canola oil and heat.  Cook salmon filets over medium high heat to brown on both sides, 2 minutes a side.  Remove salmon, set aside and wipe out skillet.

2.  Puree garlic, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, oregano, chile powder, minced onion, and dried red pepper flakes, and 2 tablespoons of oil in a food processor.

3.  Add garlic mixture to pan and heat for 30 seconds. Add tomato paste and water to the side of the pan.  Mixture will spatter if you add to the middle of the pan.

4.  Bring mixture to a simmer for 30 seconds. Stir in lemon juice and sugar, salt and pepper.

5. Return fish to skillet and bring to a simmer. Cover pan.

6. Reduce heat to medium low and let fish cook through, 7-9 minutes.

7. Place green beans in a microwave safe bowl and cook 2-4 minutes or until tender. Portion across plates.

8. Portion greens for side salad.  Cut and add strawberries and avocado or whatever salad fixings you prefer. Lightly sprinkle dressing.

9. Divide the salmon and sauce among plates. Sprinkle cilantro over. Serve warm or at room temperature with lemon wedges on the side.

10. Take it as a compliment when they ask for seconds and you have nothing left!

Bulgar Wheat with Onions, Squash, and Peas and Side Salad

Serves 4 + 2 lunches

Bulgar Wheat with Onion, Squash, Peas, Cherry Tomatoes, Dried Cranberries and Side Salad - Don't like salad? - get creative! Use sugar snap peas, edamames, or an artichoke.

Ingredients

1 small butternut squash peeled and diced

Canola Oil spray

1/2 t salt

1 T canola oil

1 C onions, diced

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 C bulgar wheat

2 C water

3 C salad greens, divided

1 C cherry tomatoes/ halved, divided

1 avocado

1/4 C sunflower seeds

 1 12 C frozen peas

1 C dried cranberries or raisins or other preferred dried fruit

4 T Earth n Vine Red Bell Pepper and Ancho Chili Jam

Instructions

Preheat oven to 425.

1. Peel, dice, and lightly salt butternut squash. Roast in a lightly sprayed roasting pan for 35-40 minutes.

2. Sautee onions and garlic in olive oil over medium heat in a medium sauce pan.

2. Add bulgar wheat and stir for 1 minute.  Remove from heat.

3. Add water carefully so as not to spatter.

4. Bring to a boil, turn off heat, and let sit for 20-30 minutes so bulgar wheat can absorb liquid.

5.  Portion greens for a side salad and add toppings including some of the halved cherry tomatoes.

6.  As squash is finishing, microwave peas and add to bulgar wheat and onion mixture.

7.  Add squash, remaining cherry tomatoes, and cranberries to bulgar wheat mixture and mix together.

8.  Portion in bowls, top with chili jam and serve!

9. Warm, comforting, satisfying!

Shopping List

Entrees

2 smoked turkey thighs

1.75 lbs salmon filet, skin cut off

Fruit

1 lemon

8 strawberries

1 avocado

Veggies

1 C celery, chopped

1 C carrots, chopped

2 C onions, chopped

9 garlic cloves, minced

3 C salad greens, divided

Dry Goods

3 C (1 lb.) Split Peas

2 bay leaves

3 1/2 t ground cumin

½ t dried thyme

2 T Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids or low sodium soy sauce

1 ½ t salt

Dr. Oetker’s Oatmeal Muffin Mix (or other preferred muffin recipe or box mix)

canola oil spray

2 T canola oil, divided

2 t paprika

1/4 t ground cinnamon

3 T tomato paste

1 t dried oregano

1/2 t chili powder

1 T minced onion- dried

1/2 t dried red pepper flakes

2 T fresh lemon juice

2 t sugar

1/4 t ground pepper

2 T chopped fresh cilantro

low fat or non fat salad dressing

Frozen

2 1/2 C frozen green beans

Take 2 – Chicken Pot Pie and Side Salad

Chicken Pot Pie with a Side Salad and Applesauce

If you don’t make it often, and it’s really good, you can serve it twice in a week.  That is the case for this Chicken Pot Pie recipe.  I usually try to reinvent a meal so it looks like a new meal and doesn’t appear to be “leftovers”. But there is no need with Chicken Pot Pie.  In fact, it seems better the second time around.

