First Crack at Pre-Planning Dinner for the Week

Typically, J is the chef of the household but with work and school he's just not home lately to do it. So, I've decided that in order for me to do it and do it well, I'm going to have to plan. Otherwise, 5 p.m. rolls around and I'm asking myself, "What's for dinner?!" And then slap something quick and easy together. Like quesadillas and black beans. And salad. Or turkey meatballs with sweet potato oven fries. And salad. But it's getting routine and I really want to have a plan in place. So, this weekend I came up with this!

October 2-9, 2011Sun - Turkey and Three Bean Chili with Corn Bread and Mixed Green Salad
Mon - Penne Pasta with Gorgonzola, Spinach, Kielbasa and Apples
Tues - Hawaiian Chicken Thighs with Rice and Steamed Broccoli and Edamame
Wed - Chicken Parmesan with Pasta Florentine Thurs - Sour Cream and Chicken Enchiladas (see recipe below) with black beans and corn
Fri - DIY Pizza
Sat - Grilled Pork Chops with Mashed Potatoes and Garlic Spinach

I've created a Word Doc that has a table with columns for each night of the week (Sun-Sat) in the rows goes the main dish, carb side and veggie side. Then I have a grocery list below it. I hope to just update it each weekend, do our shopping and be ready to go for the week!

Most of my recipes are inspired by magazines, some are DIY and others I've just recently found on Pinterest. 

For the pork chops my J just seasons and grills, he does mashed potatoes with the skins on and a little half/half and minced garlic and the spinach he sautees with more garlic and some olive oil...easy peasy!

The pizza will be interesting...never DIYd my own dough, so I am considering...or I'll just get a premade crust or dough at the store and add our toppings...lots of veggies! And maybe a Hawaiian one with pinneapple and canadian bacon or turkey ham.

The recipe for the Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas is from a coworker. She makes them for staff potlucks and they are delicious!

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas

This recipe makes 10 to 12 enchiladas. Amounts are estimated as I do not measure.

3 or 4 skinless and boneless chicken breasts
10 or 12 flour tortillas (the thinner the better) I used low fat, "carb smart" tortillas
1 small can of green chiles
2 or 3 small cans of green chile enchilada sauce
Minced onion (optional) I skipped this
2 ½ cups of colby and monterey jack cheese ( or can use packaged mixture of Mexican cheese) I used a "pizza mix" since that's what we had in the fridge
1 small can of sliced black olives (optional)
3/4/ to 1 cup of sour cream (per personal preference) I used Light Sour Cream
1 or 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil I used olive oil
garlic powder (or fresh minced if preferred)

Sprinkle garlic powder, salt, and pepper (to taste) on chicken. Cook covered chicken breasts until tender. I prefer slow roasting in oven (325 degrees) for an hour or so but the breasts can be cooked on stove top in enough water to cover breasts for ½ hour or so. Chicken should be so tender it is shredding apart. Cool chicken for about 15 minutes.

Warm vegetable oil with a small amount of green chile sauce in large skillet. Warm each tortilla in mixture. Put in skillet, count to 10 and remove to a plate. This helps to keep the tortillas from getting soggy when baking.

Shred cooked chicken in a bowl, add 2 or 3 tablespoons of onion (optional), ½ of the cheese, ½ the sour cream and can of green chiles. You can a small amount of the chicken drippings if desired. Mix well.

Put about two tablespoons of chicken mixture in center of a tortilla. (More or less as needed depending on diameter of tortillas). Roll up and place in Pam sprayed pan with seam down. Continue until all tortillas or chicken are used.

Mix remainder of sour cream with remainder of green chile sauce. Pour over tortillas. Place sliced olives on top of rolled tortillas, sprinkle remainder of cheese. You may want more or less cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Enchiladas may be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated but do not add sauce until ready to bake. Increase baking time by about 10 minutes if enchiladas have been refrigerated.

Speaking of cooking, Libby cooked with me for the first time this weekend. We made peanut butter cookies. The recipe is very simple and from Parent's Magazine.

1 c. peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
1 c. sugar (and a little more for dusting)
1 egg

Mix all ingredients in a bowl until a dough forms. Make one inch balls and roll in a plate of sugar. Place balls onto an ungreased cookie sheet and use a fork to press down flat. Bake at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes or until just brown on the edges. Makes 24 cookies.

Libby had a blast as she poured the sugar into the bowl and mixed it with the peanut butter and egg. She had fun rolling the dough into little balls and placing it on the cookie sheets. We recited the Pat-A-Cake verse, "roll it...and  throw it in the pan! Pat it and prick it (as I used the fork to press them down)..." Which made her all the more excited about the entire thing! Too cute. Some cookies browned faster than others (I suspect they had more sugar ON them) and for my taste, I am not a fan of the cookies (a bit too sweet and flaky for me) but Libby had so much fun and that was the whole point. She talked about it for the rest of the night and this morning too, "Peanut butter! Sugar! Egg! Cooking cookies! Yum!" Adorable. I did manage to snap some pics but they're still in the camera. I'll add them to this post as soon as I can!