My rancher and I spent the weekend installing a new cattle guard. There was lots of shovel work involved, and I, of course, was right along side him with shovel in hand. This is a family operation, so the kids were there with shovels “helping”(notice that helping is in quotations!). My boys are in heaven when they get to shovel and work in the dirt! Needless to say, after a weekend of shoveling, my body is sore and tired! Some easy meals will be just the ticket for the week. A recipe using ground meat for two meals again and a recipe for chicken with revamped leftovers will make the week’s eating just as easy as last. Happy eating!
Monday: Lasagna Zucchini Boats and Salad
This meal is going to be a staple recipe for me! It was so good. So long to traditional lasagna or even a lasagna with zucchini strips as noodles. This was just as easy as it was delicious and reheated well as leftovers for lunch. My rancher is a big fan of lasagna and surprisingly loved this dish as much as I did.
Lasagna Zucchini Boats
- 3 medium zucchini, sliced into halves through the length
- 1 cup (8.6 oz) part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1 large egg
- 1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
- 1 1/4 cups (5 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup (2 oz) finely shredded parmesan cheese
- 8 oz ground beef
- 4 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- onion, chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 3/4 cup marinara sauce
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a spoon, scoop centers from zucchini while leaving a 1/4 inch rim to create boats. Set aside. In a mixing bowl stir together ricotta cheese, egg, and 1 Tbsp of Italian seasoning. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Stir in 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese and the parmesan cheese. Set aside.
Heat 2 tsp of the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until tender. Crumble beef into pan, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up beef when stirring, until browned ( if using a fattier beef then just drain excess rendered fat). Stir in marinara sauce.
To assemble boats, brush both sides of zucchini lightly with remaining 2 tsp olive oil and place in a baking dish (I used and a 8 1/2 by 11 glass dish). Divide cheese mixture among zucchini spooning about 2 1/2 Tbsp into each, then spread cheese mixture into an even layer. Divide sauce among zucchini- adding a few heaping spoonfuls to each. Cover baking dishes with foil and place in oven side by side and bake in preheated oven 30 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle tops with remaining 3/4 cup mozzarella, return to oven and bake until cheese has melted and zucchini is tender, about 5 minutes.
the original recipe from cooking classy
**Just like last week, brown more hamburger than needed to make Wednesday’s meal prep go even faster!
*Save the scooped out zucchini to sneak some extra veggies into Wednesday’s meal
For the salad, just use the ingredients you and your family like. I am going to use tomato, red onion, and cucumber because these are the ingredients that will go into a Greek salad for tomorrow’s meal.
Tuesday: Roasted Chicken with Greek Salad
I love doing roasted chicken in the winter when it is too cold to go outside and grill. The chicken turns out so moist and juicy, and I always make enough to add into a recipe to use later in the week.
- 1-1 1/2 lb of boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 2 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a cookie sheet lined with foil, place chicken breast and pat dry with a paper towel. Evenly rub olive oil on the chicken . In a bowl, mix together the spices and sprinkle evenly over the chicken breasts. (if you have little ones, sprinkle spice mixture sparingly because it might be too spicy for little taste buds). Bake for appx 20-30 minutes.
1 Cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 pint Grape Tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 large Red Pepper, chopped
1/2 large Green Pepper, chopped
1/4 cup red Onions, chopped
1/2 cup Crumbled Feta Cheese
1 1/2 Tbs Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 Tbs Fresh Lemon Juice
1 1/2 Tbs Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a large glass, plastic or ceramic bowl — toss to incorporate. Serve immediately, or cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
*If you can find the English cucumbers, you can eliminate the peeling and seeding part!
*This makes a lot of salad and goes great over lettuce for a salad the next day!
Wednesday: Green Chile Casserole with Avocado salad
I love Mexican flavors. This recipe is a great casserole for a lower carb lifestyle. If you are ambitious, roasting your own peppers would take this over the top, but since I am rushed this week, the canned ones will just have to work. (When the local produce stands start opening up in the summer, they will a have peppers roasted as well, but it isn’t summer yet!). I use hamburger meat that I have browned earlier in the week to make the meal prep just a little bit easier. This recipe came from a blog called Kalyn’s Kitchen. I have included the link at the bottom. I have found and used several recipes from this site in the past and they have all turned out really fabulous!
