menu planning recap, baked herb-crusted chicken, and pan-roasted mushrooms
Well, I think it’s fair to say my first documented week of menu planning was a disaster. We stuck to our plan 3 days out of seven (4 days if you count moving skipped parts of Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday’s meals to Sunday), and one of those days was just sticking to the plan of eating out. I was pleased that we made use of our backup plan to cover one of those days, but all in all it went pretty badly. On the bright side, the nights we ate the Sonoran enchiladas and the baked chicken with mustard-herb crusts (read on for the recipe) were good enough to ease the sting of failure.
Luckily, I think I learned a bit about making things go a bit smoother. I think my main pitfall was that I originally built the menu plan by choosing recipes I was excited about, but I did not make the time on Sunday or set aside the money to go buy all the necessary ingredients. This ended up biting me in the butt the very next day– I would have gone through with the plan to make Chicken Machaca on Monday, but I got home tired and couldn’t face the idea of going back out to the store for chicken and peppers. So, next time, I’ll make sure I have all the critical ingredients for the first day or two, and ideally at least most of the critical ingredients for the rest of the week before I start.
So, here’s my attempt at week two. Last week we had 4 “weekend” type meals, so this time we’re shooting for a much better ratio. Most of these recipes are relatively simple, utilize the proteins and fresh produce we got this weekend, and should be low maintenance enough for a busy week. We’ve already taken care of Sunday and managed to stick with the plan as written!
Sunday (everyday): Chicken Machaca with rice and Parral Pea Pods (carryover from last week)
Monday (weekend): Korean BBQ Sliders and Tuscan Fries with salad
Tuesday (everyday): Homemade Pizza with Jicama and Cucumber Salad
Wednesday (everyday): Light Sweet and Sour Pork (carryover from last week) with rice and sauteed zucchini
Thursday (everyday): Spaghetti Bolognese (lighter style with mushrooms, ground chicken and a touch italian sausage) with Roasted Cauliflower
Friday (everyday): Baked Chiles Rellenos
Saturday: Flex night, freedom to eat out or collaborate with friends
Backup plans: breakfast for dinner, bean burritos
And now, for a super easy and healthy recipe for chicken brushed with mustard, coated in herby panko and baked, read on! Also an italian recipe for sauteed mushrooms (mushrooms trifolati). Delicious!
Crunchy Mustard-Herb Crusted Chicken
Adapted from Best-Ever Chicken Recipes
2 chicken breasts (whatever size you want to eat)
2-3 T dijon mustard
2/3 cup panko bread crumbs
1 T chopped fresh parsley
1 T other herbs: we used 1 t chopped fresh thyme, and a dash of dried fines herbes
Salt and pepper
2 T butter, melted
Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and place chicken breasts in a small, greased ovenproof dish. Brush chicken breasts with mustard on both sides, and season both sides with salt and pepper. In a small dish, combine panko with herbs and melted butter, tossing to combine. Press the seasoned crumbs into the first side of the coated chicken breasts, then flip them over and press the rest of the crumbs into the tops of the chicken breasts. Bake at 400 for 40 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and the crumbs have browned. The panko coating keeps the chicken deliciously moist inside (ours squirted obscenely when cut into) and the mustard and herbs were subtle and savory delicious.
Adapted from Mushrooms Trifolati, from Marco Canora’s Salt to Taste
2 T chopped fresh herbs (we used and recommend a heaping T parsley and a scant T thyme)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small shallot, chopped
pinch red pepper flakes
1 lb button mushrooms
4ish T olive oil
salt and pepper
Rinse and dry mushrooms and trim off the tough stems. Cut the largest ones in quarters, medium ones in half, and leave the smallest ones whole.
Heat about 2 T of olive oil over medium high heat in a medium skillet. When oil is good and hot, add the chopped mushrooms. Allow to cook, stirring occasionally, until they get golden brown and nicely sauteed, between 5 and 10 minutes. Meanwhile, chop parsley and thyme with garlic, shallot and pepper flakes.
When the mushrooms are golden brown, scoop them out of the pan. If the pan is dry, supplement with another swirl of olive oil, and toss in the herb and garlic mixture. Stir for a minute or two, and when the garlic is fragrant add the mushrooms back in. Toss it all together, cook until heated through, and serve warm or at room temperature (serve with a slotted spoon or drain on paper towels to minimize oiliness).