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African Peanut Soup

African Peanut Stew

Date: February 21st

Recipe: http://relishingit.com/2011/10/20/african-peanut-soup/

Time to table: 45 minutes

Servings: Two dinners and a couple lunches

Modifications: I used kale instead of spinach because I had some I needed to use up. The recipe calls for 2 cups of crushed tomatoes, I just used a single 28 oz can, not sure how that compares. I threw in a couple green onions we had too.

Ben: Love

Erin: Love

Annie & Luke: They didn’t hate it.

Notes: This was much better than I had anticipated and thickened up to almost be like chili. The peanut butter, spinach (kale), and cilantro really give this a different flavor than the soups we normally have around here.

Thai Peanut Salad

Thai Peanut Salad

Date: February 8th

Recipe: https://onceamonthmeals.com/recipes/gluten-free-dairy-free-thai-peanut-salad/

Time to table: 30 minutes (?) Maybe less. I got interrupted a few times.

Servings: 5 adult servings

Modifications: I shredded my own cabbage and used probably more than it called for, also added 2 grated carrots. I used sriracha for the hot sauce component. Used frozen shredded chicken and it was perfect for this. I added chopped cilantro on my serving tonight, but if I were freezing I would not add that.

Ben: Love

Erin: Love

Annie & Luke: Did not attempt, wanted to keep this for myself.

Notes: My coworker Maggie brought this for our Asian potluck at work and I LOVED it – this is really so, so good. She noted that red quinoa is better in this dish, and that it really does freeze and reheat super well. I’ll finish it up for lunches for the week but do plan to make and freeze some to just leave in the freezer at work for future days I need lunch! Also, I am not a fan of spice but this was the perfect amount of flavor. Ben added far more sriracha to his helping.

Thai Peanut Salad

Crockpot Chicken and Corn Chowder

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Date: October 5

Recipe: http://www.pink-parsley.com/2011/11/crock-pot-chicken-corn-chowder.html

Modifications: Added some celery, and a few more carrots than called for

Servings: Many – will feed our family of 4 for 2 nights and probably get a few lunches out of it too

Time to table: I’m slow, but it took me probably 40 minutes to prep this (then the hours of crockpot time)

Erin: Like

Ben: Love

Annie: Like (but not enough to want it in her lunch)

Luke: Meh, didn’t hate it

Notes: I typically think of crockpot meals as quick. This was not quick. I had a baby strapped to me, and thought I’d just have to chop some veggies and throw it in the crockpot, but no. I also was very confused by the step of making bacon, and then having the bacon never mentioned again. You could put it in the crockpot but it’d probably get mushy – I saved it and chopped it up and added to my soup (and Annie and Luke just ate the pieces by themselves). Then the added step of sautéing onions and garlic and making a roux, etc. For sure not something to quickly “throw together” before work, but if you plan ahead and actually know what’s coming (and chop veggies the night before) it would be doable. The soup was really good, and I do think it’s worth the effort for the amount of food it makes especially. Very slightly spicy but not overpowering.

Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken

Date: August 19th

Recipe: http://www.mealplanning101.com/2008/09/slow-cooker-butter-chicken.html

Modifications: No cayenne pepper in the dish itself.

Servings: 4-5

Erin: Like

Ben: Love

Annie & Luke: Like, I guess?

Notes: Our neighbors were having this at their house one night when we crashed in to say ‘hello’ and it looked excellent and easy, and it was! The kids surprisingly ate this really well, in spite of their skepticism. Great leftovers for lunches too. We made sautéed kale as a side dish which went great with it.

Butter Chicken

Chicken wraps with guacamole and black bean salsa

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Date: June 1

Recipe: http://www.annies-eats.com/2012/01/11/roasted-chicken-wraps-with-black-bean-salsa-and-guacamole/

Modifications:  I just used this as an idea – purchased the black bean salsa, got spinach wraps, spinach, sauteed chicken, and made guacamole like I usually make it. (I use 3 avocados, one roma tomato, 1/2 red onion, cilantro, salt, pepper, lime juice and a splash of worcestershire sauce)

Time to table: 30 minutes, we already had the shredded chicken

Servings: I think I’ll get 4 lunches out of this

Erin: Like

Notes: Always hate doing the prep work for lunches on Sunday nights but then am so happy I did during the week. I’m guessing the guac will get kind of sketchy by Thursday but I’ll probably survive.

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Pretty nice day for lunch outside! You can just see the skyline of Minneapolis.

