Bulgar Wheat

Bulgar Wheat Meal – Ready to Put Together

I have committed to being honest in this blog.  The fourth dinner of the week, Bulgar Wheat with Squash, Peas, and Onions… well, uh, I didn’t quite get to it…  It’s hard to admit this – we went out to eat! But I had a good reason…  (Heard that before?…)

We belong to a family swimming and workout club that has a restaurant.  There is a quarterly food minimum.  I received notification that I had unspent money left for the quarter which is ending soon.  If you don’t spend the money you pay anyway.  So I decided to eat dinner there and make sure my minimum was spent.

The good news is that this restaurant has just been certified as a “Blue Zones” restaurant. Being a “Blue Zones” restaurant means the restaurant offers healthy meal experiences, from menu choices, to portion sizes, to the promotion of doggie bags, encouraging people to choose healthy and not overeat, a common problem in restaurant eating. … From an economic and nutrition perspective my decision to eat out seems rationale…

That said, I am not going to abandon my bulgar wheat meal.  I learned about bulgar wheat from my friend, Chef Chris, and I really want to try this recipe.  Consistent with my desire to pre-prep dinners, the meal is ready – it just needs to be warmed and served. Earlier in the day on Thursday I cooked the bulgar wheat, roasted the squash, and sautéed the onions. I just have to microwave some peas, and put the whole thing together.

My optimism remains strong.  There is always the possibility of today.

I’ll keep you posted.  Honestly.

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


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!


Split Pea Soup with Smoked Turkey Thighs

Serves 8-10

Split Pea Soup with Oatmeal Muffin


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)


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


  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


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


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.


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


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


2 smoked turkey thighs

1.75 lbs salmon filet, skin cut off


1 lemon

8 strawberries

1 avocado


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


2 1/2 C frozen green beans

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


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

Serves 2 Adults and 2 Kids + 1 lunch


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


  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!

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


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

Serves 2 Adults and 2 Kids for 2 meals


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)




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.

Oven-Fried Chicken (The Second Time Around), Steamed Squash, Roasted Beets, and a Side Salad

9-21-11 Dinner Blog

Oven-Fried Chicken (The Second Time Around), Steamed Squash, Roasted Beets, and a Side Salad

If you have noticed, I am a day behind this week.  This is no surprise to me – I always feel a day behind.  But because of today’s extraordinary craziness and mandatory “To Do’s” that were not on my list when I woke up, today’s dinner victory was all the more sweet.  Talk about easy – this one takes the cake!  I just warmed everything up and served. This is the pay off for planning and pre-prep!

I pre-heated the oven, put the chicken on a roasting pan, and just for kicks, sprinkled some more chili powder on half of the chicken, and popped the pan in the oven.

Warming up the Oven-Fried Chicken and Adding a bit of Chili Powder to Half

I got the squash, rest of the beets, greens, and the last of the pineapple and bell peppers out of the refrigerator.  Recall I cooked the squash on Sunday so I just had to warm it up.  I peeled the skin off the beets, cut them and warmed them too.  Then I portioned the greens, pineapple and bell pepper, topped with a bit of the no-oil balsamic vinaigrette.

Within 10 minutes the chicken was heated through, the sides warm and ready, and we sat down to eat!

Oven-Fried Chicken (The Second Time Around), Steamed Squash, Roasted Beets, and a Side Salad

The Verdict

The chili powder didn’t sweeten the deal for my daughter whose rating remained a 7. She reminds me this is not a bad rating, it just means it is not one of my top dishes.  Everyone else’s ratings remained high.  Though the chili powder was a nice change, the kids could only have one piece of chicken before their mouths got too hot. On the other hand, my husband and I really liked the “zip”.  In the future, I may just lightly sprinkle some chili powder on the adult’s portions once they are on the plate.

So you can’t please all of the people all of the time, but you can try to please most of them!




Oven-Fried Chicken, Roasted Beets, Fresh Green Beans and a Side Salad

For 2 Adults and 2 Kids

Recipe can be doubled and served again 2 days later. No need to reinvent this meal!

4-6 Beets

1 Acorn Squash

1.75 lbs Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts

1 C Bread crumbs

1/2 C Finely shredded cheddar cheese – I use goat’s milk cheddar

¾ t chili powder

½ t salt

Olive oil or canola oil spray

Water in a small bowl


Make ahead of time:

Preheat oven to 400

  1. Wash beets and cut off root and stems
  2. Cover beets in foil
  3. Place beets in a foil lined roasting pan
  4. Cut acorn squash in half the long way, scrape out the seeds and put meat-side down in a roasting pan with 1/2″ of water
  5.  Pop both pans in the oven for 1 hr.
  6. Check for doneness: A fork should pierce the beet easily
  7. Place beets, still wrapped in their foil, in the refrigerator until you are ready to use them
  8. Using a tablespoon, scrape out acorn squash meat and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.



For the Chicken:

Preheat oven to 350

  1. Wash and cut the chicken into smaller pieces
  2. Mix remaining ingredients in a large bowl
  3. Create an assembly line of chicken, water, breading, and a lightly sprayed roasting pan.  (If you are making a double batch you will need 2 roasting pans)
  4. Wet the chicken, dredge in breading and place on roasting pan
  5. Repeat until all chicken is breaded and on roasting pan
  6. Slide into oven and set timer for 20 minutes


For the rest of the meal:

  1. Take the beets out of the refrigerator.
  2. Peel off foil and with your fingers peel off beet skin
  3. Slice and place in a microwave-safe bowl
  4. Heat for 1-2 minutes
  5. Warm squash
  6. Set aside for serving
  7. Portion greens on each plate and add whatever salad fixings you have on hand


When chicken is ready, portion on each plate and serve. Compare to your favorite chicken nugget and see if we aren’t on to something…