Five Days of Dinners

What’s on the Menu?
Day One: Roasted Chicken with Roasted Potatoes and Vegetables
Day Two: Spaghetti Squash with Bolognese Sauce
Day Three: Vegetable and Potato Hearty Soup
Day Four: Beef (or Turkey) Tacos with Spanish Rice
Day Five: Chicken, Rice and Broccoli Creamy Casserole

So here is the deal, you cook two main meals – 1.) Roasted Chicken with Roasted Potatoes and Vegetables and 2.) Spaghetti Squash with Bolognese Sauce – and you end up with the main ingredients for the next three meals set to go.

Grocery/Pantry List:
-A large family-sized roasting chicken (Chicken should be at least 5 pounds. If you cannot find one this large, roast two smaller ones. You want to be able to serve the whole roasting chicken and reserve at least 2 cups of shredded chicken for another meal.)

-2 pounds of ground beef or turkey

-3 pounds of Red Potatoes or Yellow Fingerling potatoes (I chose these because you don’t need to peel either)

-2 cups of uncooked rice

-Taco shells (hard or soft)

-10 cups of low sodium chicken stock (you’ll need 2 and ½ 32 oz. boxes if you are purchasing at the store)

-5 cups of marinara sauce (homemade or your favorite jarred)

-1 large spaghetti squash

-3 large zucchini

-2 large yellow squash

-4 large carrots

-2 lemons

-1 large white onion

-2 stalks of celery

-1 head of broccoli

-2 cups of chopped lettuce

-1 large tomato

-3 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese

-1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese

-2 cups of milk

-2 tbsp. of butter or coconut oil

-2 tbsp. of flour

-1 tbsp. dried rosemary

- Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Coconut Oil (to use coconut oil where I say to drizzle and you are applying it to cold food as opposed to putting into a hot pan, you will want to heat in microwave so it liquefies)

-1 head of garlic

-1 tsp. of turmeric

-2 tsp. red pepper flakes

-3 tbsp. of chili powder

-3 tbsp. of cumin

-2 tbsp. of hot sauce

-Salt

-Pepper

Optional:
-Parmesan Cheese to top spaghetti squash and bolognese

-Sour Cream for tacos. (You can substitute with plain yogurt. Plain greek yogurt is nice and thick and works great for this type of meal.)

-Nice loaf of wheat or Italian bread to serve with the vegetable soup

 

Meal One: Roasted Chicken with Roasted Potatoes and Vegetables

Ingredients:

-A large family-sized roasting chicken
-3 pounds of Red or Yellow Fingerling potatoes
-2 large zucchini
-2 large yellow squash
-4 large carrots
-2 lemons
-1 tbsp. dried rosemary
-Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
-Head of garlic minus four cloves (these are reserved for other meals this week)
-Salt
-Pepper

Preparation:
Clean a completely thawed chicken by removing anything that may be kept in its cavity (there is usually a bag of giblets and possibly the neck). Rinse the entire chicken and inner cavity with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels.

Chicken:
Drizzle the back and inside of the chicken with olive oil and generously apply salt and pepper. Place the chicken back side down in a roasting pan. Now drizzle the rest of the chicken with olive oil and generously apply salt and pepper. Slice one lemon very thinly and cut the other lemon into quarters. Clean the head of garlic (minus four cloves reserved for other meals this week) by removing the skin of each clove. Place the quartered lemon and garlic cloves inside the chicken cavity. Take the lemon slices and cover the outside of the chicken with them. Pour one cup of water to bottom of pan (being careful not to pour over the chicken as this will wash away all you’ve just done.) Cover the chicken with the roasting pan cover or loosely with foil. Place in oven and cook at 325 degrees for about 30 minutes per pound until the juices run clear. Baste the chicken every 45 minutes while cooking. When the chicken juices run clear, remove the cover from the roasting pan and raise the oven temperature to 375 for about 5 minutes. This will give the chicken a nice color. Remove from heat and recover.

Potatoes and Vegetables:
Chop potatoes and vegetables (zucchini, yellow squash and carrots) so they are all approximately the same size (this will make cooking timing easier).