I warmed the pie and served it with a simple side salad – it doesn’t get any easier than that!  But because it was so easy, I offered choices for the side salad.  My son chose snap peas and hummus and my daughter chose a side salad with her new favorite lemon, mustard vinaigrette dressing  that she tasted in nutrition class at school.

Chicken Pot Pie with Side Salad of Sugar Snap Peas, Hummus and Applesauce - I forgot to take the picture and my son had already eaten the applesauce. I had to replenish which is why it looks a bit runny... Shocking that he ate the applesauce first...

The Verdict

10’s from everyone! …omitting the parsnip.  I recommend leaving it out if you are cooking for kids. I think its bitter after-bite might be too much for their overly sensitive taste buds.

“Food for Thought” – is a meal really “leftover” if you planned to serve it twice?

Chicken Pot Pie with a Side Salad

White Bean Cassoulet with Aspargus and Zucchini

White Bean Cassoulet with Asparagus and Zucchini

It was the first day of our school’s “Walking School Bus” and I drove my daughter today.  We live a few blocks from school and walk every day, but today we were so late, I had to drive her!

This is my life.  Always behind by about 10 minutes, sometimes more… Trying to catch up just doesn’t seem to work, so I try to get things done ahead of time to make things less stressful and give the illusion that I am making up lost time…

And that is just what I did tonight.  White Bean Cassoulet with Asparagus and Zucchini  was my vegetarian dinner of the week.   I prepared the vegetables and the bean mixture yesterday morning when I had a window of time, and they have been ready and waiting in my refrigerator.

Cooking the White Bean Cassoulet

Blanching the Asparagus and Zucchini

When I was ready, I made the bread crumbs in the food processor and the garlic toasts in the broiler. I warmed the cassoulet in the microwave, topped the dish with the bread crumbs, broiled for just about 3 minutes and served immediately.  You can put the mixture and breadcrumbs in a casserole dish, broil and serve from there, or you can plate them like I did (and have one less dish to wash…). Be careful if you do this as the plates get very hot.

Making the Bread Crumb Topping

The Finishing Touch - Broiling the Bread Crumb Topping

The Verdict

10’s all around! But…

When I made the white bean mixture yesterday, I omitted the pepper as my daughter is extremely averse to pepper seasoning, and I knew she would give the dish a horrible rating if she tasted pepper!  Upon serving, the rest of us agreed that the dish needed something. It lacked flavor, zing, zest, …something!  No one could put their finger on what was missing, but once I remembered that I had left the pepper out, I gave each dish (except my daughter’s) a little sprinkle, and that was all it took.  Everyone, including my daughter, loved the meal. I am excited to put this meal in my rotation as most of my vegetarian meals are soups.  This is a wonderful change and something that I would make again.

One note: The bean mixture, requires oyster mushrooms.  My kids say they do not like mushrooms and usually turn their noses up to a dish that includes mushrooms.  Sight influences taste. So I chopped the mushrooms up very finely – luckily, oyster mushrooms have a very mild flavor.  The kids did not identify a mushroom taste – or anything negative while they ate it.  In defense of my “sneakiness”, I am a firm believer in being honest with my kids – even when it would be much easier to bend the truth.  So if they had asked if there were mushrooms I would have disclosed that there were.  But they didn’t, so my lips are sealed!

Recipe

White Bean and Asparagus Cassoulet

Serves 2 Adults and 2 Kids + 1 lunch

Ingredients

5 C Water

3 C (2 inch) sliced asparagus (about 1 lb.)

2 small zucchini, cut into 1 inch chunks

2 T olive oil, divided

3 C finely sliced chanterelle or oyster mushrooms (about 10 oz.)

1/3 C finely chopped shallots

6 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 C dry white wine

1 1/2 C vegetable broth

1/2 t dried oregano

2 15 oz. cans no salt added cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1/4 freshly ground black pepper

2 oz French bread, cut into 1 inch cubes (about 5″ of a skinny baguette)

1 T butter or butter substitute

1/2 C grated parmesan cheese or manchenga cheese

Extra slices of baguette

Butter, or butter substitute

Garlic powder, to sprinkle

Instructions

1. Blanche asparagus and zucchini.  To do this, bring 5 cups water to a boil. Add asparagus and zucchini to the water for 2 minutes.

