Pizza, Burger, and Fries (Dinner for Two Week 23)

Breakfast: Chewy Coconut Almond Raisin Granola Bar, Fruit and Nut Bars

Lunch: Leftovers + cranberries, guava, papaya, grapefruit

Dinner: BBQ Chicken/Veggie Pizza, Cheeseburger ‘n’ Fries Casserole, tomatoes, butternut squash, carrots, persimmons

Dessert: Crepes with strawberries

Fruit and Nut Bars

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking pan with parchment paper or coat with nonstick spray.
  2. Coarsely chop 3 cups of dried fruit and 1 1/2 cups of dry roasted nuts until most pieces are relatively uniform in size. Set aside.
  3. Whisk 1/3 cup of flour, 1/8 tsp of baking soda, and 1/8 tsp of baking powder together in a large bowl until evenly combined. Add 1/3 cup of brown sugar, fruit, and nuts, and mix to coat all fruit and nuts with the flour mixture.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat an egg with 1/2 tsp of vanilla about 2 minutes.
  5. Stir egg into flour mixture until evenly mixed.
  6. Spread mixture into prepared pan. Smooth out the top with a spatula.
  7. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Crepes (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

  1. Whisk 3 eggs in a large mixing bowl. Add 1 cup of soy milk, 1 tsp of vanilla, and 3 Tbsp of melted butter (or nondairy butter alternative). Whisk in 3/4 cup of cornstarch, a pinch of salt, and 1 Tbsp of sugar. Stir in 1 tsp of lemon zest and 1 Tbsp of poppy seeds. Let batter rest for half an hour.
  2. Four minutes before cooking, heat wide pan (at least 6-7″) to medium high heat. When hot, add a little bit of butter (or alternative) and spread across the pan evenly. Remove pan from heat to prevent smoking.
  3. Stir the batter and pour ⅛ of a cup into the pan. Quickly spread the batter with a tilt and rotate motion or by using a thin spatula to cover the bottom of the pan evenly. Return the pan to the heat.
  4. Cook the crepe for one minute, loosening the edges with a spatula as it cooks. When the top of the crepe should looks almost dry, flip it over. Cook the other side for a minute and transfer the crepe to a plate.
  5. Repeat the process until you’ve made as many crepes as you want. Add a little butter to the pan periodically to keep the crepes from sticking.
  6. Serve with sliced strawberries. Mmm!

Chewy Coconut Almond Raisin Granola Bars

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line a baking dish with foil so that some foil hangs over the edges of the pan. Butter the foil and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of old-fashioned oats, 1/2 cup of wheat germ, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 2 Tbsp of ground flaxseed, 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, 1/8 tsp of ground ginger, 1 cup of shredded coconut, 1 cup of raisins, 1/2 cup of sliced almonds and 1/4 cup of unsalted peanuts.

In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp of honey, 1/4 cup of melted unsalted butter (1/2 stick) and 1 Tbsp of fresh orange juice. Pour over the flour mixture and toss together with a fork. The mixture will be dry but sticky. Blend together until all of the dry ingredients are moistened by the honey mixture.

Dump oat mixture into the prepared baking dish. With clean, slightly oiled fingers (or a fork), firmly press the oat mixture into the dish. Bake for 35-40 minutes. The baked granola will still be soft even after it’s baked, but will harden as it cools.

Remove baked granola from the oven and cool for 30 minutes. Place the baking dish in the refrigerator for about an hour before slicing. Don’t skip this step or it will crumble.

Use the overhang foil flaps to remove the baked granola. Use a large, sharp knife to cut block into 12 bars. Wrap individually in plastic wrap and store in an air tight container. Will last, well wrapped, at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook and cube one chicken breast. Place a prebaked Italian bread shell crust on a pizza pan. Spread with 2/3 cup of honey garlic BBQ sauce. Sprinkle with a small chopped red onion, cubed chicken, and 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake for 10 minutes.

Unexpected guests? Cut one of these pizzas up into strips and serve as an appetizer when friends pop by unexpectedly. They are fast to whip up which will give you extra stalling time while you think of what to serve for the main course. Suggestion? Cheeseburger ‘n’ Fries Casserole. See below. 

Game night? Make one or two of these babies with chicken and then one more with no chicken, but load on the interesting veggies instead. I recommend cubed rutabaga, corn, and cubed sweet potato. Kids coming? Make a happy face out of the veggies to make them seem fun. Or lay out the ingredients and let them decorate their own. You’ll be the most happening place in town. 

Cheeseburger ‘n’ Fries Casser0le

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook 2 lbs of lean ground beef in a skillet over medium heat and drain. Stir in a can of golden mushroom soup and a can of cheddar cheese soup. Pour into a greased baking dish. Arrange a package of frozen crinkle-cut French fries on top. Bake, uncovered, for 50-55 minutes.

