Week 5 Dinner Menu
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Week 5 Dinner Menu

IMG_6338 (1)Wow, week 5 of my new blog!  Time is really flying and Spring is in full bloom here in the midwest.  My favorite time of year with the promise of new growth in my garden, and a (hopefully) nice warm and sunny summer ahead!  We have some good stuff coming your way with this week’s dinner menu.  Still loving the cookbook I talked a lot about last week, Better Homes and Gardens Calorie Smart Meals so we have a few dishes from that cookbook this week, along with my own recipe for Spaghetti Bolognese, and a little help from Cooking Light Magazine , Giada De Laurentiis from her show on The Food Network, Giada at Home, and another great cookbook from my collection, Family Table by Michael Romano and Karen Stabiner.

Let’s get cooking!






Click on below menu items for links to the recipes.  A printable grocery list is included for all 6 meals at the bottom of this post.


1. I really love to have one or two meatless meals on my list each week.  They can be as hearty and filling as dishes with meat in them, and it feels so good knowing you are providing your family with healthy fruits, vegetables and whole grains.  Maybe you want to serve Portobello Goat Cheese Pitas with Chili Aioli for a Meatless Monday (or a meatless any day) from the cookbook mentioned above, BH&G Calorie Smart Meals!  We LOVED this dish and you could serve it with some veggie sticks with ranch for dipping and I don’t think you’ll have any complaints.




2.  Traditional Spaghetti Bolognese.  Recipe by Me!  This is a family favorite.  I don’t know if you feel the same, but who doesn’t love spaghetti with meat sauce?!  I have been making it for years and years and this is my go to sauce.  It’s nothing super fancy or difficult, but everyone in my family loves it so I stick with what works.  Serve with a Green Salad topped with croutons and your meal will be complete.  Fun fact from ilovepasta.orgthe Spanish explorer Cortez brought tomatoes back to Europe from Mexico in 1519. Even then, almost 200 years passed before spaghetti with tomato sauce made its way into Italian kitchens.   Make ahead option:  Sauce could be made ahead of time and kept warm in a crock pot or made the day before, refrigerated and reheated before serving.  Wash lettuce ahead for ease of meal preparation at the busy dinner hour.  The clean lettuce will the ready to throw into a bowl.




3.  From Family Table – Favorite Staff Meals cookbook comes Union Square Café Fried Chicken served with Corn Bread Muffins and Mashed Potatoes.  A comfort food favorite!  Make ahead option:  Corn bread muffins can be made ahead and so can mashed potatoes and reheated before serving.




4.  I am a fan of the Food Network and love watching these cooking shows to gather some great recipes and tips.  One of our dinner options this week comes from a show titled Giada at Home from Giada De Laurentiis, and the name of the episode is All Grown Up.  Here Giada brings us a recipe called, Giada’s Grown Up Franks and Beans.   If you are a fan of the movie, Something About Mary like I am, you might always chuckle a little to yourself when you hear “Franks and Beans”!  I know I do!  I paired this recipe with a Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese and it was delicious!




5.  BBQ Chicken Sandwiches with Coleslaw & Waffle Fries.  Easy, peasy!  Let the crock pot do all the work and you will have dinner on the table in no time.  I got this recipe from Cooking Light Magazine, May 2016, but have adapted it a bit and cook my chicken in the crock pot which I find much easier.  The coleslaw and store bought waffle fries come together in a jiffy so this is an easy meal to get on the table when you don’t have a lot of time.  Make ahead option:  With the exception of the waffle fries which are put in the oven right before serving, everything else can be made ahead and then the sandwiches can be assembled in minutes.




6.  Finally we finish things up with a healthy pizza and another meatless meal from BH&G Calorie Smart Meals.  Pizza…healthy, you ask?!  Yes, when the crust is made out of cauliflower!  This may sound really weird at first, but I promise, I don’t think you will be disappointed if you give this a try.  It is worth the effort!  Serve it with a side of pasta and a garden salad if desired.  Yummy!  Cauliflower-crusted Pizza.



Click here for Week 5 Grocery List

Don’t forget to check pantry staples before you shop!

Bon Appétit from Menu Mutt!


Have a great week!






