March 12-15 Weekly Menu, Recipes and Shopping List, Tested March 5-8


Monday: Avocado and Cashew Enchiladas with mild red sauce and a side of fruit

Tuesday: BBQ Chicken Rub, potato skins, and green beans

Wednesday: Baked Salmon, Peas, and side salad

Thursday: BBQ Chicken wraps with potato, onions, cheese, bell pepper and left over salsa – use lettuce or tortillas, with mangos and blueberries

Themes for the week:  Rubs and pre-prep.  Getting dinner ready ahead of time, when you have time to squeeze it in will make your meals taste better and make dinner prep a lot less stressful this week. I found inspiration for this week’s menu on There are several recipes that look delicious and easy.  I am always looking for fresh ideas.  and have never used a rub in a recipe on this blog. When I saw this recipe, which looked delicious, I had to try it.  I’m happy to say, the recipe didn’t disappoint.  Stay tuned and I will tell you more next week.


Avocado and Cashew Enchiladas with mild red sauce

Serves 2 Adults and 2 Kids + 1 lunch


For the Red Sauce (salsa):

1 lb. tomatoes, cut in chunks

2 bell peppers, cut in chunks

2 onions, cut into chunks

2 large cloves garlic

½ t salt

¼ t cumin

1/8 t black pepper

3 T lime juice

1/4 c cilantro

1/4 t chopped jalapeno pepper (optional)

For the Enchiladas:

2 medium sized avocados – ripe

juice from 1 lemon

2 medium tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped

4 finely minced scallions

½ C finely minced cilantro (or parsley if cilantro is not for you)

1 C finely chopped cashews, toasted

1/3 C plain yogurt

1 medium clove garlic

1/8 t salt

canola oil spray

8 corn tortillas (or flour if corn is not for you)


Pre Heat Oven 325

  1. Make the red sauce OR buy enchilada sauce or salsa.
    1. If making red sauce, combine all sauce ingredients in food processor and puree.
    2. Make the Enchilada filling
      1. Mash avocados until smooth. Add lemon juice to prevent browning.
      2. Add remaining ingredients through salt.  Mix well.
      3. Make Enchiladas
        1. Pour a small amount of sauce in the bottom of the lightly sprayed baking pan.
        2. Heat griddle and lightly spray with canola oil.
        3. Place tortillas on griddle and heat 1 minutes on each side.
        4. Scoop ½ C avocado mixture onto tortilla in a line.
        5. Roll tortilla and place in a lightly sprayed baking dish.
        6. Repeat 7 times.
        7. Pour remaining sauce over enchiladas.
        8. Place baking dish in oven for 30 minutes.
        9. Pop in Potatoes for tomorrows dinner.  You will need to leave them in 30 minutes longer than the enchiladas to make sure they are cooked through. (When they are done, store in refrigerator until next day when you prepare dinner)
        10. While enchiladas are cooking, prepare a side of fruit or make a salad.
        11. Prepare the rub for the chicken tomorrow, wash and dry the chicken for the week, rub in the spice rub, wrap in wax paper and store in the refrigerator until next day.
        12. Serve 1-2 enchiladas per plate and serve!

Pre-Prep Opportunities

1. For the red sauce:  Cut the tomato, pepper, and onion ahead of time and store in the refrigerator.

2. Combine spices and store in a dry place until ready to use.

3. Make the spice rub for tomorrow.

4. Wash and dry chicken for the week.  Rub in spices, wrap in wax paper, and store in refrigerator until tomorrow so chicken can absorb the flavor.


BBQ Chicken Rub, Potato Skins, and Green Beans

Serves 2 Adults and 2 Kids + 2-3 lunches


3 Idaho russet potatoes

canola oil spray

For the rub:

.       2 T Paprika (I used Penzey’s Smoked Paprika)

·        1/4 t  Ground Black Pepper

·         1 1/2 t  Kosher Salt

·         1 1/2 t  Sugar

·        1 1/2 t Chili Powder (Ancho Chili Powder is Very Nice)

·         3/4 t Garlic Powder

·         3/4 t Cup Onion Powder

·         pinch Cayenne Pepper (This is low heat – add more if you want it!)

