With a toddler running ’round the house and both of us working full-time, life gets a little hectic around dinner time. Being pregnant doesn’t help, because I have moments where I HAVE-TO-EAT-NOW and then hours of I-can’t-eat-anything. It makes meal planning or cooking unpredictable, to say the least.
However it works, we have a vow to cook and eat together for dinners. Meal planning saves money and time too. A while back (when I was participating in Meal Planning Monday postings), someone asked me how I go about making a meal plan. To be honest, I am not sure how others do it. There are probably a million ways – depending on your budget, your desire, your week’s events, etc. But basically, this is how I plan for our weekly meals:
I check out the cupboards and fridge for what we have on hand and figure out what we can make with those ingredients or by just adding a few more.
We often have some meat in the freezer (thank you, Costco… one Costco run can keep us in meat (not fish) for a LONG time!).
We also keep frozen veggies on hand: corn, peas, green beans, etc.
We try to always have canned garbanzo beans, black beans, etc on hand too. (The Chicklet is a bean-maven.)
So, I take those things into consideration and then figure out the fresh ingredients we will need. We have to pick up milk, fruit, fresh vegetables, salad fixings, fish, cheese, etc at the market weekly if not every 4 days or so. (Especially for the milk!) We spent the GREAT majority of our shopping time getting produce. It makes gluten free shopping easy.
Last week, since I want to give my niece/nephew cookbooks for their birthday, I picked up Jamie’s Food Revolution Cookbook for our house as well. So, for our meal planning, I found recipes within his book that we could make with what we were going to be picking up. I chose four recipes for the week. (I knew we would have leftovers one night and possibly just quick eats (like Chebe sandwiches) with the other things on hand in the fridge for other nights.) I chose to make Jamie’s Chicken and Leek Stroganoff, Chicken Fajitas (I changed this one, see below), Spanish-style grilled steak, and Cucumber-Apple Salad (delicious!).
The stroganoff in his book calls for rice… but I made some Schar’s pasta instead. What can I say? I’m a pasta-with-stroganoff kind of girl. The recipe is also much different than a US stroganoff recipe. Typically, we add sour cream to the mix after cooking and removing the stroganoff from the heat. Jamie’s recipe calls for heavy cream (egads! My dad’s cardiologist just flipped his lid reading this!). I followed Jamie’s recipe for this and realized quickly that there are two things that Jamie does that I don’t: he cooks with high fats A LOT more than do I and that I would have to step-up the seasoning as he has a fabulous light hand with all things (save mint and lemon – which he obviously adores). My Love enjoyed the stroganoff but commented that he wished I had tasted/seasoned it rather than just followed the recipe guidelines as he would have preferred stronger flavors.
The Chicken Fajitas were a SNAP to make. In fact, these babies will be making their way in to our regular rotation for goodness. Since I didn’t follow Jamie’s seasoning measurements (in order to please the Love), I am making some adjustments to the recipe below by a bit of guesstimate, so please forgive me. What I do want to say about this recipe is this: YUM! Not only was this recipe super easy to make (really- on the table in 30 minutes or less) but it is also healthier than the heavy-cream version of stroganoff above.
The other recipe, Spanish-style grilled steak, was good too – but needed more seasoning. We made it in the grill pan that we used for the fajitas (it’s actually a panini pan… but whatever…same bottom as a grill pan). We served it along with the Cucumber-Apple Salad which is very nice! Even my Love, who is not a salad eater, enjoyed this one so much he asked for the leftovers for his lunch the following day! (Granted… I only gave him HALF of the leftovers… as um… well.. I wanted some too. LOL)
What recipes are your favorites for weeknight meals? This one is going to be one I adapt and play with for a very long time. It’s that easy and delicious. (Not to mention fairly healthy for you too!)
GF Chicken Fajitas
adapted from Jamie’s Food Revolution Cookbook
1 red onion or sweet white onion
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 poblano pepper (or pasilla)
6 chicken thighs (boneless, skinless) or 2 chicken breasts
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
juice from one lime
salt/black pepper to taste
3/4 teaspoon chile powder (or more to taste, we just wanted slight heat)
olive oil for cooking and seasoning
GF tortillas for serving (or serve over long grain white rice)
Other possible accompaniments:
sour cream or Mexican crema
diced fresh tomato
- Put the grill pan over a high-flame/high heat. It needs to be piping hot when you add your ingredients.
- Core and seed your peppers. Slice the bell peppers and poblano pepper into thin strips.
- Slice the red onion into thin strips.
- Slice your chcken into strips.
- Toss your ingredients in a bowl with 2 teaspoons of olive oil and the remaining seasonings: cumin, smoked paprika, salt/pepper, lime juice and chile powder.
- Using a pair of tongs, put all of your ingredients into your preheated grill pan. Cook while moving about the ingredients every so often about 6-9 minutes or until your chicken is cooked through.
- Warm your tortillas while you are cooking your meat/veg.
- Serve hot with warm tortillas.
Oh… this was so good! I may just have to make it again this week! Good thing my Love enjoys fajitas! And if you are wondering, the Chicklet thought they were divine as well. (Although she much prefers the poblano peppers to the red bells, just in case you were wondering.)
Happy GF Eating, All!