2. Drain. Rinse asparagus with cold water and put some ice on top to stop the cooking process. Set Aside.

3. Return pan to medium-high heat. Add 1 T oil. Add mushrooms, shallots, and garlic. Saute 8 minutes or until mushrooms are tender.

4. Add wine. Cook 3 minutes or until liquid evaporates.

5. Stir in broth, oregano, and beans. Bring to a simmer.

6. Reduce heat to medium.  Cook 12 minutes or until thick and beans are tender. Stir in black pepper. (If you have people sensitive to black pepper, leave out or reduce and add to individual plates when serving.  The black pepper makes this dish so don’t leave it out if you don’t have to!)

7. Pre-heat broiler

8.  Butter and sprinkle garlic powder on extra pieces of baguette.

9.  Place in broiler for 2 – 3 minutes or until bread starts to turn golden brown. Set aside.

8. Place bread and butter in food processor; pulse until coarse crumbs form.

9. Add remaining 1 T oil and cheese to coarse crumbs and pulse until combined.

10. Stir asparagus into bean mixture, top with bread mixture and broil for 3 minutes or until crumbs are golden brown.

11. Portion on to plates / bowls and serve this hearty and savory dish with garlic bread and  see how many rave reviews you get!

Pre-Prep Opportunities

1. Follow recipe through step 6.  Store bean mixture and vegetables separately until ready to finish recipe.

Chicken Pot Pie and Side Salad

Chicken Pot Pie, Hot Out of the Oven

I actually look forward to going to the Dr.’s office.  I get to read cooking magazines and get inspiration for recipes.  I have even asked the office staff to make copies of recipes I am particularly excited about that I don’t have time to copy down. (You are thinking, “What a Geek! Get a subscription and stay home!”)  Yes I am a geek who is not always rationale…

I have been cooking for my family regularly for about the last 12 years. I think I have it down. I’ve read and used thousands of recipes and ingredients.  And then as I start looking at casseroles, I start noticing celeriac root.  What the heck is celeriac root?  I was stumped!

Celeriac is a type of celery that is grown for its edible roots. It grows in a bulb shape and its skin is peeled to reveal the celeriac root vegetable that you can eat.  Because I didn’t really know much about its flavor, and didn’t have time to research, I almost left it out of the pot pie.  But when I was as the grocery store I decided to ask the fruit and vegetable grocer who was working in the aisle.  “Don’t leave it out!” he said.  “Celeriac will add amazing flavor.  People use it all the time in casseroles and soups.”  (Everyone except me who had no idea what it was…)

So I bought it and used it.  YUM!  It is a very savory vegetable and agreeing with my grocer, I would not leave it out!  The parsnips however, are optional.  My kids really didn’t like their flavor and I ended up letting them pick them out.  Just skip them if you think they won’t like them.  There are plenty of vegetables inside this pie.

The Verdict

9’s and 10’s.  The kids told me if I made them eat the parsnips they would rate it a 7.  Now that’s low!  Not wanting low ratings, I quickly acquiesced let them pick them out.  Try this warm, savory pie for dinner.  If you don’t get around to it before St. Patrick’s day, put a shamrock in the middle instead of a heart!

Side Salads Waiting for the Chicken Pot Pie

Voila! Chicken Pot Pie and Side Salad

Ingredients

3 C low sodium chicken broth

1 C cubed baking potato, can peel or partially peel if desired

1 C cubed sweet potato, peeled

1 C cubed peeled celeric (celery root)

1 C sliced parsnip (optional, kids may not like)

(10 oz.) package frozen pearl onions 1

1.5 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces

2.25 oz. all-purpose flour (or gluten-free substitute)

1 1/2 C skim milk (or milk substitute)

1 1/2 C frozen peas, thawed

1/4 C chopped parsley

2 T chopped fresh thyme

1 1/2 t salt

1 t freshly ground pepper

cooking spray

1/2 (14.1 oz.) package refrigerator pie dough or other dough substitute

1 egg, lightly beaten (optional)

Instructions

Pre-heat oven 425

1. Bring broth to a boil. Add potato, sweet potato, celeriac, and onions; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 6 minutes.

2. Add chicken. Cook 5 minutes or until chicken is done.

3. Remove chicken and vegetables from pot.

4. Increase heat to medium.

5. Separately, lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cup for accurate measurement and add to milk.   Whisk until well blended.