For the Rest of the Meal:

1.75 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast

olive oil spray

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

salt, pepper, paprika

2 T grated parmesan (cow’s milk) or manchenga (sheep’s milk) cheese

1 T minced parsley

1 t chili powder

3 C fresh or frozen green beans

Make Ahead:

Potatoes – Make 1-2 days ahead of time.

Spray potatoes with canola oil spray.

Bake at 425 for 1 hour or until done – when a fork pierces potato easily

Set aside

Rub – Make up to 3 weeks ahead of trime.

Mix all rub ingredients together.

Make Chicken – Make up to 1 day ahead of time.

Wash and dry chicken. Cut into 3” pieces. Make 3.5 lbs of chicken and you will have your chicken done for later in the week!

Massage rub into chicken. Wrap in plastic and store in refrigerator so chicken absorbs flavors of rub.


Pre heat oven to 425

  1. Take chicken and leftover red sauce (salsa) out of refrigerator.
  2. Cut potatoes in half and scoop out centers leaving ¼ –  ½ “ layer of potato.
  3. Cut each ½ into 3 lengthwise strips.
  4. Place on baking sheet and spray insides of potato with olive oil spray.
  5. Top with garlic, paprika, parmesan or manchenga, parsley, and chili powder.
  6. Place chicken in lightly sprayed baking pan.
  7. Bake chicken for 20 -25 minutes.
  8. Add potato skins to oven for 10 minutes to heat through.
  9. Add 2 T lime juice,  ½ t kosher salt, and pepper to taste. Stir to blend.
  10. Place green beans in microwave safe container and microwave for 3 minutes or until done.
  11. Plate chicken, green beans, and potatoes topped with salsa.
  12. Serve! Cowboy hats optional…

Pre-Prep Opportunities

2. Combine spices and store in a dry place until ready to use.

3. Make the spice rub for tomorrow.

4. Wash and dry chicken for the week.  Rub in spices, wrap in wax paper, and store in refrigerator until tomorrow so chicken can absorb the flavor.


Baked Salmon With Basil and Garlic

Serves 2 Adults and 2 Kids

Baked Salmon, Peas, and Side Salad


1 T garlic powder

1 t dried basil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1.75 lbs. Salmon

canola oil spray

4 lemon wedges


  1. Stir together the garlic powder, basil, and salt in a small bowl; rub in equal amounts onto the salmon fillets.
  2. Spray canola oil in baking dish and place salmon in dish. Cook salmon at 375 for about 15-20 minutes until fish springs back to touch or flakes easily with a fork.
  3.  While salmon is cooking, portion greens and make a side salad.
  4.  Warm peas in microwave.
  5.  When salmon is done, portion peas on each plate and serve each piece of salmon with a lemon wedge.


BBQ Chicken wraps with potato, onions, cheese, bell pepper and left over salsa – use lettuce or tortillas

Serves 2 Adults and 2 Kids + 2-3 lunches

BBQ Chicken Wraps


½ C onions, diced

1 bell pepper, diced

1.75 lbs. BBQ chicken, cooked (hopefully made earlier in the week)

left over potatoes that were scooped and saved earlier in the week

left over salsa from earlier in the week

canola oil spray

8 tortillas or 8 lettuce wraps or a combination of both

1 C cheddar cheese (or preferred substitute)


  1. Saute onions and bell pepper until tender.
  2. Add chicken, potatoes, and salsa until warm.
  3. Heat tortillas on a lightly sprayed griddle on medium heat, one minute a side.
  4. Stir cheese into chicken mixture.  Scoop ½ C of mixture into each tortilla or lettuce wrap
  5. Serve with some fruit on the side and revel in the fact that you can be rewarded for doing very little work!

