Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Menu Monday #37

So, I've taken nearly an entire year-long break from my weekly menu posts. I actually stopped them last year because I was pregnant, and menu planning became very hard due to my lack of desire to eat much of any substance aside from cereal early on during the pregnancy. Since it wasn't public knowledge at the time, I just kind of stopped posting instead of explaining it here. Sorry about that! Now that my dear little Amos is 4 months old, it's time to get back on track with our healthy eating. Josh and I started our "diets" last week. We're using the My Fitness Pal app to track all of our calories. So far, so good. One week in and we're both down about 5 pounds! Woo hoo! So, I'd like to share the meals that we're eating for our dinners again, and from time to time, I'll add in some snacks and breakfast ideas, too!

We've resolved to make 2014 a better year. We want to eat better, spend better, and just be better. We're on the right track with our meals, and I'll soon be taking a look at our budget and taking steps to reduce some of our extra spending. We also took a big step this past weekend and visited a local church as a family for the first time. Sadly, though both Josh and I grew up going to church every week, we stopped doing it when we went off to college. We did attend a church during our last year at UC - the church that we were married in that summer. However, once we moved to Kentucky, we never found a new one. In our defense, Josh worked a lot of Sundays when he was at both Toyota and Kia, so it would have made it hard to attend regularly. We've put off choosing one to try long enough now, and it's time to get back to church. We decided to check out the church where Ethan and Noah attend preschool. It's a Methodist church, so we thought it might be a good compromise, as I am Lutheran, and Josh is Baptist. It was a nice service and the boys enjoyed the children's ministry that they offer. I'm hoping that we have found someplace that we can call home now!

As for the food...on Saturday morning, in trying to keep with our healthier meals, I made waffles (with my new waffle maker - thanks, Mom!) topped with lots of tasty strawberries. Yum! For dinner, I made my favorite whole wheat pizza dough in the bread machine, and we topped it with some crushed tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and dried basil (we dried some from our garden last summer and crushed it into smaller pieces). Simple, yet delicious!

On Sunday morning before church, Josh made what has become our customary Sunday breakfast...egg bagel sandwiches. Eggs fried hard and a little mozzarella cheese on a yummy bagel. I love them! We usually have some Cream of Wheat, too, but skipped it that day.

Sunday: Mixed greens with grilled chicken strips, sunflower seeds, ciabatta bread croutons, raspberry vinaigrette dressing
Since we splurged after church and ate out, we needed something lighter for dinner. :) The boys had leftovers.

Monday: Crispy shrimp pasta (see recipe below), oven roasted broccoli
This was a new recipe and it was excellent! It was so easy to get a nice, crispy shrimp with just a little bit of flour and EVOO/butter mixture. The sauce is nice and light and has great flavor with our homemade Cajun seasoning. For me, roasting broccoli is the only way to go. I top mine with a little EVOO, freshly ground sea salt & pepper, and shredded parmesan. I could seriously eat it like candy!

Tuesday: Caribbean jerk pork tenderloin with sweet peppers over brown rice, sautéed cabbage
This meal has become our traditional New Year's Day meal for good luck. Since we were out of town this year, we didn't make it, so we decided to make it this week. You simply pour a bottle of Caribbean jerk dressing/marinade over your pork, slice up the peppers, and top with some pineapple slices. Bake for 60-75 minutes (depends on thickness of loin) on 350 degrees. It is tasty served over some rice, to soak up all of the juice. The cabbage recipe was a new one Josh tried last year and it was really good. I've never liked cabbage any other time he's made it, but this recipe I actually really enjoy!

Wednesday: Honey mustard baked chicken, roasted sweet potatoes with honey and rosemary
This is another new recipe. It looks super tasty in the pics, so I hope it is excellent! I haven't made sweet potatoes this way in awhile, so it will be nice to revisit them. They are excellent and pack in the nutrients!

Thursday: Brown butter chicken and crispy sage over quinoa, side salad
This is yet another new recipe from Kevin & Amanda's blog. It looked too good to pass up, so I hope it's as delicious as it looks!

Friday: Homemade pizza
I haven't decided on toppings yet, but would like to maybe try some roasted veggies.

Saturday: Out to eat
We'll go somewhere and order something that sounds as healthy as possible. :)

What's on your menu this week?

I found the following recipe at Kevin & Amanda's blog, and tweaked it a bit to work for us. I hope you enjoy this one as much as we did!!

Crispy Shrimp Pasta
(makes 4 servings)

  • 12 oz tricolor rotini pasta (or pasta of your choice)
  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
  • dash of freshly ground sea salt, to taste
  • dash of freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 tsp cajun seasoning
Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Prepare the shrimp, then sprinkle them with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp of the flour over the shrimp, and toss to coat the shrimp. Sprinkle 1 more Tbsp of flour and toss to evenly coat the shrimp. Melt the butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. When hot, add the shrimp in a single layer and cook on each side, flipping once, until golden brown, approximately 3-4 minutes per side. Set these aside once fully cooked. Pour the chicken broth into the skillet. Cook for about 5 minutes, whisking the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Reduce the heat to medium and pour in the cream, whisking constantly. Cook the sauce over medium heat until bubbly and thickened, about 5 minutes. If it isn't thickening, you can add an additional Tbsp of flour. Add the cajun seasoning, and additional salt and pepper, as desired. Add the drained pasta and the shrimp to the sauce, stirring to combine. Serve while hot!

*Nutritional Info (per serving): 510 calories, 46 g carbohydrates, 18.5 g fat, 34 g protein, 2 g fiber.
*These numbers may vary with differences between brands of ingredients

We loved this dish!! It had the perfect amount of sauce to lightly coat the pasta, and it wasn't too heavy either. The shrimp crisped up perfectly and Ethan was a big fan of them! I love serving roasted broccoli with seafood, so it worked well as a side.

I'll be back soon with some of the other tasty things we've been eating!

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