Weeknight Rescue Meal Plan//2022//Week 8

Parmesan Polenta Fries

Welcome to the weekend, friends. I’ve got a tasty line-up and have included some ideas for making the most of the meal plan. For example, you can use the pesto you make for the pasta recipe on the mushroom burger as well. And the polenta fries make a terrific side for a few of these recipes. Plus, both the pasta and minestrone are great as leftovers for lunch, so consider making more than you need.

Basil and Pistachio Pesto Pasta with Chicken

The dish serves four, but the portion is on the smaller side, so if you have teenagers or hearty appetites, you might want to scale up (worse case you have leftovers, which are great the next day for lunch). Another tip? Double the pesto recipe and either freeze the extra for next time or use it for the Portabello Mushroom Burgers below. And no judgement if you buy pesto at the market to save time. Vegetarians can add one 15-ounce can of white beans and a squeeze of lemon juice in place of the chicken.

Cajun Fish with Lemon Caper Sauce

cajun fish with yogurt caper sauce

The best way I know to dress up a mild white fish, such as sole or tilapia, is with a favorite spice blend, lemon, with a creamy dressing on the side. This recipe has all three. It cooks up in a matter of minutes and is perfect paired with a butter lettuce salad (maybe with sliced tangerines or orange tossed in) and this dressing. Lightly buttered whole grains, such as brown rice or farro, or little roasted potatoes would round out the meal.

Portabello Mushroom Burgers

Portobello Mushroom Burger

Burgers aren’t just for summer barbecues. These can be done just as easily under a broiler as on an outdoor grill. Because portabello mushrooms are swapped for meat, the burgers are lighter with plenty of juicy appeal, especially when topped with pesto and fresh Mozzarella. Serve with a generous salad and the crispy Parmesan Polenta Fries you’ll find below.  

Kitchen Sink Minestrone

blue splatter bowls of zero waste minestrone soup

My bedtime reading this week has included a new book called Zero Food Waste Cooking for Dummies. One of the big messages is to cook what you have on hand rather than popping out to the market. This recipe is tailor-made for that with loads of flexibility to use what’s in your fridge and pantry. It’s incredibly satisfying to clean out your fridge AND make a nourishing pot of soup in one fell swoop.

Skirt Steak with Salsa Verde

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Skirt-Steak-with-Salsa-Verde-720x400.jpg

I’m eating beef less and less these days, so when I do, I want it to be delicious. This does the job. If the weather where you live permits, go ahead and cook it on the grill. If not, a cast iron or other heavy pan over medium-high heat will do the job nicely. Skirt steak is a thin cut that cooks quickly and brightens up with a briny Italian-style salsa verde. Add the Polenta Fries below (and perhaps this Roasted Broccoli) and you’ve got a winner of a dinner.

Parmesan Polenta Fries

Parmesan Polenta Fries

These are a tasty alternative to traditional fries built on polenta rather than potatoes. You begin by making a batch of cheesy polenta, cut it into “fingers”, and bake it in the oven until golden and crispy. So good, you could make them for a pre-dinner party nibble. Need I say more? 

Cashew Coconut Energy Balls

Coconut Fig Energy Balls on a small plate with cashew, lemon and whole figs

These energy balls are a snap to make and tasty to eat. The figs adds naturally sweetness and pairs deliciously with lemon and coconut. Stash the energy balls in the fridge for a quick healthy treat, lunch box sweet, or pre-workout bite.  

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