6. Add milk mixture to broth.  Cook 5 minutes or until thickened, stirring frequently.

7. Stir in chicken mixture, peas, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper.

8. Spoon into a 2 – quart glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.

9.  Unroll pie dough. Cut small slits (or a heart design for Valentine’s Day) into center of dough to allow steam to escape.

10.  Place dough over filling and brush with egg if desired.

11.  Bake for 16 minutes or until filling is bubbling.  Portion a side salad while waiting.

12.  Let dish stand for 5 minutes and serve with a side salad.

Pre-Prep Opportunities

1. Cube and slice all vegetables ahead of time and store in refrigerator.

2. Prepare recipe through step 8.  Cover well and store in refrigerator until ready to make the dough. Cook for 30 minutes or until bubbling.

Shrimp and Curry Rice

Shrimp Curry and Rice

There’s lots of room for optimism today.  It is the beginning of the week, I don’t have any evening meetings, my days look manageable, and we are having curry tonight!

I love curry but don’t cook with it often and don’t have many curry recipes.  If you have a delicious, easy, and healthy recipe, please share!  I really love this particular curry recipe because it is soooo easy!  It is also a versatile recipe because you can substitute chicken for shrimp or make it vegetarian and add more vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli, and onions. You could make it with shrimp one day and then two days later have it with chicken or vegetarian.  A great way to work smart –  get 2 days of meals out of one day of work!

This recipe takes 30 minutes and not a minute more.  The key is to buy your shrimp ready to go – peeled and deveined.  If peeling and deveining is in your future, allow 15 minutes to do that.

The Verdict

Both my kids, yes, including my contrarian daughter, rated the meal a 9.  The kids felt it was a bit spicy so I would cut back or omit the red pepper flakes, adding them at the end to those who like spicy.  My husband who was not home for dinner had his serving for lunch on Tuesday.  He emailed telling me how flavorful and delicious his meal was and rated it a 10! This dish really has great flavor and color.

Tumeric, one of the main ingredients in curry, is thought to have many health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and memory benefits. There is even a hypothesis that Tumeric, may protect the brain from damage that leads to Alzheimer’s.  Alzheimer’s is basically non-existent in India where people eat 100-200 mg of curry everyday. More research is being done to identify the health benefits of this spice.

Have I mentioned I love curry?!

This is a recipe to remember…

Enjoy!

Recipe

Shrimp and Curry Rice

Serves 2 Adults and 2 Kids

Ingredients

5 t Canola Oil, divided

1 lb. Peeled and Deveined Shrimp

3/4 t Salt, divided

1/4 t Black Pepper

1 1/2 C Chopped Onion

1 1/2 T Curry Powder

1 T Mustard Seeds

1/8 t  Ground Red Pepper (or omit or just add a pinch for less spicy – can add more to plates of those who like spicy just before serving)

1/4 t Ground Cinnamon (or less if cutting red pepper)

1 1/3 C Hot Water

1 C Frozen Peas and Carrots

1 Bell Pepper, cut into strips

1 C Light Coconut Milk

1 C Uncooked Instant Rice

1 T Chopped Fresh Cilantro

Instructions

1.  Add 2 T canola oil to a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium high heat.

2. Sprinkle shrimp with 1/8 t salt and black pepper.

3. Add shrimp to pan and cook 2 minutes on each side or until shrimp is cooked.

4. Remove Shrimp from pan.

5.  Add remaining oil to pan. Add onion and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

6. Add salt, curry powder, mustard seeds, cinnamon, and ground red pepper.  Cook for 1 minute stirring constantly.

7. Add hot water and peas and carrots; bring to a boil.

8. Reduce heat and simmer 4 minutes.

9. Bring milk to a boil. Stir in rice and remaining 1/8 t salt. Cover and remove from heat. let stand 5 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

