What's Cooking This Week? Grilled Eggplant Panini, Chicken Parmigiana & More

eggplant panini.jpg
Photo by wEnDaLicious
I love cooking for my fiancé and me, but most of the time, cooking for two proves to be difficult. If I don't make a plan, I end up running around in circles at the grocery store and wasting half the ingredients I've bought (and I hate wasting food). Enter What's Cooking This Week - my weekly meal plan and grocery guide. This way, I can make the most of my ingredients and my leftovers.

Last week, lemon herb couscous and seared skirt steak were made over into an egg-topped Couscous Salad and Moroccan Skirt Steak Pitas. This week, I'll use a quick-simmered marinara for broiled Chicken Parmigiana and a Turkey Sausage Ragu over Grilled Polenta.

Here's the rest of the plan:

  • Turkey Sausage Ragu over Grilled Polenta
  • Chicken Parmigiana w/ Sauteed Spinach
  • Sausage & Roasted Red Pepper Orrechiette
  • Dijon Chicken Cutlet Salad
  • Grilled Eggplant Panini w/ Balsamic Mayo

    Pantry Items
    Olive oil (regular and extra virgin)
    Apple cider vinegar
    Balsamic vinegar
    Cooking spray
    Parmesan cheese
    Honey
    Dijon mustard
    Mayonnaise
    Flour
    Eggs
    Seasoned breadcrumbs
    Smoked Paprika
    Crushed red pepper
    Dried basil
    Kosher salt
    Pepper

    Grocery List based on servings for 2 w/ leftovers
    1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
    1 package hot Italian turkey sausage
    1 yellow onion
    1 red onion
    1 head garlic
    1 small eggplant
    1 large package spinach leaves
    1 head lettuce
    2 plum tomatoes
    1 ball fresh mozzarella
    1 jar roasted red peppers
    1 oz Kalamata olives, pitted
    1 can crushed tomatoes
    2 ciabatta rolls or 1 loaf Italian bread
    1 tube prepared polenta
    1 box orecchiette

    Day 1 - Turkey Sausage in Tomato Sauce over Grilled Polenta
    *Makes leftover Turkey Sausage and Marinara

    Make a simple marinara by heating a pot over medium heat, coating lightly with oil. Add in ½ chopped yellow onion and 3 cloves minced garlic, sauteing until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in a pinch of red pepper flakes and 1 can crushed tomatoes. Bring to a bubble, then reduce heat to low. Stir in salt and dried basil and simmer for 5 minutes over low heat.
    *Reserve half the sauce for use in day 3.

    Meanwhile, heat a grill pan to medium-high and coat with cooking spray. Add turkey sausages and cook until golden-browned and cooked through. Remove from pan and set aside.
    *Save half the sausage for use in day 3.

    Slice polenta rounds (about ¾ inch thick), brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add to same pan and cook until golden and crisp with nice grill marks, about 5 minutes per side.
    *Reserve uncooked leftovers in fridge or make a few extra and serve with chicken parm in day 2.

    Slice turkey sausages and serve over polenta rounds. Spoon over marinara and serve topped with parmesan cheese.

    Day 2 - Chicken Parmigiana w/ Sauteed Spinach
    *Makes leftover Chicken Cutlets and Sauteed Spinach
    *Uses leftover Marinara

    Setup breading station for chicken cutlets by placing flour, beaten eggs, and seasoned breadcrumbs in separate shallow dishes. Add a handful of parmesan cheese to the breadcrumbs and mix.

    Season chicken with salt and pepper and dredge in flour, shaking off the excess. Next coat in eggs and press into the breadcrumb mixture, turning to coat. Repeat until all breasts are breaded.

    Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add cutlets in batches as to not crowd the pan. Cook, turning once, until golden brown and cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side.
    *Reserve half the cutlets for use in day 3.

    Meanwhile, heat a pan over medium-high heat and coat lightly with olive oil. Add spinach leaves (reserving 1-2 handfuls from the package) and 2-3 cloves minced garlic, cooking until wilted. Season with salt, crushed red pepper, and smoked paprika to taste.
    *Reserve 1/3 of the cooked spinach for use in day 3 and the handfuls of dry leaves for use in day 5.

    Heat broiler to high. Place cutlets in a single layer onto foil or a broiler-safe baking sheet, topping each with sliced fresh mozzarella. Broil until cheese is bubbling and golden.
    *Reserve half the mozzarella for use in day 5.

    Meanwhile, heat leftover tomato sauce.

    Spoon leftover sauce onto each cutlet and serve with a side of sauteed spinach. Optional: reheat leftover grilled polenta for serving.

    Day 3 - Sausage & Roasted Red Pepper Orrechiette
    *Uses leftover Turkey Sausage and Sauteed Spinach

    Cook 2 servings of pasta according to package instructions, reserving ½ cup starchy cooking liquid.

    In a large pan, reheat leftover spinach. Stir in 1/3 cup sliced roasted red peppers, crumbled leftover sausage, and chopped Kalamata olives. Add in pasta, drizzle with olive oil and toss, adding a bit of cooking liquid if needed.

    Serve hot topped with freshly ground black pepper.

    Day 4 - Dijon Chicken Cutlet Salad
    *Uses leftover Chicken Cutlets

    Whisk together 1 tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 tbsp honey, ½ tbsp cider vinegar, and 2 tbsp olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    Rinse and dry lettuce. Chop into bite sized pieces and toss with 2 chopped plum tomatoes and ¼ of a thinly sliced red onion.

    Slice leftover chicken cutlets and add to salad.

    Serve drizzled with honey-Dijon dressing. Optional - If you have cheddar cheese on hand, throw some in.

    Day 5 - Grilled Eggplant Panini w/ Balsamic Mayo

    Slice eggplant into about ½ inch thick pieces, brushing each side with olive oil and seasoning with salt and pepper.

    Heat a grill pan to medium heat and coat with cooking spray. Grill eggplant until tender but crisp, about 5 minutes per side.

    Meanwhile, combine 2 tbsp mayonnaise and 1 tsp balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    Slice open rolls and spread both halves with balsamic mayo. Layer in eggplant, roasted red pepper, thinly sliced red onion, spinach leaves, and fresh mozzarella. Close and brush both sides of bread with olive oil.

    Add to hot grill pan, pressing down, and griddle until golden browned and crisped on both sides.

    Slice and serve.

    Enjoy!



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