Shopping List


3.5 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breast

1.75 lbs. salmon


2 limes

2 lemons

4-8 sturdy lettuce leaves for chicken wraps

1 mango

1 pint blueberries


4 C lettuce/ greens

3 potatoes

5 cloves garlic

1.75 lbs. Tomatoes (1 lb. + 4)

3 bell peppers

3 onions

¼ t jalapeño pepper (optional)

2 ripe avocados

4 scallions

1 bunch cilantro

Dry Goods

Canola oil spray

Olive oil spray

2-3 T Barbecue sauce (hopefully you have an opened bottle in your refrigerator.)

2 T  C smoked paprika

¼ t paprika

1/2 t + a little black pepper

1 1/2 t kosher salt

1 1/2 t  white sugar

1 1/2 t   + 1 t chili powder or ancho chili powder

3/4 t + 1 T garlic powder

3/4 t onion powder

pinch cayenne

¼ t cumin

1 C cashews

4-8 tortillas

8 corn tortillas

1 T dried basil

1 T minced parsley


1 T grated parmesan or manchenga cheese

1/3 C plain yogurt (cow, goat or sheep milk or preferred substitute)

1 C cheddar cheese (or preferred substitute)


3 C green beans

3 C peas

Final Sept 26-29 Weekly Menu and Master Shopping List

“Fixing” Monday’s Tomato-Herb Chicken

Remember how bland I said Monday’s dinner was? Fear not! I have some good news; I think the recipe can be fixed.  I consulted with Chef Melanie Barsuk, of Simple Gourmet and I learned a lot.  She is not a big fan of crock pots.  In fact she doesn’t like saying or spelling the word, simply making reference to “the c word”… No offense taken, Melanie.  While I don’t use crock pots everyday, I do appreciate them for the fact that there is very little, if any, prep during the “bewitching” hour (dinner/carpool/homework hour).

Melanie elaborated on crock pot cooking saying that sometimes flavors can “cook out” of a dish that is cooked too long in the crock pot.  Based on my ingredients, she thinks this may have happened and suggested adding more savory flavors.

First, she suggests using fresh thyme – stems and all – in place of the dried seasoning.  “Thyme is an herb that actually lets off more flavor the more you cook it,” Melanie says.  Try adding 4-5 fresh sprigs, stems and all.  She also suggests one fresh fennel bulb, sliced.  She also talked about adding more savory flavors.  I shared my experience using the smoked turkey thighs in the split pea soup recipe last week. Melanie encouraged me to give some smoked turkey wings a try in the Tomato-Herb Chicken.  Lastly, if the dish is still bland after it is cooked, she suggested adding a little lemon zest, crushed red pepper flakes, or even some chopped bacon…

So I have revised this recipe accordingly.  If you make this, please blog how it turns out!  Other than that, I did not change anything else!

The Weekly Menu

Monday: Tomato-Herb Chicken (recipe revised), Broccoli, Fruit

Tuesday: Fish with Fall Harvest Red Grape Salsa, Peas, Side Salad, Fruit

Wednesday: Braised Chicken Gumbo, Side Salad, Fruit

Thursday: Mexican Vegetable Soup with Crushed Tortilla Chips and shredded cheese

Give credit where credit is deserved:

Monday’s recipe is a slight variation of a recipe I found on and the “fixes” are from Chef Melanie Barsuk, of Simple Gourmet.  A special thanks to the Chef!

Tuesday’s recipe features a “fall salsa”. While the rest of the meal is not new – we have cooked plenty of fish – I was looking for a fall flavor topping.  Better Homes and Gardens featured this fall salsa that is amazing.

Wednesday’s recipe was Eating Well’s easy reinvention of Monday’s recipe, which is what I aim to do during the week to keep things fresh.

Thursday’s recipe comes from “Quick Vegetarian Pleasures”, a cookbook that I have had for over 15 years.  I have had great luck with several recipes of these recipes, and even used their Split Pea Soup recipe as a base for my variation last week.