10. Add shrimp back to soup pot along with bell pepper strips.

11.  Scoop 1/3 C rice on each dish/ bowl.  Portion 1 C shrimp mixture on top.  Sprinkle with cilantro.

12. Serve and enjoy!

Weekly Dinner Menu and Shopping List – Tested Feb 6-9

Menu

Monday: Shrimp Curry and Rice

Tuesday:  Chicken Pot Pie and Side Salad

Wednesday: White Bean and Asparagus Cassoulet with Garlic Baguette Toasts

Thursday: Chicken Pot Pie and Side Salad

Recipes

Shrimp Curry and Rice

Serves 2 Adults and 2 Kids

Shrimp Curry and Rice

Source:  Cooking LIght, One Dish Meals

Ingredients

5 t Canola Oil, divided

1 lb. Peeled and Deveined Shrimp

3/4 t Salt, divided

1/4 t Black Pepper

1 1/2 C Chopped Onion

1 1/2 T Curry Powder

1 T Mustard Seeds

1/8 t  Ground Red Pepper (or just a pinch for the kids – can add more to adult plates at the end)

1/4 t Ground Cinnamon (or less if cutting red pepper)

1 1/3 C Hot Water

1 C Frozen Peas and Carrots

1 C Light Coconut Milk

1 C Uncooked Instant Rice

1 T Chopped Fresh Cilantro

Instructions

1.  Add 2 T canola oil to a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium high heat.

2. Sprinkle shrimp with 1/8 t salt and black pepper.

3. Add shrimp to pan and cook 2 minutes on each side or until shrimp is cooked.

4. Remove Shrimp from pan.

5.  Add remaining oil to pan. Add onion and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

6. Add salt, curry powder, mustard seeds, cinnamon, and ground red pepper.  Cook for 1 minute stirring constantly.

7. Add hot water and peas and carrots; bring to a boil.

8. Reduce heat and simmer 4 minutes.

9. Bring milk to a boil. Stir in rice and remaining 1/8 t salt. Cover and remove from heat. let stand 5 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

10. Add shrimp back to soup pot.

11.  Scoop 1/3 C rice on each dish/ bowl.  Portion 1 C shrimp mixture on top.  Sprinkle with cilantro.

12. Serve and enjoy!

Chicken Pot Pie

Serves 2 Adults and 2 Kids for 2 meals

Source:  Cooking Light, One Dish Meals

Chicken Pot Pie and Side Salad

Ingredients

3 C low sodium chicken broth

1 C cubed baking potato, can peel or partially peel if desired

1 C cubed sweet potato, peeled

1 C cubed peeled celeric (celery root)

1 C sliced parsnip (optional, kids may not like)

1 (10 oz.) package frozen pearl onions

1.5 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces

2.25 oz. all-purpose flour (or gluten-free substitute)

1 1/2 C skim milk (or milk substitute)

1 1/2 C frozen peas, thawed

1/4 C chopped parsley

2 T chopped fresh thyme

1 1/2 t salt

1 t freshly ground pepper

cooking spray

1/2 (14.1 oz.) package refrigerator pie dough or other dough substitute

1 egg, lightly beaten (optional)

Instructions

Pre-heat oven 425

1. Bring broth to a boil. Add potato, sweet potato, celeriac, and onions; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 6 minutes.

2. Add chicken. Cook 5 minutes or until chicken is done.

3. Remove chicken and vegetables from pot.

4. Increase heat to medium.

5. Separately, lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cup for accurate measurement and add to milk.   Whisk until well blended.

6. Add milk mixture to broth.  Cook 5 minutes or until thickened, stirring frequently.

7. Stir in chicken mixture, peas, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper.

8. Spoon into a 2 – quart glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.

9.  Unroll pie dough. Cut small slits (or a heart design for Valentine’s Day) into center of dough to allow steam to escape.

10.  Place dough over filling and brush with egg if desired.

11.  Bake for 16 minutes or until filling is bubbling.  Portion a side salad while waiting.

12.  Let dish stand for 5 minutes and serve with a side salad.

Pre-Prep Opportunities

1. Cube and slice all vegetables ahead of time and store in refrigerator.

2. Prepare recipe through step 8.  Cover well and store in refrigerator until ready to make the dough. Cook for 30 minutes or until bubbling.

