Happy New Year!
Time to wipe the slate clean and have a fresh start!
Today we are kicking off our Weekly Meal Planning series. Every Sunday we’ll be featuring 5 easy, family friendly recipe ideas that are ready in about 29 minutes! These recipes don’t need to be cooked Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. These are 5 meals that you can plan and cook throughout the week. Maybe you’ll cook one Monday, pop in a freezer meal Tuesday, cook another meal Wednesday, eat leftover Thursday, you get the picture. The object is to have flexibility because we all know that schedules can change but you want to be prepared with meals on hand to either cook, reheat or grab from the freezer to avoid the dreaded drive thru or being asked what’s for dinner.
If you’re new to meal planning we’ll encourage you to listen to our Meal Planning 101 podcast that gives you tips on how we focus on meal planning and help you understand just a little more about how our meal plans works.
Since we’re kicking off a new year a lot of us may have over indulged (guilty!) during the holidays. We are lightening things up with fresh and easy meals to help kick off the new year right!
This Weeks Meals
- Mandarin Orange and Spinach Pasta Salad
- Cheddar Ranch Crispy Chicken Tacos
- Cilantro-Lime Chicken
- Vegetable Lo Mein
- 20-Minute Chicken Parmesan Soup
MEAL #1 – Great for Meatless Monday!
Mandarin Orange and Spinach Pasta Salad
We love this salad and kids will love it especially with the bowtie pasta and mandarin oranges too!
- 8 ounces farfalle pasta
- 10 ounce bag baby spinach
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries
- ⅓ cup walnuts or sliced almonds
- 1 can (4 ounces) mandarin oranges, drained
- ½ cup Sweet Baby Ray's Sweet Teriyaki Sauce and Marinade
- ⅓ cup rice wine vinegar
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- Cook pasta per package instructions. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, add all the ingredients for the dressing in a mason jar with lid. Shake well until combined.
- In a large bowl toss pasta with spinach, dried cranberries, walnuts and oranges.
- Before serving drizzle desired amount of dressing over salad and toss to coat.
Chopped green onions
You can substitute a bag of leafy green romaine in place of baby spinach
Meal #2 – Taco Tuesday!
Cheddar Ranch Crispy Chicken Tacos
This recipe is super easy to make thanks to frozen chicken strips and topped with a yummy creamy salsa-ranch dressing!
- 2 (12 ounce) bags Crispy Chicken Strips
- 8 small (6-inch) flour tortillas
- 1 cup shredded lettuce
- ½ cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
- ½ cup diced tomatoes
- ⅓ diced red onion
- 1 cup Mexican cheddar cheese
- Creamy Salsa-Ranch Dressing,recipe below
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro, optional
- Creamy Salsa-Ranch Dressing
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup buttermilk
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon parsley
- ¼ teaspoon dill weed
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅛ teaspoon onion powder
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Pinch of black pepper
- 2 tablespoon mild salsa
- Prepare chicken strips per package instructions.
- Meanwhile prepare Salsa-Ranch dressing - In a small bowl mix mayonnaise, buttermilk, sugar, parsley, dill, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper and salsa until creamy. Set aside.
- To assemble tacos, warm flour tortillas in skillet or oven. Cut cooked chicken strips lengthwise and place on top of warm tortilla. Top with lettuce, tomato, corn, onion and cheese. Drizzle prepared Salsa-Ranch dressing on top and garnish with fresh cilantro.
Simple, easy and addicting! Great served on top of rice, coconut rice or topped with chopped avocado or avocado salsa!
To make coconut rice simply use canned coconut milk in place of water for tasty and delicious rice!
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
- 2 lime, juiced (1/4 cup)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil plus 1 tablespoon
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 small garlic clove, minced
- 4 (6 ounce each) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teapoon black pepper
- In a small bowl mix together cilantro, lime zest, lime juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, honey and garlic until combined.
- Season chicken with salt and pepper and place in a resealable bag and pour half the marinade in with chicken.
- Seal bag and massage marinade into chicken. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
- Reserve remaining marinade for serving.
- When ready to cook, heat remaining tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Remove chicken from bag discarding juices and bag and place chicken in skillet.
- Cook for 7-9 minutes per side until cooked thoroughly.
- The last few minutes of cooking brush some of the remaining marinade on chicken.
- Remove chicken from skillet and place a platter. Drizzle any reserved marinade over chicken and serve.
Meal #4 – Take Out Night!
Vegetable Lo Mein
Skip the take out and make this quick and easy kid-approved veggie lo mein!
- 8 ounce (1/2 pound) angel hair pasta (or thin spaghetti)
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup oyster sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
- 3 teaspoons corn starch
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 20 ounce bag frozen stir-fry vegetables
- 3 scallions, chopped
- Cook pasta per package instructions and set aside.
- In a small bowl stir soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, tomato paste, sesame oil, garlic and ginger until blended. Whisk in corn starch.
- Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large deep skillet or wok. Add frozen vegetables and cook thoroughly, about 6-7 minutes.
- Add in pasta and sauce and toss until combined. Reduce heat to low and cook for another 3-4 minutes until sauce is absorbed.
- Garnish with chopped scallions and serve.
Meal #5 – Cooking from Pinterest!
20-Minute Chicken Parmesan Soup
Warm up to a delicious bowl of this Chicken Parmesan Soup that even the kiddos will love!
Looking for more recipe inspiration? Be sure to visit all my recipes on motherthyme.com!