The March Meal Plan is Simple and Satisfying (as is the pizza dough challenge!)

So I admit it. February’s Meal Plan was a tad too ambitious. Erm…well, a bit more than a tad. It would have been hard to stick to it if life was normal but my life has certainly NOT been normal lately. The most abnormal part: The Hubs has been traveling for work A LOT. Three weeks worth last month, another week+ coming up this month.

Do you blame me if I’m not finding the energy to make seared sea scallops with preserved lemon slivers? Ha!

So March’s goal is two words: SIMPLE and SATISFYING

And my challenge this month certainly measures up:

What Can You Do With Pizza Dough?

You can buy the dough or make your own. But once you have it in your hands, what do you turn it into?

I’ll be making some pizza dough paninis (like the one pictured above), a skillet bread to go with a nice stew and one to go with chipotle chili, a Chicken Pot Pie Topped with a Bready Crust, a stromboli-type thingy and, well, some pizza.

The rest of the plan is just simple, easy, comforting stuff to sustain me as I get through another crazy few weeks.

Week #1

1 – Thursday

Breaded and Baked Chicken Drumsticks from Simply Recipes, steamed broccoli, barley with scrambled egg and scallions

2 – Friday

What Can You Do With Pizza Dough Challenge #1: Duh! Homemade Pizza

3 – Saturday

Leaving it blank

4 – Sunday: Roast Chicken (my own Naked Bird), Mashed Potatoes and Whatever Veg Looks Good At The Store

Week #2

5 – Monday

Baked Potato Croquettes (using leftover mashed potatoes) from Mia’s Domain, Basic Salad with Leftover Roasted Chicken on Top

6 – Tuesday

Shrimp and Grits from SeafoodLadyOrlando, salad

7 – Wednesday

What Can You Do With Pizza Dough Challenge #2: Leftover Chicken Pot Pie with Pizza Dough Top

8 – Thursday

Gallo Pinto from Seasonal and Savory (I swear this dish will be on my meal plan every month for the rest of my life. Seriously. It really is that simple and that satisfying.)

9 – Friday

Quinoa Taco Salad from Gluten-Free Goddess (with some ground turkey and a dollop of sour cream on top)

10 – Saturday

Leaving it blank

11 – Sunday

Guiness-Braised Beef with Prune Sauce, Roasted Potatoes, Whatever Veg Looks Good At The Store

For the beef: Preheat oven to 300ºF. Season a large chuck roast (4lbs, you need enough for three meals after all) liberally with salt and pepper. Warm 2 tbsp vegetable oil in a Dutch Oven over medium-high heat. Add the beef and sear on all sides. Remove the beef to a plate. Pour 1 bottle of Guiness into the Dutch Oven and stir to pick up any brownings from the bottom of the pan. Add 3 cups beef stock, 2 tbsp tomato paste and a teaspoon of salt (a bay leaf and whatever hearty herbs you happen to have would also be welcome here). Stir and then return the beef to the pot along with 2 cups of dried prunes. Cover and put into the oven for 2 hours. Remove beef from the pot. Keep warm. Using an immersion blender or regular blender, puree the liquid and prunes into a sauce. Taste. Add salt and pepper as required.

Week #3

12 – Monday

Leftover Beef Tostados

Heat oven to 400. Combine 3/4 cup leftover Guiness and Prune Sauce with 1/2 cup bottled BBQ sauce. Shred half of the leftover beef and add it to the sauce. Heat. Meanwhile, brush soft corn tortillas with vegetable oil on both sides. Place on large baking sheet and bake until toasted. Pile beef onto crunchy tortillas. Top with your choice of taco-style toppings (tomatoes, green onions, avocado, cheddar cheese, radishes, sliced cabbage, shredded lettuce, radishes, corn, black beans, rice, salsa, sour cream, etc.)

13 – Tuesday

Chicken Breasts Doused in Lemon Juice, Dried Oregano, Black Pepper and Sea Salt and then baked at 400 for 20-ish minutes until cooked through, Easy Greek Salad from Katherine Martinelli, Pita

14 – Wednesday

What Can You Do With Pizza Dough Challenge #3: Skillet Bread with Leftover Beef Stew

For the bread: Pre-heat oven to 450. Drizzle olive oil into a cast iron skillet. Add pizza dough. Smoosh it to the edges. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle on some parmesan cheese, dried rosemary, black pepper and sea salt. Bake until golden and crunchy on top and browned on the bottom, about 25 minutes.

