Health + Fitness

WEEKLY MEAL PLANNING

week-1-pinterest-v1

This is my first “real” blog post on Milk and Mascara. It’s harder than I thought it would be….writing a blog. I thought a lot about why people would actually want to read anything I have to say and I asked myself, “Why should/would people read YOUR blog rather than the 3 billion other brilliant and inspiring mom blogs?” or “what makes what you have to say so unique?” more times than I can count. Honestly, I would have to say….nothing. I’m “just” a normal-ish wife & mother….living in the ‘burbs….trying to keep a couple of tiny humans alive. Sometimes I think I’m kind of funny and sometimes I’m kind of crass. I have a tiny bit of a potty mouth…that I promise to refrain from using on this blog (I should also mention that I do sometimes break promises). I am not wealthy. I don’t drive an expensive car. I don’t have a closet full of designer clothes or shoes. I don’t have a fancy kitchen. I don’t spend a fortune on groceries.  I am not a professional photographer (sorry about the awful iPhone pics by the way), I am not a chef, a teacher or an expert in early childhood education. So…if I’m being totally honest…there is nothing “unique” per se. But that’s just it. I don’t think you have to be any of those things…or have any of those things….to live a good, simple life…to cook good food or to teach your kids how to be decent human beings. Don’t get me wrong….I work my a$$ off (see….I already broke my first promise I made to you and I haven’t even finished the 1st paragraph) to keep this house in working order…to get dinner on the table and keep everyone happy and healthy. I am organized, diligent and thorough. I work very hard to stay on top of “it all”…or at least most of “it all”. So, I guess my hope is that my organization can help you plan out your own week or simplify your planning, whether it be a home cooked meal, a fun activity for your tiny human(s) or a recommendation for a deliciously cheap bottle of wine.

Anyway, when I started to enjoy cooking (aka stopped poisoning people), I started these weekly meal plans and they’ve become a bit of a “hobby” of mine. Each week, I choose 4-6 recipes and plan them out depending on what our week looks like. I prep/cook almost every meal during nap time (1pm-3pm) if the recipe will allow it. Most recipes are not my own so I will link out to the original recipe and will simply notate any adjustments I made and why. I have also laid out all the ingredients for the week in a list format for the grocery store if you’re just going to make all recipes as is.

I will also be sure to let you know if my toddler ate them….SPOILER ALERT….she didn’t.

Exhibit A:

meal-plan-drama

So, without further ado….my first meal-plan for Milk & Mascara:

  1. Honey Garlic Chicken & Green Beans
  2. Verde Chicken Enchiladas
  3. Slow Cooker Thai Peanut Chicken
  4. Mongolian Beef Noodle Bowls
  5. Cuban Picadillo

week-1-labeled

RECIPE #1: HONEY GARLIC CHICKEN & GREEN BEANS

CHICKEN INGREDIENTS

  • 6 tbs honey
  • 3 tbs soy sauce
  • 3 tbs brown sugar
  • 3 tsp vinegar
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups panko bread crumbs
  • ¼ vegetable oil
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut in half butterfly style or pounded to ¼” thick and cut in half widthwise

CHICKEN DIRECTIONS

  1. In a small mixing bowl stir together first six ingredients (honey through garlic cloves). Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil over medium high.
  3. In a shallow bowl or pie plate, whisk together flour, salt and garlic powder. In a separate dish, beat eggs together. In a third dish, add panko crumbs. Dredge each chicken piece in flour mixture, then eggs and then panko crumbs, pressing crumbs slightly to adhere.
  4. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium high. Cook until chicken is golden browned on both sides and cooked through, 3-5 minutes per side. Remove from pan and set aside.
  5. Using tongs and a wad of paper towels, wipe out the pan. Return pan to medium high heat and pour in honey garlic mixture. Simmer mixture, stirring frequently, until reduced and slightly thickened, 1-3 minutes and remove from heat. Add chicken back to the pan and turn to coat both sides of each piece with sauce. Serve immediately.