SHOPPING LIST: 

24 oz of mozzarella cheese

Eggs

Soy milk (or other nondairy milk)

Non dairy butter alternative

3 prebaked Italian bread shell crust (14 oz)

3 red onions

3 tomatoes

Butternut squash

6 carrots

3-18 persimmons (depending on size)

Rutabaga

Corn

Sweet potato

Cranberries

Strawberries

Guava

Papaya (1 large or 3 small)

3-6 grapefruits

Lemon

Orange

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (or 2 cups of leftover cooked chicken)

2 lbs lean ground beef

Pkg of frozen crinkle-cut fries (20 oz)

Can of golden mushroom soup (11 oz)

Can of cheddar cheese soup (11 oz)

Honey garlic BBQ sauce

Old-fashioned oats

Unsalted peanuts

Dried fruit – I recommend apricots, dates, and cherries

Dry roasted nuts – I recommend pecans and almonds

[Also needed: wheat germ, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, ground flaxseed, ground ginger, shredded coconut, raisins, sliced almonds, honey, unsalted butter, vanilla, sugar, cornstarch, poppy seeds, flour, baking soda, baking powder]

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Vegetables Galore! (Dinner for Two Week 5)

Lunch: Potato Salad or Green Salad with Buttermilk Dressing; Pear; Trail Mix

Dinner: Meat Loaf, Ham, or Chicken Strips with Hot Mustard Dip; Roasted Squash; Potatoes

Buttermilk Salad Dressing

Combine 3/4 cup of 1% buttermilk, 2 cups of cottage cheese, and an envelope of ranch salad dressing mix in a blender or food processor. Cover and process for 20 seconds. Pour into a small pitcher or bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Stir before serving with salad/veggies.

Salad Suggestion: Mixed greens (or your favorite kind of lettuce), cubed squash, tomato, grapes, raisins, apple, celery, green onions and leftover dried fruit, nuts, cheese

Pimiento Potato Salad

Cook 2 lbs of small red potatoes (about 12). Thinly slice 4 green onions and 3 celery ribs. Cut potatoes into 1/4 inch slices. In an ungreased dish, layer half of the potatoes, onions, celery, and a drained jar of pimientos. Repeat layers. Pour an 8 oz bottle of Italian salad dressing over all. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Stir before serving.

Easy Meat Loaf

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly beat 1 egg. Crush 33 butter-flavored crackers. Combine the egg, a can of French onion soup, and the cracker crumbs. Crumble 1 lb of lean ground beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into a loaf. Place in a greased baking dish. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Pour a can of golden mushroom soup over loaf. Bake 1 hour longer. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing.

Honey-Dijon Ham

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place a 3 lb boneless fully cooked ham on a greased rack in a shallow roasting pan. Bake, uncovered, for 50-60 minutes. Combine 1/3 cup of honey, 2 Tbsp of Dijon mustard, and 2 Tbsp of brown sugar. Brush about 3 Tbsp over ham.

Bake 10-15 minutes longer. Stir 1 Tbsp of water into remaining glaze. Heat through and serve with the ham.

Trail Mix

Combine 2 lbs of roasted peanuts, 2 lbs of cashews, 1 lb of M&Ms, 1 lb of raisins, and 1/2 lb of flaked coconut in a large bowl. Store in an airtight container.

Hot Mustard Dip

Combine 1/4 cup of ground mustard and 1/4 cup of vinegar in a small pot. Let stand for 30 minutes. Whisk in 1/4 cup of sugar and 1 egg yolk until smooth.

Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture just begins to simmer and is thickened, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat. Whisk in 2 Tbsp of honey. Store in the fridge. Serve with pretzels, chicken strips, or anything else you like to eat with hot-and-spicy sauce.

SHOPPING LIST:

1% buttermilk

Cottage cheese

Eggs

Potatoes (12 small red and 6 medium-large yellow)

Green onions

Celery

Lettuce or mixed greens

2 yellow squashes (one spaghetti for roasting, one of something else for salad)

Tomato

2 small bunches of grapes (green and red)

Apple

10 pears

1 lb lean ground beef

3 lb boneless fully cooked ham

Frozen chicken strips

Can of condensed French onion soup

Can of condensed golden mushroom soup

Jar of diced pimientos (2 oz)

Italian salad dressing

Butter-flavored crackers

Ranch salad dressing mix

Ground mustard

Pretzels

Dry roasted peanuts (at least 2 lbs)

Cashews (at least 2 lbs)

Raisins (at least 1.5 lbs)

M&Ms (at least 1 lb)

Flaked coconut (at least 1/2 lb)

Vinegar

Brown sugar

[Also needed: sugar, honey, Dijon mustard]

Two Meals One Pot (Dinner for Two Week 1)

Lunch: Spaghetti or Tacos; Honey-Glazed Snack Mix; Elderberries or Grapes

Dinner: Beef Stroganoff and Broccoli or Chicken Fried Rice; Mashed or Roasted Rutabaga or Corn

Dessert: Glass of Low-Fat Eggnog

 

Two Meals One Pot

Combine 2 cans of chili with beans, 2 drained cans of mixed vegetables, 2 drained cans of whole kernel corn, 2 cans of diced tomatoes, and 2 cans of green chilies in a large pot. Heat through.