Master Shopping List

For 2 Adults and 2 Kids


3.5 lbs. Boneless skinless chicken breasts

1.5 lbs. Cod


Greens – for lunch and dinners

4 Red Onions

8 Cloves garlic

¼ C Fresh chopped parsley

2 Bell peppers, at least one red

3 Carrots

3 Medium zucchini

1 Head Broccoli


1 C + Seedless red grapes, halved

5 Pears

5 Plums

2 Mangos

5 Apples

Dry Goods

1 t Dried thyme

1 t Fennel seeds

1 t Fresh ground pepper

1 Bay leaf

3 C Low sodium chicken broth

8 C Low sodium vegetable broth

1 T Lemon Juice

2 – 28 oz. Can tomatoes, or tomatoes in other shelf stable package

1 ½ t Salt

1 T Olive oil or canola oil

2 T Flour

1 C Cooked rice

1/8 t Cayenne pepper

1 T Balsamic vinegar

1 t Ground cumin

1 15 oz. Can kidney beans


Shredded Cheddar Cheese (optional – for the Mexican vegetable stew)


1 C Sliced Okra

2 C Frozen corn kernels

1 Bag Frozen peas


Tomato-Herb Chicken, Revised

For 2 Adults and 2 Kids

Tomato-Herb Chicken, Roasted Broccoli, and a Side Salad


1 Large onion, thinly sliced

4 Cloves garlic, minced

4-5 Sprigs fresh thyme, stems and all

1 Fennel bulb, sliced

1 t Freshly ground pepper

1 Bay leaf

1 c Low sodium chicken broth mixed w 1 T lemon juice

1 28 oz Can tomatoes, with juice, coarsely chopped

1 t salt

3 3/4 lbs Boneless skinless chicken breasts

1-2 Smoked chicken wings

1/4 c Finely chopped parsley

Pasta or rice for each dish, cooked according to package directions

A head of broccoli

1 t Basil

1 t Thyme

Sprinkle of salt

Greens and salad fixings

Optional Additions once the meal is cooked:

Some lemon zest

Crushed red pepper flakes

Chopped bacon

Dinner Prep

1. Put everything in slow cooker.

2. Cook on high for 6 hours.

3. Closer to dinner time, roast broccoli with basil, thyme and salt at 450 for 4 minutes. Stir and bake for 4 more minutes. Then lay some greens on each plate and make a side salad with your favorite toppings.

3. Serve Tomato-Herb Chicken over pasta or rice.

4. Seriously, is anything easier than that?!?!

Baked Cod with Fall Salsa, Peas, Mango, and a Side Salad

For 2 Adults and 2 Kids

Baked Cod with Fall Salsa, Peas, Mango and a Side Salad


1 C Halved seedless red grapes

¼ C Chopped red onion (or white if you don’t have red onion)

¼ C Chopped red bell pepper

1 T Balsamic vinegar

1.5 – 1.75 lbs. Cod

Frozen peas for 4 servings

1 Mango

Greens and toppings for side salad

Make Ahead:

The night before or earlier the day of, Combine grapes, onion, bell pepper and balsamic vinegar.  Store in refrigerator.

Dinner Prep:

Pre-heat oven to 350

Set the table ahead of time.  You will be sitting down in 10 minutes!

Take fall salsa out of the refrigerator.

1. Lay cod on a lightly sprayed roasting pan and lightly spray the cod with canola oil spray.

2. Sprinkle 1 t basil, 1 t thyme, and ½ t salt on fish.

3. Put fish in oven for 8 minutes.

4. Pour frozen peas in a microwavable dish and microwave for 2 min.  Test for doneness.  Cook an additional minute if necessary. Divide across 4 plates. Cut a Mango, and divide across all 4 plates.