White Bean and Asparagus Cassoulet

Serves 2 Adults and 2 Kids + 1 lunch

Source:  Cooking Light, One Dish Meals

White Bean and Asparagus Cassoulet

Ingredients

5 C Water

3 C (2 inch) sliced asparagus (about 1 lb.)

2 small zucchini, cut into 1 inch chunks

2 T olive oil, divided

3 C finely sliced chanterelle or oyster mushrooms (about 10 oz.)

1/3 C finely chopped shallots

6 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 C dry white wine

1 1/2 C vegetable broth

1/2 t dried oregano

2 15 oz. cans no salt added cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1/4 freshly ground black pepper

2 oz French bread, cut into 1 inch cubes (about 5″ of a skinny baguette)

1 T butter or butter substitute

1/2 C grated parmesan cheese or manchenga cheese

Extra slices of baguette

Butter, or butter substitute

Garlic powder, to sprinkle

Instructions

1. Blanche asparagus and zucchini.  To do this, bring 5 cups water to a boil. Add asparagus and zucchini to the water for 2 minutes.

2. Drain. Rinse asparagus with cold water and put some ice on top to stop the cooking process. Set Aside.

3. Return pan to medium-high heat. Add 1 T oil. Add mushrooms, shallots, and garlic. Saute 8 minutes or until mushrooms are tender.

4. Add wine. Cook 3 minutes or until liquid evaporates.

5. Stir in broth, oregano, and beans. Bring to a simmer.

6. Reduce heat to medium.  Cook 12 minutes or until thick and beans are tender. Stir in black pepper. (If you have people sensitive to black pepper, leave out or reduce and add to individual plates when serving.  The black pepper makes this dish so don’t leave it out if you don’t have to!)

7. Pre-heat broiler

8.  Butter and sprinkle garlic powder on extra pieces of baguette.

9.  Place in broiler for 2 – 3 minutes or until bread starts to turn golden brown. Set aside.

8. Place bread and butter in food processor; pulse until coarse crumbs form.

9. Add remaining 1 T oil and cheese to coarse crumbs and pulse until combined.

10. Stir asparagus into bean mixture, top with bread mixture and broil for 3 minutes or until crumbs are golden brown.

11. Portion on to plates / bowls and serve this hearty and savory dish with garlic bread and  see how many rave reviews you get!

Pre-Prep Opportunities

1. Follow recipe through step 6.  Store bean mixture and vegetables separately until ready to finish recipe.

 

Shopping List

Entrees

1 lb. Peeled and Deveined Shrimp

1.5 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces

Vegetables

1 1/2 C Chopped Onion

1 C cubed baking potato, can peel or partially peel if desired

1 C cubed sweet potato, peeled

1 C cubed peeled celeric (celery root)

1 C sliced parsnip (optional, kids may not like)

3 C (2 inch) sliced asparagus (about 1 lb.)

2 small zucchini, cut into 1 inch chunks

3 C finely sliced chanterelle or oyster mushrooms (about 10 oz.)

1/3 C finely chopped shallots

6 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 C chopped parsley

2 T chopped fresh thyme

1 T Chopped Fresh Cilantro

Dry Goods

3 C low sodium chicken broth

2.25 oz. all-purpose flour (or gluten-free substitute)

5 t Canola Oil

2 T olive oil

2 1/4 t Salt

1/4 t Black Pepper

1 1/2 T Curry Powder

1 T Mustard Seeds

1 3/8 t  Ground Red Pepper

1/4 t Ground Cinnamon

1 C Light Coconut Milk

1 C Uncooked Instant Rice

1/4 C dry white wine

1 1/2 C vegetable broth

1/2 t dried oregano

2 15 oz. cans no salt added cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

2 oz French bread, cut into 1 inch cubes (about 5″ of a skinny baguette)

Extra slices of baguette

Garlic powder, to sprinkle

cooking spray

Frozen
1 C Frozen Peas and Carrots

1 (10 oz.) package frozen pearl onions

1 1/2 C frozen peas, thawed

Refrigerated

1 1/2 C skim milk (or milk substitute)

1/2 (14.1 oz.) package refrigerator pie dough or other dough substitute

1 egg, lightly beaten (optional)

3 T butter or butter substitute

1/2 C grated parmesan cheese or manchenga cheese

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pasta with Pork Tenderloin, Asparagus, Left over Squash, Bell Pepper and Garlic with a Side Salad

Pasta with Pork Tenderloin, Asparagus, Butternut Squash, Bell Pepper, Garlic and a Side Salad

“Clean Sweep”

It is the end of a long week, and I am looking for the easy way out. Tonight’s dinner is the perfect “sweeper” meal. It is a tasty meal that finishes up all the leftovers. While I have included leftover pork tenderloin and squash, you can add any appetizing ingredient(s) you have leftover in your refrigerator. You could also add tomato/pasta sauce if desired.

