A Quick Start to a Work Week

I’m a teacher,  planning is second nature to me, so it should be no surprise that I plan out almost of my meals for the week ahead of time (I’m a nerd, I know). My preparation for the following week’s meals begins with my weekend  trip to the grocery store. Yes, the idea of even stepping foot into the grocery store on my day off makes me cringe too, but a successful trip can actually make the rest of my week quite pleasant.

This week I went to the store on Sunday afternoon (not only the worst day to go, but the worst time of day) and picked up a few items that have actually helped to start my

week off on the right foot by giving me “cook ahead” and “repurposing” options for meals for the rest of the week.

Menu for the Beginning of the Week:

  • Sunday – Baked Chicken with sauteed snap peas & shredded carrots and sweet potato fries – Family Dinner
  • Monday- Arugula, Cashew, Pumpkin Seed, Pomegranate Salad topped with Baked Chicken for mommy& daddy/ Chicken Patties with peas and sweet potato fries for Jojo (recipe for homemade chicken patties will follow next week)
  • Tuesday– Chicken salad sandwiches & Quiche

Grocery List –

  1. 1 whole chicken
  2. 1 package frozen broccoli
  3. 1 package shredded cheddar
  4. 2 lemons
  5. Fresh garlic
  6. Celery
  7. Pears
  8. 1 loaf multi-grain bread
  9. Eggs
  10. Whole milk
  11. Heart Healthy Bisquick
  12. Bread Crumbs
  13. 1 onion
  14. Arugula
  15. Feta Cheese
  16. Strawberries
  17. Raspberries
  18. Kiwi
  19. Avocados
  20. Shredded Carrots
  21. Pumpkin seeds
  22. Raw Cashews
  23. Pomegranate
  24. Sweet potatoes
  25. Ground beef
  26. Boneless Chicken thighs
  27. Snap peas
  28. Mushrooms

My cook ahead option for the week was the roast chicken. I like making a roasted chicken at the beginning of the week because it can transform itself into a variety of different meals and it’s something I can cook while spending time chasing around lil’ Jojo.   Chicken salad, chicken quesadillas,  arugula salad topped with chicken and homemade chicken patties are all great ways to “repurpose” Sunday’s chicken dinner for another lunch or dinner during the week.  My favorite roast chicken recipe comes from the Barefoot Contessa-Ina Gartnen. It is the best roast chicken recipe not only because it’s obviously delicious, but because it is quick and easy. I posted the recipe below, but also wanted to give you a fe

w quick tips.  Don’t worry if you don’t tie the chicken’s legs together. I have prepared this recipe both ways and when I do not “tie the bird up”, I make sure that the chicken is closer to the bottom rack in the oven (it still turns out juicy). Oh, and I almost never make the stock. Once the chicken is done, we let it rest then dig in.

Ina Garten’ s Engagement Roast Chicken

Ingredients
1 (4 to 5 pound) roasting chicken
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 lemons
1 whole head garlic, cut in 1/2 crosswise
Good olive oil
2 Spanish onions, peeled and thickly sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Remove and discard the chicken giblets. Pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Cut the lemons in quarters, place 2 quarters in the chicken along with the garlic and reserve the rest of the lemons. Brush the outside of the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle the chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Place the chicken in a small (11 by 14-inch) roasting pan. (If the pan is too large, the onions will burn.) Place the reserved lemons and the sliced onions in a large bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Pour the mixture around the chicken in the pan.

Roast the chicken for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and a thigh. Remove the chicken to a platter, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 10 minutes while you prepare the sauce, leaving the lemons and onions in the pan.

Place the pan on top of the stove and turn the heat to medium-high. Add the wine and stir with a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits. Add the stock and sprinkle on the flour, stirring constantly for a minute, until the sauce thickens. Add any juices that collect under the chicken. Carve the chicken onto a platter and serve with the lemons, onions, and warm sauce.

So, with the cook ahead option in the oven, I decided to prepare two additional items to “get ahead” – baked sweet potato fries (super delicious and again EASY) and a Bisquick quiche. Jojo’s favorite vegetable is the sweet potato and I make sweet potato fries at least once a week. The Bisquick quiche is a staple from my childhood. Mom used to make it with all different types of fillings, and I loved every version- thanks for the inspiration mom! Here are my go-to recipes for both:

Dr Oz Guidelines For a Perfect Sweet Potato

Making the perfect sweet potato can be difficult but if you follow the guidelines below, they will come out perfect every time.

  1. Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into wedges and bake on a rack on a baking shsweet potatoeet at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove the potatoes from the rack and allow to cool.
  3. Heat the oven to 475 degrees while keeping the baking pan in the oven.
  4. Season the sweet potatoes with salt and a small amount of sugar and spices and return to the oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

Bisquick Quiche

Batter :

  • 1/2 c Bisquick
  • 1.5 c Milk
  • 4 eggs

Filling (can change to fit your taste)

  • 3/4 bag of frozen broccoli cooked
  • 1.5 c shredded cheddar
  • dash of salt & pepper
  • 1 small onion sauteed

Mix the Bisquick, milk and eggs in a blender. In a greased 8” pie plate spread the cooked broccoli, sauteed onions and cheese. Pour the batter over the fillings. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Other versions are made with Bacon & Swiss – Yummy!!

I hope these ideas help to get your week going. Please leave any comments or questions you may have and stay tuned for more!

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