A) Cook spaghetti noodles according to package directions. Spoon chili over noodles. Top with any leftover cheese if you have any.

B) Zap taco shells in microwave for 15-30 seconds. Spoon chili inside shells. It’s good just like that, but if you have any leftover vegetables, cheese, beans, or other toppings – go ahead and add them! My favorite is iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, sour cream, green onions or chives, sliced black olives, and cheddar cheese.

 

Chicken Fried Rice

Cook a package of fried rice mix according to package directions. Stir in 2 cups of cubed cooked chicken, 1 1/2 cups of cooked broccoli florets, and a can of drained sliced water chestnuts. Heat through. Sprinkle with 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese.

 

Beef Stroganoff

Combine a can of condensed cream of mushroom soup, 2 Tbsp of onion soup mix, 2 Tbsp of beef broth, and 1 Tbsp of quick-cooking tapioca in a slow cooker. Let stand for 15 minutes. Cut 1 lb of stew meat into 1 inch cubes. Stir meat into slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 minutes. Serve over noodles or mashed potatoes.

[As tempting as it is, don’t lift the lid unless the recipe instructs to stir or add ingredients. The steam during cooking creates a seal, so every time the lid is lifted, it loses 15-30 minutes worth of steam, so it won’t be ready in the time allotted and will have to stay in the crock pot even longer.]

 

Low-Fat Eggnog

Combine 11 cups of cold fat-free milk and 2 tsp of vanilla extract in a large bowl. Combine 2 packages of instant sugar-free vanilla pudding mix, artificial sweetener equivalent to 1/3 cup of sugar, and 1/2 tsp of nutmeg in another bowl. Whisk into milk mixture until smooth. Refrigerate until serving.

 

Honey-Glazed Snack Mix

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine 8 cups of Crispix cereal, 3 cups of miniature pretzels, and 2 cups of pecan halves in a large bowl. Melt 2/3 cup of butter. Stir in 1/2 cup of honey until well blended. Pour over cereal mixture and stir to coat. Spread into two greased baking pans.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool in pan for 3 minutes. Remove from pan and spread on waxed paper to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

 

SHOPPING LIST:

3L of skim milk

Mozzarella cheese (4 oz)

Taco shells (soft or hard – you choose!)

Potatoes

Elderberries

Grapes

5 rutabagas

1 lb beef stew meat

Cooked chicken (2 cups cubed)

Frozen broccoli florets

Can of condensed cream of mushroom

2 cans of chili with beans

Can of sliced water chestnuts

2 cans of mixed vegetables

3 cans of whole kernel corn

2 cans of diced tomatoes

2 cans of green chilies

Beef broth

Onion soup mix

2 boxes of noodles: one spaghetti, one rotini or twisty egg noodles

Pkg of fried rice mix (6 oz)

Nutmeg

Honey

Miniature pretzels

Pecans (2 cups worth)

2 pkgs of instant sugar-free vanilla pudding mix (Make sure it’s not the kind that is supposed to be cooked)

Artificial sweetener (I like Splenda)

Quick-cooking tapioca

Vanilla extract

Crispix cereal

Whole wheat pastry flour (or gluten-free flour of choice)

[Also needed: Butter]

Week 24

Shopping List:

Mayonnaise

Sour cream

Envelope of vegetable soup mix

Pkg of frozen chopped spinach

Can of water chestnuts

Pick 4 different kinds of veggies this week that you love to eat raw. I recommend sugar snap or snow peas, cauliflower, mushrooms, and bell peppers. Try to pick a variety of different colored things.

Can of cream of shrimp or cream of mushroom soup

Seafood seasoning

Pkg of frozen cooked medium salad shrimp (1 lb)

Rice

Pkg of mixed salad

Your choice of a ready made dessert (I like McCain’s Chocolate Cake)

 

[Note: I had company this week, which blew my budget. I had to be a little creative and use leftover things in my cupboard to create edible meals for the rest of the week]

 

Lunch: Veggies and dip

Dinner: Shrimp, rice, and salad

Dessert: Whatever you chose

 

Shrimp Newberg

Combine a can of condensed cream of shrimp or mushroom soup, 1/4 cup of water, and 1 tsp of seafood seasoning in a pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Stir in a 1 lb package of previously frozen cooked medium salad shrimp (it should be thawed at this point). Heat through. Cook rice according to package directions. Serve shrimp over rice.

 

Veggie Dip

Combine 1 cup of mayonnaise, 1 cup of sour cream, and an envelope of vegetable soup mix in a bowl. Stir in a package of frozen chopped spinach that has been thawed and squeezed dry and a can of water chestnuts that has been drained and chopped. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours so the flavors set together.