Can you believe it’s November already?! Halloween is behind us, Thanksgiving is officially on the horizon and — for some of us — Christmas is about to take centerstage. Mother Nature has finally gotten her act together and decided to stop sprinkling a 70 or 75 degree day in here and there as most days now require some kind of a coat.
This week I’m going a similar direction with a few other trusty weeknight meals that involve as little prep time as possible. I’m kicking things off on Monday with a tried and true slow cooker version of Chicken Cacciatore. While I’m not married to any particular recipe for this dish (I typically always have at least one mason jar of homemade cacciatore sauce in the refrigerator and just throw it over the chicken in the crock pot), I found one that is pretty close to what mine would look like. For anyone who hasn’t made cacciatore before, don’t be intimidated; the sauce is essentially a basic tomato sauce enhanced with capers or olives, wine, and mushrooms. If you have any mushroom averse folks at your table, as I often do, simply ditch the fungus. My boys love anything cacciatore over noodles, but I’ve been known to serve it over mashed cauliflower as well.
Tuesday night I am going to make my cacciatore sauce work overtime by pouring it over some freshly grilled cauliflower steaks. Cauliflower has long been one of my favorite vegetables but I feel like it is finally starting to get its due in the culinary mainstream (take that, kale!) and its about time! I love leftovers of any kind and making last night’s ingredients work overtime — especially on hockey nights. Serve it up with some leftover bread and it is its own meal.
Wednesday night is a super simple Asian recipe using one of the Bash Brothers’ favorites: plum sauce! I whisk the sauce ahead of time and, surprise, surprise — toss it in the slow cooker! I also throw in a few cans of baby corn and bean sprouts just for some added crunch. Shred the chicken, serve over rice and — if you’re concerned about this kind of thing — sprinkle some fresh green onions over the top to finish it off.
Thursday we’ll enjoy the incomparable Martha Stewart’s Pumpkin Pancakes because I am hopelessly devoted to breakfast for dinner — at least once a week. I always have breakfast ingredients on hand and brinner (as we call it in our neck of the woods) always seems to save me from the often inevitable post-midweek meltdown after I discover that those 175 tests I promised to have graded by Friday have not, in fact, actually graded themselves. I have tried a zillion pumpkin pancakes/waffle recipes and it took me a long time to find one that didn’t feel too dense, heavy, or soggy. Leave it to Martha to get it just right. Seldom wrong and right again.
We will end the week on Friday with chicken nuggets and tater tots. Notice that there is no link for Friday because these are not, in fact, fancy chicken nuggets made with free range from-my-backyard chickens dipped in a healthy blend of pixie dust (always organic) and bread crumbs I’ve made myself. Oh no, folks — these babies come out of one of those beautiful, red frozen bags from that section of the grocery store that nutritionists consider the Badlands. The tater tots are also frozen and, thus, probably not made from actual potatoes. But, on a Friday, at the end of a long week, this meal is a crowd pleaser in every way. The extra time I don’t spend cooking trickles down to snuggles and a “just one more, Mommy” pile of books at story time. Sometimes the preservatives are just worth it.
As always, I’ve attached my links for your usage and would love, love, love your feedback.
5. Chicken Nuggets and Tater Tots
Hope this post finds you ready to take another Monday by storm!