Monday, March 5, 2012

Meal Plan for a Busy Week

Good morning! This week promises to be another busy one, although a little less busy than we've been lately... needless to say, the weeks are flying by!

This week, I'm posting our make-ahead meal plan for 2 featuring some wholesome comfort food for the chilly beginning to March.  Whenever I know I'm going to be particularly busy in the days ahead, I like to have a few make-ahead or low-prep meals planned so that food is one less thing to worry about each evening.  In warm weather, I usually turn to low-prep meals like salads, veggie burgers, and BLTs.  In cold weather, I like to use my crockpot or make casseroles ahead of time to have on hand when needed.  This week, I'm turning to warm, filling soup and a delicious corn and chicken casserole from a dear friend of mine from church.  Even if you're not a corn lover (like my husband...), you will love how delicious this recipe is (this one has been approved by my non-corn-loving husband!).


Potato Soup (from Simply in Season)
- 2 TBsp butter
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
Melt butter in large saucepan. Add onion.  Saute until translucent.

- 3 c. potatoes, diced
- 2 cups water or broth
- 1/2 tsp salt (to taste)
- 1/2 tsp pepper (to taste)
- 1/4 c. celery, chopped (optional - I don't include b/c I don't usually have on hand)
- 1/2 c. carrots, diced (optional)
- 1/4 tsp. paprika or celery salt
Add, cover, and cook at med-high heat until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.  For a creamier soup, remove some of the cooked potatoes and puree them, then return to the saucepan. (I have never done this - I like to have the whole potato chunks in the soup.)

- 2 c. milk (I usually add 1 c. skim condensed milk and 1 c. low fat milk)
- 3 TBsp. flour
Mix together until smooth. Add to soup and cook until thickened, stirring constantly.

*For a variation, you can add in 1/2 lb. of browned ground turkey or beef and 1 cup shredded cheese, and then stir in 1/4 c. plain yogurt before serving to make a cheeseburger soup.  My favorite variation is to add a little cooked and crumbled bacon into the soup to add a great flavor and a little extra crunch.

Leftover soup and a baguette from the grocery store or homemade from your breadmaker (my favorite!)

Chicken Corn Casserole

1/3 c. butter
1/3 c. flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. celery salt
2 c. milk
2 c. corn or if you are using fresh corn, can be a bit more
2 c. cut-up cooked chicken
Melt butter over low heat.  Stir in flour, salt, pepper, celery salt.  Cook until smooth and bubbly.  Add milk.  Bring to boil for one minute.  If it happens to get too thick, add a bit more milk.  Should not be too thick.  Remove from heat. 
Combine sauce, chicken and corn.  Pour into 1 1/2 quart casserole (or 8x8 baking dish for a thicker casserole).  
 1 c. crushed saltine crackers
2-3 Tablespoon melted butter
Combine together and top casserole
with crumbs.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes. 
* This recipe makes six servings.

Leftover Corn and Chicken Casserole and a Green Salad with Vinaigrette Dressing

Go out to eat OR make BLTs with leftover salad lettuce and homemade or store-bought bread.  Great with a quick homemade corn, black bean, and frozen green pepper and onion salad tossed with olive oil and apple cider vinegar!

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