I’m really happy that I finally started this meal-planning blog, but as the weeks have gotten busier it has been more difficult to find time to research recipes, prepare meals and put together each post. I’m not complaining, just saying that you never really know what you’ve gotten into until you’re in it! That said, one unexpected benefit of this site has been that I have an excuse, or really the impetus, to finally try a bunch of recipes that I have clipped or dog-eared or saved on Pinterest. Like anyone, I make roughly the same 20 meals per season rotated over the course of 3-4 weeks. Many of those meals have already been featured on this blog. However, when I started this blog I knew that if I provided readers with just 20 recipes my endeavor would be short lived. So, I started digging through my recipe collection, which lives in a large accordion folder, a collection of food magazines, many cookbooks, a “recipe box” on epicurious.com and of course my trusty Pinterest recipe board.

My trusty recipe board on Pinterest

My trusty recipe board on Pinterest

This week I bring you three recipes that I tried for the first time this week, but that I have wanted to make for awhile. Along with those three I added a re-post of my pasta marinara (a mainstay). Enjoy!

Meal #1: Sweet and Sour Chicken Thighs with Couscous
Meal #2: Pasta with Marinara + Green Salad
Meal #3: Spring Minestrone with Chicken Meatballs and Garlic Bread
Meal #4: Shrimp with Orange and Ginger

Your grocery list, excluding the usual pantry items:

onion – 1
carrots – 2 lb.
lemons – 2
lettuce – 1 bunch or bag
leek – 1
baby spinach – 1 cup
red bell pepper – 1
oranges – 2
scallions – 1 bunch
basil – 1 small bunch
chives – 1 small bunch
ginger – 1 small piece
parsley – 1 bunch (optional)
cilantro – 1 bunch (optional)
low-salt chicken broth – 5 cups
egg – 1
pasta – 1 box
rice
small pasta (such as orzo or ditalini) – 1 box 
crushed tomatoes – 28 ounce can
baguette or whatever bread you like
breadcrumbs – 1/2 cup (if you don’t already have it)
sesame oil – (if you don’t already have it)
honey – (if you don’t already have it)
paprika – (if you don’t already have it)
cinnamon – (if you don’t already have it)
crushed red pepper – (if you don’t already have it)
bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs – 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 lb total
ground chicken – 6 ounces
shrimp – 1 lb.