real simple recipes & 'the meal deal' calendar (free template!).

For the past 3 and a half months (since we've lived in Chicago) I have started doing weekly meal planning and I am in a place now where I feel content and settled into it!  It has made life quite a bit simpler...It allows me to plan ahead with timing...knowing what stays fresh and how long, giving me a better understanding of how much time I will need to prepare meals, and maybe the best part-knowing exactly what I need when I get to the grocery store!  Also, here is our little calendar that hangs out on the fridge, if you are so interested in using it/trying meal planning out (click on the image to enlarge, save, and print!):

I wanted to share some recipes (5 from Real Simple and 1 from Rachael Ray) that the Dake home has really enjoyed, and that I have really enjoyed making-because they're quick/easy! I almost always head to Real Simple for recipe searches...


Serves 6, Hands-On Time: 25m, Total Time: 1hr 00m

                  1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey
                  1 onion, diced
                  1 bunch spinach, thick stems removed and leaves chopped (about 4 cups)
                  1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
                  1/2 cup whole-wheat bread crumbs
                  2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
                  1 large egg white
                  Kosher salt and black pepper
                  1/4 cup ketchup
                  2 pounds red potatoes, quartered
                  1 cup buttermilk
                  1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1.      Heat oven to 400° F. In a bowl, combine the turkey, onion, spinach, parsley, bread crumbs, mustard, egg white, and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper.
2.      Transfer the mixture to a baking sheet and form it into a 10-inch loaf. Spread with the ketchup. Bake until cooked through, 45 to 50 minutes.
3.      Meanwhile, place the potatoes in a large pot of enough water to cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until tender, 15 to 18 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot. Mash with the buttermilk, oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.


Serves 6, Hands-On Time: 15m, Total Time: 5hr 45m

                  2 12-ounce bottles of beer (preferably lager)
                  1 tablespoon chopped canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
                  1 teaspoon ground cumin
                  1 large onion, chopped
                  1 pound dried black beans, rinsed
                  1 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder
                  kosher salt
                  1/2 cup sour cream
                  1/2 cup store-bought refrigerated fresh salsa
                  1/4 cup fresh cilantro

1.     In the bowl of a slow cooker, combine the beer, 3 cups water, the chilies, adobo sauce, cumin, onion, beans, pork, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt.
2.     Set the slow cooker to high and cook, covered, until the beans are tender and the pork pulls apart easily, 4 to 5 1/2 hours. Using a fork, separate the pork into large pieces.
3.     Divide among individual bowls and top with the sour cream, salsa, and cilantro.

(erm…we used cayenne, we didn’t have chili powder-but I bet it’s great like this!)

Serves 4, Hands-On Time: 10m, Total Time: 15m

                  1 1/2 pounds fresh cod fillets (about 3/4-inch thick)
                  1/2 teaspoon chili powder/cayenne :)
                  1/2 teaspoon salt
                  2 tablespoons butter
                  1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
                  juice of 2 limes

1.     Heat oven to 450° F. Lightly coat a roasting pan with olive oil/butter. Arrange the cod fillets skin-side down.
2.     Sprinkle the cod with the chili powder/cayenne and salt. Roast 5 to 7 minutes or until the cod is just opaque and flakes when tested with a fork.
3.     Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Cook, swirling constantly, just until the butter begins to brown.
4.     Add the cumin and lime juice and continue to cook, swirling, 1 minute longer. 
5.     Remove the cod from the oven. Drizzle the cumin-lime butter over the top.


Serves 4, Hands-On Time: 05m, Total Time: 15m

                  1 12-ounce jar salsa verde
                  3 cups cooked chicken pieces (1 small deli-counter rotisserie chicken or leftovers)
                  1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained
                  3 cups chicken broth
                  1 yellow onion, diced
                  1 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
                  2 green onions, chopped
                  1/2 cup sour cream (optional)
                  tortilla chips (optional)

1.     Sauté the yellow onion until soft.
2.     Empty the salsa into a large saucepan. Cook for 2 minutes over medium-high heat, then add the chicken, beans, broth, and cumin (if desired). Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3.     Top each bowl with a sprinkling of green onions, a dollop of sour cream, and some tortilla chips (if desired). For a soupier dish, use 4 cups of broth. 


Serves 6, Hands-On Time: 10m, Total Time: 5hr 10m

                  2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat
                  1/4 cup packed brown sugar
                  1 teaspoon chili powder
                  1 garlic clove, chopped
                  kosher salt and black pepper
                  1/2 cup balsamic vinaigrette
                  lots of barbecue sauce!
                  6 soft sandwich rolls, split

1.     Place the pork in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Rub with the brown sugar, chili powder, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Add ½ cup of the balsamic and ½ cup water.
2.     Cook, covered, until the meat is tender and shreds easily, on high for 4 to 5 hours or on low for 7 to 8 hours (the low setting will make total cooking time 8 hours, 10 minutes).
3.     Before serving, transfer the pork to a bowl, discarding the liquid. Using 2 forks, shred the meat. Mix in the barbecue sauce. Serve the pork on the rolls with the coleslaw and the pickles and chips, if desired.


Serves 4, Hands-On Time: 10m, Total Time: 20m

    ¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
    2 teaspoons paprika
    1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
    4 tilapia fillets (about 1 pound total)
    1 lemon, cut into wedges


1.     Preheat the oven to 400°.
2.     In a shallow dish, combine the cheese with the paprika and parsley and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the fish with olive oil and dredge in the cheese mixture.
3.     Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake until the fish is opaque in the thickest part, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve the fish with the lemon wedges.

PS...these aren't the original recipes!  They may or may not have a few modifications ;) Oh!  I almost forgot, we use garlic salt, cayenne, and cumin in almost everything we cook (find them at your local Whole Foods)!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting the full details,its really a good information
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