Week 5 Meals

ridingInspiration and motivation are lacking lately.  Just like everyone else, I have had a hard time getting inspired as to what to cook and trouble staying motivated to eat healthy.  Scrolling through recipes has only brought responses in my head like that doesn’t sound good, what real person would make that, and that has too many ingredients.  What can I say other than I share your struggles!  So with torment in my head like a 3 year old temper tantrum, I have decided on a low carb Mexican lasagna, a recipe for the grill (weather permitting), an Italian sausage stir fry, and some zucchini boats that I know will not disappoint.

Monday:  Low Carb Mexican Lasagna with Mexican Zucchinilasagna

This recipe was great since I haven’t made a casserole in a while.  My family loves casseroles and using low carb tortillas helped fit this recipe in my lower carb lifestyle.  The original link is included from Kalyn’s Kitchen, however I found this was very easy not using a crock pot.  Also, I will decrease the amount of salsa for next time.

Mexican Low Carb Lasagna

  • 2 lbs ground meat
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • can of diced tomatoes with green chiles, mild
  • about 6 low carb tortillas
  • 2 cups cottage cheese
  • 1 can diced green chilies, drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups Mexican blend cheese

Heat the oil in a skillet and add the onion.  When translucent, add the ground meat seasoning with salt, pepper, and garlic powder; brown, breaking apart until fully cooked.  Drain the meat after cooked and add back to the skillet with taco seasoning, salsa, and can of tomatoes with green chilies.  Simmer over low heat until most of liquid is gone.

While the meat mixture is simmering, mix together the cottage cheese, drained green chilies, eggs, and chopped cilantro.  Cut the tortillas in half.

Spray an 8 1/2X11 casserole dish with non stick spray.  Add a layer of tortillas(use the straight side of the tortilla on the side of the dish and use as few tortillas as possible) rto cover the bottom.  Make a layer of half the meat mixture, half the cottage cheese mixture, and one cup of the grated cheese.  Then make a second layer of tortillas, meat mixture, cheese mixture, and grated cheese.

Cover with foil and cook in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minute.  Uncover and cook for about 15 minutes more.

*This makes a huge casserole so get ready for lunch made easy!  I wonder how this would freeze?!

*Brown extra hamburger meat for a recipe on Friday to make meal prep at the end of the week a little less stressful.

Kalyn’s Kitchen Slow Cooker Low Carb Mexican Lasagna

Mexican Zucchini

  • 1 Tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 small zucchini, quartered and cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced, seeds removed
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • juice of half of a lime

Heat oil in a skillet.  Add zucchini and cook for about 10 minutes, until tender.  Add tomatoes and garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Add salt, pepper, and lime juice.

Tuesday:  Italian Sausage and Broccoli Stir Fry

I have this amazing friend who has been on every step of my blogging journey with me ask for a sausage recipe.  I found this recipe and immediately thought of her and tried it.  And who doesn’t love a one skillet supper?!

Italian Sausage Stir Fry

  • Bag of broccoli florets (or 2 small heads of broccoli)
  • 5 links of Italian Sausage
  • 2 red bell peppers, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Italian seasoning, to taste
  • salt and pepper

Heat oil in a skillet.  Add sausage and cook fully, flipping to make sure all sides get brown. (about 15 minutes)  Remove sausage from skillet and add broccoli and peppers stirring frequently until tender.  Add fire roasted tomatoes and seasoning.  While the peppers and broccoli are cooking, cut the sausage into 1/2 inch slices.  Add to the tomatoes and seasoning.  Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Wednesday:  Grilled Hamburger Patties with Grilled Asparagushamburger

This is one of those recipes, you know the kind that there really isn’t a recipe.  Just add whatever sounds good to you!  And then the toppings could be limitless. I wish I could provide great instructions on how to grill the perfect hamburger patty, but I have found they are so tricky (Yet another reason this is a meal planning blog)!   Prepare the asparagus on the grill and this meal makes clean up a piece of cake. However, if the weather is uncooperative or not up for the grill challenge this can be prepared inside, the meat in a skillet and asparagus roasted in the oven.

