Monday, April 22, 2013

Meal Plan Monday

It has been astonishingly crazy around here lately.  Dinners have been planned and then not made--I nearly cried when I once again threw away a pound of ground beef because it just didn't get used in time.  I keep trying to be better about cutting down on our food waste....

Anyway, this is the plan for the week.  I did a lot of planning from my own previously made recipes (which is kind of the point of my keeping a blog anyway).  I must be craving pasta and chicken this week, since it's loaded up in the meal plan.  I'm sharing this with the "official" MPM link at

B--Fruit and Yogurt
L--Mango, Black Beans, and Rice
D--Crockpot Meatballs

B--Breakfast Burrito
L--Leftover Chili
D--Easy Mexi Chicken

B--Overnight Oatmeal
L--Leftover Meatballs
D--Unrolled Rollatini

B--Crockpot Apple Oatmeal
L--Ladybug Pasta
D--Chicken and Bacon Ranch Mac and Cheese

B--Green Monster Smoothie
L--Leftover Mac and Cheese
D--Chicken Ranch Pizza

D--Rigatoni di Gregorio

D--Pasta Primavera

Have a great week!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Recipe Swap: Tropical Chicken Quesadillas with Pineapple-Avocado Salsa

I'm so sorry this is late; I've been struggling with the dates all week.  Who walks around thinking Friday is Wednesday????

Anyway, this week for the Recipe Swap I was given the blog of our hostess, Sarah!  She gave me her recipe for Tropical Chicken Quesadillas with Pineapple-Avocado Salsa , which sounded delightfully tropical for the lovely spring weather we've been having here in NJ.  She modified a recipe that called for mango salsa with pineapple, which I happen to have on hand pretty much always, and I pretty much always have it spoil before I get around to cutting up the pineapple.

This was so good!  My husband loved it, my sons loved it, and I thought it was delicious too.  I never would have thought of mixing pineapple with avocado, but it made a fresh and delicious salsa to go along with the quesadilla.  The flavors were decidedly best when you had a little bit of everything on your fork.

Tropical Chicken Quesadillas with Pineapple-Avocado Salsa
Adapted from Apple a Day via Taste of Home Cooking

For the salsa:
1 1/2 cups diced pineapple, cut into bite sized pieces
Enough pineapple juice to cover the chicken
1/2 avocado, peeled and diced
1 Roma tomato, seeded and diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup thinly sliceed red onion
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the quesadillas:
2 boneless chicken breasts
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons ground ginger powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1/2 teaspoons crushed dried rosemary
2 teaspoons oil, divided
1 onion, thinly sliced
8 medium/soft taco size tortillas
1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican or cheddar cheese
Cooking spray

To make the salsa, combine all ingredients in a nonreactive bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Marinate the chicken breasts in the pineapple juice for at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours.

Combine the brown sugar through dried rosemary in a bowl. Mix well. Remove the chicken from the pineapple juice and sprinkle the dry rub on the chicken breasts, coating evenly.

Preheat oven (or toaster oven) to 350 degrees. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large skillet. Sauté chicken until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with tinfoil and put in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until cooked through. Set aside to cool slightly, about 3 minutes. Cut into a small dice or shred.

While the chicken is cooking, heat the other teaspoon of oil in a nonstick skillet. Add the onions and saute until caramelized and brown, about 15 minutes.

Lay out four tortillas and assemble quesadillas in this order - cheese, onion, chicken, cheese. Top with remaining tortillas.

Spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Lay quesadilla in the skillet and let cook until the bottom of the tortilla is golden and crispy. Flip and let cook until the other side is also golden and crispy and the cheese is melted. Repeat cooking process with remaining quesadillas. Serve immediately with salsa.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Lemon Chicken Pierogie Bake

Stephanie does a great job of not only making up her own recipes but also riffing on well known ones.  Here's here interpretation of the internet famous Bacon Pierogie Bake.

I wish I had added the veggies as suggested, but was running low on time so skipped it.  It definitely made for a much prettier plate for Stephanie than the sort of bland colors on mine, so I'm posting Stephanie's original directions so you can avoid the mistake I made!  But the taste was quite good.  It was nice and light, which is so nice as we're all itching for spring weather to arrive and match the calendar!

Lemon Chicken Pierogie Bake Source:  Stephanie Cooks

1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
2 cloves garlic
1 cup broth
juice from half a lemon
1 tsp lemon zest
4 tbsp cream cheese
3 green onions, sliced thin.
1 package frozen pierogies
1 cup cooked chicken, diced
1 cup cooked veggies, any kind
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1- Preheat the oven to 400.
2- In a skillet melt the butter. Stir in the garlic and allow to saute until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add the flour and stir well. Slowly pour in the broth.
3- Bring the broth to a boil, then reduce the heat. Add the lemon juice, zest, and cream cheese. Stir until cheese is melted. Stir in the green onion.
4- In an oven safe dish lay the pierogies on the bottom. Add the chicken and veggies, and pour the sauce over the whole dish. Top with the parmesan cheese.
5- Cover with foil and bake 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 5 minutes.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

BLT Roll Ups

This one was made by my husband, and it was a lovely and delicious lunch.  It also seems like an easy one to put together (after you cook the bacon, of course... definitely do it in the oven if you've never tried it that way!)

