Weekly Menu August 25

“If my life had a flavor, it would be coffee.”

I found this quote on Pinterest the other day, and it perfectly describes how I’m feeling on this cool Monday morning! Getting up early for the gym was a struggle, and the crisp air foreshadowing fall didn’t make it any better (summer, I already want you back!).

So, coffee helped. And so did this list from Joy the Baker: 11 Little Ways to Get Through This Monday. I especially love this: “…an after work situation is a lovely carrot to dangle in front of your face.” With that idea in mind, I’m looking forward to yoga, and then steak and a glass of wine this evening!

Plus, I just discovered what I’m going to do with all of the bananas in my freezer this week.

Kung Pao Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Weekly Menu August 25

Monday: Grilled Steak with Summer Nectarine Salad

Tuesday: Thai Chicken Quinoa Bowl

Wednesday: Kung Pao Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Thursday: Chipotle Cheddar Turkey Burgers with fresh corn

Friday: Susie’s French Chicken with Goat Cheese & Arugula Pasta Salad

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Weekly Menu August 18

I know, I know! It’s a little late for a dinner recipe tonight, right? I definitely dropped the ball on this one (a sports reference? who am I?). Consider these five recipes a mix-and-match type of game for the week… and then one can roll over for another day!

This past weekend ended up being much more crazy than anticipated, and we got home late from a wedding Sunday night. It was a beautiful celebration up north, but sadly we couldn’t stay too long because of the drive back. I was scrambling all day today to get organized at work despite my lack of sleep.

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Anyway, I’ve had this end of summer herby chicken chili pot in my head for a week now. I mean, can you blame me?

I’m not quite as excited about the “end of summer” part of the recipe name, however. I want to hang on to this perfect (read: hot) weather as long as possible! I do love fall, just not what comes after it in Colorado. Right now the only bright side to those impending freezing temperatures will be lots of new soup recipes.

End of Summer Herby Chicken Chili Pot

Weekly Menu August 18

Monday: Chipotle Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Tuesday: Avocado Pasta

Wednesday: Crockpot Smoky Brisket Tacos

Thursday: End of Summer Herby Chicken Chili Pot

Friday: Cheddar Jalapeno Chicken Burgers with Guacamole

Kung Pao Chicken Lettuce Wraps

True life: I’m a messy eater.

Not messy in a cute “are you saving that for later?” way. Messy in a full-on spilling salad dressing and flinging veggies way.

And, if the food is spicy? Even worse! On top of the ketchup on my dress, I’ll have a red, sweaty face. For the longest time, I didn’t enjoy spicy food at all because of this. I couldn’t handle it, and would spend the whole meal alternating taking bites and chugging water.

Then, somehow, I turned a corner. Gradually, I began to want spicier foods. My tolerance still isn’t that high, but I love the taste. And, I happen to cook for someone who is a spicy-fiend. Nothing is too hot for him. So, it’s always a challenge finding a happy medium!

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Both Ryan and I love Kung Pao Chicken. Since I usually fill up on rice too quickly if we go out or order delivery, I wanted to find a healthier (and more cost-efficient) alternative to our favorite Asian dish. I adapted this recipe from Budget Bytes.

I’ve made this more than three times in the past three weeks. Safe to say it’s a keeper! It’s so good, and fairly quick to throw together. If you want it even spicier, add another tablespoon of the sambal sauce.

Kung Pao Chicken Lettuce Wraps

 

Kung Pao Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. boneless chicken breasts, diced
  • 3 T vegetable oil (divided)
  • 3 T soy sauce (divided)
  • 1 1/2 T rice vinegar (divided)
  • 2 T corn starch (divided)
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 1 T sambal chili garlic sauce
  • 2 t minced garlic
  • 1 t sesame oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup edamame
  • 1/4 cup water chestnuts, chopped
  • 1/3 cup peanuts
  • 1 head of lettuce (or prepackaged lettuce wrap leaves)

Directions

To prepare the marinade for the chicken, dissolve 1 T of corn starch in 1 T of water in a medium bowl. Then, add 1 T of vegetable oil, 1 T of soy sauce, 1 T of rice wine, and 2 t of minced garlic. Stir to combine.

Cut the chicken breasts into cubes and place them in the above bowl. Then, pour it all into a large pan over medium-high heat. Stir every few minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare the sauce. It’s similar to the marinade but with a couple additions. Again, start by dissolving 1 T of corn starch in 1 T of water. Then add 2 T soy sauce, 2 T rice wine, 1 T sambal, 2 T brown sugar, and 1 t sesame oil. Stir to combine, then set the sauce aside.

Next, prepare the bell pepper, carrots, edamame and water chestnuts.

Once the chicken is cooked through, add the vegetables and sauce to the pan. Cook until the sauce has thickened a little – just a few minutes.

Then, pile the chicken and veggie mixture into lettuce wraps and garnish with the peanuts. Enjoy!