Grilled Hamburger Patties

  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder
  • ketchup
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • egg
  • ground meat

Mix all ingredients together and patties.  I have found that if I prepare the patties ahead of time and put them in the refrigerator, the patties stay together better on the grill.  Hint: the colder the patty the better they stay together.  Cook until they are done!  For toppings anything is a go.  I just topped with cheese of everyone choice but some sauted onions or roasted green chilies with the cheese on the top would be AMAZING!

*I used about 2 1/2 pounds of hamburger meat making plenty of patties for my rancher and kids to have hamburgers for lunch during the week.

Grilling tips

Grilled Asparagus

  • bunch of asparagus
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Wash the asparagus and remove the ends.  I like to take foil and make a little pouch to grill my asparagus in.  Drizzle the asparagus in the pouch with olive oil and add salt and pepper.  Cook on the grill in the foil pouch until tender.

Thursday: Dance Night!

Friday:  Green Chile Zucchini Boats with Southwestern Saladzucchini

Zucchini boats are a popular item that comes across my pinterest feed.  For some reason, they all are chicken and made the same.  Here is a different twist to the chicken enchilada zucchini boat that keep coming across my feed! With a simple salad, this will be a great finale to an uninspired week!

Green Chile Zucchini Boats

  • Browned ground meat from Monday night
  • can of no salt added black beans, rinsed and drained
  • can of no salt added diced tomatoes
  • can of diced green chilies
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 zucchini
  • small can of green enchilada sauce
  • shredded Mexican cheese

Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and spoon out the inside of the zucchini.  (if you have a melon baller that would work great.  I don’t so I use a spoon.)  In a towel over the sink, squeeze out any excess liquid from the spooned out part of the zucchini and chop up.  Add a little of the enchilada sauce to the bottom of a casserole dish and place the zucchini halves in the dish.

In a skillet heat the precooked ground meat, chopped zucchini, black beans, diced tomatoes, diced green chilies, cumin, and chili powder.  Reduce heat and simmer until any liquid is evaporated(about 5 minutes).

Spoon the meat mixture into the zucchini halves, top with enchilada sauce, and shredded cheese.  Top with foil and cook on 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until zucchini is tender.  Remover foil and cook for another 10 minutes.

Southwestern Salad

Get ready because I don’t know if you will be able to handle the complexity of this recipe.  Go to the produce section, find a salad kit that sounds like it fits in this category and prepare according to the directions on the bag.  Usually this entails opening a couple of plastic bags, dumping in a bowl, and mixing.

Just when I think I am lacking motivation, I manage to pull off a week of meals that my rancher and kids loved with enough excitement to get me ready for next week’s meal planning.  What more could a girl want than a happy healthy rancher and kids?  So, gather the family, ring the dinner bell, and pull up a chair.  It’s time for dinner!

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Week 4 Grocery List

horse

Produce

  • onion (3)
  • garlic
  • thyme
  • carrots
  • Anaheim pepper (4)
  • zucchini (4)
  • Roma tomato
  • lime
  • green bell pepper
  • red bell pepper (2)
  • lemon

Meat

  • chuck roast
  • boneless skinless chicken breast

Frozen Food

  • green beans
  • corn

Soups/ Sauces

  • unsalted beef broth
  • unsalted chicken broth
  • pasta sauce

Baking/ Spices

  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil
  • cumin
  • onion powder
  • Italian seasoning

Refrigerated/ Dairy

  • pepper jack cheese, sliced
  • Mozzarella cheese, shredded

Week 4 Meals

horseWow!  Where has the time gone?!  I can’t believe that this is the fourth week.  And what a week it will be.  Assuming the weather cooperates, my rancher, the kids, and I are going to start exercising horses to prepare their wintered bodies for spring shipping.  Sounds like the activities in my household, and of course another week of delicious, easy, and healthy meals will help with the household part of that activity with a traditional pot roast in the crock pot with revamped left overs, a roasted pepper “tostado” with pork(remember that pork I told you to freeze?!), and an Italian crockpot zucchini and chicken.

Monday:  Crock Pot Roast with Carrots and Green Beans

Just because we are trying to eat a little healthier doesn’t mean that some of my traditional favorites have to be avoided.  I love pot roast!(I think part of it goes back to my shredded meat love!)  I love the memories of pot roast.  When my dad was on the road a lot when I was growing up, pot roast was usually one of the things he would request upon his return; the family gathered around the table catching up from his absence.  What is not to love?