Week 5 Grocery List
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Don’t forget to check for pantry staples before you shop!

ProduceMeat/DeliDairyDry GoodsFrozenPantry Staples
3 c. mixed baby greens or arugula (1)2 lbs. ground turkey (2) (or ground beef your preference for spaghetti bolognese)lg. goat cheese log, 8 oz. (1,4)6 pita flat bread rounds or pita pockets (1)Waffle fries (5)mayo (1)
6 lg. portobello mushrooms (1)1 - 3 to 3 1/2 lb. whole chicken (3)2 cups fresh grated Parmesan cheese (2,6)ranch dressing if desired for serving veggie sticks (1)chili powder (1)
5 carrots (1,5)
1 lb. spicy Italian sausage, can use turkey (4)2 cups buttermilk (3)1 26 oz. jar marinara pasta sauce, your preferred brand (2)olive oil (1,4,6)
celery for veggie sticks side (1)8 oz. bacon (4)1/4 cup shredded Italian cheese blend (6)salad dressing of choice for salads (2,4,6)white vinegar (1)
6 cups salad greens (2)6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (5)1 8 oz. pckg. shredded mozzarella cheese (6)1 - 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes (2)salt (all)
6 cups baby spinach (4)1 - 6 oz. can tomato paste (2)pepper (all)
1 head garlic (4)1 - 1 lb. box spaghetti (2)brown sugar (2)
1 medium onion (4)croutons (2)Italian seasoning (2,6)
2 cups grape tomatoes (4)panko breadcrumbs (3,6)cayenne pepper (2, 3)
4 sprigs thyme (4, optional)graham cracker crumbs, 1 c. (3)crushed red pepper (2)
2 sprigs fresh rosemary (4, optional)2 boxes corn bread mix (3)all-purpose flour (3)
1 small head cabbage (5)3 c. low sodium chicken broth (4)paprika (3,4)
1 head cauliflower (6)2 - 15.5 oz. cans cannellini beans (4)kosher salt (3)
2 cups sliced mushrooms (6)1 cup ditalini pasta (4)vegetable oil, 4 cups for frying (3)
1 yellow, red or green pepper (6)36 oz. BBQ sauce, your preferred brand (5)milk (3)
6 cups salad greens (6, optional for side salad)6 whole wheat or your preferred kind, hamburger buns (5)3 eggs (3,6)
small jar pizza sauce (6)butter, 1 stick (3)
cheese cloth, optional (6)canola oil (5)
1 box of pasta for side (6)cider vinegar (5)
sugar (5)


Cauliflower-Crusted Pizza
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4 servings ( 2 slices each)  I doubled this recipe for my family and made 2 pizzas because 1 was not enough for 5.  If you want to make 2 pizzas, make sure to double ingredients on the grocery list if using so you have enough to make 2 pizzas.


4 cups cauliflower florets ( 1 head cauliflower)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup shredded Italian cheese blend
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 cup yellow, red or green sweet pepper strips
1 tsp olive oil
1 small jar pizza sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
snipped fresh herbs, basil, oregano and/or parsley (optional)
cheese cloth (optional for preparation, see directions)


  1. Place cauliflower in a food processor.  Cover and pulse 4 – 6 times or until crumbly and mixture resembles the texture of couscous.

IMG_7289  IMG_7292

Place a pizza stone or baking sheet in the oven.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Place cauliflower in a microwave-safe casserole dish or bowl with 2 Tbsp water.  Microwave, covered, 3 – 4 minutes or until tender, stirring once or twice.  Cool.  Transfer cauliflower to a 100% cotton flour sack towel or to a piece of cheese cloth the size of a dish towel.  (I used cheese cloth which was very easy to work with for this process.  Cheese cloth can be found at most grocery stores in the kitchen supply aisle.)  Wrap the cloth around cauliflower and squeeze and drain until there is no more liquid.  Quite a bit of liquid will be squeezed out so keep working with it until there is no more.  This step is critical so the crust will come out correctly and not be a sloppy mess.

IMG_7296  IMG_7297

For crust, in a bowl stir together drained cauliflower and the next 6 ingredients, through salt.  On a piece of parchment paper, pat cauliflower mixture into a 12-inch circle.  See photos.  Transfer crust on the parchment paper to the preheated pizza stone or baking sheet.  Bake 12 – 15 minutes or until crisp and starting to brown.