Instead of mayo like a typical BLT, the recipe uses a homemade honey mustard, which was an AMAZING choice.  I don't know if I'll ever have mayo on a BLT again!  I also like the choice of it as a wrap instead of white bread.

BLT Wraps by Paula Deen

2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
4 (10-inch) flour tortillas
8 slices bacon, cooked crisp
8 green leaf lettuce leaves
8 slices tomato
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Make the sauce by combining the honey, mustard, and mayonnaise in a small bowl. Spread evenly on the tortillas.  Evenly divide bacon, lettuce leaves, and tomato over each. Drizzle each with olive oil then season with salt and pepper, to taste. Roll up and secure with a toothpick. Cut in half on the bias.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Skillet Chicken and Artichokes

You have to love a fast weeknight meal, even when you have a break from work.  I'm on Spring Break (woohoo!) this week, which means I'm even less interested in making dinners.  Enter this super fast dinner. 

I'll admit it; I knew the kids probably wouldn't love it.  The flavors are on the sophisticated side of the flavor palette, and my husband and I enjoyed it very much.  The five year old said the chicken was really good, but wouldn't eat any of the artichokes or onions and the two year old wouldn't taste any of it, other than the feta.  Yes, feta.  For a two year old.

I did not add the Peppadew peppers because I realized too late that they had gone bad.  Oops, but I guess that's what happens when you don't plan to use up what you have.  Nevertheless, this was still quite tasty, with a salty, briny taste going on.

Skillet Chicken and Artichokes Source:  Food Network Magazine

4 6-to-8-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 9-ounce package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and patted dry
1 small red onion, cut into wedges
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup sliced Peppadew peppers, plus 2 teaspoons brine from the jar


Pound the chicken (so it cooks evenly) until about 1/2 inch thick. Season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, add the chicken and cook about 4 minutes until golden.  Turn and cook until the other side is golden, 2 to 3 more minutes. Remove from the skillet and set aside.

Wipe out the skillet.  Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in the skillet until shimmering; add the artichoke hearts and red onion and cook about 1 minute, without stirring, until golden. Season with salt and pepper and cook about 2 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and oregano and cook, stirring, 30 seconds.

Add chicken to the skillet; add the broth and olives. Bring to a gentle simmer, cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes. Top with the parsley and feta.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Meal Plan Monday!

It's been a really long time since I've posted one of these.  For me, this is a great way to keep track of my recipes.  My meal planning works like this... on Friday (if possible; sometimes it's very early on Saturday morning) I plan out the meals for the week.  For the past several weeks, breakfasts and lunches have pretty much stayed the same because I've been on a streak of planning stuff that was way too complicated for how I'm feeling after finally getting the boys to bed.

So I use this whiteboard meal planner I got from some freebie sample: 
It works really well because I've trained myself to add the ingredients necessary to the lines at the bottom and have trained my husband to add whatever he wants or needs or runs out of there as well.

So I plan my meals here then transfer to a grocery list piece of paper (I've tried using apps on my phone to do this, but have not had success.  I find I don't have it organized right and either end up forgetting to get something or having to traipse back and forth in the store.  This works great, though, for quick trips to the store).

As you can see, I try to identify the source from which the recipe came to make finding it easier.  But I also like to keep it here on the blog because it doesn't get lost (there's been more than one time that the dry erase has BEEN erased!), it makes an easy click, and is much easier if my husband is in charge of cooking dinner than finding the recipe while I am out and away from the board.

So, here's what the plan is for this week:

Monday:  Skillet Chicken and Artichokes 
Tuesday:  Meatloaf
Wednesday:  Tropical Chicken Quesadillas
Thursday:  Crockpot Spinach Lasagna
Friday:  Open Faced Chicken Gyro
Saturday:  Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Sunday:  Hawaiian Chicken Burgers

Have a great week!

Follow me on Twitter!

When I started a Facebook page for this blog, I linked it to the only twitter account I had.  I've begun to use that in a professional capacity, and it got sort of weird when professional contacts were responding to cooking related posts.  Oops.  I'm sure as well that the one or two of you who follow me there are overwhelmed by the large number of professional tweets you might see. 

So, The Mad Men Kitchen has its own Twitter account as of right this very moment!

Follow me; you know you want to!
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