Crock Pot Roast

  • chuck roast
  • onion, sliced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 springs of thyme
  • 1 cup of unsalted beef broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into about 2 inch pieces

Sprinkle the roast with salt and pepper.  Place the onion in the bottom of the crock pot.  Place the roast on the top with the garlic and thyme.  Pour in the beef broth.  Cook on high for 4-6 hours or low for 8-10.

With about an hour and a half left to cook, I like to dump the carrots in the roast.  Cook the carrots until tender.  (If cooking on high it will take less time.)

Green Beans

  • 16 oz bag frozen green beans
  • 4 cups of unsalted chicken broth
  • salt and pepper to taste

Pour all ingredients in a pot.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook until desired tenderness is reached.

*Save leftover pot roast and green beans for a recipe later in the week; just drain the liquid off the green beans before storing in the refrigerator.

*If you have a favorite way to cook your roast and green beans, use it.  This is just a meal planning web site!

*For the green beans, you could use water and bullion cubes instead.  For a little added flavor, you could add some bacon and onions, but I was trying to keep it a little healthier!

Tuesday:  Roasted Pepper “Tostados” with Mexican Zucchinipork

This was a nice twist for a lower carb count.  Using the pork from last week really simplified this meal.  To make it easier, use canned whole green chilies. In this case, I roasted my own to avoid the “pickled” flavor.  I went ahead and made the kids one of these, but they ended up just picking the meat off the pepper.  Anything with a visible pepper is instantly deemed too hot with them, but it was worth the try.  My rancher and I loved this!

Roasted Pepper “Tostados”

  • 4 Anaheim peppers, roasted
  • cooked Pork
  • 1/4 cup of corn
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • pepper jack cheese, sliced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Take the roasted pepper, cut off the top, slice open, and remove the seeds.  Lay the pepper on a cookie sheet lined with foil (for easy clean up) with the outside of the pepper on the foil.

In a skillet, heat up the pork.  Add the corn and cumin.  Heat for 5-10 minutes.  Place pork mixture on the peppers and top with pepper jack cheese.  Place in the oven and cook until the cheese is melted.

*Eliminate the corn for a true low carb meal.

Here is a link if you need to know how to roast peppers.

Mexican Zucchini

  • 1 Tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 small zucchini, quartered and cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced, seeds removed
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • juice of half of a lime

Heat oil in a skillet.  Add zucchini and cook for about 10 minutes, until tender.  Add tomatoes and garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Add salt, pepper, and lime juice.

Wednesday: Crock Pot Italian Zucchini and Chicken with Pastachicken

This was a great easy recipe that was not only in the crock pot, but hid the veggies!  It was a perfect recipe, especially for chicken!

  • 1 1/2 lbs of boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 large or 2 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 1/2 cup pasta sauce
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese

Combine all the ingredients in the crock pot.  Stir together.  Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours.  During the last 30 minutes, top with cheese and allow to melt.

**I made some pasta for the kids, and for myself I steamed some broccoli slaw for pasta.  If you wish, add a salad but I used this as a complete meal.

Thursday:  Dance Night!!

Friday:  Philly Cheesesteak Bell Peppers with Sauted Green Beans

pepper
I think asparagus is in the picture, not green beans.  OOPS!

Tonight is the night for revamped leftovers, and this time we are revamping the veggie too.  Who doesn’t love complete and total simplicity, especially on a Friday when you are drained from the week.

Philly Cheesesteak Bell Peppers

  • 2 red bell pepper
  • leftover pot roast, shredded
  • onion, sliced
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • Provolone cheese slices

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a skillet, heat olive oil.  Add onion and cook until tender and translucent.  Meanwhile, cut the bell peppers in half and remove the tops, seeds, and ribs.  Place the pepper in a baking dish with a little water in the bottom to steam the peppers and make tender.  After the onions are done place in the bottom of the pepper, then add meat, and top with cheese.  Cover the dish with foil and cook for about 30- 40  minutes.

Sauted Green Beans

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • zest of a lemon

In a skillet (I would use the same skillet I cooked the onions into avoid washing another pan), heat olive oil.  Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Add grean beans and lemon zest. Saute until warm.