On one large parchment-lined cookie sheet (or two smaller ones), place potatoes on one side and vegetables on the other. Drizzle olive oil and generously salt and pepper. Sprinkle half of the dried rosemary on top. Using your hand or a spatula, turn your potatoes and veggies and add additional olive oil, salt and pepper as needed so that the potatoes and veggies are coated nicely. Sprinkle the remaining dried rosemary and cover with foil.

When chicken comes out of the oven, allow to cool and raise oven heat to 425 degrees. Place potato and vegetable cookie sheet(s) in oven and allow to cook for at least 25 minutes or until potatoes are tender, uncovering and stirring around about halfway through. Leave the tray(s) uncovered when you are done stirring and continue to stir every 10 minutes or so as you check on the tray(s).

Time to Eat:
Remove the meat of one breast (or two if you cooked two smaller chickens) and place in a container. Also reserve half of the potatoes and half of the veggies and place in a different container. Refrigerate until another night (see below).

Slice and serve the roasted chicken on a platter with the roasted potatoes and vegetables. Spoon the drippings from the bottom of the roasting pan onto the chicken before serving and place extra drippings in a gravy boat for everyone to add more to their plates.

 

Meal Two: Spaghetti Squash with Bolognese Sauce

Ingredients:
-2 pounds of ground beef or turkey
-1 large spaghetti squash
-5 cups of marinara sauce (homemade or your favorite jarred sauce)
-3 finely chopped cloves of garlic
-1 tsp. of red pepper flakes
-1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
-Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
-Salt
-Pepper

Optional ingredient:
-Extra Parmesan cheese to top each dish

Preparation:

Spaghetti Squash:
Cut spaghetti squash in half and place on parchment lined cookie sheet. Drizzle inside halves with olive oil and lightly salt and pepper. Turn over so the squash is cut-sized down. Place in oven preheated to 425 degrees and allow to cook until you can easily pierce with a knife. This will take about 1 hour. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Turn spaghetti squash halves over and use a fork to loosen the meat of the squash. Put a large skillet on medium-high heat and drizzle olive oil. Add the spaghetti squash to the hot pan and stir around. Add one finely chopped clove of garlic and one teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Stir and allow to simmer for about three to four minutes. Remove from heat and prepare to serve.

Bolognese Sauce:
In large, high-necked, skillet on medium-high heat, lightly drizzle olive oil and add ground meat. Allow to begin to brown and then begin to break up the meat with a spatula. Stir in 2 finely chopped cloves of garlic. Lower to medium heat and allow meat to totally brown, continuing to stir. Lightly salt and pepper and stir. Slowly add marinara sauce and stir, incorporating the meat and sauce. Once incorporated, add ½ cup of parmesan cheese and stir slowly. Lower heat to low and cover. Allow to simmer (for at least 20 minutes or longer) stirring every 5 minutes or so.

Ready, set, eat:
Place a generous scoop of spaghetti squash on each plate and smother with the Bolognese sauce. Put extra parmesan cheese on table for everyone to top their individual plates. Reserve at least half of meat sauce in container and refrigerate for a meal later this week (see below).

 

Meal Three: Vegetable and Potato Hearty Soup

Ingredients:
-Leftover roasted potatoes and vegetables that you’ve removed from fridge and are room temperature
-6 cups of chicken stock
-1 half large white onion, chopped
-2 stalks of celery, chopped
-Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
-Salt
-Pepper

Optional Ingredient:
-Bread to be served with soup

Preparation:
Place large pot on medium-high heat and drizzle with olive oil. Add chopped half onion and chopped celery. Stir and allow to simmer. Once the onion and celery are tender, slowly add the leftover roasted potatoes and vegetables and lower to medium heat. Stir and incorporate the ingredients. Allow to simmer together for several minutes and then slowly incorporate the chicken stock. Cover the pot and lower to medium low heat and cook for at least 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with crusty bread (optional).