The one caution is not to dry out the pork when you re-heat.  Sometimes if you take it out of the refrigerator as you cook the pasta, all you need to do is add it to the freshly boiled pasta and it will be warm enough.

The Verdict

Everyone enjoyed the meal with my husband and son rating the meal a 9.  My daughter rated it an 8.5.  My kids love pasta and the flavors from the pork and vegetables make this meal savory.  It’s a great way to end the week. Try it!

Pasta with Pork Tenderloin, Asparagus, Butternut Squash, Bell Pepper and Garlic

Recipe

Pasta with Pork Tenderloin, Asparagus, Left over squash, Bell Pepper and Garlic with a Side Salad

Serves 2 Adults and 2 Kids + 1 lunch

Ingredients

8 oz. Whole Wheat Pasta

Left over pork tenderloin

1 bunch asparagus

Leftover Butternut Squash

1 Bell Pepper

3 Cloves Garlic

Olive Oil

¼ t salt

3 Cups of lettuce

1 tomato or a handful of cherry tomatoes

Low fat dressing

Instructions

  1. Boil water for pasta.
  2. Dice pork tenderloin and set aside.
  3. Wash asparagus and snap off hard end.  Place on a lightly sprayed roasting pan.
  4. Lightly spray asparagus, squeeze ½ lemon on top and lightly salt.
  5. Set aside.
  6. Dice bell pepper.
  7. Mince garlic.
  8. Add pasta to boiling water.
  9. Put asparagus in oven for 4 minutes.
  10. Warm butternut squash in microwave for 1.5 – 2 minutes depending on how much is there. Microwave until cooked through.
  11. Stir asparagus and put back in oven for 3-4 more minutes.
  12. Drain pasta.
  13. Put pasta back in pot and add pork, bell peppers, garlic, and butternut squash.
  14. Add asparagus.
  15. Serve!

Vegetarian Minestrone with Whole Wheat Baguette

Vegetarian Minestrone Soup

For the last two days, my family as been scattered, moving at light speed in different directions.  My busier than normal schedule the past two nights hasn’t helped. We needed to re-center ourselves as a family, and dinner, including dinner prep was my way to get this done.

Consistent with my goal of serving one vegetarian meal a week, tonight’s meal was Vegetarian Minestrone. Because it is a crock pot recipe I was able to prepare the soup earlier in the day.  I got all the ingredients in the crock pot and turned it on at 2:45 so it was ready around 6:00. As I learned from Simple Gourmet Chef Melanie Barsuk, crock pot recipes can “cook out” and lose their flavor.  This is a simple soup with simple flavors.  Don’t over cook it…

As my kids came home from school, I slowed things down.  Dinner prep was done.  I wouldn’t be doing any work related to dinner until I ladled the soup and sliced the baguette.  How nice! My kids and I talked, they got a snack and got their homework done. Not that the day was without a carpool, or even a bit of sassiness from the kids, but things felt calmer.  I wasn’t pre-occupied with “getting everything ready” so I could leave…

Dinner was ready for us at 6. Warm soup and bread is one of my favorite comfort dinners, and I think we all needed a bit of comfort and warmth tonight.

Vegetarian Minestrone Soup

Recipe

Vegetarian Minestrone with Whole Wheat Baguette

Serves 2 Adults and 2 Kids + 2 lunches

Ingredients

4 Cups (32 oz.) Vegetable Broth

1 large onion, diced

3 Carrots, diced

3 Celery Stalks, diced

3 Garlic Cloves, minced

28 oz can, or shelf stable container of Chopped Tomatoes, low or no sodium

2 small Zucchini, diced

½ Cup Barley, dry

1 Cup Kale, finely chopped

1 15 oz can White Beans, low or no sodium, rinsed

1 T Parsley, fresh minced

1 t Dried Thyme

1 t Dried Oregano

2 Bay Leaves

½ t Kosher salt or sea salt

1/8 t pepper

2 t Lemon Zest

Parmesan or Manchenga cheese (optional)

Whole wheat baguette or other whole wheat bread

Options:

Purchase pre diced onions, carrots, celery – approximate the amounts required.

