Tag Archive | "Quick Weeknight Dinners"

Bacon, Lettuce, Artichoke Salad

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Bacon, Lettuce, Artichoke Salad

Posted on 23 February 2012 by noelskitchen

One of my favorite sandwiches is a BLT, which was what originally inspired this salad; but this has a little twist adding artichoke hearts, making it taste just as Yummy!

This quick salad came about when I realized I had no more tomatoes on hand in the fridge. Tomatoes never seem to last very long in our house so I should have realized we were out much sooner than later.  Having a variety of ingredients on hand, allows me to cook from the pantry in the event I’ve run out of an ingredient. Substituting the artichoke hearts I had on hand in the pantry, was a great addition to the salad and made it a bit more hearty.


  • 1 head Romaine lettuce
  • Homemade Croutons
  • 1/2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 jar artichoke hearts in water, drained
  • sliced red or green onion (optional)
  • Buttermilk Dressing (recipe coming soon)

Top salad with all ingredients and toss gently.

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Strawberry Spinach Salad with Grilled Chicken and Gorgonzola

Posted on 16 February 2012 by noelskitchen

Spinach Salad marinates in fresh strawberry balsamic vinegar before being topped with strawberry slices, grilled chicken, lemon zest and gorgonzola cheese, resulting in a flavorful and fresh salad.

On Valentine’s Day, I wanted to try something a little different approach to our family meal. I wanted something fresh tasting and healthy. Spinach doesn’t make it to our table a whole lot for reasons unknown really. I love a good spinach salad but always afraid the kids with give me that Ewww!!!! comment.

One way that I’ve found that works and the kids seem to really enjoy having fresh spinach  is to marinate it in the dressing for awhile before I serve it. In this way, the spinach gets a little bit of extra flavor at the last minute before serving, resulting in a very fresh and still crisp salad.

The addition of oranges, dried cranberries, and sunflower seeds lends texture and complexity at the same time as sweet, tart, and nutty goodness.

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Grilled Chicken and Gorgonzola

 Serves: 6


  • 1 Tablespoon balsmic vinegar
  • 6 strawberries hulled and sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon tarragon
  • 1/4 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sliced toasted almonds (optional)


  • 8-10 ounce bag fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup sliced red onion
  • 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, grilled
  • crumbled Gorgonzola cheese


  • Create the dressing by adding balsamic vinegar, strawberries, salt, pepper, tarron, sugar and lemon zest to food processor or blender. Blend until well pureed.
  • While blending, slowly drizzle the olive oil into the dressing.
  • Place in a mason jar with lid and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Prepare the salad: spinach, red onion, sliced strawberries. Drizzle some dressing over the top. Mix lightly. Add grilled chicken and Gorgonzola cheese. (I have an easy way to “grill” the chicken for those of you who don’t have an indoor or outdoor grill that I’ll write up in another post. It’s so easy!)

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Week 3 of the Just In Time Family Meal Planning Challenge!

Posted on 13 February 2012 by noelskitchen

Meal planning and make-ahead meals work together to make meal times easier.

Need ideas for your weekly meal plan? This week, for my Just In Time Family Meal Planning Challenge, I’m sharing my investment make-ahead cooking strategy which is guaranteed to save me time in the kitchen and add some excitement to my dinner menus. After a much needed trip to Costco this past weekend, I replenished my pantry and I’m ready to add more meals to my freezer.

My Weekly Meal Plan

First, we had a tasty recipe last night using a make-ahead ground beef mixture, which I then separated into approximately 2 cup portions for 2 other meals this week plus had extra leftover to add to my freezer.

Sunday: Tamale Pie using make-ahead ground beef mixture (recipe posting later)

Monday: Baked Pasta Penne  Simple Jambalaya (recipe posting later), Green Salad (leftovers will serve as lunch later in the week.)

Tuesday: Strawberry Spinach Salad with Grilled Chicken & GorgonzolaNo Bake  Classic Strawberry Cheesecake for dessert (Valentine’s Day)

Wednesday: Shepherd’s Pie

Thursday: Roast Chicken and Garlic (half the roasted chicken will be saved and used for White Lightening Chicken Chili recipe.)

Friday: Zesty Taco Ring Bake

Saturday: White Lightning Chicken Chili

 What’s cooking at your house this week?

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Weekday Quick Fix Meals: Bacon Guacamole Burgers

Posted on 09 February 2012 by noelskitchen

Main Dishes in 30 Minutes or Less

With having hectic weekday schedules, getting dinner on the table Monday through Friday is a challenge. When there’s not much time for cooking, I’m all in favor of one dish-dinners and speedy skillet suppers. When I meal plan, I plan out meals that  are weekday quick fix meals and can be prepped ahead of time in the morning before I head for the office or a few days in advance and stored in the refrigerator or even the freezer.

When I buy ground beef or ground turkey, it’s because it is very easy to work with and recipes can be adapted to use either main ingredient. You can cook 3 pounds of ground beef or turkey in a large skillet and make three great recipes. (I’ll show you just how easy this is later in the week. )

Remember I mentioned it’s a good idea to plan your meals by what’s on sale? Grocery sale(s) item in this recipe–avocados and ground beef.

I love any reason to have guacamole. And this is a great recipe to have guacamole and a meal in 30 minutes or less! You can add so many different toppings to this recipe, here are just a few ideas.

  • melted cheese
  • lettuce
  • tomato
  • onion
  • pickles
  • peppers
  • salsa
  • mushrooms
Bacon Guacamole Burgers
  1.  Grill the hamburgers. Top with melted cheese if you prefer. Add 1 to 2 Tablespoons of guacamole.
  2. Top with your favorite toppings.

**Just remember to keep an eye on your bacon when cooking it. It just might get a little crispy. :)

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Cheeseburger Pizza

Posted on 03 January 2012 by noelskitchen

Homemade pizza is certainly a favorite dish in our house. It’s such a versatile meal that any toppings can work well. It’s on our weekly menu at least once a week. It’s super easy, fast and an inexpensive family meal which is one of my requirements when it comes to meal planning.

I’ve finally have perfected an easy pizza crust recipe that we all enjoy. I also use the recipe for making rolls, bread sticks, and regular sandwich bread.

A new favorite type of pizza of ours is Cheeseburger Pizza. If you add bacon, it becomes a Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza or Bacon, Onion Rings as toppings and BBQ Sauce, it becomes a Western Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza.

Cheeseburger Pizza


Servings: 6-8


  • 1 pound lean ground been or lean ground turkey
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • a pinch of salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup ketchup, plus 2 Tablespoons
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups cheese (Cheddar, Colby Jack or Mozzarella-I like to use a  mixture)
  • 1/2 cup dill pickles
  • shredded iceberg lettuce
  • bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional)
  • homemade pizza crust


  1.  Preheat your oven to 400.  Spread pizza dough onto a lightly greased bar pan for a deep dish pizza or on a regular pizza pan. Bake 7-8 minutes.
  2. While the pizza crust is baking, brown the ground beef, garlic and onion in a skillet.  Drain off fat and season with salt and pepper.
  3.   Mix in ketchup, mustard and worcestershire sauce.
  4. Once the crust is out of the oven spread on the meat mixture and cover with tomatoes and cheeses.  Bake another 8-10 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is cooked through.
  5. Top with pickles, bacon (optional) and lettuce.


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