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What's Cooking This Week? Spicy Mussels, Roast Chicken and Lots of Chorizo

Making restaurant-worthy mussels in white wine is easier than it seems.
Making restaurant-worthy mussels in white wine is easier than it seems.

I love cooking for my fiancé and planning meals for us, but cooking for two often 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 meal plan and grocery guide. This way, I can make the most of my ingredients and my leftovers.

Last week, Mushroom Risotto was reused to make Fried Arancini. This week, a Roast Chicken is served over tomato salad and remade into an Antipasti Chop Salad and Chicken & Chorizo Empanadas.

Here's the rest of the plan:

  • Spicy Mussels w/ Chorizo & White Wine
  • Herb Roasted Chicken w/ Tomato & Cucumber Salad
  • Antipasti Chop Salad
  • French Bread Pizzas
  • Easy Chicken & Chorizo Empanadas

    Pantry Items

  • Oil (olive, extra virgin, canola, peanut)
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Cooking spray
  • Butter
  • Flour
  • Eggs
  • Sugar
  • Dijon mustard
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Chicken stock
  • Dried sage
  • Dried thyme
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Paprika
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 bottle dry white wine

    Grocery List based on servings for 2 w/ leftovers

  • 2 lbs mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 4-6 lb whole chicken
  • 4 oz chorizo
  • 1 small container antipasti mix (olives/roasted red peppers/artichokes)
  • 1 ball mozzarella
  • 2 heads garlic
  • 2 medium yellow onions
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 head romaine
  • 1 small bag mesclun greens
  • 1 package cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 small package golden raisins
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 loaf Italian or French bread
  • 1 package refrigerated pie crust  
    Just one roasted chicken can go a long way.
    Just one roasted chicken can go a long way.
    Photo by Callie Reed

    Day 1 -- Spicy Mussels w/ Chorizo & White Wine

    Scrub mussels and discard any open ones. Place them in a bowl of cold water.

    Heat a large, deep skillet over-medium high heat and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Add the chorizo and cook until browned, breaking up with a spoon as it cooks. Remove from skillet. *Reserve 1/3 of chorizo for use in day 5.

    Dice 1/2 yellow onion and add to skillet, cooking until softened. Add 2 cloves minced garlic and cook for another minute. Season with salt and crushed red pepper to taste. Add 1½ cups of wine and bring to a boil. Add 1/2 can crushed tomatoes and reduce heat to low. Return chorizo and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Taste and season as needed.

    Add mussels to pot, cover, and cook over low heat until the mussels open, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, warm about a quarter of the loaf of bread.

    Ladle mussels and sauce into wide bowls, garnish with chopped fresh parsley and serve with hunks of warmed bread.

    Day 2 -- Herb Roasted Chicken w/ Tomato & Cucumber Salad *Makes leftover Roast Chicken for Italian Chop Salad & Chicken Empanadas

    Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

    Remove chicken giblets, rinse chicken inside and out, and pat dry. Season the inside cavity with salt and pepper.

    Stuff the chicken cavity with 1/2 onion and a whole head of garlic, sliced in half.

    Mix together 1 tbsp butter, a pinch of dried thyme and dried sage, and salt and pepper. Rub the chicken with the butter mixture, being sure to get under the skin. Tie legs together with kitchen twine and tuck wing tips under the body.

    Place chicken in a roasting pan, breast side up and roast until juices run clear or when an instant read thermometer reads 165 degrees, about 1½-2 hours.

    Meanwhile, cut about about 1/3 of the remaining bread into cubes. Lightly toast and toss with a handful of halved cherry tomatoes, 1/2 of a chopped cucumber, and a few pieces of thinly sliced red onion. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon.

    Remove chicken from pan and cover with foil to keep warm.

    Place roasting pan on stovetop over medium-low heat and use a large spoon to remove excess fat. Add a splash of white wine and scrape up browned bits from bottom of pan. Whisk in a bit of flour to form a paste. Gradually add in chicken stock to make a gravy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    Slice 1 of the breasts, skin-on, into large chunks. Drizzle sliced breast and legs with white wine gravy and serve over tomato salad. *Reserve leftover chicken breast, wings and thighs for use in days 3 and 5.

    Day 3 -- Antipasti Chop Salad *Uses leftover Chicken Breast

    Whisk together 1/2 tsp Dijon, 1½ tbsp balsamic vinegar and 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    Chop romaine lettuce into large chunks and toss with thinly sliced red onion, a handful of halved cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumber, chopped leftover chicken breast, a few cubes of mozzarella, and the antipasti mix (reserve 1 or 2 roasted red pepper pieces for use in day 5). *Reserve a bit of salad and dressing as a side in day 4.

    Toss with vinaigrette and serve.

    Day 4 -- French Bread Pizzas

    Heat saucepan over medium heat and coat lightly with olive oil. Add in 1/2 chopped yellow onion and cook until softened, about 5-10 minutes. Stir in 2 cloves minced garlic and cook for another minute. Add in 1/2 can crushed tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle in a pinch of sugar and crushed red pepper flakes to taste. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Finish with chopped fresh parsley. *Will make leftover sauce.

    Slice remaining bread open cross-wise to form two long halves. Top with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese.

    Bake in a 425 degree oven until bread is crisp (can bake the bread alone a bit at first for extra crispness) and cheese is melted and bubbling.

    Top with Parmesan cheese and serve with leftover salad tossed with balsamic vinaigrette.

    Day 5 -- Easy Chicken & Chorizo Empanadas *Uses leftover Chicken Thighs & Wings

    Remove the skins and shred the meat from the leftover thighs and wings.

    Heat skillet over medium-high heat and coat lightly with oil. Add 1/2 diced yellow onion and cook until softened. Stir in leftover chorizo and shredded chicken. Mix in 1 tbsp chopped roasted red pepper, a handful of golden raisins, 1-2 cloves minced garlic, 1-2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, and a pinch of paprika. Add a few splashes of white wine and chicken stock to the skillet. Cook until mixture has thickened. Set aside to cool.

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

    On a lightly floured surface, roll out pie dough and cut into 3-inch rounds. Brush the edges of each circle with water and add a spoonful of filling to the center. Fold dough over itself and press the edges to seal. Continue making empanadas until all of the filling is used (refrigerate or freeze any leftovers after baking).

    Arrange on a baking sheet and lightly brush with egg. Bake for 15 minutes, or until empanadas are golden brown and crisp.

    Serve over mesclun greens tossed with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.


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