WE EAT | Weekly Toddler Menu Plan

October is flying by.  I almost feel like as the weeks go by I am hardly remembering what we've done or plan to do..or what is even on the calendar.  I feel like I blinked and the month disappeared!  
If I am being honest here.. if I didn't figure out these meal plans every week, we would be eating chicken nuggets and cereal for dinner.  
Mixing it up with the occasional grilled cheese sandwich.. like once a week.
But.  I am a planner.  And we gotta eat, so here we are again with another meal plan for me to share with you.  I am LOVING seeing your dinner meals via Instagram and Twitter. Be sure to tag me (@masseya) if you happen to make a recipe - I would love love love to see!

Cozy up to your fair share of simple suppers this week.  Everything is warm, hearty, and pretty quick to get on the table.  I plan to do a lot of prepping ahead this week.  You'll see below in the recipe portion of the post that I included make ahead tips for those that would like to try their hands in prepping ahead of time.  It is a game changer for me when I do take the time to do it.  My Pinterest boards are exploding with these elaborate fall recipes that I am dying to try, but anything that calls for a 'root vegetable' tends to take time.
Because I'm a busy mom doesn't mean I can't find the time to make it.. it just means that all of it wont be done in the witching hour before dinner.  
Can I get an AMEN? 
Get your paper & pens ready to make a shopping list.

Recipe Links
Brussels Sprouts Casserole (+ chicken sausage)

Tex-Mex Chicken & Rice Casserole
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1   tablespoon olive oil
2 cups cooked brown rice
2   cups chopped cooked chicken
1 (15oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup chopped seeded tomatoes (2 medium)
1 (4oz) can diced green chile peppers
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
In a medium saucepan cook onion in hot oil over medium heat until tender.
Stir in rice cook and stir for 2 minutes.
Transfer the rice mixture to a large bowl. Stir in chicken, tomatoes, black beans, chile peppers, basil, chili powder, cumin, salt and black pepper. Transfer to a 2-quart casserole.
Bake, covered, in a 425 degrees F oven for 25 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Makes 6 servings.
{Make Ahead Tip} Prepare as above until the baking step. Cover and chill for up to 24 hours. Bake, covered, in a 425 degrees F oven about 40 minutes or until heated through. Uncover and sprinkle with cheese. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Winter Veggies w Marinara & Mozzarella Polenta
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup diced butternut squash
1 small zucchini, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup water
10  ounces baby spinach
1 1/2 cups prepared marinara sauce, preferably lower-sodium
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup instant polenta
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1-3 tablespoons butter (optional)
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add squash, zucchini, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and just beginning to brown, 6-11 minutes. Add water and spinach; cover and cook until wilted, stirring once, about 3 minutes. Stir marinara sauce into the vegetables and heat through, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in basil.  While your veggies cook, bring the water to a boil. Bring the water to a brisk boil over medium-high heat. Add the salt.  While whisking gently, pour the polenta into the boiling water in a steady stream.
Continue whisking until polenta is thickened. Turn down the heat to low and continue whisking until the polenta has thickened enough that it doesn't settle back on the bottom of the pan when you stop stirring. Stir vigorously every making sure to scrape the sides, bottom, and corners of the pan.
Stir in cheese and butter, if using. To serve: Place polenta into a bowl, top with marinara veggies and additional cheese if desired.
{Make Ahead Tip} Prepare vegetables up to 24 hours in advance.  Store in a sealed container and keep chilled.  I would not recommend making the polenta in advance.  It is meant to be porridge-like, and polenta hardens after sitting for a short time.

Coconut Sweet Potatoes & Wild Rice w Chicken
adapted from Better Homes & Gardens
1  (8.5 ounce) package brown and wild rice (such as Uncle Ben's)
4 small sweet potatoes (1-1/2 pounds total), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1   cup frozen edamame, thawed
2 cups cooked and shredded chicken breast
1 (14 ounce) can unsweetened light coconut milk
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1/3 cup creamy natural peanut butter
1 tablespoon red curry paste
2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 2-quart casserole; set aside. Prepare rice according to package directions.  In a medium saucepan cook sweet potato slices, covered, in enough boiling water to cover about 8 minutes or just until tender; drain well. Gently combine sweet potato slices, rice, chicken, and edamame.  Transfer to casserole dish.
In a large skillet combine coconut milk and onion. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, about 3 minutes or just until onion is tender. Whisk in peanut butter, red curry paste, and brown sugar. Continue to whisk until peanut butter is melted and smooth.
Pour coconut milk mixture over vegetables, chicken, and rice mixture. Bake, covered, for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake about 15 minutes more or until mixture is heated through.
{Make Ahead Tip} Prepare casserole through to the point of making the sauce.  Prepare the sauce just before you plan to bake the casserole. The rice/chicken/vegetable mixture can be stored in the fridge up to 2 days in advance.

Broccoli Cheese Twice Baked Potatoes w Beef
adapted from Eating Well
4 medium russet potatoes
1/2 pound 90%-lean ground beef
1 cup broccoli florets, finely chopped
1 cup water
1 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, divided
1/2 cup 0% Greek yogurt (such as FAGE)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 green onions, sliced
Pre-heat the oven to 425°F. Rub the potatoes with olive oil, sprinkle them with salt and pepper, and prick them with the tines of a fork. You can lay them directly on the oven rack or place them on a baking sheet. Cook the potatoes for 45 to 60 minutes, until their skin is crispy and sticking one with a fork meets no resistance.
Meanwhile, brown meat in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Increase heat to high, add broccoli and water to the pan, cover, and cook until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain the broccoli; add to the meat.
Carefully cut off the top third of the cooked potatoes. Scoop out the insides into a medium bowl. Place the potato shells in a small baking dish. Add 1/2 cup Cheddar, Greek yogurt, salt and pepper to the potato insides and mash with a fork or potato masher. Add green onions and the potato mixture to the broccoli and meat; stir to combine.
Evenly divide the potato mixture among the potato shells and top with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Return potatoes to the heated oven and bake until the filling is hot and the cheese is melted, 4 to 8 minutes.
{Make Ahead Tip}: Prepare and stuff potatoes. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

French Toast Sticks
1 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
4 slices whole wheat cinnamon raisin bread
1 tablespoons vegetable oil
Syrup or low-fat fruit yogurt for dipping
Beat the eggs, milk, and vanilla extract in a shallow plate or baking dish with a fork or whisk.
Add the bread slices and turn to coat.
Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the bread slices in batches and cook for 5 minutes or until lightly browned on both sides.
Remove the bread slices from the skillet.
Cut each bread slice into 4 "sticks". Serve with the syrup for dipping.

Pesto Pasta Shells
8 ounces cooked whole wheat shell pasta
1/2 cup prepared basil pesto
Combine cooked pasta and pesto and toss to coat.  Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes
1.5 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks (2-3 potatoes)
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup half and half
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper
Boil potatoes until tender, drain and reserve. Return the pot to the stove top over medium heat. Add butter and potatoes to the pot.  Stir in the half and half and sugar. Mash until well combined. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper to your taste.


1 comment:

Ash. said...

I am the literal worst at planning meals. Grilled cheese and tomato soup always sound delicious! Thank you for taking the time to share these with mommas like me! It helps me tremendously.

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