Thursday, August 18, 2016

7 Nights of Dinner

Friday: Vegetable Lasagna, Garlic Bread, Caesar Salad

Tonight I made my Summer Vegetable Lasagna. I hadn't made this in a really long time and we had forgotten how good it is! I always make it in the summer using fresh summer veggies, but you could certainly make it during the colder months and just change up the vegetables. This time I used fresh spinach, yellow squash, zucchini, carrot, and fresh kale. I have added sun-dried tomatoes in the past and those were really good. I love this dish because the prep is incredibly simple. Once your cheese is shredded and your veggies are chopped, all you have to do is assemble and bake. I don't even pre-cook the noodles. It is incredibly flavorful, even without any meat. Here is my recipe in case you want to try it:

(Before baking)

Summer Vegetable Lasagna

32 oz marinara sauce, or 4 cups (Costco sells this large sized jar)
12 lasagna noodles (whole wheat or regular)
4 cups chopped veggies
16 oz cottage cheese
1/2 cup parmesan
16 oz shredded mozzarella

-Combine cottage cheese and parmesan in a small bowl.
-Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Layer 4 lasagna noodles. I usually lay 3 length-wise and then break up a 4th noodle perpendicular along the bottom.
-Top with 1 1/3 cups marinara sauce.
-Top with 1/3 of your cottage cheese mixture.
-Top with 1/3 of your veggies.
-Top with 1/3 of your mozzarella cheese.
-Repeat all layers twice, ending with cheese.
-Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour. If you are using whole wheat noodles you may like to bake an additional 10 minutes. Remove foil and let cool for 10 minutes before cutting.

I served the lasagna with a simple Caesar salad (which Jenna ended up eating with her fingers out of my bowl! Guess I found a new food she loves!) I also baked one of these Alexia garlic breads. I usually like to make garlic bread from scratch but needed something quick. This brand contains good ingredients and Ryan absolutely loves it.

Saturday: Tri-Tip, Quinoa patties, fruit salad, salad

I was quite proud of myself for BBQing this tri-tip all by myself on the charcoal grill. Adam was out so he explained how to do it, and it wasn't too hard! I've cooked on the gas side of our BBQ but never attempted charcoal. Along with the meat I made a fruit salad of watermelon and red grapes, along with some leftover salad. I also cooked these quinoa patties. Adam and I both really love this recipe. They are very simple to make and only contain 5 ingredients.

Sunday: Honey Garlic Chicken, Rice, Broccoli and Cauliflower, Egg Rolls

This meal was so good. I found this recipe for Baked Honey Garlic Chicken on Pinterest. It looked really good, and I was surprised when my chicken actually turned out looking like the picture on the website! The method of coating in panko, baking, and then drizzling in sauce resulted in the perfect sticky crunchy sweet chicken. The honey flavor was a tad too strong for me, but otherwise delicious!

I served it over white rice, with steamed veggies on the side. I also baked some chicken egg rolls I had picked up at Trader Joe's, just for something fun and different to eat. Unfortunately my entire family hated this meal. Lucas and Jenna ate rice, Adam ate rice and veggies, and Ryan ate nothing. It is so frustrating to put in so much effort and then have my entire family reject dinner. Unfortunately this happens a lot, but I refuse to serve "kid" food or junk food every night. I do make an effort to make something like tacos, burgers, or pizza once a week. I was just expecting things to have gotten a little better by now at our dinner table, but it seems like my kids are only getting pickier.

Monday: Mahi Mahi Burgers with guacamole, roasted potatoes, coleslaw

Can you believe I have never made coleslaw? I have never liked the taste of it, but I think that's because of the celery seed that is usually added to it. I had picked up a bag of shredded cabbage and carrot at Trader Joe's so I googled simple coleslaw dressing recipes. I found one and gave it a try, and it was surprisingly pretty good.

I picked up these Mahi Mahi burgers at Trader Joe's (can you tell that's where I did my shopping this week?), and an employee recommended eating them on tacos with guacamole. I ate mine bunless dipped in ketchup and it was great! Adam ate his in a tortilla, and Ryan ate his on a whole wheat bun with ketchup. About half way through he decided he didn't like it, but I was so proud of him for trying something new. (Redemption after the previous night!) The boy loves his burgers, so now I'm wondering what else I can stick between a bun and slather with ketchup that he will be willing to try. On the side I roasted some Yukon gold potato wedges, recipe found here. Oh and the strawberries were the best I've had all summer.

Tuesday: Lazy Chile Relleno, Homemade refried beans, Salsa, Cornbread, Watermelon

I made my Mom's recipe for chile rellenos, recipe here on my blog. I love this recipe because it's easy and delicious. It's basically just eggs, cheese, a little flour, and canned green chiles. It turns into kind of an egg soufflé/casserole, and is excellent the next morning for breakfast!

On the side I made homemade refried beans, recipe here. You should really try this recipe! I know a big pot of beans doesn't look too appealing but they are so tasty with a little cheese on top. I promise.

I had some peppers from my garden so I made another huge batch of Pioneer Woman's Restaurant Salsa. I've been making a batch each week and somehow we always eat it all! We also ate some cornbread from the freezer and really ripe watermelon.

Wednesday: Chicken and Bean Nachos, Steamed Broccoli and Cauliflower
I wanted something really easy this night because our garbage disposal was clogged and our kitchen was a huge stinky mess. But I also wanted to make something special for Ryan since it was his first day of school. I cooked a couple chicken breasts in my homemade salsa and then shredded the meat. On top of chips I layered the chicken, leftover refried beans, cheese, salsa, and guacamole. (Ryan's version was just chips, cheese and chicken) I added some steamed veggies on the side and dinner was done!

Thursday: Ground Beef, Brown Rice, Salad
Late in the week I'm getting pretty tired and my dinners tend to get more simple. Tonight I cooked ground beef and served it with brown rice. I mixed the two together on my plate and doused it all in Worcestershire sauce. Yum. I could eat that condiment every day. Jenna tried it for the first time and liked it too! On the side I made a simple romaine salad with tomatoes and cucumbers from my garden.

Whew! 7 days of dinners from the Nullmeyer table. It's no secret I love to cook, but I'd have to say that even more than grocery shopping and cooking, I love planning out our meals. Sitting down and planning a week's worth of dinners and making my shopping list is like therapy for me. I try to get creative and use a variety of proteins and sides, while making sure nothing I buy is wasted. I always incorporate fish into our weekly plan, and I try not to make red meat more than once or twice. I also try to have a vegetarian night, but that is a bit tricky for my meat-loving family.  It's kind of like putting together a puzzle for me. Adam told me I should figure out a way to plan menus and make money doing it. What do you think? Do you like this chore or am I in the minority?

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