Potato Sloppy Joe Bake (Dinner for Two Week 28)

Breakfast: Super Duper Healthy Breakfast Cookies, Potato Sloppy Joe Bake
Lunch: Bean Burritos, Herbed Cheese and Tomato Sandwich, banana, dark chocolate, and mangoes, nectarines, oranges
Dinner: Roast Chicken with Potatoes and Butternut Squash and asparagus, avocado, broccoflower, broccoli
Dessert: Peach Crisp
Roast Chicken with Potatoes and Butternut Squash
  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Combine 1 1/2 Tbsp pf minced garlic, 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp of pepper, and 1/2 tsp of dried rubbed sage in a small bowl. Remove and discard giblets and neck from chicken. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under chicken. Rub garlic mixture under loosened skin. Place chicken, breast side up, on rack of a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Place rack in broiler pan.
  3. Cut 12 oz of red potatoes into wedges. Cube and peel 8 oz of butternut squash – should end up with 1 1/2 cups.
  4. Combine potatoes, squash, butter, 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Arrange vegetable mixture around chicken. Bake at 400° for 1 hour or until a thermometer inserted into meaty part of thigh registers 165°. Let stand 10 minutes. Discard skin.
Herbed Cheese and Tomato Sandwich
Spread 1 Tbsp of spicy brown mustard on an English muffin. Add 1/4 cup of cottage cheese on one half. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp of chopped chives and garlic powder to taste. On the other half, add 2 slices of tomatoes, 1/4 of a sliced avocado, and a leaf of butter lettuce.
Potato Sloppy Joe Bake
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Cook 1 lb of ground beef in a skillet over medium heat. Drain. Add a can of sloppy joe sauce and a can of cream of potato soup. Place a package of frozen cubed hashbrown potatoes in a greased baking dish. Top with beef mixture.
  3. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover. Bake 10 minutes longer. Sprinkle with cheese.
Bean Burritos
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook enough long grain rice to equal 1 cup. Combine a can of refried beans, 1 cup of salsa, rice, and 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese in a bowl. Spoon about 1/3 cup off-center of each of the 12 flour tortillas. Fold the sides and ends over filling and roll up.
Arrange burritos in a greased baking dish. Sprinkle with 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese. Cover and bake for 20-25 minutes.
Peach Crisp
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Peel and roughly chop peaches directly into baking dish. You can use a vegetable peeler and a paring knife, but you can also blanch stone fruits to get the skin off.
In a food processor, blend 1/2 cup of flour, 3/4 cup of brown sugar, a pinch of salt, and 6 Tbsp of chilled cubed butter or Earth Balance with several on-off pulses or only until the mixture looks like a coarse meal. Add 1 cup of quick or rolled oats and pulse a few more times to break them up.
Spread topping over fruit. Bake for 45-55 minutes. Depending on the juiciness of the fruit and how full you filled your dish, you may want to put some foil below the pan in the oven to catch any overflow.

Super Duper Healthy Breakfast Cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl mix 1 cup of rolled oats, 1/4 cup of almond meal, 2 Tbsp of chia seeds, 1 cup of coconut flakes, 1/2 cup of chopped mixed nuts, 1 cup of mixed dried fruit, 1/2 tsp of salt, 1 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp of allspice.  In a separate bowl, mash 3 bananas with a fork until it’s all gooey.  Add 1/2 cup of applesauce and 1 tsp of vanilla.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones, and mix until is well incorporated.  If the mixture seems too dry, just add more applesauce.  Place heaping tablespoon-fulls onto a cookie sheet, mold into rounds, and press down slightly.  Bake for 20 minutes.

 

SHOPPING LIST:

Butter or Earth Balance

Low-fat cottage cheese

12 flour tortillas (6-7″)

English muffins

Lemon

3 mangoes

2 bunches of bananas

8 peaches

6 nectarines

6 oranges

Tomato

Chives

Asparagus

4 avocados

Broccoflower

Broccoli

Butter lettuce

Butternut squash

12 oz red potatoes

1 lb ground beef

3.5 lb roasting chicken

Pkg of frozen cubed hashbrown potatoes (32 oz)

Can of sloppy joe sauce (15.5 oz)

Can of condensed cream of potato soup (11 oz)

