No-Brainer cooking: menu 3.14.13

Happy Wednesday! Time for us to cook once a week, and eat the whole week. Super easy, healthy, delicious and inexpensive. If you cook this way, you’ll have more time outside the kitchen, and more room in your clothes! This week’s menu prepares a lot of food. So it would be good for a) company, b) a large family, or c) freezing and saving. Otherwise, you may choose 2 or 3 of the dishes to prepare.

This week our menu is:chicken-mirabella-300x218

I can’t wait to share these recipes with you. Chicken mirabella is from my mom’s kitchen (as was the chicken enchilada casserole from last week) and is one of my absolute favorites.

* Chicken mirabella is best marinated overnight before cooking.

Our grocery list is:

  • 1 bottle dry white wine (recommend: Chardonnay)
  • 1 lb raw boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (approx. 1.5 lbs)
  • 1/2 lb. Italian sausage
  • pork boneless loin roast (approx. 2 1/2 lb), trimmed of fat
  • 2 heads broccoli, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, julienned (sliced into strips)*
  • 3 colored peppers (green, red, orange  or yellow), seeded and julienned*
  • 2 colored peppers, seeded and cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced zucchini (approx. 2 zucchinis, sliced)
  • 1 cup sliced carrots (approx. 1/2 bag baby carrots)
  • 5 cups (approx. 40 oz.) beef broth (I use 32 oz supplemented with extra water and salt. You can also substitute with chicken or vegetable broth, or water and a lotta salt.)
  • 8 oz. package fresh or frozen tortellini pasta
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz) stewed tomatoes, Italian style
  • 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • approx. 12 prunes, pitted and drained
  • 12 green olives, pitted
  • 2 tablespoons capers, with liquid
  • 2 tablespoons fajita seasoning (approx. 1/2 packet)
  • 8 oz. salsa
  • 2 packages tortillas, corn or flour (approx. 11.5 oz each)
  • 1 (8 oz.) package shredded Mexican-style cheese
* The peppers and onions can be replaced with 1 bag (1 lb) frozen stir-fry bell peppers and onions.
Optional:
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine (ex: Merlot, Pinot Noir, Cabernet)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or 1 Tbs. dried parsley
  • Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Avocado
  • Cilantro
  • Salsa
  • 4 Tbs sesame seeds
  • sesame oil
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger root, minced
Things you should already have in your pantry:
  • 2 Tbs low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tbs light maple syrup (from pancakes you ate once)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp five spice powder (Asian spice blend): salt, pepper, fennel, cloves, cinnamon (mix to taste)
  • dried basil
  • dried oregano
  • 1 Tbs dried parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 Tbs flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (you can substitute any vinegar you have on hand)
  • 3 c cooked brown rice
  • 2 c cooked white rice
chicken-mirabella_4A. Marinate the chicken mirabella the night before:

  1. In a resealable bag, combine 4 minced garlic cloves, prunes, olives, capers, 2 T. olive oil, 2 T. vinegar, 1/4 c. white wine, 2 bay leaves, generous 2 tsp. oregano, salt and pepper to taste. (be generous! I use about 1/2 package of prunes and 1/2 package of olives.)
  2. Mix well and add chicken breasts (6 halves).
  3. Seal and refrigerate overnight.
fajitasB. Begin the slow-cooker fajitas:
  1. Place pork in 3- to 4-quart slow cooker. Sprinkle with fajita seasoning. Add julienned onion and peppers. Top with salsa. Cover; cook on Low heat setting for 6 hours.
  2. After 6 hours, remove pork from cooker; place on cutting board. Shred pork using 2 forks; return pork to cooker and mix well. Cover; simmer 30 minutes longer or until mixture is hot. Serve in tortillas. Optional toppings: cheese, cilantro, sour cream, avocado, salsa.
C. Prepare white rice according to package directions.
D. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
tortellini soup 015E. Prepare the tortellini soup:
  1. Remove casings from Italian sausage. Brown sausage and cook until crumbly. Remove meat from pot. Reserve 1 tablespoon drippings.
  2. Cook small chopped onion and 2 cloves minced garlic in the drippings until tender. Add beef broth, 1/2-1 1/2 c. water, 1/2 c. red wine, carrots, 2 cans stewed tomatoes, 1-2 tsp. dried basil, 1-2 tsp. dried oregano, 8 oz. can tomato sauce, and the cooked sausage. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer uncovered 30 minutes.
  3. Add sliced zucchini, 2 chopped peppers, dried parsley, fresh parsley (optional) and tortellini. Simmer another 25 minutes, covered, for fresh tortellini, or 45 minutes, covered, for frozen tortellini. Optional: serve with parmesan cheese sprinkled over the top.

chicken-mirabella-300x218F. Prepare brown rice according to package directions.

G. Prepare the chicken mirabella:

  1. Pour contents of bag into baking dish and top with the brown sugar.
  2. Bake at 350 degrees F, spooning the broth over the chicken several times for 30 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Serve with white rice.
Ginger Sesame Chicken 1bH. Prepare the ginger sesame chicken:
  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the sesame seeds until lightly toasted (2-3 minutes), shaking the pan frequently. Remove toasted seeds from heat and transfer to a dish. Set skillet aside for use in step 4.
  2. In a small bowl, combine 2 Tbs. water, soy sauce, maple syrup, 2 Tbs. white wine, ginger and five spice and stir together.
  3. Place the 4 Tbs flour, salt and pepper to taste in a Ziploc bag and shake to mix. Add the chicken pieces and seal. Shake until chicken pieces are thoroughly coated.
  4. Add the olive oil (or sesame oil) to the large skillet and bring to medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add the chicken pieces and cook through, flipping the chicken to brown on all sides (about 5 minutes).
  5. Remove chicken from pan. Coat pan with scant oil. Add chopped broccoli and saute, approx 2-3 minutes. Return chicken to pan.
  6. Pour the sauce mixture from step 2 over the chicken and broccoli and stir to coat. Cook for a few more minutes until sauce is thickened and coating chicken and broccoli. Add toasted sesame seeds to chicken and stir to coat (or sprinkle seeds over top of each serving). Split chicken into four servings and serve over brown rice if desired.

Hope you enjoy!

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About wordlytraveler

I am a simply a girl with a head full of ideas. I love reading blogs. I love traveling. Cooking. The beach. Stuff Kids say. Speech Therapy. Running. Yoga. God. DIY Projects. Painting. Books, especially children's books. You will find all of this and more on my blog. I hope to write every week, at least September-May. I welcome your feedback. Thanks for reading!
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