I don’t know who said healthy food had to be dull and boring, but they were wrong.  With a family that is just as flavorful as the food, especially when horseback, boring is not a word that is used very often around.  Life is better when seen through the ears of a horse during the day and gathered with the family at night.  So, gather your family, ring the dinner bell, and pull up a chair.  It’s time for dinner!

 

 

 

 

Week 3 Grocery List

wheat cattleProduce

  • garlic
  • onion (3)
  • lemon (2)
  • broccoli florets
  • shredded carrots
  • green onions
  • green bell pepper
  • spinach
  • rosemary
  • thyme
  • green beans
  • green leaf lettuce
  • broccoli slaw

Meat

  • pork roast
  • ground meat
  • boneless skinless chicken breast

Refrigerated/ Dairy

  • Mexican shredded cheese
  • butter

Snacks

  • roasted and salted sunflower seeds

Baking/ Spices

  • extra virgin olive oil
  • red pepper flakes
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder
  • paprika
  • sliced almonds

Soups/ Sauces

  • taco seasoning
  • unsalted beef broth
  • unsalted chicken broth

Canned Goods

  • diced tomatoes with green chilies

Asian

  • reduced sodium soy sauce

Dressings/ Vinegar

  • mustard
  • apple cider vinegar
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • honey
  • balsamic vinaigrette

The “if you want” extras

  • BBQ sauce
  • Deli rolls
  • Asian style salad dressing

Week 3 Meals

wheat cattle

My rancher and I had a great weekend out of town for a meeting and looking at cattle, but another busy week awaits.  From school plays to fence building, the chaos seems to never stop.  Two easy crock pot meals, some revamped leftovers, and an easy taco skillet is in store to provide healthy, hot meals in a flash to bring the family together at the end of the day.

Monday:  Pork Roast with Broccoli Salad

My love affair with shredded meat continues this week, but in the form of a pork roast.  This roast makes a lot of meat, so there will be plenty for revamped leftovers later in the week.  Add a little broccoli salad for a complete meal!

Pork Roast

  • Pork Roast – 3-6lbs
  • 1/4 Cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup unsalted beef broth
  • 2 tbsp honey or sugar
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • juice of a lemon
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced
  • onion, chopped
  • pepper, to taste

Place onion in the bottom of a crock pot.  sprinkle the roast with pepper and place on top of the onion. In a small bowl mix together remaining ingredients and pour over the pork.  Cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-6.  When the meat is done shred with 2 forks and add some of the cooking liquid to the meat. (I like to just put the shredded meat back in the crock pot and simmer while the broccoli salad cools.)

the original pork roast recipe

  • This makes great sandwiches for lunch during the week.  Just add a little BBQ sauce on some deli rolls.
  • Reserve about 8 oz of the meat to put in the freezer for a later recipe.
  • For a little added flavor marinate the meat for 3-4 hours before cooking.

Broccoli Salad

  • Bag of broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup carrots, shredded
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2-3 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 balsamic vinaigrette dressing

Mix all ingredients together and chill for 30 minutes.

*Remember you pay for convenience,  so if you are looking to save money go with 2 broccoli heads and shred your own carrots.

Tuesday:  Cheese Taco Skillet and Mexican Rice

I love any recipe that has a Mexican flare to it and hides the vegetables so my kids don’t know they are eating vegetables (the baby is a very picky eater).  This recipe has both of those characteristics!  I made this recipe from Sweet C’s Designs without any of my own alterations which rarely happens!

  • 1 lb ground meat
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies, drained
  • 1 package of taco seasoning
  • 3 cups of spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese

Heat olive oil in a skillet.  Add bell peppers and onion.  Cook until tender.  Add ground meat and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Cook until meat is done(160 degrees).  Add canned tomatoes,taco seasoning and enough water to have the taco seasoning coat the meat.  Add spinach and let fully wilt.  Mix well.  Cover with cheese and let fully melt.

The Sweet C’s Design original recipe

I bought a package of Mexican rice to serve with this for the kids and my rancher.  I cooked according to package directions, but I added 1/4 to 1/2 cup of frozen peas and carrots to the rice to sneak some more vegetables for the kids.  For myself, I served over a little lettuce and drizzled with a little of my favorite dressing since I didn’t want the carbs from the rice.