Unsweetened applesauce

Spicy brown mustard

Dried rubbed sage

Dark chocolate

[Also needed: cheddar cheese, rolled oats, almond meal, chia seeds, coconut flakes, mixed nuts (pecans), mixed dried fruit (raisins/blueberries), salt, cinnamon, allspice, vanilla extract, flour, brown sugar, garlic, pepper, cooking spray, butter]

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Oh My Bird! (Dinner for Two Week 21)

Breakfast: Vanilla Chai Almond Smoothie

Lunch: Leftovers + kiwi

Dinner: Duck with Cherry Sauce, Turkey Tenderloin Supreme, or Sunday Chicken and Stuffing, rice, radishes and bell peppers

Dessert: Chocolate Hazelnut Pie

Duck with Cherry Sauce

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prick the skin of a 4-5 lb domestic duckling with a fork and place, breast side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Tie the drumsticks together. Bake, uncovered, for 2 hours. Drain fat from the pan as it accumulates. Cover. Let stand for 20 minutes before carving.

Meanwhile, for sauce, combine a jar of cherry preserves and 2 Tbsp of red wine vinegar in a small pot. Cook and stir over medium heat. Serve with duck. Garnish plate and serve with bing cherries, starfruit, and kale with a squeeze of lime.

Chocolate Hazelnut Blender Pie

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Roast 1 cup of hazelnuts for 8 minutes until fragrant. Be sure not to burn them.
  3. Set aside to cool. Turn oven down to 300 degrees. When cool, roll off the skins [see tip].
  4. Throw 3/4 cup of coconut flour, 3/4 cup of cacao or unsweetened cocoa powder, 4 eggs, 2 cups of hemp or soy milk, 1/2 cup (or 1 stick) of melted vegan margarine, 3/4 cup of agave nectar, 2 tsp of natural vanilla extract, and a pinch of Celtic sea salt in a blender and mix on high until smooth and creamy. The mixture will be very thick. Taste the batter if you feel comfortable. Add up to 1/4 cup more of cacao/cocoa powder and/or agave nectar to taste if needed. If you aren’t comfortable tasting it raw, that’s fine, but make a note on your recipe for next time!
  5. Grease a 9″ pie plate and pour the mixture into the dish.
  6. Bake for about 40-60 minutes. Cool (the pie will continue to set, so try not to disturb it too much). When cooled completely, chill in the fridge.
  7. Serve with dollops of vegan cream, berries and/or shredded coconut.

Vanilla Chai Almond Smoothie

Soak 5 pitted dates in lukewarm water at least one hour before you plan to have the smoothie.

Put dates in a blender or food processor. Add 1 1/2 cups of unsweetened almond milk, 2 tsp of unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, 1/2 tsp of cardamom, and 1/8 tsp of vanilla extract. Blend until smooth and enjoy! Makes enough for one large smoothie or two smaller ones.

Turkey Tenderloin Supreme

Brown 6 turkey breast tenderloin slices in 1 Tbsp of butter in a large skillet. Add 3 thinly sliced green onions. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Combine a can of cream of chicken soup and 1/4 cup of water. Pour over turkey. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Serve over rice.

Sunday Chicken and Stuffing

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a package of instant chicken stuffing according to package directions. Spoon down the center of a greased baking dish. Place 6 chicken breasts around stuffing. Combine a can of cream of chicken soup, 1/3 cup of milk, and 1 Tbsp of parsley. Pour over chicken.

Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake 10-15 minutes.

SHOPPING LIST:

Almond milk

Hemp or soy milk

Vegan cream

Vegan margarine – 1 stick (like Earth Balance)

Eggs (preferably organic)

Lime

Dates

6 kiwis

Bing cherries

Starfruit

Berries

Kale

Green onions

6 radishes

3 bell peppers

4-5 lb domestic duckling

6 turkey breast tenderloin slices (4 oz ea)

6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves

2 cans of condensed cream of chicken soup (11 oz ea)

2 cans of sliced pineapple (20 oz ea)

Jar of cherry preserves (12 oz)

Red wine vinegar

Natural vanilla extract

Pkg of instant stuffing mix (6 oz)

Dried parsley flakes

Rice

Hazelnuts

Coconut flour

Cacao

Celtic sea salt

[Also needed: milk, butter, cocoa powder, cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla, agave nectar]

Chow Mein (Dinner for Two Week 12)

Lunch: Pasta salad, Pear or Rhubarb, Peanut butter popcorn bars

Dinner: Chicken and broccoli chow mein or Turkey and stuffing pie, Cooler

 

Tricolor Pasta Salad                              I usually double this one and sometimes add chickpeas

Cook a package of tricolor spiral pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, place a package of frozen California-blend vegetables in a glass dish. Cover and microwave for 7-8 minutes. Drain. Drain pasta and rinse in cold water.

