It’s a new week and a fresh start — and that’s exactly what today’s Meal Plan Monday post is! I’m not sure who else can relate, but quarantine really burned me out in the cooking department. I found myself no longer meal planning like I usually do and though nothing really changed in regards to executing dinner on a daily basis, I just couldn’t get motivated to try new things. I also felt overwhelmed by trying to piece meals together with what we had already in our fridge, freezer and/or pantry. I also always seemed to be one ingredient short of something I thought I could make. Once I took a step back, I realized that dinner seemed a little more stressful because I was no longer shopping for groceries on a weekly basis to get the ingredients I needed for the meals I wanted to make. Instead, we were only getting groceries once every few weeks thanks for Covid-19 and most of the time my husband was going. But now that we are working to find our new normal, I am feeling a bit more like I’m getting into a rhythm again. So therefore, Meal Plan Monday is back! This week features several semi homemade meals that take a little bit of prep but overall minimal effort and are ready in about 30-40 minutes.
Baked Chicken with Cheese Ravioli
This was one of those dinners where I opened the freezer and said “Hm. What is in here that can be put together to make dinner?” I saw a bag of Publix brand cheese ravioli and some frozen chicken breasts. I had a new jar of pasta sauce in the pantry, so voila!: dinner.
Chicken Breasts (I made 3, one each for me and my husband and one for my girls to share)
Frozen Cheese Ravioli (Publix brand is amazing!)
Favorite Pasta Sauce
Salt & Pepper
Mozzarella Cheese, optional
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Place chicken breasts in either an 8×8 or 9×13 baking depending on their size and how many you are cooking. Drizzle each of them with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Generously season with Italian seasoning. Bake for 25-30 minutes until completely cooked through. While the chicken in baking, start to boil water in a medium-large sized pot. Once boiling, carefully add ravioli and reduce heat to low. Gently stir and let cook uncovered for 3-5 minutes until they float. During this time, heat your pasta sauce in a small pot and add basil, optional. When the ravioli is ready, I use a slotted spoon to carefully remove them and place them into a bowl so that they don’t bust open. Lightly butter ravioli and stir gently if desired. To plate, place desired number of ravioli in a bowl, cover with warm pasta sauce, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese (optional) and top with sliced chicken breast. Serve alone or with your favorite veggie(s). This was super flavorful for my husband, easy for my girls to eat and simple for me to make!
Tailgating parties may be few and far between this fall, but this recipe would be perfect for party food or a fun, different type of dinner.
Philly Steak Patties (freezer section)
White American Cheese, sliced
Onion, diced (for me and Brad, I only need half an onion)
Salt & Pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Determine the number of patties and rolls needed by the number of people you are serving and how many sandwiches they think they will eat. One patty will probably fill about 6 rolls. In a non-stick pan on medium-high heat, add steak patties. Once they start to cook, add onions. Season with salt and pepper. While continuing to cook, use a bread knife to slice the buns in half so that you essentially have 2 large pieces of break. Place the bottom layer into a large enough baking dish to accommodate the number of rolls you are using. Once the meat and onion mixture is ready, spread on the bottom layer of rolls. Place cheese on top and replace the top layer of the rolls. Bake for 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted and rolls are slightly toasted. Carefully slice the rolls following their initial lines. Enjoy! We also tried this recently with ham, cheese and mayo … delicious!
Jambalaya with Sausage and Okra
Can’t go wrong with this quick meal! It also allows for easy dinner prep for the kids. Jambalaya tends to be too spicy for my girls, so I will set aside some of the sausage to cook in a pan for them that they can eat with the okra. Okra is one of our favorite veggies to bake! I grew up eating fried okra and have always loved it since my dad tricked me into trying it — he told me it tasted like popcorn and I fell for it. The only other way I had eaten it was sautéed in a pan but however my grandma cooked it, it was so slimy. No thank you. About two years ago, one of Brad’s coworkers sent him home with a big bag of okra. Not sure what to do with it, I googled how to cook okra. Most findings consisted of slicing it and baking it. So that’s what I did … and it tastes just like fried okra! Brad and I can devour a whole pan by ourselves. If you’re still a little unsure about okra, you definitely need to give this a try!
Jambalaya Box Mix
Sausage of your choice (Kielbasa, Smoked, Turkey, Beef, etc.)
Salt & Pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare jambalaya as instructed on the box. While waiting for the water to boil, slice sausage and then add to pot with rice mix. Slice okra into 1/4″-1/2″ pieces (discarding the tops and tips) and place on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Carefully mix together with a plastic spatula or something similar to coat all of the okra with olive oil and seasonings. I then will give the pan a slight shake to be sure each piece of okra is flat. Bake for 30-40 minutes until they are almost burnt. If they are undercooked, you’ll still get some of that slime. Slightly burnt gives you just enough softness and just enough crunch for the perfect batch of tasty okra. Serve immediately.
1 10 oz. can cream of chicken
1 can black beans
1 can Rotel, partially drained
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
2 large chicken breasts, diced
salt & pepper, to taste
Dump everything except for the cheese into the crockpot and cook on low 4-6 hours or 2-3 hours on high. Stir and sprinkle cheese on top for the last 30 minutes of cooking. Serve over tortilla chips and garnish with cilantro, sour cream, avocado, or whatever else you like on your nachos! Enjoy!
Southwest Taco and Rice Casserole
I got this recipe from my Beachbody coach, Amanda. It is so delicious that we have made it several times already. She has shared other great recipes too — find them on her instagram @_amanda.francis_.
1 onion, chopped
1 lb ground turkey or beef
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
3/4 tsp paprika
1/2 garlic salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 c brown rice, cooked
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 10 oz. cans Rotel with diced chilis
3/4 c corn kernels
1/2 c shredded Colby jack cheese or whatever your preference
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Heat a tsp of EVOO in a skillet. Cook meat, onion and spices. At the same time, cook the rice in a separate pan according to directions on box (or use Uncle Ben’s 90 second rice to make it easy). In a side bowl, combine Rotel, corn, black beans and rice in your 9×13 baking dish. Then add the meat and mix again. Top with cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted. Eat it naked (in a bowl), wrapped in tortillas or scoop with tortilla chips.
Which one do you want to try first?
I plan to keep these Meal Plan Mondays coming so stay tuned for things my picky kids will eat, many other semi homemade favorites, salads and recipes from fellow bloggers you need to try! I also recently rediscovered a binder I put together 10 years ago that includes pages I tore out of magazines back when that was a thing. I’m curious to see what I saved so I may have some new ideas from there as well!