Monday, October 1, 2012

Meal Planner Monday

Hey everybody! I'm actually sitting down at my computer with a cup of coffee with thing 3 and thing 4 playing outside...and they're not fighting! Well, not yet anyway. Would you like six meals to plan for this week's dining pleasure? I knew you'd say yes.


These meals may be good for your appendix hole health!  

From now on my meal planner is 80% vegetarian, in other words, don't yell at me for the lack of meat entrees! Our diets at the Izzo Household have changed drastically since Papa Izzo's gall bladder attack. We eat meat one or twice a week, the rest of the time it's plant based proteins baby!

I'll try to make sure that the meals are kid tested and Papa Izzo approved before I post them. This may not mean a lot to you, but in reality I live with two of the pickiest eaters in America. We're talking texture issues, gross bug-food association issues and don't mix that with that issues. Serious stuff! 

With that said, it's off to the races we GO!

Mini Deep-Dish Pizzas


    • 0 - Olive oil, for muffin pan
    • 0 - All-purpose flour, for rolling
    • 2.00 - 1/2 pound homemade or store-bought pizza dough, in 6 pieces
    • 0 - Coarse salt and ground pepper
    • 75¢ - 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella (4 ounces)
    • 50¢- Sauce
    • $5.00 - Desired toppings, such as cooked vegetables, pineapple and ham, or pepperoni
  • Total: $8.25


    1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly brush 6 standard muffin cups with oil. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out each dough piece to a 6-inch round. Fill each cup with 1 round, gently pressing dough into bottom and sides of cup. Season with salt and pepper.
    2. Sprinkle each dough cup with 1 tablespoon each cheese and tomato. Add desired toppings and another tablespoon each cheese and tomato. Bake until dough is golden brown and crisp, 12 minutes. Let cool 2 minutes before removing from cups.

Vegetables Wellington Redux


    • 10¢ - 1 Tbs. olive oil
    • $3.99 - 1 lb. asparagus, cut into 11/2-inch pieces
    • $1.50 - 2 medium red bell peppers, cut into thin strips
    • 40¢ - 1 medium onion, thinly sliced (11/2 cups)
    • $2.99 - 1 5-oz. pkg. baby spinach leaves
    • $2.50 - 1 4-oz. jar prepared pesto sauce
    • 25¢ - 1 large egg
    • $4.00 - 1 17.3-oz. pkg. frozen puff pastry, thawed
    • $4.99 - 1 5-10-oz. log fresh goat cheese, softened (like Chavrie Goat's Milk Cheese) *(I used less goats cheese to save money)
    • $1.30 - 1 16-oz. jar prepared tomato sauce, warmed (used  Francesco Rinaldi Sweet and Tasty Tomato)
  • Total: $22.02


    1. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add asparagus, bell peppers, and onion, and sauté 5 to 10 minutes, or until vegetables begin to soften. Add spinach, and cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until spinach wilts. Stir in pesto. Cool.
    2. Whisk egg in bowl, and set aside. Cut 15- x 10-inch piece of parchment paper, and set on work surface. Place 1 sheet puff pastry on parchment paper. Lift parchment with puff pastry, and place parchment-side-down in 9-inch loaf pan. Press pastry into pan, being careful not to let folds get caught in parchment and allowing excess parchment and pastry to hang over sides. Cut squares from second puff pastry sheet, and press onto short sides of parchment-covered pan to make dough shell. Prick bottom of puff pastry all over with fork.
    3. Spread goat cheese over bottom of puff pastry. Top with asparagus mixture. Fold excess puff pastry over vegetables, and brush edges with egg.
    4. Cut 91/2- x 51/2-inch piece of puff pastry from remaining sheet. Set on top of asparagus mixture, pressing to seal edges. Refrigerate 30 minutes, along with unused pastry scraps and egg.
    5. Preheat oven to 425°F, and place oven rack on second-lowest level. Brush top of Wellington with egg, and poke 2 or 3 holes in top. Cut decorative leaves and stems from remaining pastry, press onto top of Wellington, and brush with egg. Use tip of small knife to score leaves and top with decorative touches.
    6. Bake Wellington 15 minutes. Reduce oven heat to 350°F, and bake 45 minutes more. Cool 15 minutes.
    7. Use parchment to lift Wellington from loaf pan. Remove parchment, and transfer Wellington to flat serving plate. Slice, and serve with tomato sauce.