BBQ Chicken Quinoa Salad

BBQ Chicken Quinoa Salad

Date: May 4th

Recipe: http://whatsgabycooking.com/bbq-chicken-quinoa-salad/

Modifications:  I added a sautéed onion because we had half of one in the fridge, and I added paprika, garlic powder, and salt to the mix.

Time to table: 30 minutes, we already had the shredded chicken

Servings: Dinner + 2 lunches

Erin: Like

Ben: Like

Luke: Dislike

Annie: Meh, she ate it ok, not her fave.

Notes: This was pretty easy and really flavorful, I’d try it again when we have some leftover pulled pork too.

Simple Chicken Curry

Chicken curry

Date: April 28

Recipe: http://navigatingthemothership.blogspot.com/2015/04/5-minute-chicken-curry-with-spicy.html

Modifications:  Had chard for the greens, didn’t use hot sauce. Used previously cooked and frozen shredded chicken as Laura did.

Time to table: Probably a half hour or more because I forgot to cook the rice, which frequently happens to me. Whoops.

Servings: 6 adults

Erin: Like

Ben: Love

Luke: HATE!!!!! Gagged on the chicken, said the greens “tasted like salad!!” and had the 3 bites I made him eat and no more.

Annie: Dislike, not as strongly as Luke. She actually ate a bite and didn’t say anything, but then after Luke gagged, she informed us that actually she didn’t like this meal either.

Notes: Predictably, the children hated this because it was DIFFERENT. It was really quick though, and both Ben and I enjoyed it, so we will make it again. We’ll add chopped onion and maybe even some other veggie to the curry next time, and definitely make more greens. Luke hates literally any meal served with rice, like anything at all. The below is what I do when I KNOW full well that the kids are going to not eat what we’re serving, to at least encourage them to try it without much pressure. This has been all of our meals this week – including beef stir fry and tuna salad (which I forgot but I guess Annie does like and Luke seemed somewhat okay with as long as he didn’t ingest a pea. He likes snap peas but not just peas. Children! Annie also is fine with the beef stir fry but lord knows we couldn’t give them different things.)

Chicken curry


Chicken Power Bowls

Power bowl

Date: March 30, 2015

Recipe: http://iowagirleats.com/2014/02/19/chicken-power-bowls-with-crispy-baked-garbanzo-beans/

Modifications:  Subbed feta for the goat cheese, pumpkin seeds for pistachios, and the dressing got kind of chunky after being in the fridge for a few days so I ended up using store-bought balsamic which was just as good!

Time to table: Took about 45 minutes to prepare, and then maybe 5-10 minutes to assemble the salads

Servings: 4 lunches

Erin: Love

Notes: These TRULY did keep me full until dinner! This is an intense salad. I was wishing I had bigger bowls because I wanted more greens to go with all the toppings. Really loved the roasted chickpeas, will definitely be making those again! The weeks when I actually take the time to prepare something good for lunches all week make me so happy, like maybe I should just… always do that. (Note, there is a lunch category on this blog, so check that out if you need ideas too)

Crock Pot Ranchero Chicken

Crockpot chicken tostadas

Date: February 9th, 2015

Recipe: http://iowagirleats.com/2014/12/08/crock-pot-ranchero-chicken/

Time to table: 45 minutes for the sauce, prepared one day earlier. 30 minutes prep time after the chicken cooked in the crock pot all day.

Servings: About two dinners worth

Modifications: Used chicken thighs instead of breasts

Ben: Love

Erin: Love

Annie: Like

Luke: Like

Notes: The chicken turned out excellent by cooking it in the sauce, it ended up too thin though, so the chicken was messy to eat in a tortilla. We strained the liquid out so the leftovers were not as wet. Nice to have shredded chicken leftovers, they work in all sorts of dishes.

Crockpot chicken tostadas

Chicken Apple Salad

Apple chicken salad

Date: December 7th, 2014

Recipe: http://www.annies-eats.com/2014/10/02/harvest-apple-salad-with-grilled-chicken-and-candied-pecans/

Time to table: 30 minutes

Servings: Dinner for all of us, lunch for me for 2 more days (depends on the amount of greens you have I guess)

Modifications: Feeling lazy tonight after getting our Christmas tree, so we just got a rotisserie chicken.

Ben: Like

Erin: Love

Annie: Like

Luke: Like (did not like the nuts, weirdly)

Notes: I’m always surprised how well the kids eat chicken salads. The candied pecans made the salad for me – loved them! I basically love all salads with fruit, candied nuts of some sort, and feta cheese. We had a huge heavy lunch out today so needed a lighter dinner! Although I was still a bit hungry and had some crackers and cheese later – I think serving this with a baguette would accomplish the same thing. Basically I need carbs.

Apple chicken salad