GREEN BEAN INGREDIENTS

  • Green Beans, Trimmed
  • 1 Tbsp. less-sodium Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. Honey
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted Butter
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt
  • 1 Tbsp. minced Garlic

GREEN BEAN DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine the soy sauce, honey, and 1 Tbsp. water in a small bowl.
  2. In a sauté pan, heat the butter with the olive oil. When the butter is melted, add the green beans and ½ tsp salt and toss to coat. Cook, turning the beans occasionally, until most are well browned and tender.
  3. Reduce heat to low, add garlic, and cook, stirring constantly until garlic is softened. Add the sauce. Cook, stirring, until the liquid reduces to a glaze.
  4. Be sure to scrape the pan to get all of the sauce. Serve warm.

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“RECIPE” #2: VERDE ENCHILADAS WITH BLACK BEANS & ZUCCHINI*

*I don’t actually have a recipe for this so bear with me as I try to throw one together for you.

INGREDIENTS

  • Rotisserie Chicken (I VERY MUCH prefer Costco)
  • 8-10 Tortillas of your choice
  • 1 Large Can or 2 Small Cans of Verde Enchilada Sauce
  • 1-2 Zucchini
  • 1 Can Low Sodium Black Beans
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Tomatoes and/or Avocado for topping

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Strip the rotisserie
  3. In a bowl, combine chicken, zucchini, beans and some cheese if you would like.
  4. In a baking dish, begin to assemble the enchiladas. Spoon some of the chicken mixture into a tortilla. Roll up like a taquito and place in baking dish, seam side down. Continue until all tortillas have been filled.
  5. Pour the canned sauce evenly on top of the enchiladas. Top with more shredded cheese.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese starts to bubble.
  7. Serve with diced tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, rice or whatever your heart desires!

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RECIPE #3: SLOW COOKER THAI PEANUT CHICKEN (AVERIE COOKS)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (The original recipe called for the chicken to be cut into 1-inch pieces but I prefer mine shredded so I skipped that step and just threw in the breasts and shredded it later)
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
  • 1 – 14-ounce can coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground ginger, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • pinch cayenne pepper, optional and to taste
  • 1/3 cup lightly salted peanuts, finely chopped for garnishing
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves (stems discarded), optional for garnishing
  • 2 tablespoons green onions sliced thin, optional for garnishing

DIRECTIONS

  1. Line a 3 to 6-quart slow cooker with a liner if using one. I prefer to use liners for easy cleanup.
  2. Drizzle olive oil over bottom of the liner or slow cooker.
  3. To a large, gallon-sized zip-top plastic bag, add the chicken, cornstarch, salt, pepper, seal bag, and toss to coat chicken evenly. Add chicken to slow cooker, evenly distributed; set aside.
  4. To a medium bowl, add the coconut milk, peanut butter, soy sauce, honey, rice wine vinegar, lime juice, sesame oil, ginger (I prefer 1 teaspoon but some people are sensitive to ginger), garlic, optional cayenne, and whisk to combine. Tip – If your peanut butter is resistant to smoothing out, place bowl in microwave and heat on high power for 30-seconds, making sure the bowl is microwave-safe.
  5. Pour mixture over the chicken, using a spoon to distribute the sauce if necessary, making sure all pieces are coated. It looks like a lot of sauce but it reduces by at least half during cooking.
  6. Cook covered on high for about 2 hours or on low for about 4 hours. If cooking on high, start checking at 90 minutes and if cooking on low, start checking at 3 hours. All slow cookers vary so cook until chicken is done.
  7. Add chicken to a plate with as much extra cooking sauce spooned over the top as desired, garnish with peanuts, optional cilantro, optional green onions, and serve immediately. Chicken is best warm and fresh but will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

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RECIPE #4: MONGOLIAN BEEF NOODLE BOWLS (IOWA GIRL EATS)

INGREDIENTS

  • 8oz gluten-free rice noodles
  • 1/2 cup LOW-SODIUM gluten-free Tamari or soy sauce (dish will not be GF if using soy sauce)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes (or more or less)
  • 2 Tablespoons grapeseed or vegetable oil, divided
  • 1lb flank steak, sliced very thin against the grain
  • salt and pepper
  • 5 green onions, green parts chopped into 2″ pieces, white and light green parts into 1/2″ pieces
  • 3 cups coleslaw mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (from 1″ piece of ginger)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