Broccoli-Cheddar Pockets


    • 0 - Kosher salt
    • 63¢ - 1 1/2 cups chopped broccoli florets
    • $2.75 - 1 3/4 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (about 5 ounces)
    • 30¢ -  3 tablespoons sour cream
    • 50¢ - 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
    • 0 - Vegetable oil, for brushing
    • 0 - All-purpose flour, for dusting
    • $3.29 - 1 11-ounce tube refrigerated French bread dough
    • 25¢ - 1 large egg
  • Total: $7.72


    1. Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli and cook 1 minute. Drain and rinse under cold water until cool; pat dry. Mix the broccoli, cheddar, sour cream and chives in a bowl until combined, then squeeze the mixture together with your hands to make it compact.
    2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and brush a baking sheet lightly with vegetable oil. On a floured surface, roll out the dough and fill the dinner pockets. Step-by-step directions.
    3. Place the pockets seam-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Beat the egg and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl; brush the pockets with the egg wash. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.
  • Meal 4
  • Fall-Vegetable and Quinoa Hash with Poached Eggs


      • $1.00 - 1 large sweet potato, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
      • 16¢ - 2 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
      • 0 - Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
      • $2.50 - 2 beets, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch wedges, greens reserved and rinsed well
      • 7¢ - 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
      • $1.00 - 4 large eggs
      • $2.00 - 1 leek, white and pale-green parts only, halved lengthwise, cut 1/4 inch thick, and rinsed well
      • $1.50 1 cup cooked quinoa (from 1/2 cup dry) (I get mine at Costco, it's about $7.00 for a 4lbs bag!)
      • 0 - 1/4 teaspoon  thyme
    • Total: $8.23


      1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss sweet potato with 1/2 teaspoon oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt; spread in an even layer on half of a rimmed baking sheet. Toss beets with 1/2 teaspoon oil and 1/8 teaspoon salt; spread on other half of sheet (so that beets don't discolor potatoes). Roast, stirring halfway through, until tender, 35 to 40 minutes.
      2. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to a boil; add vinegar. Break each egg into a teacup. Reduce heat so that water is just simmering. Slightly immerse 1 teacup, and gently slide egg into water. Use a spoon to fold edges of white over egg. Repeat with remaining eggs. Simmer until whites are just set but yolks are runny, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer eggs to a towel using a slotted spoon, and drain.
      3. Thinly slice beet greens. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add greens, leek, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook until tender and lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in quinoa, thyme, and vegetables; press down using a rubber spatula. Cook until quinoa is warm, 1 to 2 minutes. Divide among 4 plates; top each with 1 egg, and season with a pinch of pepper.
    • Meal 5 (Meat Dish)
    • Polenta Sausage Mozzarella Casserole


      • 70 ¢ - 4 Tbsp olive oil
      • $1.30 - 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes *(I substituted with a Jar of Francesco Rinaldi Sweet and Tasty Tomato)
      • 0  - 1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano (use dry to cut cost!)
      • 40¢ - 1 yellow onion, chopped
      • 10¢ - 4 cloves garlic, minced
      • 0 - 1/2 teaspoon salt
      • 0 - 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
      • $3.99 - 1 pound sweet Italian sausage (removed from casings)
      • $3.40 (for a box of polenta grain) and make your own creamy polenta (just leave out the cream cheese) 
      • or  
      • $2.20 - for 2 lbs. prepared polenta, like Ferrara Pronto Polenta, 1/2-inch slices if using prepared polenta in a tube. 
      • $2.20 - 1/2 pound (8 ounces) fresh mozzarella, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
    • Total: $10.89 - $12.09


      1. Heat 3 Tbsp of olive oil in a large (2-3 qt) saucepan on medium heat. Add the sliced onion and sausage and sauté, stirring often, until the meat is browned. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, and fennel seeds to the sauté pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add the tomato, cover the pan, lower the heat to medium, and simmer for 20 minutes.
      2. While the sauce is cooking, coat the bottom of a 9x13-inch lasagna or gratin pan (a pan that can handle the heat of a broiler) with a 1 Tbsp oil. Add the cooked polenta (or slices) to the pan. Coat the top of the polenta with a little more olive oil. Broil the polenta about 4 inches from the heating element until golden brown and crispy, about 10-15 minutes.
      3. Pour sauce over broiled polenta, then arrange mozzarella slices over the top and return the casserole to the broiler. Broil until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.
    • Meal 6 (Meat Dish)
    • Loaded Twice-Baked Potatoes


