If you follow Dinner with the Duffys on Instagram (and if you don’t, you totally should) you know I’m dedicating my August blog posts to helping us find more time. Summer isn’t technically over but for those of us with kids, it kind of is. As soon as August 1st rolls around our brains switch from “off” to overstimulated and stay that way until the following June. And if you are anything like me, the anxiety of the “get the kids up, get the kids to school, go to work, come home, do homework, take the kids to soccer, cook dinner, try to exercise, go to bed” schedule is already settling in. Thankfully I figured out years ago meal planning is the single biggest time saver, money saver, sanity saver EVER but you already know that. This month I want to point out a few additional time saving tools/techniques that will reduce even more of your week to week stress. First up – The Instant Pot.
I know, here I am trying to convince you to spend money on yet another cooking appliance but for $59, this magic Instant Pot Duo 60 will change your life. Cook frozen chicken breasts in ten minutes. Spaghetti – uncooked wheat noodles and all – ten minutes. Carnitas – one hour compared to three. I’m telling you, this thing is a life saver. And the healthy recipe options are endless and ever growing. This thing sears, browns, sautés, steams, slow cooks and pressure cooks all in one pot. Easy to clean, and easy to use. For me, the peace of mind this thing brings is worth every penny. Knowing I can walk in from work, do homework with the kids, exercise, take them to said activity and still have time to get a healthy meal on the table by 7:00 is bananas. I will definitely be incorporating more instant pot meals into my weekly meal plan but no worries if you don’t own one – YET. I will make sure to include the slow cooker directions!!
MEAL PLAN FOR THE WEEK OF 8/4
Sunday, August 4th – Tortellini Salad : I have been craving this salad for weeks. It’s ridiculously easy to throw together – the most difficult, time consuming part of this recipe is boiling the packaged tortellini. Serve for dinner, as a side, room temp or cold. You can’t mess this one up. KID TIP – After boiling the tortellini, I pull out enough for both of my girls and top with red sauce or pesto!
What You Need:
- 20 ounce package of cheese tortellini
- 2 cups of arugula
- 3/4 cup of salami, chopped
- 1/3 cup sundried tomatoes
- 1/3 cup artichokes in oil
- 1/4 cup pepperoncini
- 1 cup fresh mozzarella balls
- Balsamic Dressing ( See Recipe Below)
What You Do:
- In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook tortellini according to package directions. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl. Drizzle pasta to coat with a few tablespoons of balsamic dressing. Set aside.
- Chop the salami, sundried tomatoes, artichokes and pepperoncini. Add to pasta.
- Gently fold in arugula and mozzarella. Drizzle with additional dressing.
My Go-To Balsamic Recipe:
- 3/4 cup of good quality extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
- salt & pepper to taste
Combine the vinegar, mustard, salt & pepper. Drizzle in the olive oil, constantly stirring with a fork until thick and creamy. Enjoy.
Monday, August 5th – Green Chicken Enchilada Casserole – This calls for cauliflower rice but my kids have vetoed the you know what out of cauli rice so I will sub in brown rice. Just cook prior to mixing with the cream cheese!
Tuesday, August 6th – Instant Pot ( Or Crock Pot) Cajun Chicken & Rice – 30 minutes, start to finish. 29 of those minutes are hands off cooking time. You are welcome.
Wednesday, August 7th – Trader Joe’s Chicken Pesto Genovese over Arugula – I know, I’m adding in the extra step of swinging into a Trader Joe’s. Before you get angry, I promise to share my most recent Trader Joe’s haul on Monday so you can stock up on more than just this pre-packaged option. I will cook in pan with some cherub tomatoes, topped with mozzarella. Serve over arugula, drizzled with balsamic. KID TIP – Regan is weary of green foods so I will throw some Trader Joe’s breaded chicken tenderloins in the oven for her. No big, y’all.
Thursday, August 8th – Sheet Pan Ginger Soy Glazed Salmon – Love the soy glaze in this recipe. Tip – the carrots need to cook longer than the recommended 10 minutes. Cook the carrots on their own, for about 12 – 15 minutes prior to adding the beans and salmon!
Friday, August 9th – Hamburger, Zucchini Skillet – Think hamburger helper but much healthier – and more delicious. My girls picked around the zucchini but tolerated this dish better than expected.
Happy, Healthy Eating Friends!!
XO ~ Kelly D.