IMG_7299  IMG_7301

Meanwhile, in a large skillet cook and stir the mushrooms and pepper in hot oil 4 – 6 minutes or until crisp tender.  Remove from heat.

IMG_7306  IMG_7310

Spread pizza sauce over baked crust.  Top with shredded mozzarella and cooked veggies.  Bake about 5 minutes more or until heated and cheese is nicely melted.  If desired, sprinkle with fresh herbs.  Cut into slices.  Serve with a side of pasta and/or a green salad if desired.



Cheese only option!




Spaghetti Bolognese
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Spaghetti Bolognese


Serves 6


2 lbs. ground turkey (can use ground beef if preferred)
1 26 oz jar marinara pasta sauce (I use Simply Roundy’s organic Marinara)
1 14,5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp salt (or to your desired taste)
1/2 tsp pepper (or to your desired taste)
dash of cayenne pepper
1 lb. box of spaghetti (can use a bit more if serving big eaters, you will have enough sauce)
1 cup fresh grated Parmesan for serving


Cook spaghetti according to package directions.  IMG_5850

Brown meat in a large Dutch oven on medium- high heat until cooked through. (If using beef once cooked, you may want to drain the grease from the meat before adding the rest of the ingredients).  Add all ingredients through cayenne pepper.  By a dash of cayenne I do only mean a very small dash to give it just a little kick, unless you would prefer more spice, then add to your liking.  Cover and simmer the sauce on low for about 20 minutes to blend flavors.  Serve sauce over spaghetti and use grated Parmesan cheese for serving.  Serve with green salad with croutons if desired.

Tip:  Leftover sauce can be frozen for up to a month.  Just thaw, heat and serve.



Union Square Café Fried Chicken with Corn Bread Muffins & Mashed Potatoes
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Serves 4 – 6

~ Recipe from Family Table: Favorite Staff Meals

Ingredients: For chicken, mashed potatoes & corn bread muffins

1 – 3 to 3 1/2 lb. chicken, but into 10 pieces (legs, thighs, wings and breasts split and halved again)
2 cups buttermilk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 Tbsp paprika
2 Tbsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Vegetable oil for deep frying
2 boxes corn bread muffin mix (milk & eggs for mixing)
2 lbs. russet potatoes
1 cup milk
1 stick butter
salt and pepper to taste


Put the chicken pieces in a large bowl, add the buttermilk, and let soak for 30 minutes at room temperature, turning occasionally.

Combing the flour, crumbs, paprika, salt, garlic powder, and cayenne in a medium bowl, mixing well.  Drain the chicken pieces and dredge in seasoned flour, shaking off the excess.

In a large deep cast iron skillet or Dutch oven, heat about 2 inches of oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 325 degrees on a deep-fat thermometer.  Using tongs, carefully add the chicken pieces in batches without crowding.  Cook wings for ~ 6 IMG_5628minutes and the rest of the chicken pieces for ~ 8 minutes.  Turn with tongs and cook on the second side for another 6 minutes for wings, 8 minutes for the rest, or until the interior temperature of a thigh reaches 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.  Remove the chicken from the oil and drain on paper towels; bring the oil back to 325 degrees before you fry each batch.

Serve immediately accompanied by the corn bread muffins cooked according to package directions, and this basic mashed potatoes recipe from Food Network.


Portobello Goat Cheese Pitas with Chili Aioli
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Portobello Goat Cheese Pitas with Chili Aioli


Serves 6 (1 pita each)


1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
3 cups mixed baby greens or arugula
6 large portobello mushrooms
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
IMG_74171/4 tsp black pepper
6 – 6 inch pita flatbread rounds, warmed (or if desired, you can use pita pockets instead of the pita flatbread.  Fill pockets with aioli, greens, mushrooms, and goat cheese.)
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese (simple swap: for a cheese variation, sprinkle with blue cheese or shredded smoked mozzarella.)


