Monday, December 17, 2012

One-Dish Dinners: Weekly Menu 12/17

One Dish Family Friendly Dinners

Some evenings, one dish is about all I can handle. Oh, you too? If I can get a protein plus veggies and maybe a pasta or potato into a single dish, I feel like I've gotten away with something.

I have to share some details about how we eat our dinners because yours may go down like this too. Tonight, I tried the Baked Chicken Fajitas for the first time, which I served with baked beans on the side. That's a weird side for fajitas, I know, but I had mistaken the can in my pantry for refried beans earlier in the day. All in all, the dish was a success, but here's how success looked: my husband and I ate the fajitas, assembled the conventional way with lots of hot sauce. My cave woman 9-year old mowed the chicken and onions... then more chicken. My 6 year old ate no chicken, as far as I could tell and stuffed her tortilla with baked beans and shredded cheese, but nothing else, and called it good. My 4 year old ate an empty tortilla, maybe a few beans, a fistful of shredded cheese and a pear that he begged for from our fruit bowl.  I share this because no matter how well composed these home-cooked dinners may look and sound to you in the pictures and descriptions, we always have some level of improv and deconstruction at the table. I say keep calm and keep cooking.

Ziti with Tomatoes, Spinach & Gouda

Baked Ziti with Tomatoes, Spinach and Gouda in a bowl

This veggie-packed dish usually passes the kid taste test because it involves pasta and good cheese. You can also set aside some plain cooked pasta and a few of the ingredients to assemble a separate portion for picky eaters.

Side:  Garlic bread

  • Buy pre-shredded Gouda (my local store offers shredded Gouda now)
Make Ahead Notes 
  • Chop vegetables and set aside for later
  • Shred cheese
  • 8 ounces uncooked ziti
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1 cup chopped onion
    1 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
    3 garlic cloves, minced
    1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano
    1 (10-ounce) can Italian seasoned diced tomatoes (such as Rotel Bold Italian)
    4 cups baby spinach
    1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) shredded, smoked Gouda cheese, divided
    Cooking spray

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain well.
  • Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and pepper; sauté 5 minutes. Add garlic to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until onion is tender. Stir in tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add spinach to pan; cook 30 seconds or until spinach wilts, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. 
  • Add pasta and 3/4 cup cheese to tomato mixture, tossing well to combine. Spoon pasta mixture into an 11 x 7-inch baking dish lightly coated with cooking spray; sprinkle evenly with remaining  cheese. 
  • Bake at 375° for 15 minutes or until cheese melts and begins to brown.
Recipe from

Baked Chicken Fajitas

Baked Chicken Fajitas with onions, peppers and tomatoes
Chicken, peppers, onions, tomatoes and fajita seasonings... in one dish!! Though this preparation isn't exactly traditional, it is super convenient and really flavorful.

Sides: Warmed tortillas and toppings such as shredded cheese, sour cream, guacamole, hot sauce

  • Although I haven't tried this, I imagine you could buy a packet of pre-mixed fajita seasoning instead of combining the seasoning blend yourself
 Make Ahead Notes 
  • Coat baking pan with cooking spray; chop the veggies and put them right into the pan for later
  • Chop chicken
  • Mix seasonings
  • You could combine all ingredients ahead and allow the chicken and veggies to marinate in the fridge; bake later

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips (or use boneless, skinless chicken thighs)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes, mostly drained
  • 1 (4 ounce) can diced green chilies
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 large bell pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 2 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 flour tortillas, warmed to serve

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 
  • Grease a 13×9 baking dish. Mix together chicken, tomatoes, chilies, peppers, and onions in the dish. 
  • In a small bowl combine the oil and spices. Drizzle the spice mixture over the chicken and toss to coat. Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Serve with warmed tortillas and enjoy!

Recipe from SixSistersStuff Blog

Rosemary Chicken with Pesto Potatoes

Roasted Rosemary Chicken with Pesto Potatoes
I went to the store to buy ingredients for one dinner recipe and got totally distracted by a different recipe I spied on a package of Simply Potatoes that I happened to pick up. I was powerless against the suggestion of pesto. Sounded good, and here it is!

Sides: Give yourself a break and buy a salad kit with dressing included. And make one of your kids assemble it if possible.

Make Ahead Notes
  •  Mix up dry seasonings and set aside for later
  • 1 package Simply Potatoes® Diced Potatoes with Onion (I found them in the refrigerated section where eggs are kept)
  • 1/4 cup refrigerated pesto with basil (I used Buitoni)
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 package (approx. 3.5 lbs) fryer chicken pieces, skinned if desired
  • Heat oven to 400°F. Spray 13x9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Stir together Simply Potatoes and pesto until potatoes are well coated. Spread into thin layer in bottom of baking dish. 
  • In small bowl stir rosemary, salt and pepper until well blended. Rub spice mixture over chicken. Arrange chicken, skin side up, on top of potatoes. (NOTE: The chicken cooked just fine, but if you like your skin a bit more crispy, you may want to quickly brown the chicken skin-side down in a pan before placing it in the pan with the potatoes to bake.)
  • Bake, uncovered, 40 to 45 minutes or until juices in chicken run clear. 

Recipe from Simply Potatoes

Chicken and Gruyere Turnovers

Chicken and Gruyere Turnovers made with puff pastry
Seriously, I am a little obsessed with puff pastry right now. I wish you could see the cheesy good stuff inside. I think the fillings could be just about anything you want or have left over - ham and cheese would be really tasty. And these are a perfect accompaniment to soup for an easy weeknight dinner. We ate them with the slow cooker Butternut Squash Soup from a previous Weekly Menu.

Make Ahead Notes 
  • Shred chicken and cheese; if you're pressed for time, just slice the cheese into thin strips
  • Allow the pastry to thaw for about 20 minutes at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Gruyère
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 sheets (one 17.25-ounce package) frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard 
  • NOTE:  I recommend sprinkling the filling with salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Heat oven to 400° F. In a medium bowl, combine the chicken, Gruyère, and peas.
  • Open up the puff pastry sheets onto a baking sheet so you have two large rectangles. Cut each sheet of puff pastry in half to form 4 rectangles. Dividing evenly, top half of each rectangle with the chicken mixture. Fold over and seal the turnovers; brush the tops with the egg. Bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve with the mustard. 
Recipe from Real Simple

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