Combine the pasta, vegetables, and a drained can of sliced ripe olives in a bowl. [Add chickpeas if using them.] Combine 1 – 1 1/3 cups of Italian salad dressing and 1/4 – 1/2 tsp of garlic salt. Pour over salad and toss to coat. Refrigerate until serving. 

 

Turkey and Stuffing Pie

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If using raw turkey, cook 2 cups worth. If using deli, cube 2 cups worth. If using leftovers, shred 2 cups worth. Prepare 3 cups worth of stuffing (or use leftovers). Press stuffing onto the bottom and up the sides of a well-greased pie plate. Top with turkey and 1 cup of shredded Swiss cheese. Beat 3 eggs and 1/2 cup of milk. Pour over cheese. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving. 

 

Chicken and Broccoli Chow Mein

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook and cube 2 chicken breasts. Chop up broccoli. Combine a can of cream of chicken soup, a can of chicken with rice soup, and a can of evaporated milk in a bowl. Stir in chicken and broccoli. Transfer to a greased baking dish. Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes. Stir. Sprinkle with chow mein noodles. Bake 5-10 minutes. 

 

Peanut Butter Popcorn Bars

Pop 3 bags of popcorn. Place in a large bowl. Set aside. Bring 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of light corn syrup to a boil in a pot over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat. 

Stir in 1/2 cup of creamy peanut butter and 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract. Mix well. Pour over popcorn and mix under well coated. Press into a buttered pan. Cool slightly before cutting. 

 

Sunny Citrus Cooler

Combine a can of pineapple juice, 2 cans of thawed orange juice concentrate, and 3/4 cup of lemonade concentrate in a pitcher. Add 6 cups of ginger ale or white soda and mix well. Serve over ice. Garnish with orange slices. Refrigerate leftovers. 

 

SHOPPING LIST:

Swiss cheese

Eggs

Orange

6 pears

Rhubarb

Broccoli

Brussel sprouts

Celery

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

Turkey (Leftovers, deli, or cook enough to get 2 cups worth)

2 pkgs of frozen California-blend vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots) [16 oz ea]

2 cans of frozen orange juice concentrate

Lemonade concentrate

Can of pineapple juice (46 oz)

Can of condensed cream of chicken soup

Can of condensed chicken with rice soup

Can of evaporated milk

Can of chow mein noodles

Can of chickpeas

2 cans of sliced ripe olives

Ginger ale or white soda

Light corn syrup

Popcorn

Stuffing

2 pkgs of tricolor spiral pasta (16 oz ea)

Whole-rolled oats

Chia seeds

Raw sliced almonds

Sunflower seeds

Garlic salt

[Also needed: sugar, vanilla, creamy peanut butter, milk, Italian salad dressing]

Banana Pops (Dinner for Two Week 11)

Lunch: Artichoke or Cottage cheese veggie salad, Taco tidbits, Apples or Grapes

Dinner: Chow mein chicken, Broccoli or Rapini

Dessert: Banana popsicles

Artichoke Heart Salad

Drain a can of artichoke hearts and cut each heart into quarters. Drain a can of sliced ripe olives. Chop a green pepper. Thinly slice green onions. Combine artichokes, olives, 1/3 cup of green pepper, and 1/3 cup of green onions in a bowl. Add 3/4 cup of Italian salad dressing and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Serve with a slotted spoon.

Cottage Cheese Veggie Salad

Peel, pit, and chop a large, ripe avocado. Chop a tomato. Slice 1/4 cup of stuffed olives. Combine 3 cups of small-curd cottage cheese, avocado, tomato, and olives in a serving bowl. Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp of sliced green onions.

Chow Mein Chicken

This recipe yields one batch, but I usually double the recipe anyway because it’s so good!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook and cube two chicken breasts. Combine a can of cream of chicken soup, a can of chicken with rice soup, and a can of evaporated milk in a bowl. Stir in chicken. Transfer to a greased baking dish. Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes. Stir. Sprinkle with a can of chow mein noodles. Bake 5-10 minutes. Add a drained can of sliced water chestnuts before baking for extra crunch, if you want.