      80¢    - medium russet potatoes
        • $2.98 - 8 ounces 90%-lean ground beef
        • 42¢ - 1 cup broccoli florets, finely chopped
        • free - 1 cup water
        • $1.50 - 1 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, divided
        •  80¢ - 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
        • Come on- 1/2 teaspoon salt
        •  Seriously - 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
        •  80¢ - 3 scallions, sliced
      • Total: $7.30


              1. Pierce potatoes all over with a fork. Place in the microwave and cook on Medium, turning once or twice, until the potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes. (Or use the “potato setting” on your microwave and cook according to the manufacturer’s directions.)
              2. Meanwhile, brown meat in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Increase heat to high, add broccoli and water to the pan, cover, and cook until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain the broccoli; add to the meat.
              3. Carefully cut off the top third of the cooked potatoes; reserve the tops for another use. Scoop out the insides into a medium bowl. Place the potato shells in a small baking dish. Add 1/2 cup Cheddar, sour cream, salt and pepper to the potato insides and mash with a fork or potato masher. Add scallions and the potato mixture to the broccoli and meat; stir to combine.
              4. Evenly divide the potato mixture among the potato shells and top with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Microwave on High until the filling is hot and the cheese is melted, 2 to 4 minutes.

            • Grand Total: $64.41 - $65.61

            • Shopping List
            • Produce

              1 Medium Onion + 1 Onion
              • 1 yellow onion, chopped
              • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced (11/2 cups)
              1 large sweet potato, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
              2 beets, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch wedges, greens reserved and rinsed well
              1 leek, white and pale-green parts only, halved lengthwise, cut 1/4 inch thick, and rinsed well
              2 1/2 Cups broccoli
              • 1 1/2 cups chopped broccoli florets
              • 1 cup broccoli florets, finely chopped
              2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
              1 lb. asparagus, cut into 11/2-inch pieces
              2 medium red bell peppers, cut into thin strips
              1 5-oz. pkg. baby spinach leaves
              Desired toppings, such as cooked vegetables, pineapple and ham, or pepperoni
              4 medium russet potatoes
              3 scallions, sliced


              All Purpose Flour
              • All-purpose flour, for dusting
              • All-purpose flour, for rolling

              Beans, Grains & Rice

              1 cup cooked quinoa (from 1/4 cup dry)

              Bread & Bakery

              1 11-ounce tube refrigerated French bread dough (like Pilsbury)

              Canned Goods

              2 24-oz. jars Franchesco Rinaldi Sweet and Tasty Tomato


              1/2 pound (8 ounces) fresh mozzarella, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
              1 3/4 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (about 5 ounces)
              1/2 cup shredded mozzarella (4 ounces)
              1 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, divided
              1 5-oz. fresh goat cheese (like Chavrie)

              Condiments & Sauces

              1 4-oz. jar prepared pesto sauce


              6 Large Eggs
              • 4 large eggs
              • 1 large egg
              • 1 large egg
              1/2 Cup Sour Cream + 3 Tablespoons Sour Cream
              • 3 tablespoons sour cream
              • 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
              2 pounds of prepared polenta or polenta grain
              1/2 pound homemade or store-bought pizza dough (like Pilsbury)

              Frozen Foods

              1 17.3-oz. pkg. frozen puff pastry, thawed

              Meat & Poultry

              1 pound sweet Italian sausage (removed from casings)
              8 ounces 90%-lean ground beef, (see Variation)

              Oil & Vinegar

              4 Tablespoons Olive Oil + 1 Olive Oil
              • 4 Tbsp olive oil
              • 1 Tbs. olive oil
              2 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
              1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
              Vegetable oil, for brushing


              4 cloves garlic, minced
              1 Teaspoon Salt + Salt
              • 1/2 teaspoon salt
              • Coarse salt and ground pepper
              • 1/2 teaspoon salt
              1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
              1/4 Teaspoon freshly ground pepper + freshly ground pepper
              • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
              • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
              Kosher salt
              1 Tbsp oregano
              1/4 teaspoon thyme


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