Weeknight Dinner Recap: Volume XXXVIII

Welcome to the thirty-eighth Weeknight Dinner Recap! This week featured a variety of meals that were loosely recipe-based and a couple comfort classics that we couldn’t resist! A heat wave hit Boston (in May!) so we threw on the air conditioning and got to work. Well, not really work, we just made dinner. And you joined us!! 

We also began our new Weeknight Dinner Live series, which, you guessed it, is live! Using Instagram Live, we invite you into our home while we make dinner. Seth cooks, I comment, and we all discuss food, cooking, our busy lives, and any other pressing questions you may have about our process. It’s really fun so I hope you can join! It’s a GFMD Dinner Party and you’re all invited! 😎

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Now, let’s get to the meals because we indulged in some really delicious dinners! Plus, a bonus, several were quite healthy! Hooray!  

Let’s dig in!  

Sunday’s Dish: Roasted Cauliflower Tacos with Pinto Beans, Queso, and Avocado 

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Source: The Love and Lemons Cookbook by Jeanine Donofrio

GFMD: As written, this recipe was naturally gluten free and vegetarian. We made a couple adjustments to suit our tastebuds! Instead of chipotle cream, we used queso which we had made the day before, to use as the base ingredient. We also added in pinto beans for more protein. The corn tortillas were freshly made by Seth using corn masa flour. 

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Outcome: A simple taco night never tasted so good! Tempted to add in a meat for protein, but we held back, and I’m so glad we did (for once). These roasted cauliflower tacos need to be in your next taco rotation. 

First off, why haven’t we roasted cauliflower with chipotles-in-adobo before? It’s such a great idea! The peppers gave a little hint of heat to the veggie and really brightened them up which made them perfect as the star of this taco. This opens up a whole new taco category for us and I’m psyched. 

Also, while we could have just followed the recipe and made the Greek-yogurt based chipotle cream sauce, I’m so glad we took a risk and used our homemade queso (from Friday night) as the cheese base instead. While the queso was hot instead of cold, I think it added a great extra layer of flavor to the taco overall and helped enhance the cauliflower. This risk was a cheesy win! 

Adding in pinto beans was our decision to include more protein on our plates, and being mindful of observing, “not every dinner needs meat.” Yes, we love it, but you can definitely get your protein-fill from other, equally delicious options. Plus, they taste great!

Finally, you’ll notice again that we made fresh corn tortillas from scratch. They are so good! I am officially spoiled by Seth’s new favorite activity which yields delicious, all natural, and perfectly-sized corn tortillas. They taste so much better than store-bought and honestly do not take long to make - you could do it! Fresh tortillas with fresh ingredients just creates an even better meal that’s even better for you.

Tacos aren’t always the healthiest dinner available, but it’s all about the ingredients and preparation. These veggie-focused ones were scrumptious and well balanced. The queso base was the perfect little indulgence in each one. ;) 

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Monday’s Dish: Grilled chicken with fresh basil pesto and zucchini noodles. 

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Source: No recipe! A classic we’ve been making for years. :)

GFMD: Naturally gluten free, of course! 

Outcome: What a trip down memory lane this dinner was for us! I’ll never tire of fresh basil pesto, grilled chicken, or zucchini, but this meal felt like a blast from the past when my tastebuds were just emerging and my openness to interesting dinners - at home - was just beginning. And that wasn’t that long ago, sadly!

Once upon a time, I was pretty averse to eating interesting food at home. Basics were fine with me and I didn’t care about fun, new, exciting flavors gracing my dinner plate. Who was that girl?! I don’t know her anymore and I welcome the new me, who loved this pesto-focused meal because it reminded me of how far I’ve come in my own adventures in dining at home. And everything is gluten free, of course. 

Isn’t basil pesto one of the most scrumptious flavors you’ve ever had?! This was our first from-scratch batch of the season and it was even more glorious than I had hoped. Bursting with basil, garlic, Parmesan, and pine nuts, I love how it immediately wakes you up and screams, “this is fresh and good!”

Pardon me, a moment, while I toast the arrival of spring flavors that have me coming back for more, and more. I’m pretty sure this pesto will be on major rotation for the next several months. Especially since our basil plant is finally starting to grow! Hooray! :) 

And while I cannot endorse the term “zoodles,” however convenient it may be, I do enjoy the spiralized vegetable as a sub for traditional “noodles.” They’re easy to eat and delicious with any sauce you add - especially pesto! Zucchini is a summer staple in our house since it’s grown locally and is oh-so-prevalent in summer. Yum!  

