Tuesday, July 17, 2007

tutorial tuesday ~ meal planning

today's tutorial is all about meal planning...this is how i planned our dinners for last week...on sunday (preparation day) i looked in the freezer and found a package of chicken tenders from trader joe's...so i thawed them and then sauteed them in a bit of olive oil spray and seasoning (i had some mccormick's montreal chicken seasoning, so i used that) and put them in a container in the fridge...

i try to have these items at all times:
  • lettuce or some sort of salad mix that has been washed and is in my salad sac in the crisper
  • any other things we like for salads: goat cheese and raspberry vinaigrette are a must
  • dry pastas and bottled sauce
  • frozen pizzas
  • artisan bread (i keep it in the freezer so it doesn't 'go bad' aka get moldy)
  • lots of cheeses
  • fresh herbs (i grow my own in the summer)
  • fruit (strawberries and blueberries right now)

here are the 5 meals we had with this batch of chicken tenders and whatever else i had on hand:

1) pasta pepperonata (frozen from trader joe's) with chicken tenders, and bread/dipping oil...for this meal i obviously used a frozen entree from the grocery that i already had and just added a couple of the chicken tenders to each bowl and served the bread along with it...a similar option would have been to cook some pasta (fresh or dried), toss it with a bottled sauce and add the chicken. since the chicken was already cooked this meal came together very fast, in about 10 minutes.

2) margherita pizza with shredded chicken, salad and fruit...again i went with a frozen item, pizza, i already had and i just added some of the chicken shredded up on top...i already had the salad greens washed and only had to add goat cheese and dressing...there were strawberries and blueberries in the fridge so i decided to have those too! this meal took about 20 minutes to prepare.

3) grilled chicken paninnis with potato chips...i used some artisan bread that was in the freezer, sharp cheddar cheese, plain goat cheese, roasted red peppers, fresh basil leaves and shredded chicken tenders cooked on the george forman grill...they were beyond yummy...i forgot to take a picture, sorry! total prep time: about 10 minutes.

4) sweet potato & chicken pizza with rosemary and sage...i started this pizza with a ball of whole wheat dough from trader joe's that i had in the freezer...after thawing, rolling out and prebaking for a few minutes i brushed the crust with olive oil, added thinly sliced/sauteed sweet potatoes, fresh rosemary, fresh sage, shredded chicken tenders, parmesan, goat cheese and gouda cheese and then finished baking...it was VERY good! total prep time about 30 minutes.

5) pesto chicken pizza...this pizza started with a plain ball of trader joe's pizza dough that i thawed and prebaked...for the 'sauce' i used some pesto that one of the husband's co-workers made from basil she grew in her yard...topped with shredded chicken tenders, bacon bits, onion and mozzarella cheese and fresh basil after baking. it was also very good! total prep time about 30 minutes.

so there you have 5 meals from one batch of chicken tenders! the key to any week of easy meal planning is a well stocked pantry and refrigerator. some other meals we could have had if i'd had the ingredients: chicken fajitas, chicken quesadillas, chicken salads...

hope that gives you some ideas for what to have for dinner!



Pam said...

mmmm. a
All those pizzas look so yummy. I wish we had a Trader Joe's near here.
Great ideas. I try to plan out for the week for the most part but it seems as if we always take a detour at some point.

Sarah G. said...

You know...I LOVE Trader Joe's, but I never seem to shop there. My momma also LOVES it, but they don't have it in KY. I guess KY's law is that in order to sell alcohol in a store, you have to have seperate entrance and area to the store and TJ's didn't want to do that. Who can blame them. Some state laws are so dumb!! I was in the liquor store yesterday to get my new favorite beer, and I heard a guy ask why they have no cold cokes. Apparently IN state law is that you can't sell alcohol chilled and soft drinks chilled in the same store. It's DUMB! I hope it's different in NC!

AM said...

Those pizzas look delicious. I cant wait to go to the new Charlotte Trader Joe's when it opens. You've got some good chicken ideas here. Jason would love it if I had meat for him at every meal, and this is easy to do.

rpm said...

Can I just say HELLO to those pizzas? Yummy. I think you need to have a summer camp program at your house and the activities would be sewing, crafting, cooking! We would all pay good money to spend a week of camp at your house!