The summer ended for us on Monday, when Nathan began his second year at IU School of Medicine. We both find it hard to imagine that we will ever have a summer better than this one – we got married, got to go to the beach twice, and began our young adult life together.
To celebrate the end of such a wonderful summer, we had a delicious dinner that seemed to be summer on a plate: sweet corn on the cob, grilled chicken with BBQ sauce, roasted asparagus, and watermelon on the side.
Cheers to the start of a great semester!
As much fun as we had these past couple months, we are both looking forward to settling into a “real life” routine with him in school and me at work. Up until now, we’ve had a relatively easy transition since he’s had extra time to help take care of things (like moving, or getting groceries mid-week), and now it’s my turn to return the favor 🙂
One thing I knew I wanted to start doing a better job of was meal planning and prepping on the weekends. With some tips from my mom, I was able to get us all stocked up while Nathan was gone earlier this weekend.
With a few basic dinner staples, we should be covered! On Saturday, I grilled up the chicken breasts and cut the watermelon.
Saturday’s prep meant that for Sunday’s Last Summer Supper, all we had to do was throw the asparagus in the oven about 20 minutes before mealtime and throw the corn in the microwave about 10 minutes before meal time. Easy peasy!
My next meal prep took place on Sunday after dinner. For the other dinners, we plan to use sweet potatoes with the chicken one night and then have spaghetti squash with spaghetti sauce my mom made for us another night. Since baking squash and sweet potatoes can be time consuming, taking care of it before Monday seemed to make the most sense.
Spaghetti squash was an experiment for us and we’d never tried it before. I felt so iffy about the whole process that I thought I’d share it here – it ended up working out perfectly and is not as daunting as I expected!
Here’s what I did:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. If baking the sweet potatoes and squash together (recommended – a big time saver for later in the week), wash and stab the sweet potatoes with a fork a few times each. No need to wash the squash, but stab it with a knife 5-6 times through the middle.
*Tip: Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place it underneath the rack where you are baking the sweet potatoes. This catches any drips and keeps your oven (and the baking sheet) nice and clean.
3. After 40 minutes, remove the spaghetti squash (leave sweet potatoes in for another 20 minutes at same temperature).
4. Slice the squash in half.
5. Scrape out the seeded pulpy part with a fork.
6. Continue to scrape the tougher exterior walls with a fork and watch it shred into “noodles” of squash as you go. The more you dig, the more that comes off. I was able to get down to the outer skin on each half and it filled two large tupperwares of spaghetti squash.
7. 20 minutes later, remove the sweet potatoes. (And turn off the oven 😉 ) Seal in bags and store in fridge for use in the next 2-3 days.
8. Seal the spaghetti squash in tupperware and keep refrigerated. I would say use this in the next 2-4 days. We planned to have it Monday night, so I don’t know how it keeps beyond that.
9. When ready to eat the spaghetti squash, reheat in the microwave, top with your favorite ingredients or sauce, and enjoy!
A first week of school wouldn’t be right without something sweet for on-the-go lunch treats or nighttime desserts. Nathan picked out Ghiradelli’s Triple Fudge brownie mix at Kroger’s and we baked those up to enjoy the whole week long.
While we don’t have meal planning down to a science yet by any means, it does feel good to have a handle on this first week starting out.
Good food = happy guy. Here is Nathan on his first day of 19th grade!
Let me know if you try or have tried spaghetti squash before. Are you a fan of it? Also, if you have any simple meal plans or prep tips – we’re all ears 🙂