If using a garlic press, toss the garlic membranes in the soup too for extra flavor.

Instructions:

  1. Put everything except the cheese in a crock pot.  Add the spices and seasonings (including lemon zest) last.
  2. Cook on low for 3 hours.
  3. Serve with grated cheese on top and whole wheat bread.

Pre-Prep Opportunity

  1. Dice onion, carrots, celery, zucchini, and kale ahead of time and store in refrigerator.
  2. Rinse beans ahead of time and store in fridge.
  3. Zest lemon ahead of time and store in fridge.
  4. Make the soup the evening before.  Put it on at dinner time. After 3 hours store in fridge.  Simply warm in a pot the next day and serve!

Pork Tenderloin, Butternut Squash, Green Beans, Rice, Side Salad

Pork Tenderloin, Butternut Squash, Green Beans, Rice, Side Salad-Serves 2 Adults and 2 Kids for 2 meals

For the second night in a row, I am making dinner for just the kids.  My husband and I have an event starting at 6. It is 5:05.  I just arrived home with the kids.  I have not done any pre-prep… Time is of the essence… …Not that that is a big surprise…

I am thankful I have a good excuse for not ordering take out tonight or buying something frozen to re-heat, because the temptation to do so is strong!  The pork tenderloin I am cooking  will also so be used for dinner 2 nights from now.  While I am crunched for time tonight, I will be glad on Thursday when I just pull the meat from the refrigerator.

Pork tenderloin is one of the leanest and most tender cuts of pork with 136 calories , 3.87 g of fat, and 23.8 g of protein per 4 oz. serving. Because it is so lean, it can dry out if overcooked. (The USDA now recommends cooking pork tenderloin to an internal temperature of 145 degrees with a 3 minute rest period.  This will make it a little pink and juicer.) Another advantage is that it is another easy meal to cook in the oven or on the grill.

Pork goes really well with butternut squash, which is also easily roasted.  If you are cooking the tenderloin in the oven, you can do both at the same time.

Roasting Butternut Squash

Recipe

Pork Tenderloin, Butternut Squash, Green Beans, Rice, Side Salad  

Serves 2 Adults and 2 Kids for 2 meals

Ingredients

Rice from yesterday

1 large or 2 small butternut squashes (or purchase 32 oz. pre-diced squash)

Olive Oil Spray (or Canola Oil)

2 ½ Cups Frozen Green Beans (or fresh)

2 lbs. Pork Tenderloin (2 -1 lb. tenderloins)

Olive Oil (or other preferred oil)

Salt

Pepper

Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 425 for Squash and tenderloins

Or you can do the tenderloins on the grill

  1. Remove rice from refrigerator, set in a microwaveable bowl and set aside.
  2. Peel and dice butternut squash (or open package of pre-diced squash), and put on a lightly sprayed roasting pan.  Lightly spray squash and lightly sprinkle salt.  Top with a light dusting of cinnamon.
  3. Pop squash in the oven. Set timer for 5 minutes.
  4. Put green beans in a microwaveable bowl and set aside.
  5. Rub tenderloins with olive oil, salt, and pepper. You can add other seasonings to taste – rosemary, thyme, basil, etc.
  6. Stir squash in oven and set timer for 4-6 minutes depending on how fast squash is cooking.
  7. Place tenderloins in a roasting pan and put in oven or place on grill and turn down heat to medium.  Consider a meat thermometer for accurate cooking time.  Oven and Grill cook time should be around 20-25 minutes if your tenderloin is around a pound. Internal heat should reach 145 degrees, letting the meat rest for 3 more minutes before serving. Check the temperature to make sure you have reached the target temperature.
  8. Check tenderloin on grill half way through and turn.
  9. Check squash.  Doneness check: Can a fork can easily pierce squash? If so, pull it out. Squash cook time will be about 30 minutes.

10. While tenderloin is standing, place green beans in microwave and cook for 2-3 minutes, checking for doneness and continuing to cook as necessary.

11. Next place rice in microwave and warm up.

12. Portion pork, green beans, rice and squash.  Serve!

Pre-Prep Opportunities

  1. Peel and dice butternut squash.
  2. Cook rice if you haven’t cooked it on a previous day. Try to make earlier in the day and make brown rice.