Green Chile Casserole
1 can (26 or 27 oz.) whole green chilies, drained (be careful not to buy whole jalapenos, which look similar)
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed well with cold water and drained
1 tsp olive oil
1 lb. precooked ground meat
1 T taco seasoning (I use my homemade Taco Seasoning, but a purchased seasoning will work.)
1 can (14.5 oz.) petite dice tomatoes with juice
3 eggs, beaten well
1 cup Green Chile Enchilada Sauce
1 1/2 cups Mexican Four Cheese Blend
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Dump the whole green chilies into a colander placed in the sink and let them drain while you prep the filling. When the green chilies are drained, move them to a cutting board and then put the black beans in the colander, rinse with cold water, and let drain.
Heat 1 tsp. olive oil in a large heavy non-stick pan. If using the zucchini from Monday night, add zucchini and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the precooked ground meat from Monday night. (If not using zucchini eliminate the oil.) Add the taco seasoning and cook 1-2 minutes more.
Add the diced tomatoes and juice, drained black beans and turn heat to medium low. Cook until the liquid from the tomatoes has evaporated. (When you use the turner to push the mixture aside, the bottom of the pan should look nearly dry.)
While the meat mixture cooks use your fingers to open each of the whole chiles and then use a paper towel to wipe away the seeds and blot each chile as dry as you can get it. (You will need 6-8 paper towels to do all the chiles, but don’t skip this step. If you don’t remove the seeds, this dish will be extra spicy.) Divide the chiles into 2 piles as you dry them.
Spray the casserole dish with non-stick spray and make a layer of 1/2 of the chiles in the bottom of the dish. Top with 1/2 the meat mixture. Make another layer of chiles on top of the meat mixture, and top with the other 1/2 of the meat mixture.
Beat the eggs and then whisk in the cup of Green Chile Enchilada sauce. Pour this over the casserole and then use a fork or knife to gently push the ingredients aside so the egg/sauce mixture can run down into the layers. Top with the grated cheese and cover the casserole dish with the lid or foil.
Bake covered for 30 minutes, or until all the cheese is melted and the casserole is starting to bubble. Remove the lid or foil and bake apx 20 minutes more. This is easier to serve if you let it sit for about 10 minutes before cutting.
Kalyn’s Kitchen recipe original recipe
- 2-3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- avocado, peeled and cut in chunks
- 1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- juice of 1/2 lime
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
In a bowl mix together tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, avocado, and cilantro. In a smaller bowl mix together lime juice and olive oil. Pour the dressing on the veggies and mix together. Add seasonings to taste. Chill for apx 15 minutes. Serve over shredded iceberg lettuce.
*for a little heat add some diced and seeded jalapeno
Thursday: Dance Night!
Friday: Mexican Zucchini Soup with Chicken
This soup is a nice light and easy soup that makes you feel like you have done your body right. My kids loved it and my non-soup loving rancher ate it. And of course I really love this uses leftovers in a crafty way(using the chicken from Monday night.) I love soup and any chance I get to make it I take advantage of!
Mexican Zucchini Soup
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 stalks of celery, diced(optional)
- 2 tsp butter
- 2 cups diced zucchini (I just use about 3 zucchini)
- 1/2 cup of frozen corn
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
- 2 cups unsalted chicken broth
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 cup milk
- leftover chicken breast (I try to have at least one chicken breast leftover)
In a pot melt butter. Add onion and celery and cook until tender. Add zucchini and saute with onion and celery for about 3 minutes. Stir in corn jalapeno, chicken broth, chicken, salt, pepper, and cumin. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until zucchini is tender( about 10 minutes). Stir in milk and heat until the milk is warm.
When serving, serve in bowls and top with a Mexican blend cheese. And if you want add some tortilla chips for a little crunch.
*If wanting to stick with a lower carb count do not use the corn or tortilla chips.
And just like the cattle guard is completed, so is this weeks meals. Even though my body was tired and sore doesn’t mean the meals had to be. So gather the family, ring the dinner bell, and pull up a chair. It is time for dinner!