What's Cooking This Week?

Am I crazy or is it actually starting to feel like fall? Like, not for pretend this time? It makes me very, very excited, so my menu this week will definitely showcase that fall flavor. But incase you missed it, check out last week's menu plan with Homemade Chicken & Vodka Pizza and Sesame Spinach & Shrimp.

Here's what I'm making:

  • Lightened Up Baked Mac & Cheese
  • Maple Chicken & Roasted Brussels Sprouts
  • Fried Pork Cutlets with Homemade Applesauce
  • Autumn Chicken & Walnut Salad with Maple-Balsamic Dressing
  • Grilled Cheddar, Bacon & Apple Sandwiches


  • Cooking oil (I prefer regular olive oil)
  • Cooking spray
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Chicken stock
  • Dijon mustard
  • Low fat milk
  • Block of parmesan cheese
  • Butter
  • Maple syrup
  • Brown sugar
  • Sugar
  • Flour
  • Panko breadcrumbs
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Cinnamon

Ingredients (amounts based on servings for 2 with some leftovers)

  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 lb boneless pork loin chops (2-4 thin cut pieces)
  • 1 package thick cut bacon
  • 1 block extra sharp cheddar cheese (6-8 oz)
  • 4 apples
  • 1 pear
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 shallots
  • 1-2 lemons
  • 1 plum tomato
  • 1 package Brussels sprouts
  • 1 head endive
  • 1 head radicchio
  • 1 heart frisee
  • 1 small bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 small bunch fresh sage
  • 2 oz walnuts
  • 4 slices thick cut sourdough or multigrain bread
  • 1 package elbow macaroni

Day 1: Lightened Up Baked Mac & Cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray two small or one medium gratin dish with cooking spray.

Cook two servings of pasta in a pot of boiling water until almost al dente, about 5to 7 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.

Melt 1/2 tbsp butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Mix in two tbsp flour and a pinch of salt and cayenne pepper and cook until combined. Slowly whisk in 1/2 cup low fat milk and 1/2 cup chicken stock. Bring to a boil, whisking frequently and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes then off the heat, add two ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1/2 cup) and two tablespoons freshly grated parmesan.

Pour mixture over pasta and mix until combined. Divide evenly into gratin dishes and top with slices of plum tomato. Sprinkle with panko bread crumbs and drizzle lightly with olive oil.

Bake until bubbling and golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes, and serve.

Day 2: Maple Chicken & Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts (recipe adapted from Food Network).
*Makes leftover chicken for Autumn salad

Heat pan over medium high heat and coat with olive oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan and saute until cooked through and browned on both sides, about 5 to 7 minutes per side. Remove chicken and set aside, covered.

To same skillet, add one apple peeled, cored, and cut into wedges, 1/4 cup minced shallot, and two tablespoons fresh sage, chopped. Cook until golden, about five minutes.

Mix 1/4 cup chicken broth, two tablespoons maple syrup, two tablespoons apple cider vinegar, and salt in bowl. Add mixture to skillet w/ apples and shallots and boil until reduced by half, about 2 to 3 minutes. Return chicken to skillet to coat.
*Reserve one coated chicken breast for use in salad in Day 4.

Meanwhile, heat skillet over medium heat and add two pieces thick-cut bacon, chopped. Cook until crispy and remove from pan. Wipe out pan and coat with olive oil. Add 1/2 cup chopped onion and Brussels sprouts, halved. Cook until browned and lightly crisped, about 8-10 minutes. Toss with chopped bacon, salt, pepper, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
*Reserve leftovers for side in Day 3.

Serve two maple chicken breasts with pan roasted Brussels sprouts.

Day 3: Pork Cutlets with Homemade Applesauce
*Uses leftover Brussels sprouts for side

Prepare applesauce, reducing recipe by half.

Meanwhile, set up a breading station with flour, egg, and panko breadcrumbs mixed with fresh thyme and lemon zest. Trim fat from pork loin and season with salt and pepper before taking through breading station. Dip in flour, shaking off excess, then in egg, then in breadcrumbs, patting to coat.

Heat a skillet over medium high heat and coat lightly with olive oil. Cook until cutlets are cooked through and crisp, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side.

Meanwhile, warm leftover Brussels sprouts in a skillet or small roasting pan in the oven.

Serve pork cutlets with apple sauce and leftover Brussels sprouts.

Day 4: Autumn Chicken & Walnut Salad with Maple-Balsamic Dressing
*Uses leftover chicken from Maple Chicken
*Reserve mixed greens for side salad

Reheat leftover maple chicken wrapped in tinfoil in oven until warmed.

Meanwhile, heat a pan over medium heat and toast a handful of walnuts for 2 to 3 minutes. Stirring and watching carefully not to burn.

Make a balsamic maple dressing by mixing together minced shallot, a small squeeze of Dijon mustard, one tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.

Chop radicchio, endive and frisee.
*Reserve 1/4 for side salad in Day 5.

Toss with slices of pear, toasted walnuts, and shredded maple chicken. Top with homemade maple dressing and shavings of nutty parm.
*Reserve any leftover dressing for side salad in Day 5.

Day 5: Grilled Cheddar, Bacon & Apple Sandwiches
Uses leftover greens and dressing for side salad

Heat pan over medium high heat and cook four slices of thick cut bacon. Remove from pan and wipe pan clean.

Build sandwiches by topping two slices of thick cut sourdough or multigrain bread with a couple slices of cheddar cheese, two slices of bacon, a few slices of apple, and another slice or two of cheddar cheese. Top each with another slice of bread and spread with butter. Place in skillet buttered side down. Butter other side of bread and grill until both sides are golden brown and crisp, and cheese has melted.

Cut in half and serve with leftover greens and maple balsamic dressing.

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