Meal Plan – February 8th – Febuary 14th

  • Friday: Family Dinner Out – North Star American Bistro – This is a restaurant I actually forgot about, but we ended up at due to their not having a wait on a Friday night when we’d already stopped at 2 other restaurants with hour+ long waits. I started with the Chestnut Manhattan, which I was looking forward to having again immediately after my first sip. Not surprisingly, we ordered calamari, which was very good. I loved my entrée of short ribs, cheesy mashed potatoes, and sautéed spinach. Unfortunately, Jim did not care for his entrée of bourbon salmon. His disappointment was slightly forgotten when he dug into a slice of turtle cheesecake garnished with candied nuts. So, so good.
  • Saturday: Caesar Salads, Antipasti, and Bolognese Sauce over Tagliatelle – Great recipe, didn’t change a thing. The best part is that it’s a large batch and freezes very well for a quick weeknight meal.
  • Sunday: Buttermilk Roast Chicken, Green Beans, Corn, and Mashed Potatoes – I LOVE this recipe. I don’t change much, except for upping the spices, and adding a bit of tabasco to the marinade. Another step I take is to drain and dry the chicken before roasting. I just use paper towels to sop up as much of the marinade as possible. The first time I made this, I didn’t do that, and the chicken was delicious, but soggy. When you dry before drizzling with oil and roasting, it gives the skill more of an opportunity to crisp up. And really, let’s be honest, isn’t crispy skin the best part of roasted chicken???
  • Monday: Errands & Dinner Out – Chili’s – For as much as I don’t care for chain restaurants, there are a few that are “worthy” of our time and money. Chili’s is one of those on our list. I used to get the chicken tacos, and I’m still a little annoyed that they took those off of the menu. Scratch that, I’m a lot annoyed. They were good. Really good. Whatever, I’ll try to move on … try. My new go-to are chicken fajitas, Cadillac style. They’re always good, and they ensure lunch is also covered for the next day or two.
  • Tuesday: Pizza and Salad – We had Carter’s 4K registration and tour, and didn’t get home until almost 8:00 p.m. Thank goodness for frozen pizzas from Costco. Did you know I love Costco?
  • Wednesday: Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef over Rice with Asian Roasted Asparagus and Mushrooms – This was good. Like, Jim asked if it was from a bag good. I should be insulted by that, but I know him well enough to know he meant no harm. I did add some Sriracha, which I will definitely do next time as well.
  • Thursday: Alfredo Pasta with Chicken Sausage and Mushrooms and Steamed Broccoli – I just wasn’t feeling like actually cooking, so Carter and I picked up some sauce from the grocery and I tossed with sausage, mushrooms, and pasta we already had on hand. It was really a Valentine’s present to myself.

Spring Vegetable Sauté

I like to serve a vegetable with every meal. Last night, I was planning on that vegetable being a salad, but realized that we had had salads the last 2 nights in a row and were out of lettuce, so onto plan B. I realized that I had a few green spring vegetables in the fridge, and thus, this sauté was created. It turned out deliciously, if I do say so myself. Vegetables cooked simply, and allowed to have their flavors shine through. Enjoy!


  • 1 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 Green Onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ lb Asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • ¾ cup Peas, fresh or Frozen
  • ¼ cup Parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  1. Heat sauté pan over medium heat. Add butter, and, when melted, stir in green onions. Allow to cook for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add asparagus and peas to pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes over medium heat. You want the vegetables to cook through, but still retain their crunch and bright green color.
  3. Stir in parsley, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Champagne Risotto

Delicious! That would be my answer if I had to describe this dish in only one word. Oh, you want more than one? Okay, how about: rich, salty, creamy, crunchy, satisfying, and delicious. That’s six words, so I think we should be good now. I shouldn’t have been, and wasn’t, surprised though, as this recipe that I found on the blog Pink Parsley was right on par with others that I’ve tried from this site.

Seriously though, this was really good, and paired well with the Salmon I chose to serve it with, but would compliment many dishes well, or even be delicious on its own. Be sure not to skip the prosciutto. It’s a little pricey, but totally worth it, as it provides a salty crunch that brings the whole dish together.

Risotto is one of those dishes that seems to have an aura of fancy and intimidating around it. I think this was started by chefs and restaurants to allow them to charge extra for it when you go out to eat. If you’ve never made risotto before, I encourage you to give it a try. It’s really not difficult at all, and makes a great side dish for almost anything, and can be seasoned in many different ways, I’ll have to post my chicken marsala variation sometime soon.


  • 4 Thin Slices of Prosciutto
  • 5 cups Chicken Stock, low sodium is best
  • 12 Asparagus Spears, cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 cup Arborio Rice
  • ¾ cup Champagne
  • ¼ cup Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Pepper, freshly ground


  1. Preheat the oven to 450⁰. Place the prosciutto slices on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake until they are almost completely crisp, 6-8 minutes. The slices will crisp up even more as they cool. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer the broth.
  3. Blanch the asparagus spears in the broth for 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon. Set the asparagus aside and keep the broth at a low simmer.
  4. In a large, heavy bottom skillet, melt 1 Tbsp butter. Add the shallot and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the Arborio rice and stir to coat in the butter. Continue toasting the rice, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add the champagne and simmer until the liquid is almost evaporated, about 3 minutes.
  6. Add 1/2 cup of the broth and stir until almost completely absorbed by the rice, about 2 minutes.
  7. Continue cooking the rice, adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total. Remove from heat.
  8. Gently stir in the asparagus, the remaining tablespoon of butter, the Parmesan, salt, and pepper. Spoon the risotto into serving dishes and garnish by breaking the crisp prosciutto into smaller pieces over the risotto.