Banana Pops

Cut a ripe banana into wedges. Combine 1 cup of vanilla yogurt, 1/2 cup of orange juice, and the banana in a blender. Cover and process until smooth. Pour into Popsicle trays or pour into small plastic disposable cups and insert Popsicle sticks. Freeze until firm, about 5 hours or overnight.

Taco Tidbits

Place 6 Tbsp of butter in a glass dish. Cover and microwave for 60-70 seconds. Add 3 Tbsp of taco seasoning. Stir in 8 cups of Corn Chex until evenly coated.

Microwave for 1 minute. Stir. Heat 1 – 1 1/2 minutes longer. Stir. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese. Microwave for 1 minute. Stir. Heat 1 minute longer. Cool.

SHOPPING LIST:

Eggs or egg whites

Cottage cheese (24 oz)

Parmesan cheese

Vanilla yogurt

Orange juice

Bananas

6 apples

Grapes

Avocado

Tomato

Green onions

Green pepper

Broccoli

Rapini

Stuffed olives

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

2 cans of condensed cream of chicken soup (11 oz ea)

2 cans of condensed chicken with rice soup (10.5 oz ea)

2 cans of chow mein noodles (3 oz ea)

2 cans of evaporated milk (5 oz ea)

Can of sliced water chestnuts

Can of artichoke hearts (14 oz)

Can of sliced ripe olives (2 oz)

Taco seasoning

Corn Chex

Cereal

Cornstarch

White rice flour

Tapioca flour

Cream of tartar

[Also needed: butter, sugar]

Don’t be Corn-fused (Dinner for Two Week 9)

Lunch: Chicken salad, Cherry salad, Cheerio’ square, Amazeing mix, Grapefruit

Dinner: Breaded ranch chicken or Tuna delight, Rice or Noodles, Arugula or Asparagus

After Thanksgiving Salad 

Note: It’s called After Thanksgiving Salad because the original recipe calls for leftover turkey. If you have some, or would prefer to buy turkey breasts instead, go for it, but since chicken is an easy, cheap substitute, I used it instead.

Cook and shred 4 chicken breasts. Meanwhile, hard boil an egg. When finished, peel and mash the egg with a fork in a bowl. Add shredded chicken, 3/4 cup of mayonnaise, and 1 Tbsp of sweet pickle relish. Cover and refrigerate until serving. Stir in 1/2 cup of chopped pecans just before serving.

Frozen Cherry Salad

Combine a softened package of cream cheese and a thawed carton of whipped topping in a mixing bowl. Stir in a can of cherry pie filling. Drain 2 cans of mandarin oranges. Set aside 1/4 cup for garnish. Fold remaining oranges into cream cheese mixture. Transfer to a loaf pan. Cover and freeze overnight.

Remove from the freezer 15 minutes before cutting. Garnish with reserved mandarin oranges, maraschino cherries, and orange wedges.

Tuna Delight

Combine 1 3/4 cups of thawed mixed vegetables, a can of drained and flaked tuna, and a can of cream of chicken or celery soup in a large pot. Cook and stir until heated through. Serve over rice or noodles.

Breaded Ranch Chicken

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine 3/4 cup of crushed Cornflakes, 3/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese, and an envelope of ranch salad dressing mix in a shallow bowl. Dip 8 chicken breasts in 1/2 cup of melted butter, then roll in cornflake mixture to coat.

Place in a greased baking dish. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes.

A-maze-ing Mix

Combine 3 bags of popped popcorn, a box of Corn Pops, and a package of corn chips in several large bowls. Melt 2 packages of vanilla or white chocolate chips in a pot over medium-low heat. Stir until smooth. Pour over popcorn mixture and toss to coat. Spread in two pans. Cool. Store in airtight containers.

Cheerio’ Squares

Place 3 Tbsp of butter and a package of mini marshmallows in a large glass bowl. Microwave, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup of peanut butter until blended. Add 5 cups of Cheerios and 1 cup of plain M&Ms. Mix well. Spoon into a greased pan. Press down gently. Cool slightly before cutting.

