Monday, March 23, 2015

Weekly Menu Planner #36 With The Cherry On Top

Welcome to another foodie edition of The Cherry On Top.

We're here to bring you fast, healthy and inexpensive menu ideas that most families run to the table for.  We do all of the planning so you don't have to.

Check out what we have for you this week.

Monday:  Shrimp or chicken creole


I've got a great link for this recipe.  Click on the image to get to the recipe with an easy printable, too.  This meal is made in minutes.  Chop up your veggies or puree them if you've got picky eaters.  *I never thicken mine in.  Just a preference and time saver.  Use chicken if shrimp is not a viable option.

Tuesday:  spatzle, cabbage and sausage

Surprise!  I was flabbergasted to see my incredibly picky, sensory issues child, give me two thumbs up for this side dish.  It's a German dish full of crazy flavour and made fairly quickly.  I've got a recipe card for you because well, I can never leave well enough alone and always have to change and add ingredients.  I will provide you with a link for an original recipe and it's a much nicer picture than mine.  Hehehe...


My recipe calls for cabbage and white wine and is very similar to this one.  The added veggies are always a plus, right?

Wednesday:  Chicken Tikka Masala

This image is linked up to a really great blog that I refer to often.  This dish is made from scratch so it's going to be your healthier option.  If you're looking to save time, you can always sauté some veggies, choice of meat such as chicken or shrimp and heat through some jarred variety of Tikka Masala from the grocers. (Check for sugar content and be wary of ingredients that don't sound like food.)  There are some fairly healthy, jarred or packet sauces out there that save tons of time.


You can eat it as is, with rice and or pair it up with some nan bread.

Thursday:  slow cooker ribs

Ribs are a family favourite in our home and it just doesn't get any easier than this.  You can totally save a couple more minutes by simply slapping your ribs in the crock pot and dumping over a jar of your favourite bbq sauce.  Serve it up with some cole slaw and bake potatoes.


Friday:  fish tacos

Tacos are a great way to start off your weekend.  We enjoy fun food on Friday and sit in the living room and watch a movie together.  This image is hooked up to 10 different fish and shrimp, taco recipes that will make your mouth water.  Choose your favourite or stick with the traditional, hamburger, lettuce, tomato and cheese if your family prefers it.


Saturday:  salmon sandwiches

We don't go this fancy, but it's a great option.  I often purchase half baked bread.  I toast it up, smear on some delicious herbed cream cheese, chopped onion and slices of smoked salmon.  That's it.  Literally, ready to eat in about 12 minutes.  Consider fresh baked bread for a healthier option, add some dill if you prefer and garnish.


Sunday:  gnocchi (bread and pasta combination)

It's Sunday and hopefully, today you'll have some time to spend in the kitchen to whip up something really special that the family will love you even more for.  The first time I made gnocchi, I wasn't crazy about it, but I thought I'd take a different approach.  I went through a couple of recipes on line and didn't like anything I saw, but got a pretty good idea of what kinds of ingredients I could put together and try.

I always make my own sauce.  You can choose to use a purchased jar of your favourite tomato based spaghetti sauce or use mine.  It's really easy, just takes a bit more time.  At least you will know everything that's in it and it's all really good for you, too.

Get your oven warmed up to 350 degrees F or 180 C.

Chop or puree garlic, onions and pepper.  I puree mine because my kids actually eat the sauce this way.

This is what it looks like by the time it's good enough for my boys.  I use the small, rubber spatula for just about everything.  It gets every piece of goodness out of the chopper and into my pan.  Use it on your jars and cans, too.

I pour a couple of tablespoons of live oil in my heavy pan to coat, then add the veggies and let them cook for about three minutes.  Don't let them get brown.  Keep the fire low.  Add your choice of meat.  The first time I made this, I used Italian style sausage and the second time I used chicken sausage.  They were both totally awesome.  Let your meat cook through, then add some red wine if you like or just jump right in with your diced tomatoes.  I use a canned variety with no salt or sugar.  (The real Italian tomatoes are always the best!  Elvea and Cirio are totally awesome.)

While your sauce is on, get your gnocchi started.  Boil water and add your gnocchi.  It only takes a couple of minutes for fresh gnocchi.  Around 3-4 minutes.  When you see them start to float, they are good to go.  You'll be baking them further.  So, if they are not just perfect, no worries.

If you want less thick sauce, you can always add a cup of plain tomato sauce and if you find that your canned tomatoes are flat in flavour, then add  2 tablespoons of tomato paste.  I use salt, pepper and a mix of Italian herbs.  

I put my sauce on the bottom of my baking dish and added a couple of slices of fresh mozzarella, put my gnocchi on top, mixed it all together then topped off the dish with  more fresh mozzarella, some grated mixed cheeses and more Italian herbs.

When your dish is all bubbly and just turning to brown, get that sucker out of there and serve!  Shouldn't be longer than 30 minutes depending on your oven and how much you're making.

Click on the image and download the recipe.

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