Monday - Whole Roasted Chicken with Vegetables {One Pot Meal}

I bought a 9 lb chicken on Sunday and started brining it 24 hours in advance. I REFUSE to make a whole chicken or turkey unless I can brine it for at least 24 hours. It's a total pain but it makes SUCH a difference! I make an orange-sweet tea-bourbon brine that's absurdly good. It adds SO much flavor! I rinsed the bird and patted it completely dry. I let 4 tbsp of butter soften, then mixed it together with 1 tsp each of smoked paprika, dried thyme, dried parsley, garlic powder, and onion powder, plus about 1/2 a tsp of dried sage. Mix it all together (with a stand or hand mixer) then split into 3 equal parts. Use one part under the skin of the bird, one part on the outside, and the third part can go in a small saucepan on low heat. Top the bird with a sprinkling of sea salt and cracked pepper, and place a few whole cloves of garlic (along with any fresh herbs you might have) inside the bird. To make this a one-pot meal, dice up a red onion, a potato, and a few carrots and toss them into the bottom of your roasting pan along with one cup of water and one cup of vegetable stock (just enough to JUST cover them). Cook at 425 for an hour and half, basting with the butter in the saucepan every 20 minutes. 




Tuesday - Roasted Vegetable Pasta with Turkey Sausage

Dice up one whole eggplant, one red onion, and a couple of carrots. Slice 2 tomatoes into wedges. You could also add beans, sweet potato, mushrooms... Sky's the limit here! Toss all the vegetables in about 2 tbsp (depending on how many veggies you use) of EVOO, salt and pepper, and place on a baking sheet. Roast at 425 for 20 minutes, toss, and add sliced (fully cooked) turkey sausage to the pan. I'm using Italian turkey sausage, but really any variety will work. I recommend something with a mild taste for this meal, though, as opposed to something spicy. Return to the oven for an additional 15-20 minutes until completely cooked and sausage has begun to brown. While roasting, boil 8 oz of pasta (this recipe works particularly well with orecchiette or penne). When vegetables are finished, place them into a large bowl. Drain pasta and add to bowl. Mix together with 1-2 tbsp GOOD balsamic vinegar (the thick kind), 1-2 tsp EVOO, a dash of salt and pepper. Top with shredded mozzerella cheese. 




Wednesday - Turkey Quinoa Meatballs with Roasted Brussels Sprout Salad {Make Ahead/Low Carb}

Turkey Quinoa meatballs are great because they're healthy and also save money! Ground turkey is NOT cheap, so when I can cut it with something healthy like quinoa, I'm game for it! This recipe makes me about 24 meatballs, so I freeze the leftovers. These can be made at any point and refrigerated, then just cooked in the oven 30 minutes before you're ready to eat. Cook 1/2 a cup of dry quinoa according to the directions on the package; allow to cool completely. When ready, mix 1 lbs of ground turkey with the cooled quinoa, along with 1 tsp each of cumin and paprika. Add 1/2 tsp of garlic powder and onion powder. Add one egg, and a dash each of Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. Mix together, then form meatballs. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes until cooked through. While they bake on the top shelf, roast one pound of halved Brussels sprouts, drizzled with EVOO. After 30 minutes, remove from oven and transfer to mixing bowl. Toss with 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1/2 cup of raisins, and 1/4 cup of blue cheese crumbles.




Thursday - Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps {No-Cook}

Using leftover chicken from Monday, this recipe is GREAT because you have nothing to really cook! Pull meat off the bone and place in a food processor. Shred, along with 2 tbsp (or more to-taste) of buffalo sauce. DONE! Serve with big pieces of iceburg or romaine lettuce, diced tomatoes, carrot shreds, blue cheese crumbles... You could even do corn or black beans! For sides, I'll keep it easy with rice and beans. 




Friday - Cold Pesto Pasta with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Asparagus {Make Ahead}

Roast one whole bunch of asparagus, drizzled with EVOO, at 400 degrees for just about 7 minutes. You want it bright green and crisp! Boil 8oz of pasta (really anything but spaghetti... Penne, rotini...), drain, and run cold water over until cooking stops and pasta feels cool. Pour into a large mixing bowl. Chop cooked asparagus, and add to the pasta. Next, add 1/3 cup of sun dried tomatoes, 1/4 cup of pesto sauce, and 1/4 cup of crumbled feta. Add a large handful of arugula, and 1/4 cup diced black olives. Toss together, and chill until ready to eat.