SHOPPING LIST:

Cream cheese

Parmesan cheese

Eggs

Orange

Arugula

Asparagus

14 grapefruits

12 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

Frozen whipped topping

Frozen mixed vegetables

Can of tuna (12 oz)

Can of condensed cream of chicken or celery soup

Can of cherry pie filling (21 oz)

2 cans of mandarin oranges

Jar of maraschino cherries

Sweet pickle relish

Peanut butter

Pkg of mini marshmallows (10.5 oz)

2 pkgs of vanilla or white chips (10-12 oz each)

Ranch salad dressing mix

Crushed cornflakes

Cheerios

Corn pops

Popcorn

Corn chips

Pecans

Rice

Noodles

Baking soda

Canola oil

[Also needed: butter, M&Ms, mayonnaise]

Gingerbread Pumpkin Squares (Dinner for Two Week 7)

Breakfast: Gingerbread Pumpkin Squares

Lunch: Corn Salad, Orange Buttermilk Salad, Ham, Nectarine or Peach, Nuts

Dinner: Italian Chicken Dinner or Peachy Pork and an endive

Dessert: Cool Waters Shake

Gingerbread Pumpkin Squares

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a baking pan with oil or non-stick spray.

Combine 1/4 cup of whole wheat pastry flour, 3/4 cup of vanilla whey protein powder, 1/2 cup of oats, 2 tsp of baking powder, 1/2 tsp of salt, 2 tsp of cinnamon, 1/2 tsp of ground cloves, 1/2 tsp of ground ginger, and 1/2 tsp of nutmeg in a medium-sized bowl and stir well. Stir together 1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk, 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree, 3 Tbsp of molasses, 2 tsp of vanilla, and 3 packets of Stevia in a larger bowl until a smooth mixture forms.

Gradually pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mixing until just combined. Stir in 1/2 cup of walnut pieces.

Scrape the batter into the greased pan and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool before trying to remove the cake. Lift it out of the pan with a large flipper and cut into 9 squares.

Orange Buttermilk Salad

Bring a can of crushed pineapple to a boil in a pot. Remove from the heat. Add a package of orange gelatin and stir to dissolve. Add 2 cups of buttermilk and mix well. Cool to room temperature. Fold in carton of thawed whipped topping. Pour into a dish. Refrigerate several hours or overnight. Cut into squares. Great side dish to ham.

Creamy Corn Salad

Combine a drained can of whole kernel corn, a seeded and diced tomato, 2 Tbsp of chopped onion, 1/3 cup of mayonnaise, and 1/4 tsp of dill weed in a small bowl. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Peachy Pork

Cut 1 lb of pork tenderloin into 1/4 inch slices. Saute in a large skillet in 2 Tbsp of vegetable oil for 4 minutes. Add 4 minced garlic cloves. Cook and stir 1 minute longer. Stir in a jar of salsa and 1/4 cup of peach preserves. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 2 minutes. Serve over rice.

Italian Chicken Dinner

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut up a 3 lb fryer/broiler chicken and place in a greased baking dish. Cut up 1 lb of red potatoes into chunks and arrange around chicken. Drizzle with 3/4 cup of Italian salad dressing. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp of Italian seasoning and 3/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese.

Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover. Bake 20-30 minutes longer.

Cool Waters Shake

Combine 3/4 cup of cold milk, 2 Tbsp of berry blue gelatin, and 3/4 cup of vanilla ice cream in a blender. Cover and process for 30 seconds. Pour into a glass and drink immediately.

Stovetop Snacks

Saute 2 cups of nuts in 2 Tbsp of oil or melted butter over medium-high heat, stirring often, until they begin to brown. Sprinkle with your choice of seasonings (salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, curry powder, etc], tossing the nuts with a wooden spoon. Turn out onto paper towels to cool, then store in an airtight container.

SHOPPING LIST:

Almond milk

Buttermilk

Parmesan cheese

Red potatoes (at least 2 lbs)

6 nectarines

6 peaches

Tomato

3 endives

Onion

Garlic

Ham

1 lb pork tenderloin

Broiler/fryer chicken (3 lbs)

Vanilla ice cream (at least 1 quart)

Frozen whipped topping (8 oz)

Salsa (16 oz)

Can of whole kernel corn (15 oz)

Can of crushed pineapple (20 oz)

Peach preserves

Pumpkin puree

2 pkgs of berry blue and 1 pkg of orange gelatin

Rice

Walnuts

Italian seasoning

Dill weed

Ground ginger

Molasses

Stevia

Chocolate chips

Potato starch

[Also needed: nuts, vegetable oil, butter, favorite seasoning, milk (at least 1 L), mayonnaise]

Chuck Wagon Dinners (Dinner for Two Week 4)

Breakfast: Smoothie

Lunch: Burger or Chili Baked Potato, Cheese Wedges, bananas or strawberries

Dinner: Chicken Cordon Bleu or Cube Steak; rice or baked potato; mixed vegetables

Chuck Wagon Burgers

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine 2 lbs of ground beef, an envelope of onion soup mix, and 1/2 cup of water in a bowl. Mix well. Shape into 8 3/4 inch patties. Grill, uncovered, or broil 4 inches from the heat for 5-6 minutes on each side.

