I love cooking for my fiancé and me, but most of the time, cooking for two proves to be difficult. If I don't make a plan, I end up running around in circles at the grocery store and wasting half the ingredients I've bought (and I hate wasting food). Enter What's Cooking This Week -- my weekly meal plan and grocery guide. This way, I can make the most of my ingredients and my leftovers.
Last week, I made the most of kimchi by using a store-bought version of the topping for Korean Style Hot Dogs, Kimchi Quesadillas and a Pork Fried Rice. This week, a homemade Creamy Italian Dressing will be drizzled on a Chicken Chop Salad and used again in a Broccoli & Corkscrew Pasta Toss.
Here's the rest of the plan:
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Pantry Items Olive oil (regular and extra virgin) Balsamic vinegar Cooking spray Buttermilk Milk Dijon mustard Reduced-fat mayonnaise Eggs Flour Bread crumbs Sugar or substitute Block of parmesan Dried Italian herb blend (or basil, oregano, marjoram) Salt Pepper
Grocery List based on servings for 2 w/ leftovers 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast ¼ lb thick-cut deli ham 2 oz cubed provolone 6 oz fresh mozzarella 2 oz pitted olives 1 bunch broccoli (enough for 2 cups) 1 package cherry tomatoes 1 package arugula 1 head romaine lettuce 1 lemon 1 red onion 1 head garlic 1 package whole grain rotini 1 large or 2 small whole wheat flatbreads 4 slices good sandwich bread
Day 1 -- Baked Chicken Milanese over Arugula *Makes leftover Breaded Chicken for use in Chop Salad
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Add bread crumbs to baking sheet and toss with a drizzle of olive oil. Bake until toasted, about 5 minutes (can also toast on stove top).
Place chicken between two sheets of wax paper and use rolling pan or flat-bottomed pan to pound to ¼ inch thickness.
Set up dipping station with flour, eggs and toasted bread crumbs. Season dips with salt and pepper.
Dredge chicken in flour, shaking off excess, then dip into egg mixture and finally into bread crumbs, pressing to adhere.
Place on baking sheet coated with cooking spray and bake 10-15 minutes until cooked through. *Set half of chicken aside for use in day 3.
Toss two servings of arugula with thinly sliced red onion, a handful of halved cherry tomatoes, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.
Serve chicken hot over tossed arugula and top with shaved parmesan.
Day 2 -- Ham & Mozzarella en Carozza
Heat skillet over medium-high heat and coat lightly with oil.
Slice mozzarella and divide into thirds. *Set 1/3 aside for use in day 4.
Layer 1 slice of ham and a third of the mozzarella between 2 slices of good sandwich bread. Repeat for other sandwich. *Reserve remaining ham for use in day 5.
In a shallow bowl, beat 2 eggs and 1/3 cup of milk. Season with salt and pepper.
Dredge the sandwiches in flour, shake off excess and then dip into egg mixture.
Fry until golden-brown and crisp, about 2-3 minutes per side.
Slice and serve hot with arugula tossed with lemon juice, Dijon, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.
Day 3 -- Chicken Chop Salad w/ Creamy Italian Dressing *Uses leftover Baked Chicken and makes extra Italian Dressing for use in Creamy Pasta Toss
In a small bowl or mason jar, mix together ¼ cup mayonnaise, 2-3 tbsp buttermilk, ½ clove minced garlic, ¼ tsp Italian seasoning and ½ tsp sugar. Season with salt and pepper and adjust seasonings if needed (for creamier dressing, add more mayo). *Reserve half for use in day 5.
Chop leftover chicken and 1 head romaine lettuce. Add to large bowl and mix in ½ cup broccoli florets, ¼ cup halved cherry tomatoes and thinly sliced red onion. Add dressing and toss to coat.
Serve topped with shaved parmesan and freshly ground black pepper.
Day 4 -- Veggie-Topped Grilled Flatbread
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and coat lightly with olive oil. Add in 1 cup chopped broccoli, cooking until softened. Mix in ½ cup halved cherry tomatoes and press lightly to crush. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add 1-2 cloves minced garlic and cook for another minute. Remove from heat and set aside.
Heat 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan and reduce by half.
Heat grill to medium-high.
Brush flatbread with olive oil and add to grill, cooking for 1-2 minutes until golden brown.
Flip and top with broccoli and tomato mixture, chopped olives, diced red onion and fresh mozzarella.
Cover and grill until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Serve hot drizzled with balsamic reduction.
Day 5 -- Creamy Corkscrew Pasta Toss *Uses leftover Creamy Italian Dressing
Cook 2 servings of rotini to al dente according to package instructions. Rinse and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, chop ½ cup broccoli florets and leftover ham into bite-size pieces. Add to bowl with ¼ cup halved cherry tomatoes, chopped red onion, cubed provolone and cooled pasta. Add dressing and toss to coat.
Serve topped with freshly ground black pepper.