Week 16: A Little France + Italy

This was unintentional, but after I looked at this grouping of meals together, I realized they all had either a French or Italian influence. A French take on chicken dumpling soup and a meal with root vegetables and Gruyere took elements from the City of Light, while multiple-use tomatoes and pasta with fresh cheese was a nod to the country of red, green and white. Never opposed to taking quick trip across the pond for dinner!

Had in kitchen: 1/4 jar Alfredo sauce, salt, pepper, nutmeg, 2 pints cherry tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, balsamic glaze, olive oil, Gruyere cheese

Bought: 1 box gemelli pasta, 32oz can chicken broth, 1 box granola bars, 1 load white bread, 1 jar marinara sauce, 1 pack chicken breast, 1 pack Italian sweet sausage, 1 pint blueberries, 1 pack carrots, 1 bag spring salad mix, 1 pack button mushrooms, 1 pack baby spinach, onion, container sliced watermelon, fresh mozzarella cheese, 1 pack tortellini, half and half

Spent: $55.11 (aka $11.02/day for 3 meals per day)

Daily Breakfast: Granola Bar + Fruit


Lunch: Leftovers from Sunday (in this case, a homemade pizza and side salad)

Dinner: French Chicken Dumpling Soup

Comments from Claire: Sometimes for fun, or if I need help falling asleep before bed, I flip through cookbooks that are on my shelf. I love this one: The Little Paris Kitchen, and came across this chicken dumpling soup recipe (or, Bouillon de Poulet avec Des Quenelles de Volailles) that was simple but also appealing since I had a bit of a stuffy nose. It was a slight pain to make the quenelles (it’s a little icky to make a raw chicken batter), but overall the soup came out very good and hit the spot on a chilly Spring evening.


Lunch: Leftover Soup

Dinner: Gemelli with Tomatoes, Spinach and Sweet Sausage

Comments from Claire: I came across this recipe in an article where someone was talking about their favorite, easy go-to dinners, and I have to say I am now on that bandwagon. Simple, full of flavor, mostly healthy – feels like one of those homemade meals that took a while but really didn’t. Plus it’s quite photogenic!


Lunch: Leftover Pasta

Dinner: Salad with Sautéed Tomatoes and Mushrooms

Comments from Claire: This was one of those meals that came together because of other random ingredients I had leftover. I knew I was going to do a salad with the veggies (leftover tomatoes from the pasta and mushrooms from the soup), but decided to cook them down with salt, pepper, and olive oil and then let them to cool to add more flavor. I’m so glad I did this, because it really was so much more flavorful than just adding raw tomatoes and mushrooms in. I used the lettuce I had from Sunday’s side salad, and topped with balsamic glaze, olive oil, and some fresh mozzarella (also leftover from Sunday’s pizza).


Lunch: Leftover Salad

Dinner: Sausage and Brussels Sprouts with Gruyere and Maple Roasted Carrots (see top photo)

Claire’s Quips: I only used half the pack of sausage in the pasta dish, so I decided to cook it in the oven with Brussels sprouts and top with melty Gruyere cheese – inspired by this recipe I made a little while back. I had carrots from the soup so I decided to make some maple glazed ones on the side, as inspired by Ina Garten’s salad recipe. It was missing a little something – I think it would’ve been helpful for it to be more of a sauce rather than just melted cheese – but was still good as a quick weeknight dinner.


Lunch: Leftovers

Dinner: Tortellini with Creamy Tomato Sauce and Spinach

Claire’s Quips: I wanted a quick dinner, so thought tortellini would be a good way to go. I used the jar of tomato sauce I had from the pizza over the weekend, and then I also had a little bit of jarred Alfredo sauce from last week’s macaroni, so I added that in too to use it up and make more of a cream sauce. I added spinach to make it healthier, but definitely didn’t cook it properly for this dish. To save time I put it in the bottom of the strainer and pour the pasta over it, to wilt/cook it, but when I mixed everything back in it was way too watery. I would sauté it on the side with garlic next time, or mix it in with the sauce while it was cooking.

See you next week! To see what I’m eating in the meantime, follow me on Instagram or Twitter @ClaireLeaden

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