Meanwhile, take apart a tube of large refrigerated biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet. Sprinkle with an 1/8 tsp of seasoning salt. Bake for 12-14 minutes. Split. Top each biscuit with a hamburger.

5-Can Chili Topping

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

Baked Potatoes (4 Methods – Pick the one that works best for your schedule!)

Rub potatoes with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and prick them with the tines of a fork.

  1. The original method for (crispy skins): Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lay potatoes directly on the rack or place on a baking sheet. Bake for 45-60 minutes.
  2. The traditional method (soft skins): Preheat oven to 435 degrees. Wrap potatoes in tin foil. Lay potatoes directly on the rack or place on a baking sheet. Bake for 45-60 minutes.
  3. The quickest method (soft skins): Place potatoes in a glass dish and microwave for 5 minutes. Turn over and microwave another 3-5 minutes.
  4. The working-girl method (soft skins): Wrap potatoes in tin foil and place in slow cooker. Cook on low for low for 8-10 hours.

Top with chili, sour cream, chives or green onions, cooked and crumbled bacon, and cheddar cheese.

Broiled Chicken Cordon Bleu

Place 4 chicken breasts on the rack of a broiler pan. Broil 4 inches from the heat for 3 minutes. Turn and broil 3 minutes on the other side. Brush with 1/4 cup of melted butter. Continue turning and basting about 4 minutes.

Place a slice of deli meat on each chicken breast. Broil for 1-2 minutes. Spread 1 Tbsp of honey mustard dressing over each. Top with a slice of deli cheese. Broil for 30 seconds.

Note: You can do them all the same if you want, as in all with ham and Swiss, for example. I like to make them all different so it feels like a different meal when we reheat leftovers the next day. Plus, I prefer stronger flavored cheeses, like sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack, while my boyfriend prefers milder ones, like mozzarella and Swiss. With a variety to choose from, it kind of feels like we went out for dinner at a restaurant!

Seasoned Cube Steaks

Combine 1 cup of soy sauce, 1 tsp of dried minced garlic, and 1 tsp of dried minced onion in a large Ziplock bag. Add 4 cube steaks. Seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for 30-45 minutes, turning once.

Drain and discard marinade. Place steaks on a greased broiler pan. Broil 4 inches from the heat for about 4 minutes on each side. Serve with mixed vegetables and rice or baked potatoes.

Cheese Wedges

Cut a package of extra sharp cheddar cheese into 1/2 inch slices. Cut each slice in half diagonally. Combine 1/3 cup of seasoned dry bread crumbs and 1/2 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes in a shallow bowl. [Note: You can omit crushed red pepper flakes if you don’t like spice.] Beat an egg in another bowl. Dip cheese triangles into egg, then in crumb mixture.

Place on a greased baking sheet. Broil 4 inches from the heat for 2-3 minutes. Serve cheese wedges warm with pizza sauce for sipping.

Strawberry Banana Shakes

Place 2 Tbsp of milk, 1/2 cup of strawberry ice cream,  and 1/2 firm banana (sliced) in a blender. Cover and process until smooth. Pour into glasses. Garnish with whipped cream and a strawberry, if desired.

SHOPPING LIST:

Extra sharp cheddar cheese (9 oz)

4 thin slices of deli cheese (I got one Swiss, one mozzarella, one Monterey Jack, and one cheddar)

Whipped cream

Sour cream

Eggs

Tube of large refrigerated biscuits

Bananas

Strawberries

Chives or green onions

Potatoes (about 20)

4 cube steaks (1 1/4 lbs)

2 lb ground beef

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves

4 thin slices of deli cold cuts (I got 2 ham and 2 turkey)

Bacon

Strawberry ice cream

Can of pizza sauce

Can of chili with beans

2 cans of mixed vegetables

Can of whole kernel corn

Can of diced tomatoes

Can of green chilies

Soy sauce

Honey mustard salad dressing

Rice

Envelope of onion soup mix

Crushed red pepper flakes

Dried minced garlic

Dried minced onion

Seasoning salt

[Also needed: Seasoned bread crumbs, Milk, Butter]