Weekly Menu August 11

Have you ever walked through the airport carrying a big box of doughnuts?

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It’s amazing how many people commented as we carried our bright pink Voodoo doughnut box on the plane this past weekend. They are crazy good and it was definitely worth it to bring them to family. And, it made for such a funny traveling experience.

A long weekend always makes Mondays a little easier AND a little more difficult. It was so nice being home, but now it’s back to the grind. And back to the gym… and away from the doughnuts (at least for this week). Healthy, homemade dinners help with this transition!

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Weekly Menu August 11

Monday: Pineapple Chicken Teriyaki

Tuesday: White Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Wednesday: Spinach and Bell Pepper Turkey Burgers with grilled corn

Thursday: Kung Pao Chicken Lettuce Wraps (recipe coming later this week!)

Friday: Ginger Garlic Steak Tacos with Pineapple Pico de Gallo

Weekly Menu August 4

How perfect does this summer pizza look?

I want to make it every night this week… while drinking this Green Tea Peach Bellini. And then, I want to make this Ginger Peach Galette with Almond Crust.

It took so much restraint to keep from buying a giant carton of peaches at the farmer’s market yesterday. But, we’re going out of town this weekend and I couldn’t bare the thought of wasting any. So instead I just got a few (while huffing and dreaming of all of the peachy possibilities) and am saving the 5+ pounds purchase for next week. After I’m 25 (eek!).

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Weekly Menu August 4

Monday: Tex-mex Chicken Tenders with Garlic Avocado Dipping Sauce and Baked Sweet Potato “Fries”

Tuesday: Crock Pot Beef Carnitas Tacos 

Wednesday: Grilled Chicken with Ina Garten’s Panzanella Salad

Thursday: Spicy Shrimp and Veggie Skillet

Friday: Summer Pizza: Grilled Chicken, Peach, Blackberry + Basil

Weekly Menu July 28

It’s a Pioneer Woman kind of week.

I have spent far too much time on her blog lately. Her recipes are delicious and classic – and many are ideal for quick weeknight meals! Plus, her funny comments always make me smile. If you haven’t checked it out yet, do so now.

But, I can’t forget about the amazing photo below! Bev Cooks is another favorite of mine… for both her recipes and her darling baby pictures. This coconut basil chicken really makes me wish I could keep a basil plant alive (ugh). For now, I’ll have to schlep down to the store to buy it.

P.S. How is it almost AUGUST already?

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Weekly Menu July 28

Monday: Baked Pesto Chicken Parmesan with Pasta and Roasted Veggies

Tuesday: Coconut Basil Chicken with Rice

Wednesday: Chipotle Steak Salad

Thursday: Grilled Chicken with Corn + Cheddar Quinoa

Friday: Shrimp Scampi 

Chicken & Veggie Peanut Noodle Bowl

Why can’t every meal include peanut butter?

Besides the obvious sweet union of peanut butter and chocolate, there are plenty of other ways in which to incorporate this divine creation we call PB into our daily lives. For example, peanut butter toast or peanut butter pancakes for breakfast. Lunch? Easy as PB & J. Or, a healthy smoothie with nut butter.

Dinner isn’t always as obvious, but thanks to the inventive (weird) minds of Americans, it’s now socially acceptable to ask for peanut butter ON YOUR BURGER. I’m not sure what to think about that one. I’ll just stick to my peanut noodle bowls for now!

I love any type of Thai/spicy peanut sauce, and often whip it up to dip our grilled chicken in. The combination of that sauce with chicken, fresh vegetables and noodles takes it to the next level! This dish is the perfect lightened comfort food for all seasons.

It’s not super authentic – not even close! But it’s an easy weeknight recipe that tastes amazing.

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I ate a big bowl of this for dinner. And then I continued taking bites right out of the pan as Ryan was trying to put it away in a tupperware. And then I alternated talking about how good it was and complaining about how full I felt for a solid hour. Hello, grown up life.

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Chicken & Veggie Peanut Noodle Bowls

Adapted from EatLiveRun 

Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb chicken breast, cubed
  • 8 ounces noodles (of your choice)
  • 2 mini bok choys, blanched and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped

For the sauce:

  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 2 T rice vinegar
  • 2 T ginger, grated
  • 2 t honey
  • ½ t red pepper flakes

Directions:
In a large skillet, cook the cubed chicken in about 1 T olive oil over medium/high heat. Get the water boiling and cook the pasta around the same time.

After chopping the bell pepper and carrot, blanch the mini bok choys (stick in a pot of boiling water for roughly 30 seconds). Remove, and then chop as well.

To make the sauce, mix all of the ingredients together in a food processor or blender.

Once the chicken is done, combine it with the cooked and drained noodles and veggies in a big pot. Mix the sauce in with everything (pour in increments to test the amount desired). Enjoy!