5. Portion greens and add toppings.

6. Pull fish from oven, portion, top with fall salsa and serve.

Braised Chicken Gumbo


1 Diced bell pepper – any color

2 T Flour

2 1/2 C Tomato-Herb Chicken (see 9-27-11 recipe)

2 C Low sodium chicken broth

1 C Sliced okra

1 C Cooked rice

1/8 – 1/4 t Cayenne pepper

Dinner Prep:

1. Heat oil in saucepan.

2. Add bell pepper and flour.  Stir 2 minutes until softened.

3. Add Tomato-Herb Chicken, chicken broth, okra, rice, cayenne pepper.

4. Bring to a boil. Simmer 10 minutes.  Serve.

5. See if you don’t think about Mardi Gras in 22 minutes!

Mexican Vegetable Soup

For 2 Adults and 2 Kids (For 2 Meals)

Mexican Vegetable Soup


¼ C Olive oil

4 Garlic cloves, minced – include skin

2 Large onions, diced

1 t Ground cumin

1 28 oz. Can of tomatoes, chopped with their juice (You can also use a 28 oz. container of POM tomatoes in a shelf-stable, non-can package)

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

The rest of the frozen okra not used for the Chicken Gumbo recipe

3 Medium zucchini, cut lengthwise into sixths, then into 1-inch chunks

1 15 oz. Can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

Grated cheese (optional)

Corn chips (optional)

Plain yogurt

Dinner Prep:

  1. Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat.
  2. Saute garlic, onions, and cumin for 10 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Add tomatoes with their juice, vegetable stock, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
  4. Add carrots and cook 3-4 more minutes.
  5. Add corn and okra and cook 3-4 more minutes.
  6. Add zucchini and kidney beans and cook 2-3 more minutes.
  7. Using a hand blender, puree about half of the soup, being sure to leave chunks of vegetables.
  8. Serve with grated cheese, broken corn chips, a dollop of plain yogurt, or just eat it straight out of the soup pot!

Sept 12-15 Menu and Master Shopping List

Sept 12-15 Menu and Master Shopping List

Recognizing that every day this week is going to be very busy, Tuesday and Thursday are going to be particularly crazy right around dinner time.  So while I like to alternate the entrees, (chicken Mon/Wed and something else Tues/Thurs), I am going to break with tradition and order the meals to fit the schedule.

When you adopt one of my menus for the week, compare it to your calendar and change the order accordingly. You also may realize that, in order to prepare healthy meals and not have to pull a box of frozen food from the freezer or order take out, you may have to shop and do some pre prep on Sunday.  That is what I am planning to do this week.


Monday: Southwest Chicken with tomato-avocado-black bean salsa, and fruit

Tuesday:  Turkey Burgers, green beans, fruit, and side salad

Wednesday: Asian Lettuce Wraps with Ground Turkey, green beans, and fruit

Thursday:  Chicken Chili Bake, side salad, and fruit

Shopping List:

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

3 lbs Ground turkey


1 Bunch cilantro

2 Onions

Boston Bibb lettuce

Extra greens for salad

2 Cloves Garlic

3 Tomatoes

1 Bunch green onions, chopped

2 Avocados

1 1/2 lbs Green beans (2 dinners and snack)

1 Red bell pepper

1/2 lb Snow peas


2 Limes for 1/4 c of lime juice for cilantro chicken – or purchase a bottle

Fruit for breakfast, lunch, and dinner:



1 QT Strawberries

3 Mangos

1 Pint figs (Just because I love them)

(Still have oranges from last week)


Cheddar cheese or sheep’s / goat’s milk equivalent

Plain Yogurt or Goat milk yogurt if you don’t do dairy or you can use sour cream)


Tex Mex veggie combo ( I you don’t want the corn, use 1 can black beans and either fresh or frozen bell peppers

Dry Goods

Black beans


1 T + 1/4 cup Olive oil (or canola oil)

Olive or canola spray

1 T Soy sauce

1/4 C Hoisin sauce

1 T Rice wine vinegar

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 T Ground cumin

Salt and pepper

1/4 Worcestershire sauce

Bragg’s liquid amino acids all-purpose seasoning spray (optional)



Small Hamburger buns (can also use for sandwich bread to avoid getting too much bread…)