One Week of Home Cooked Meals

By the time I get home from my commute all I want to do is eat. Time and time again I’ve driven to a fast food drive-thru or heated up a frozen burrito. It gets old after awhile and my waist line doesn’t appreciate it. I decided to cook a home cooked meal for one work week straight by only using what I had in the pantry. My goal was to try new meals and save some cash money.

For this experiment I decided to pull out one of my cookbooks and plan out a week work of meals that matched what I had in the pantry. For some dinners I just winged it and hoped for the best.

I will mark the recipes that were used from another source and link them to the cook’s site and not list it here so they get credit. 🙂

Sunday – Moroccan Meatloaf

moroacan meatloaf.jpg

Moroccan Meatloaf with garlic potatoes.


I started the week off with a hit. Dillon said, “This is the best meat loaf I’ve ever had.” I enjoyed this meal too. The slight hint of ginger and cinnamon was my favorite part. Dillon gave this meal a five out of five stars. This recipe was found in Melissa D’Arabian’s cookbook “Ten Dollar Dinners” and you can find her recipe here.

Monday – Chicken a l’Orange


Chicken a l’Orange

Once again I turned to D’Arabian’s cookbook to try my hand at some French cuisine. Her recipe called for orange concentrate and all I had was orange juice. I decided to wing it and although the glaze was thinner than it was suppose to be it wasn’t too bad. I also used skinless chicken breasts instead of the suggested skin-on, bone-in breast. Dillon gave this meal a 3 1/2 out of five stars. Check out the recipe here.

Tuesday – Quinoa Tabouleh


I’m a huge fan of quinoa. I have a recipe for an enchilada quinoa casserole that is to die for. (I’ll share it some time soon). Tuesday I decided to research the best way to make Tabouleh since I had never made it before. I didn’t have a lot of the ingredients for D’Arabian’s Tabouleh so I improvised and made my own. I had to used canned diced tomatoes instead of fresh and I was out of olive oil. I basically had quinoa, parsley, diced tomatoes and lemon. The end result was just O.K. Dillon gave this meal a two out of five stars. Can’t win them all.

Wednesday – Spaghetti with Meat Sauce


I couldn’t go a whole week without cooking my all-time favorite meal! It’s simple, easy and oh so yummy. I boiled water and cooked the spaghetti noodles for 10 minutes. While that was cooking I browned ground beef with onion and garlic. I cheated a little and used a jar of marinara sauce. (I was in a hurry that night) I topped it off with some cheese and fresh parsley. Nothing fancy but still a four out of five from Dillon.

Thursday – Korean Chicken and Rice

An easy dish I turn to on a busy day is a Korean Beef Bowl with rice. We both love it and it takes 15 minutes to make. I started to wonder what it would taste like if I swapped out the ground beef for chicken.

1/2 a pound of boneless chicken breast, cut into thin chunks
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes, or more to taste
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil

  1. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add diced chicken and cook until golden brown. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute.
  2. Whisk together soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, red pepper flakes and sesame oil in a bowl.
  3. Pour the sauce mixture over the chicken in the skillet. Allow it to simmer until heated through.
  4. Serve over steamed rice.

I was so hungry this night that I forgot to take a picture. It was a glorious meal though.

Friday – Mexican Casserole


Dillon asked me to make some type of Mexican casserole. So I opened up the pantry and went for it. I crossed my fingers and prayed it would be edible.

  • 2 cups crushed tortilla chips
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 can  corn kernels, drained
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of enchilada sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup salsa
  • Half of a chopped red onion
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 6 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Sprinkle crushed tortilla chips into a glass 9×13 baking dish.
  2. Brown the ground beef in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Mix the black beans, corn, enchilada sauce, garlic, bell pepper, onion, salsa and cooked beef in a bowl.
  4. Spoon half of the mixture over the crushed chips and then sprinkle with cheese. Take the other half of the mixture and place it over the cheese and then top with the remaining cheese.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes and let stand for approximately 5 minutes.


I had a lot of fun cooking every night and hope to keep it up in the future. Tonight I’m throwing in the apron and dining out.


Baked Spaghetti Squash and Shrimp


Spaghetti is my all time favorite meal. It’s fast, easy and oh-so delicious. Lately, I’ve been concocting healthier alternatives to my favorite meals. Spaghetti squash was on sale at my local Neighborhood Market so I bought it and decided to create a divine dinner with it.

I have never bought, cooked or ate spaghetti squash before so this was a foreign endeavor for me. After some brief Googling of how to cook this yellow thing I came to the conclusion I would make shrimp and roasted spaghetti squash and the results were fantastic.

What you need:

One medium spaghetti squash

One pound of deveined shrimp

Olive Oil

One clove of garlic

Half of a diced tomato

One half teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes

One half teaspoon of parsley

One half teaspoon of basil

One tablespoon of white cooking wine


To begin pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. While that’s heating up line a baking sheet with foil. Slice the the squash horizontal, not vertical. This makes it easier to create the “noodles” later. Take out the seeds and place the squash rings on the baking sheet. Bake the squash for 40 minutes.


Heat up a skillet on the stove with the olive oil and toss in the garlic. Once the garlic becomes fragrant add in the shrimp. Sprinkle in the rest of the ingredients. *CONFESSION I really just eye balled the measurement for the white cooking wine*


Once the shrimp is cooked set aside to cool.


Take your squash out of the oven, grab a fork and start pulling the squash apart. It will look similar to spaghetti noodles. Place the noodles on a plate and top with the shrimp. Voila! You could even mix in a nice marinara sauce to really give it the spaghetti feel.


What are some foods you use to substitute for your favorite meals? Leave me a comment below!