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 46

Shopping List:

Tube of refrigerated buttermilk biscuits

2-3 oz mozzarella cheese

Pizza sauce

12 cherry tomatoes

1 lb smoked turkey sausage (fully cooked)

2 green peppers

Onion

Rice

Envelope of Italian salad dressing mix

6 hoagie buns

12-16 oz of sliced luncheon meat (I got a variety of salami, ham, and turkey)

12 thin slices of cheese (I got a variety of Swiss, cheddar, and brick)

Bag of chips (Plain pairs the best as a side dish so it doesn’t overwhelm the main attraction of the meal)

Jar of pickles

5 figs

[Also needed: oregano, butter]

 

Lunch: Sandwich, chips, pickles, a fig, and mozzarella puffs

Dinner: Kabobs with rice

 

Hot Hoagies

Combine 3/4 cup of softened butter and an envelope of Italian salad dressing mix. Spread 1 Tbsp inside each of 6 hoagie buns. On bottom of each bun, layer one slice of meat, two slices of cheese, and another slice of meat. Replace tops. Spread 1 Tbsp of butter mixture over top of each bun.

Place on a baking sheet. Broil 6 inches from the heat for 2-3 minutes. Eat with chips and pickles.

 

Colorful Kabobs

Cut 1 lb of fully cooked smoked turkey sausage into 1/2 inch chunks. Cut 2 green peppers into 1 inch pieces. Cut an onion into wedges. Thread a cherry tomato onto six metal or soaked wooden skewers. Alternate the sausage, green pepper, and onion wedges on skewers, ending with another tomato.

Grill, uncovered, over medium-hot heat for 10-15 minutes. Remove meat and vegetables from skewers and serve over rice.

 

Mozzarella Puffs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Take apart a refrigerated tube of buttermilk biscuits and make an indentation in the center of each biscuit. Sprinkle with 1 tsp of dried oregano. Cut a 2-3 oz block of mozzarella cheese into 10 cubes, 3/4 inch each. Place a cube in the center of each biscuit. Pinch dough tightly around cheese to seal.

Place seam side down on an ungreased baking sheet Spread 2 Tbsp of pizza sauce over tops. Bake 10-12 minutes.

 

Week 40

Shopping List:

1 lb of uncooked medium shrimp (peeled and deveined preferably)

Pasta (Your choice)

1 1/2 lbs of turkey parts (breasts, legs, wings, whatever you want)

2 jars of apricot preserves (12 oz ea)

Envelope of onion soup mix

Rice

2 10-oz cans of diced tomatoes and chilies (you may have to buy tomatoes and green chilies separately if you can’t find together)

2 cans of whole kernel corn

Can of black beans

Cheddar cheese

Sour cream

5 peaches

Raisins

Eggs (Save 1 whole egg and 4 egg whites for next week)

Unsweetened applesauce (Save 1/2 cup for next week)

[Also needed: soy sauce, lemon juice, chili sauce, ginger root]

 

Breakfast: Eggs and applesauce

Lunch: Soup and a peach

Dinner: Turkey casserole or shrimp pasta

 

Fast Fiesta Soup

Combine 2 10 oz cans of diced tomatoes and chilies, a can of drained whole kernel corn, and a can of drained and rinsed black beans in a pot. Heat through. Garnish bowl with shredded cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream, if you want.

 

Apricot Turkey Casserole

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook rice according to package directions. Place in an ungreased baking dish. Place 1 1/2 lbs of turkey parts in a hot skillet with a bit of oil or butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and any other spices you like with poultry. Sear for 5 minutes on each side. Place on top of rice. Drain a can of whole kernel corn and pour on top of turkey. Combine 2 jars of apricot preserves and an envelope of onion soup mix. Pour on top of turkey and rice. Bake for 15-30 minutes or until turkey is fully cooked. (Time will vary depending on what kind of turkey pieces you chose. Breasts take longer than wings, for example)

 

Shrimp Pasta

Combine 3 Tbsp of soy sauce, 2 Tbsp of lemon juice, 1 Tbsp of chili sauce, and 1 Tbsp of minced ginger root in a bowl. Mix well. Pour half the mixture into a Ziplock and add 1 lb of uncooked, peeled, and deveined shrimp. Seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Cover and refrigerate remaining marinade.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Saute shrimp in a skillet until almost finished. Add remaining marinade and heat through. Pour on top of pasta and toss.