Weekly Menu Plan Week 53 covers healthy, easy, and comforting recipes, along with a couple of Kentucky Derby themed cocktails to round out the week.
Okay, can we just call out the big elephant in the room right now? As I sit typing on a what would otherwise be a beautiful sunny, spring day, my view is obstructed by nearly two feet of snow covering the ground. On April 20th. Mother Nature has lost her dang mind, I’ll tell ya what! Even for a Northerner like me, this is extreme weather.
Our poor girls soccer team had to cancel the opening three weeks of their season due to snow on the fields. This weekend marks Son #1’s second week of game cancellations for the boys spring recreation team for the same reason. The kids are toughing it out and still practicing, but it’s a challenge. They went so far as to change one practice this week to a sledding expedition/snowman building contest. When in the tundra and all that. Bottom line: it’s absolute madness up in here!
Experiencing this little Bonus Winter makes it hard to believe that the Kentucky Derby is happening next weekend. Thankfully, we Dinner Diva’s are all about celebrating where we are, and not where we want to be. The girls are sharing not one, but two fun mint julep recipes for sipping on Derby Day.
Confession: I’ve never tried a mint julep. It’s true! Although if this snow doesn’t melt soon, it’ll drive me to drink and I might just try both of the cocktails this week! We’re also serving super easy recipes that require minimal fuss or clean up so that we can burrow back into the warmth and continue hibernating until spring is indeed sprung.
Take a look:
If there’s anything more delicious and versatile than carnitas, then I want to eat it. Jenni/Pastry Chef Online’s Smoky Beef Carnitas look slow braised and so succulent! In actuality they’re ready in about an hour with the help of an electric pressure cooker/Instant Pot. All of this savory beef goodness is perfect folded into homemade flour tortillas with a side of slow cooker refried beans. Or take the simple route and pile the juicy beef over hot brown rice or a plate of salad greens for an easy dinner. The leftovers are easily re-purposed throughout the week for lunches or frozen for a later date.
Erin/The Speckled Palate also makes good use of an Instant Pot with her French Onion Meatloaf. Tender, juicy meatloaf with caramelized onions and a quick gravy–mmm, boy! My family are big fans of meatloaf in any form, so I just know that they’re going to devour this this one. I’m sold on the caramelized onions alone.
As a side note: if you don’t have an Instant Pot, then consider making the investment. I wasn’t sure how much that I’d use mine, but I use that sucker at least 3 times/week. The main reason that I like it because it’s a multitask appliance that allows me to ditch several others. I use it to sauté most things, braise meats, cook rice, grains, steel cut oats, dried beans, and so much more in a fraction of the time. My Instant Pot has all but replaced my slow cooker–with the exception of large roasts–and allowed me to donate my rice cooker months ago. It’s also handy for making apple cinnamon steel cut oats for breakfast. I can pop of the ingredients inside, and it’s ready by the time I’m done with my shower.
I initially whipped up these Chicken and Mango Quesadillas with Brie when I was sitting on a bunch of leftover slow cooker roast chicken and a couple of ripe mangoes. Now these quesadillas are in regular rotation whenever mangoes are in season. The melted brie beautifully compliments the mango and chicken for a simple “leftover” meal that tastes really special.
Cheryl/Pooks Pantry saves on clean up with her gorgeous Honey Chipotle Salmon sheet pan dinner. The winning secret in this recipe is the sweet/spicy sauce. The glaze is equally glorious over salmon as it is over boneless skinless chicken breasts. Both go well with a fresh side of black bean and corn salad.
One recipe, two great options! This is reason #104 why I think Cheryl is a genius.
Speaking of genius, Jenni is certainly approaching genius territory with her pizza making skills. If last week’s bendable, fold-able, pick-up-able cauliflower crust pizza didn’t convince you, then this week’s Bacon Pickled Pepper Pizza certainly will. A simple pizza dough, sauce, cheese, bacon, pickled peppers–>done.
Plus, it gives you a reason to sing “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.” in your head on repeat all. day. long.
You’re welcome. 😉
Are you thirsty yet? I’m hoping so because Cheryl makes a mint julep that packs a punch…of health, that is! She uses fizzy kombucha in her Mint Julep Kombucha Cocktail as a twist on the classic, giving it a (potentially) gut-healthy twist. Naturally carbonated from good yeast and bacteria makes this one sound like a refreshing drink.
Erin uses fresh blueberries to make a puree for her Blueberry Mint Juleps. I think blueberries and mint are totally bff, so this one sounds like another refreshing sipper for Derby Day.
What is your favorite recipe from Weekly Menu Plan Week 53?
Are you experiencing crazy weather in your neck of the woods? Please tell me if you are enjoying birds singing with a warm breeze wafting over a field of daffodils. I want to live vicariously through you!