DIRECTIONS

  1. Pre-soak rice noodles according to package directions then drain and set aside. Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together tamari or soy sauce, brown sugar, water, and red chili pepper flakes then set aside.
  2. Heat 1/2 Tablespoon oil in a wok or large nonstick skillet over heat that’s just a touch below high. Make sure oil is very hot before adding 1/3 of the beef in an even layer in the bottom of the wok. (If oil is not hot enough or you overcrowd the wok, the beef will steam vs sear.) Season lightly with salt and pepper then allow beef to form a crust on the bottom before flipping and stir frying until just barely cooked through. Remove beef to a plate then repeat with remaining beef, using 1/2 Tablespoon oil to stir fry each batch, and then set the plate aside.
  3. Heat remaining 1/2 Tablespoon oil in the wok then add green onions and coleslaw mix, season lightly with salt, and then stir fry until coleslaw begins to wilt, 1-2 minutes. Add ginger and garlic then stir fry for another 30 seconds.
  4. Add drained noodles and sauce to wok then stir fry until noodles are tender, 3-4 minutes. Remove wok from heat then add beef and toss until warmed through, and then serve.

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RECIPE #5: CUBAN PICADILLO (SKINNYTASTE)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 large chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp cilantro
  • 1-1/2 lb 93% lean ground beef (I used ground turkey because I already had a freezer full)
  • 4 oz (1/2 can) tomato sauce
  • kosher salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1-2 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp alcaparrado (I used green olives per Skinnytaste recommended substitutes)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Brown meat on high heat in large sauté pan and season with salt and pepper. Use a wooden spoon to break the meat up into small pieces. When meat is no longer pink, drain all juice from pan.
  2. Meanwhile, while meat is cooking, chop onion, garlic, pepper, tomato and cilantro.
  3. Add to the meat and continue cooking on a low flame. Add green olives and about 2 tbsp of the brine (the juice from the olives, this adds great flavor) cumin, bay leaf, and more salt if needed. Add tomato sauce and 1/4 cup of water and mix well. Reduce heat and simmer covered about 20 minutes.
  4. Serve over rice with avocado.

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So there you have it. 5 Meals. If I had to pick my favorite of the week, it was the Mongolian Beef Noodle Bowls. They were AMAZING. If you’re going to make anything, make them! In the future, there will be less chit chatting and more meal planning…I promise. Let me know if there is a better way to organize these meal plans so that they are useful and applicable! Cheers!

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GROCERY LIST:

MEAT

  • 6 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast
  • Rotisserie Chicken (I VERY MUCH prefer Costco)
  • Ground Beef or Turkey
  • 1lb Flank Steak

PRODUCE

  • Green Beans
  • 2-3 Garlic Bulbs or a jar of minced garlic
  • 1-2 Zucchini
  • Grape/Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1-2 Avocados for topping
  • 1-2 Limes for juice
  • Fresh Ginger
  • Cilantro
  • Green Onions
  • Coleslaw Mix
  • 1 – Bell Pepper

OILS/VINEGARS/SAUCES/SPICES, ETC.

  • Vegetable Oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Honey
  • Soy Sauce
  • Rice Wine Vinegar
  • Sesame Oil
  • Garlic Powder
  • Ground Ginger
  • Bay Leaves
  • Cumin
  • Red Chili Pepper Flakes
  • Creamy Peanut Butter

CANNED GOODS/CONDIMENTS

  • 1 Large Can or 2 Small Cans of Verde Enchilada Sauce
  • 1 Can Low Sodium Black Beans
  • 1 Can of Coconut Milk (lite is fine)
  • 1 Can of Tomato Sauce

OTHER:

  • Brown Sugar
  • Flour
  • Panko Bread Crumbs
  • Cornstarch
  • Peanuts
  • Green Olives
  • Butter
  • Eggs
  • Shredded Cheese
  • 8oz gluten-free rice noodles
  • 8-10 Tortillas of your choice
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