  1. For aioli, in a bowl stit together mayo and chili powder.  In another bowl whisk together the 1 Tbsp olive oil and the vinegar.  Add greens; toss to coat.
  2. Remove and discard stems from mushrooms.  Slice mushroom caps into 1/2 inch thick slices.  In a large skillet heat the 2 IMG_7414tsp olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add mushrooms; sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cook about 5 minutes or until tender and golden on edges, stirring occasionally.


Spread aioli on pita bread rounds.  Top with greens and mushrooms.  Sprinkle evenly with cheese.  Fold pita rounds over for sandwiches or eat open faced.  Serve with veggie sticks and ranch for dipping if desired.



BBQ Chicken Sandwiches with coleslaw
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BBQ Chicken Sandwiches with coleslaw

served with waffle fries



~ adapted from Cooking Light Magazine, May 2016

Serves 6


~6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
~1 large size of your favorite BBQ sauce ( I use Two Fat Guys Mild Gourmet BBQ Sauce – 2 – 18 oz. jars for this recipe.  It’s gluten free and has no High Fructose Corn Syrup.)
~6 whole wheat hamburger buns (or any type of bun you choose)
~1 small head of cabbage, washed and shredded
~2 carrots, peeled and shredded into ribbons with a vegetable peeler  (Note: for the coleslaw, you may choose to purchase a packaged cabbage and carrot coleslaw mix instead)
~1 Tbsp canola oil
~2 Tbsp cider vinegar
~1 1/2 tsp sugar
~1/4 tsp salt
~1/4 tsp pepper
~Frozen Waffle Fries for serving



Place all chicken breasts in crock pot.  Pour @ 1/2 of your BBQ sauce over the top of the chicken breasts (I use one of the 18 oz.IMG_7537 jars).  Put lid on crock pot and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.

Once cooking is done, take the chicken out and put it in a bowl.  Shred the chicken.  Empty out the crock pot and discard the BBQ sauce that the chicken was cooked in. Place the shredded chicken back into the clean crock pot and add fresh BBQ sauce. ( I add the second 18 oz. jar)  Stir to combine all of the chicken and sauce together.  It is ready to serve or  you can put the crock pot on the “keep warm” setting at this point, cover, and leave the BBQ chicken to stay warm until ready to serve.

IMG_7541Make the cole slaw.  In a large bowl, combine the shredded cabbage (depending on the size you may not need to use the whole head of cabbage), carrots, oil, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper.  Combine, taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.  (You may buy a packaged carrot and coleslaw mix if desired).

Assemble the sandwiches:  Top the bottom halves of the buns evenly with chicken IMG_7580mixture, then add cole slaw, and top with top halves of buns.  You may choose to serve the slaw on the side which is great as well.  Serve sandwiches with waffle fries if desired.

Roasted Broccoli
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Roasted Broccoli

IMG_5524Roasted Broccoli


1 large bunch broccoli, cut into florets

2 Tbsp olive oil

salt & pepper


Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Combine florets with olive oil and salt & pepper to taste on baking sheet.  Spread in a single layer and roast for about 15 minutes until outer florets are crispy and stems are tender.

Almond, Celery & Spinach Salad

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Almond, Celery, Spinach Salad

Place enough of all ingredients for the amount of people you’re serving in salad bowl:  Spinach, diced celery, roasted almonds.  I threw in some grapes that I had on hand as seen in the photo, you could also add raisins, dates or anything else that you’d like.  Top with salad dressing of choice, a nice vinaigrette works well here, toss salad and serve.

Roasted Green Bean side with Feta, Dried Cranberry & Almonds
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Roasted Green Bean side with Feta, Dried Cranberry & Almonds


Serves: 6


2 lbs. fresh green beans (about 6 cups)IMG_7257
6 oz. container crumbled Feta cheese
1 small pckg. dried cranberries
1/2 cup roasted almonds
2 Tbsp olive oil


IMG_7258Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Wash and trim green beans.  Place green beans on a baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Roast for ~ 12 – 15 minutes until crispy and starting to brown.  Remove from oven and place IMG_7263on a serving platter.  Top green beans with crumbled feta cheese, dried cranberries and roasted almonds.  You will not use the entire container of feta or package of cranberries.  Eyeball it and top with desired amount as shown in photo.  Serve with main dish.