For the stew: combine leftover Guiness and Prune Sauce with chunks of leftover beef. Add sliced carrots and quartered mushrooms. Heat on stove over medium heat stirring occasionally until the carrots are softened.

15 – Thursday

Smoked Salmon and Hard Boiled Egg on Salad with Leftover Skillet Bread

16 – Friday

I won’t be cooking cuz I’ll be at FOOD BLOG FORUM ORLANDO!!! YIPPEE!!

17 – Saturday

I won’t be cooking cuz I’ll be at FOOD BLOG FORUM ORLANDO!!! YIPPEE!!

18 – Sunday

I won’t be cooking cuz I’ll be at FOOD BLOG FORUM ORLANDO!!! YIPPEE!!

Week #4

19 – Monday

“Oh Sh*t, My Bowl Is Empty. That Sucks!” Soup (my shrimp and barley heart soup)

20 – Tuesday

Baked Mac & Cheese Pots from Simply Scratch, Salad

21 – Wednesday

Alliterative and Awesome Chocolate Chipotle Chili from Hungry Sam and Pizza Dough Skillet Bread

(Same skillet bread as March 14th above but with cheddar and a bit of dried oregano instead of the parm and rosemary)

22 – Thursday

Chili Cheese Oven Fries

Baked Oven Fries from Smells Like Home topped with leftover chili and shredded cheddar cheese

23 – Friday

What Can You Do With Pizza Dough Challenge #4: Pizza Dough Paninis

Pre-heat oven to the temp required by your dough (usually around 450). Roll out the dough (or spin it and spread it to get it to pizza size) and place it onto an oiled cookie sheet. Spread on some mayo and dijon. Onto the half of the pizza dough furthest from you, lay out several slices of ham or smoked turkey breast. Top meat with cheese. Add some dill or parsley and some spinach or arugula. Fold empty half of dough (the half that is closest to you) up and over the toppings. Brush top of dough with oil. Bake until golden brown on top and crunchy brown on the bottom, about 25 minutes. Slice and serve.

24 – Saturday

Leaving it blank

25 – Sunday

Herb-Crusted Pork Tenderloins by Paula Deen with Buttered Egg Noodles and Whatever Veg Looks Good At The Store

Week #5

26 – Monday

Leftover Pork and Blackened Corn Salsa Tacos

For the salsa: Warm 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 cups defrosted frozen corn. Cook stirring occasionally until corn begins to brown in spots, 4-6 minutes. Remove corn to a medium sized bowl. Add 1 can drained diced tomatoes. Using scissors (kitchen shears), snip in two spring onions. SErve in warm flour tortillas with slices of pork and dollops of sour cream.

27 – Tuesday

Butter-Browned Leftover Egg Noodle Frittata and Salad

For the frittata: Melt 1 tbsp butter over medium-high heat in a non-stick skillet. Add leftover cooked egg noodles (1-2 handfuls per person). Cook stirring occasionally until much of the pasta has turned golden brown, 4-6 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs (2 per person) with a bit of milk. You can also add to the eggs any other bits of leftover cooked veg or meat that you have on hand at this point. Reduce heat to low and stir the pasta once more before pouring in the eggs. Swirl to coat all the noodles. Cover and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle on some shredded cheese (about ¼ cup per person, I prefer a sharp cheddar). Cover and cook until the egg is fully set and the cheese has melted. Cut into wedges to serve.

28 – Wednesday

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Homemade Tomato Soup

For the soup: saute 1/2 onion in vegetable oil until transluscent. Add 2-28 ounce cans of diced tomatoes with their juice. Season well with salt and pepper. Optionally add a bit of minced canned chipotle pepper or fresh jalapeno pepper or some red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat, cover and cook on low for 5-10 minutes. Puree in a blender or using an immersion blender. Ladle into bowls. Optionally add a drizzle of whipping cream or a dollop of sour cream to each serving.

29 – Thursday

My Simple Salt and Pepper Salmon with Lemon Thyme Rice and Roasted Green Beans

30 – Friday

What Can You Do With Pizza Dough Challenge #5: Stromboli!

31 – Saturday

Leaving it blank and going out for Chinese Food. Phew!

Happy March!

Chris from Cook the Story

Where stories that make you drool are better than those that don't!

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(c) 2012 Christine Pittman. All Rights Reserved

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