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Posts Tagged ‘meal planning’

Mmmmm!

Probably the best thing about getting back on track with making meals according to a meal plan is finding a new recipe that is just yummy! And tonight I did exactly that!

Garlic Parmesan Chicken Lasagna

INGREDIENTS

For the lasagna:
10-15 no-boil lasagna noodles
3 cups cooked, shredded chicken (use rotisserie chicken for lots of yummy flavor)
12 ounces frozen peas
½ cup Parmesan cheese
½ cup Swiss cheese
1 cup water
¼ cup seasoned breadcrumbs
fresh herbs for topping

For the sauce:
6 tablespoons butter
1½ tablespoons minced garlic
6 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon poultry seasoning
¾ teaspoon salt
5 cups milk

INSTRUCTIONS

Make the sauce: Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant – stir continuously to avoid burning because burnt garlic will taste bitter. Add the flour, poultry seasoning, and salt. Whisk and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the milk, one cup at a time, whisking after each addition and allowing it to thicken slightly each time before adding the next cup. When the sauce is smooth and thick, remove from heat and set aside.

Layer the lasagna: Grease a 9×13 pan and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cover the bottom of the pan with (about 5) broken lasagna noodles, half of the chicken, half of the peas, ¼ cup Parmesan, ⅓ cup water, and 1½ cups sauce. Repeat this layer once more. Top with a layer of broken noodles, ⅓ cup water, 1½ cups sauce, and ½ cup Swiss cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.

Making it pretty: Remove the foil, sprinkle evenly with breadcrumbs, and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes until the top is golden brown and bubbly. Sprinkle with fresh herbs like parsley and thyme. Let stand 10 minutes or more before cutting and serving.

I did make a few minor adjustments.

I didn’t crumble the noodles and use broken pieces because I made it as a regular lasagna instead of a “bake”.

I only prepared about half the chicken and sauce because I didn’t make a full-sized lasagna. Being my first time making it, I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. So I opted for a smaller size. If I had known how yummy it would be, I would have doubled the recipe instead. 😉 But the proportions given would have been perfect if I had made the full amount and done a 9×13 pan.

I didn’t use rotisserie chicken. So I tossed my shredded chicken in a little garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and black pepper to add some more flavour to the chicken itself.

We’re not big fans of Swiss cheese. So I used some Monterey Jack I had on hand instead. I also shredded a little extra and included a sprinkle in between each layer. You can never have too much cheese. 😉

It was absolutely delicious. Hubby was skeptical because “it’s not lasagna without meat”, but he loved it. Even the toddler ate it. And he’s getting a little more picky lately. So that’s definitely a success.

I’ll be adding it into our meal rotation!

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Meal planning!

Saturday evening, I sat down armed with my work schedule and hubby’s work schedule and planned out our meals for the next two weeks!

There are actually a ton of long overdue reasons for choosing to plan our meals I’m advance:

Eating healthier: when we don’t meal plan, we resort about once a week to picking up unhealthy takeout for supper just because we have no idea what to make. Which ties into the next reason…

Saving money: it’s a lot cheaper to plan a healthy supper and buy the necessary ingredients than it is to pick up takeout. We also waste less when we meal plan because we just buy what we need (or staples that are on sale) rather than walking aimlessly around the supermarket and buying stuff we don’t actually end up using. And we plan on what to do with any leftovers. So they don’t sit in the fridge until they’re thrown out a week later. Lots of ways to save money. 🙂

Reducing stress: I dread for about 3 pm every afternoon to come, because that’s when I’m faced with the task of deciding what to cook for supper. I’m generally a very organized person, so not having a plan stresses me out. Having our suppers planned ahead of time reduces that stress.

Adding variety: when we don’t meal plan, we eat the same handful of things over and over and over again because they’re quick and easy and we have the ingredients on hand. Before long, we’re sick of eating the same thing over and over. Actually taking the time to plan meals ahead of time allows me to reduce the repetition. I planned those two whole weeks of meals without any repetition in our main dishes.

I’m sure there are other reasons too. But those are the ones I can think of offhand. And it’s going really well so far. We even bought a dry erase board to keep in the kitchen with our meals for the next week or two written on it. Here’s hoping we can keep it up!

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