My parents gifted me some whole chickens recently.
They order a ton of their meet farm fresh, like straight from the actual farmers. They go there, scope out the goods, and choose what they want.
While I 100% appreciate fresh, free meat, something about making eye contact with my meal just makes me uneasy. So, I’m happy I just get it after it’s been, um, subdued and freezer safed.
Back to the point…
The chickens I received were not cut into portions and when you’re me and you defrost a bag with the words “chicken” sharpied onto it and realize they mean like a whole chicken, not chicken pieces ready to be cooked and put in your belly, you sigh a little and then pull out your big ole butcher knife and hack it haphazardly into bits.
Fortunately my mother gave me a half way decent tutorial after she discovered my carnage and I’ve figured out how to stretch a whole chicken into three meals for 5 people. So, lots of healthy recipes featuring chicken this week…
Plus, Dinnerella is giving us this…
Hungry Family, Healthy Meal Plans: Dinnerella’s Pasta with Rainbow of Vegetables
- 1 bunch asparagus (dry ends removed)
- 1 yellow pepper (seeded and cut into strips)
- 5 green onions (sliced into half (lengthwise))
- 2 or 3 beets
- 1 onion (cut into wedges)
- 1 handful basil
- 12oz pasta (whole grain, quinoa, brown rice or corn pasta)
- 6oz ricotta cheese
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- kosher salt
- freshly grounded pepper
Step 1: Scrub the beets and cut each one into 4 wedges. Add them to a small pot filled halfway with water. Sprinkle with salt and bring to boil. Turn heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until softened.
Step 2: Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions. Aim for al dente and drain.
Step 3: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F or heat a grill pan or the grill and brush with 1 tbsp olive oil. Drizzle vegetables with oil and season with salt. Place on the grill when grill is very hot. Grill for a few minutes, until softened and slightly charred. Turning once. Or place all vegetables in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
Step 4: Drain the beets, and save ½ cup of the liquid. Under streaming cold water peel the skin from the beets between thumb and index finger. Caution: Beets are very hot, but with streaming cold water the skin will easily let go. Transfer the beets to the grill or the baking sheet with the other vegetables.
Step 5: Meanwhile mix a few spoons of vibrant red beet-water into the ricotta cheese. Season with freshly grounded pepper. In a large bowl, mix the pasta with the grilled vegetables and dollops of ricotta cheese. Sprinkle generously with finely chopped basil.
- I don’t touch beets, pretty much ever. They are super good for you, but for the sake of keeping it real, I have to tell you that I left them out of my version.
- I use the fat free version of ricotta.
- I also used quinoa. I like saying it, keen-wah, and, as a complete protein, it’s healthier than pasta but still super filling.
Week 3: Recipe’s of the Week
Monday: We have a birthday today so a meal out is in order. For you, try this: Rustic Penne Chicken Sausage. On a week heavy in chicken I like this because chicken sausage doesn’t even taste like chicken, it just tastes like sausage.
Tuesday: Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken is perfect for a day when you will be out all day and in need of something that will basically cook itself. I can even rice cooker the rice so it will all be ready when I get home! For me, because I am using a whole chicken, I went ahead and cooked my chicken Sunday and then made this in a pot. You do what you wanna.
Wednesday: Chipotle Rubbed Flank Steak. I eat it with couscous and broccoli, but I make it into quesadillas for The Dudes.
Thursday: Another gone-all-day-day and an option that is quick, especially when using leftover chicken from the Chinese inspired meals are generally not really diet friendly. You can’t just call your local take out place and order guilt free. This meal seems like it will make up for that: Healthy Sweet and Sour Chicken. To stretch it for endlessly hungry bellies, I am making a side of my Chinese noodles. They are NOT weight loss friendly, but the Dudes love them.
Friday: Spaghetti and turkey meatballs. You can make your own or buy them from Costco like I do. I eat mine with roasted veggies, The Dudes eat it with pasta.
*Disclosure: Ruth, the creator of Dinnerella, is a contributor to DudeMom.com, providing healthful, family friendly recipes for budget conscious families. If you are interested in learning more about her service and gaining access to her library of recipes, meal plans, shopping lists, and more, please check out her awesome site: Dinnerella.com!