Wednesday:  Crock Pot Bistro Chicken with Almond Green Beans

This herb- filled chicken may be as close to France as I may ever be, and that is okay with me.  My rancher and kids at the dinner table is French enough for me.

Crock pot Bistro Chicken

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2-3 boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1/2 lemon sliced
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1 cup unsalted chicken broth
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a skillet melt the butter.  Then add the chopped onion and garlic.  Saute until soft and tender, about 3-5 minutes.  Add cooked onions and garlic to the crock pot.

Sprinkle the chicken with paprika, salt, and pepper then place on top of the onions.  Add the chicken broth, then the herbs and lemon slices on the top of the chicken.  Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours or low for 4-5 hours.  When ready to serve, cut into chunks.

the original recipe

Almond Roasted Green Beans

I actually followed this recipe step by step from the Emily Bites blog, twice in one week, and the link is included below.  This is one of my favorite new ways to fix green beans.  And of course, I am all about convenience;  I just bought the green beans in the produce department already trimmed!

  • 12 oz raw green beans, ends trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Place the green beans in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Stir to coat, making sure oil is evenly distributed on the beans. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Spread the green beans across a baking sheet in a single layer. Place the baking sheet in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the beans from the oven and sprinkle the minced garlic and sliced almonds over top of the green beans. Stir to mix together and then spread to a single layer again. Place the baking sheet back in the oven and roast for an additional 5 minutes until green beans are cooked through and the garlic and almonds are lightly golden.

Emily Bites link for green beans

Thursday:  Dance Night!

Friday:  Asian Lettuce Wraps

Today is the day for revamped leftovers. I normally make this with a beef roast, but since I did pork this week with the same flavors that I cook the beef, the pork will just have to do. After all the school activities, dance, house cleaning, and fence building this week has had in store, something that requires NO COOKING and just a little prep work is going to be amazing!

  • green leaf lettuce
  • shredded pork
  • shredded carrots
  • broccoli slaw
  • soy sauce or Asian style salad dressing

Warm the pork in your preferred method.  On the lettuce leaves, layer the pork, coleslaw, and shredded carrots.  Drizzle with soy sauce or dressing.

  • I like to buy my lettuce already prepared.  I love my convenience products.  You can find the lettuce leaves the heads of lettuce in the produce department.
  • I usually have a sesame ginger dressing on hand, but if you don’t want to invest, the soy sauce works great.
  • Usually this works best to eat like a taco.

This week I did my part in getting some of the other sources of protein off the market to make more beef available for the masses.  Sometimes you just have to take one for the team! Quick and easy flavorful meals, even if they aren’t beef, still bring the family together for the laughter and joy at the end of busy days. So, ring the dinner bell, grab the family, and pull up a chair.  It’s time for dinner!

 

 

 

 

 

Week 2 Grocery List

completed cattle gaurdProduce:

  • zucchini (about 7)
  • onion (about 2)
  • bag of lettuce
  • grape tomatoes
  • red onion
  • cucumber (1-2)
  • red bell pepper
  • green bell pepper
  • lemon
  • cilantro
  • lime
  • avacado
  • iceberg lettuce
  • celery
  • jalapeno (2)
  • roma tomato (3)

Meat:

  • ground beef
  • boneless skinless chicken breast

Dairy/Refrigerated:

  • part skim ricotta cheese
  • eggs
  • mozzarella cheese, grated
  • parmesan cheese, grated
  • feta cheese
  • Mexican cheese blend
  • milk
  • butter

Chips:

  • tortilla chips

Spices/Baking:

  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Italian seasoning
  • paprika
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • cumin

Canned Goods:

  • marinara sauce
  • reduced sodium black beans
  • petit diced tomatoes

Soups/Sauces:

  • unsalted chicken broth
  • taco seasoning

Mexican Food:

  • whole green chilies (26-27 oz can)
  • green enchilada sauce

 

Week 2 Meals

cattle gaurd

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

Direction

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

Salad:

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.

Roasted Chicken:

  • 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.

Greek Salad

Ingredients:
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

Directions:

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

Instructions:
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

Avocado Salad

  • 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.

completed cattle gaurd

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!