Meal Planning Monday ~ Adventures in the Kitchen

          I love being adventurous in life and in the kitchen!  In the past month, I’ve tried two new foods that I’ve never had before, and one that I haven’t had in years.  The first one is Swiss chard.  For some reason, I’ve been resistant to trying greens other than my old standby, spinach (which I love.)  When I was on vacation last month, my Aunt Claudia and I bought some baby Swiss chard at the farmers market in Michigan.  My Uncle Paul cooked it up for dinner and it was delicious!  I can’t believe I waited so long to try it.  Now, I’m inspired to try other types of greens, too. 

            I made quinoa for the first time two weeks ago.  Quinoa is actually a seed, not a grain.  It’s high in protein and gluten-free.  It cooks up like rice and absorbs the flavor of the spices you mix in with it.  My friend and cooking genius,  Julie Brawley, gave me a recipe for a Mexican-style quinoa which was awesome with grilled chicken and a salad.  (Recipe below.)  I’m now hunting for other quinoa recipes to try.

            About a month ago I did a 6 Day Detox to recharge and rev up my metabolism.  Brussels sprouts were one of the veggies on the detox menu.  As a kid, I refused to eat these mini-cabbage looking vegetables.  I tried them a few years ago at my sister-in-law’s house, but they were cooked in bacon grease.  (Because bacon makes everything better – and way more fattening!)   So I steamed the sprouts for my detox and tossed them with some Mrs. Dash’s seasoning and bit of olive oil.  They were okay, but not great.  However, Leah sent me a recipe for Grilled Brussels Sprouts with Whole Grain Mustard.  So, I am vowing to give them one last try before I write them off completely.  I understand that not all of my culinary adventures will be a smashing success and that’s okay.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

Here’s my Meal Plan for this week.  What new food have you tried lately?

Monday ~ Turkey Chili.  Mondays are always busy, so I’ll make use of one of my freezer meals today.

Tuesday ~ Grilled chicken tenderloins, hash brown casserole, and Swiss chard.

Wednesday ~ FFY (Fend For Yourself!)  I’m having dinner with a good friend at Bonefish Grill for $5 Bang Bang Shrimp and happy hour cocktails!

Thursday ~ Chicken Marsala with quinoa (instead of the usual rice) and a side salad.

Friday ~ I am SO excited for Friday’s dinner!  I am hosting a potluck with my Facebook recipe group.  Everyone is bringing a dish to share.  There are so many good cooks in that bunch; I can’t wait to see what everyone brings!

Saturday ~ Grilled salmon, potatoes, and grilled Brussels sprouts with whole grain mustard.

Sunday ~ Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and green beans.


Fiesta Quinoa Pilaf  (From         


1 tsp. olive oil

1 tsp. sea salt

½ tsp. black pepper

2 cloves of minced garlic

½ tsp. ground cumin

½ tsp. chili powder

¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

2 cups of cooked quinoa

2 Tbs. lime juice

¼ cup chopped scallions

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro


Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and thoroughly combine.  Serve hot or cold.

Note: I cooked my quinoa with chicken broth instead of water.  I also substituted red pepper flakes for the cayenne pepper, since I was out.  I think this would also be good if you decreased some of the quinoa and added black beans.