FOOD PREP Menu – April 9, 2014

Monday – Southwestern Turkey & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
Tuesday – Quinoa Burrito Bowls
Wednesday – Farro Risotto with Bacon, Parm and Brussel Sprouts
Thursday – Kale and Quinoa Salad with Pumpkin Sage Dressing
Friday – Chicken Parm Meatball Subs

Grocery Shopping list for this menu.

There was a slight hint of Spring in the air this week so you might notice my menu reflecting the change in seasons. I’ve added a couple of lighter items to the menu this week.

And thanks to, I’m very excited to try a couple of new dishes this week. I stumbled across her when I was looking for a copycat Kale & Quinoa Salad recipe for a salad I had at a local gastropub, The Crest, that was to die for. I never did find the perfect recipe so I made my own with inspirations from several I found online.

Let’s start by putting our chicken in the crockpot. Put however many chicken breasts you need for your family size in the crockpot, cover with water or chicken broth and cook on high for 3 hours.

Next let’s pop our brussel sprouts and butternut squash in the oven to roast. Preheat your oven to 350. Then cube your butternut squash (or if you’re like me, I buy mine cubed. Some things are just worth an extra $1!) and slice your brussel sprouts.

Brussel Sprouts

Cleaning Brussel Sprouts

Put the squash in a storage bag, drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil in the bag, seal it and shake to coat. Then pour it on a cookie sheet covered in aluminum foil. In the same storage bag, add your brussel sprouts, drizzle another tablespoon of olive oil, seal it and shake it to coat too. Pour it on another cookie sheet covered in aluminum foil.

Place both pans in the oven. Cook your brussel sprouts for about 20-30 minutes until browned. Cook your butternut squash for about 40 minutes until soft.

While those are roasting, put all of your quinoa on the stove to cook — 3 cups of quinoa and 6 cups of water for about 15 minutes.

Now let’s get chopping. Chop your onion, shallots and jalapenos, mince your garlic and zest your lemon.

Chopped Veggies

Chopped Veggies

When your quinoa is finished, divide it our into three dishes — 1/2 cup for stuffed peppers, 1 cup for kale salad and 1.5 cups for burrito bowls (you can put this one in the refrigerator).

Let’s start on the stuffed peppers. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan. When hot, add corn kernels and saute for about 3 minutes until just tender. Add the onions, garlic and jalapenos and cook until the onions soften and the garlic becomes fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Add the ground turkey and cook until browned. Then add black beans (drained and rinsed), cooked quinoa, fire roasted tomatoes, oregano, chili powder, cumin and cayenne. (Note: After seeing the price of Mexican chili powder, I quickly googled a recipe for it while standing in the grocery, realized I had all of the ingredients and just whipped up my own.

Once it is all mixed together, take it off the heat and put it in a storage container and place in the refrigerator. All you will need to do when you are ready to eat it is cut your peppers in half, add the stuffing and bake.

Stuffing the Peppers

Stuffing the Peppers

Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed Peppers

By now your roasted veggies should be ready. You can set them aside to cool until we need them.

Now mix your quinoa, kale and butternut squash in a storage container and put it in the refrigerator. I thought my kale pieces were too big so I took a pair of kitchen shears to them and chopped them down to be super small. In another smaller storage container, measure out 1/3 cup each of pumpkin seeds, chopped pecans and craisins. You can add these to the salad on the day you are going to eat it. I keep them separate so the pecans and seeds don’t get soft.

Kale & Quinoa Salad

Kale & Quinoa Salad

To make your dressing, add all of the ingredients to a bowl and mix with an immersion blender. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can mix it in a regular blender. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Next up, the chicken parm meatballs. First toast your bread and make your bread crumbs in a food processor. Then in a large bowl, mix all of your ingredients, shape them into balls (about the size of a golf ball) and place them a few inches apart on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes. When your chicken meatballs are done, take them out of the oven to cool then put them in a freezer bag and freeze them for later in the week.

While those are baking, let’s make our farro risotto. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan. Add shallots and saute for about 3 minutes. Add garlic and saute for another minute.

Stir in the farro until its well-coated with olive oil. Be careful not to let the shallots and garlic burn. Reduce the heat to low and add the white wine. Cook until liquid is completely absorbed.

Once the wine is absorbed, add one cup of chicken broth to the pan, until the farro is just covered. Cook at a simmer until absorbed, stirring periodically. Repeat this process by adding 1/2 cup at a time until farro is al dente.

Next stir in the roasted brussel sprouts and prosciutto (or in my case, turkey bacon that I’ve already cooked in the microwave until just done, not crisp.)

Remove from heat and pour into a large storage container, add one tablespoon of olive oil, lemon zest and 1/4 cup of Parmesan. Mix together, cover and place in the refrigerator.

We are almost done! Now it’s time to check your chicken. It should be fully cooked and ready to be shredded. Shred the chicken and put it in a storage container until you are ready to make your quinoa burrito bowls.