 

Meal Four: Beef (or Turkey) Tacos with Spanish Rice

Ingredients:
-Half of Bolognese sauce from Meal Two (one pound of the meat)
-1 cup of uncooked rice
-2 cups of chicken stock
-Taco shells (hard or soft)
-1 half large white onion, chopped
-2 cups of shredded lettuce
-1 large tomato, chopped
-1 and ½ cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
-1 finely chopped clove of garlic
-1 tsp. of turmeric
-1 tsp. of red pepper flakes
-3 tbsp. of chili powder
-3 tbsp. of cumin
-2 tsp. of hot sauce
-Salt
-Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Preparation:

Rice:
Add two cups of rice and four cups of chicken stock to medium-sized pot, stir and cover and place on medium-high heat. Once the stock starts bowling, remove the lid and stir slowly, lowering heat to low. Re-cover the pot and do not stir again until the rice is done. You can tell it is done once all of the liquid has been absorbed into the rice. Remove from heat. Reserve one half of this rice and put in a container and refrigerate for a meal later this week (see below).

Place medium-sized skillet on medium-high burner and drizzle olive oil. Add one quarter of the onion (one half of the half you reserved for this meal), stir and allow to simmer until the onion is tender. Stir and add the finely chopped garlic and tomato. Add 1 tsp. of cumin and continue to stir, allowing the ingredients to simmer together for 3-4 minutes. Slowly add the rice (Only half, remember! You were supposed to put half of it in a container for tomorrow!), incorporating all of the ingredients. Allow to cook for a few more minutes and remove from heat.

Taco Meat:
Place medium-sized skillet (you can place rice in serving bowl and use that same skillet) on medium-high heat and drizzle olive oil. Add one quarter of chopped onion (one half of the half you reserved for this meal) to the pan. Stir and allow to simmer until the onion is tender. Slowly add the leftover Bolognese sauce, stirring and allowing to simmer for several minutes so that it is warmed thoroughly. Add turmeric, red pepper flakes, chili powder, remaining cumin (2 tsp.) and hot sauce. Stir the ingredients together and the heat to medium and cover the pan. Allow the ingredients to cook together for several minutes (at least 20 minutes), stirring every 5 minutes or so. Add salt to taste.

Manja! (Eat):
Serve the taco meat with taco shells (warmed if using soft), shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, sour cream (optional) and Spanish rice.

 

Meal Five: Chicken, Rice and Broccoli Creamy Casserole

Ingredients:
-2 cups of leftover chicken (shredded)
-Leftover rice (Remove from fridge and allow to reach room temperature.)
-1 head of broccoli, roughly chopped
-1 and ½ cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
-2 cups of milk
-2 tbsp. of butter or coconut oil
-2 tbsp. flour
-Salt
-Pepper

Preparation:
Blanch very roughly chopped broccoli. To blanch, bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Add the broccoli and cook until crisp-tender. This will take about 1 to ½ minutes. Remove the broccoli with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl filled with ice water. After broccoli has cooled, remove from ice water, pat dry and chop more finely.

In a medium-sized pot on medium-high heat, add butter (or coconut oil) and allow to melt. Add flour and incorporate with butter. Lower to medium-heat, continuing to stir for 2 minutes. Slowly add milk, stirring very slowly and incorporating with flour-butter mixture. Continue to stir very slowly for 2-3 minutes. Cover pot, being sure to watch. You will want to remove the lid and stir once the mixture starts bubbling. Stir slowly, once bubbling and lower heat to low. Stir continuously for 2-3 more minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste (use salt sparingly as you will be adding cheese which adds salt). Slowly add 1 cup of cheese, stirring to incorporate. Allow cheese to melt and remove from heat.

Grease a casserole dish and spread room temperature rice. Spread shredded chicken and broccoli on top of this. Pour the cheesy cream mixture on top, spreading it with a wooden spoon or spatula to make sure everything is covered. Top casserole with ½ remaining cup of cheese and place in oven pre-heated to 350 degrees for about 20 to 25 minutes.

Serve:
Serve in shallow bowls. This is probably my favorite dish of the entire week.

That's a wrap! Whew! I feel like I didn't take a breath for that entire plan. There are just so many ways that you can be creative with food and being creative to make your life easier is one of the best ways. I really hope that you give this 5-day plan a shot and let me know if you would like to see more.

Many thanks for stopping by and remember to follow me on Instagram and Pinterest and that you can read me in the Apple News format. Until the next time, friendlies!

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