Meal Planning: 9/23-9/27 & Loaded Spicy Sweet Potato Skins

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Hell must be freezing over — I’m posting a recipe today! We are officially one month into our effort to better plan our meals and it’s been an amazing success. I truly haven’t felt this organized in more than a year. My house is clean(er), and during the week I’m never scrambling to come up with meals or a plan of what we need to do each day. Everything is done, and that’s a huge load off.

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The problem is that, as a blogger, I haven’t figured out how to translate our success into any kind of universal advice. Because even though things are going well, it’s been because we’ve made it work for our individual schedules and training. That being said, here are some observations:

We haven’t frozen any meals yet: I don’t know if I’m just scared they won’t turn out or because we’ve freed up so much time simply batch cooking and utilizing our ingredients beter. I’d still like to freeze a few things though to have for emergencies.

Our batch meals tend to fall in the beginning of the week: We tend to place all the bigger batch meals toward the beginning of the week. For us, this is simply because the beginning of the week tends to be busier and if one of us isn’t home around dinner time, the other has something to heat up or just eat warm from the crock pot. Reversely, end-of-week seems to be when we do most of our throw-together stir fries.

In a pinch, Taco Tuesdays are good any day of the week: We typically always have the fixings to make tacos or taco salad, so it’s our go-to in a pinch.

As we continue on, I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts. Erica and I are by no means experts, but we are definitely getting the hang of planning meals and leaving very little to go to waste. I’m kicking myself for not thinking of pairing up with another couple sooner. Splitting ingredients and labor makes everything so easy!

Grocery shopping for the week, dinner for husband in progress.

So back to this meal. I took Monday off from training and hit the grocery store after work. I’ve been taking Mondays off lately since I’ve been training on the weekends and typically coach on Tuesday until about 9:30 PM, and it’s been nice to have an extra weeknight off. Our menu for the week:

Monday-Tuesday: Loaded Spicy Sweet Potato Skins
Wednesday-Friday: Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili

Breakfasts and Lunches have been pretty well the same since Week 1, so I’ll just leave it at that.

I was eager to give sweet potato skins another try, as our last attempt ended up being kind of messy. To make these you’ll need:

Ingredients:

3 medium sweet potatoes (I err on the side of smaller so they are easier to cut)
3/4 pound (about 2 small) boneless skinless chicken breast
1/4 cups olive oil
2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tabasco peppers, diced
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
salt and pepper
3-4 cups spinach
5 ounces pepper jack cheese, grated (optional)
Chopped cilantro, for garnish (optional)
Greek yogurt, for serving (optional — I typically go cheese OR yogurt, a little goes a long way)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash sweet potatoes and poke holes across all surfaces with a fork. Place on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until fork tender.
  2. Place chicken in a baking dish and rub with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place in the oven (with potatoes if there is room) and bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool then shred the chicken with a fork or fingers. When the sweet potatoes are done cut in half and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the olive oil, lime juice, garlic, tabasco peppers, Italian seasoning, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  4. Heat a small skillet over medium heat and wilt the spinach. Toss the spinach and shredded chicken together, set aside and keep warm.
  5. Turn the oven up to 400 degrees. Scrape the sweet potato out of the peel and into a bowl, leaving a medium size layer of flesh inside with the peel so that it can stand up on its own and place in a baking dish. Brush the skins with a little of the sauce and bake for 5-7 minutes or until crisp.
  6. Mix the spinach, chicken, sweet potato and sauce together. You can opt to leave the removed sweet potato our and use it for something else, I chose to put it back in. Remove skins from the oven and spoon in chicken mixture. Top with shredded cheese if desired and bake for 10 minutes until the cheese has melted. Otherwise, top with fresh chopped cilantro and Greek yogurt if desired.

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With the exception of the long cook times, these are super easy to make, and especially perfect for a post-workout meal when you want FOOD. And I swear I did not put that much cheese on these, but for some reason it looks like I bathed them in it.

On to Week 5! Have any meal suggestions you want us to try?

Other posts in this series:
Meal Planning: The Beginning
Meal Planning: 9/9-9/15

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