We have talked before about our grill pan passion, and it continues to ring true with this meal. Grilled pesto chicken - how simple is that? How delicious is that? A fast, flavorful, and healthy way to enjoy something great on a weeknight. And it’s just chicken! Savory and satisfying every time. :)

Overall, I’d say cheers to this simple and splendid dinner! Basil pesto makes everything awesome so I know you’ll be seeing it on our plates a lot more often. Of note: we always add extra garlic to our pesto so it has some extra zing. ;) 

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Tuesday’s Dish: Grilled shrimp tacos with mango salsa and lime, served on fresh, homemade corn tortillas. 

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Source: A new creation! We love the Mango Salsa recipe from The Half Baked Harvest Cookbook by Tieghan Gerard and so we paired that with grilled shrimp, another love. Ta da! 

GFMD: Another naturally gluten free goodness meal. The salsa is gluten free, the shrimp is good-to-go, and the tortillas were made with fresh corn masa flour. 

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Outcome: Is there ever a problem with two taco nights in one week? Never. Or not in this house at least. Ripe with joy from our roasted cauliflower ones on Sunday, we kept the fun going by making these easy grilled shrimp tacos on Tuesday. While a little prep work can take time, the actual taco-creation is super quick. And super delicious.

We had made this mango salsa a few weeks ago for grilled Halibut tacos, and absolutely loved it, so I knew I wanted to incorporate it into dinner once again. Grilling season is always happening when it’s done on your stovetop (yay!) so we decided grilled shrimp would be the perfect pairing for the salsa this time around.  

Also, shrimp are less expensive than Halibut, if you’re wondering, and pack lots of flavor! I’d recommend either one if you’re looking for seafood-taco fillings. Halibut is unreal, but shrimp are just as fun. :)

For seasoning, we briefly marinated the shrimp in a few chopped up chipotles-in-adobo sauce which made them a little spicy, and a lot more flavorful. Plus, that sauce worked well to go with the mango salsa that Seth made, too.

If you haven’t noticed, I’m the play-by-play analyst of our meals and Seth is the crucial chef. I love planning our meals and talking about them, but Seth’s the chef and that works perfectly for me! I’m the baker. ;) 

Fresh corn tortillas really make our tacos stand out, I think, because it’s hard to replicate fresh, homemade, corn tortillas. Yes, we have a couple store-bought options, but lately I’m adoring the homemade kind. Totally spoiled. 😬😎 Seth’s getting very speedy at making them which is terrific. Since it’s so simple, I’m considering learning the trade as well.  ;) 

For these tacos, we topped them with the grilled shrimp and put a little bit of sour cream on the bottom so that the mango salsa had something to stick to and wouldn’t run away as easily. That being said, I overfilled mine, as usual, and my salsa went everywhere as soon as I took a bite! I tried!

Next time, we may make a crema instead of just sour cream to add in another flavor. The sour cream was fine, but didn’t really add anything special to the overall dish. It was merely edible glue. :) 

Taco night at our house is always exciting because we are working hard to vary the types we make and trying to new flavor combinations when we find one that seems extra delicious. Tacos at home are a wonderful weeknight option, great party food, and a delicious meal for when “multiple servings” is a must. ;) 

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Wednesday’s Dish: Turkey and Zucchini Burgers with Yogurt Sauce, side of Sautéed kale.

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Source: The burger recipe is from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi. 

GFMD: A naturally gluten free winner! So excited that these burgers are gluten free despite lots of extra ingredients mixed into the meat. 

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Outcome: We loved this dinner! These burgers have been a favorite since making them for the first time last year, and it takes a lot of effort to not add them into the meal plan each week! They are that delicious and that easy! Plus, the yogurt sauce is a flavor revelation (I think) and you’ll want to make it all the time. Yum!

The recipe states that it will yield 18 burgers. That’s a lot! However, since there is only one pound of meat, they are quite little. Like, two-bite little. If I made these for a group, and didn’t serve much else, I’d probably triple the recipe. They’re so delicious and packed with amazing flavor so I know they’d be a crowd pleaser.

Much like bite-sized goodnesses served during wedding receptions (hello, cocktail hour), I can see people grabbing several of these at a time. But if it’s just you and one other person, or a group of three or four, you’d probably be OK with doubling it, or leaving as is if you’re including other items. For us, I kind of wish we had made more, but you know, wellness. 🙄

We served these petite, perfect burgers with quick sautéed kale which was a great accompaniment and didn’t steal the thunder from the main focus. But! You all know I’m a Kale Club member, and we hadn’t made it in a while, so I inhaled it. So delicious with the easy flavor of lemon and garlic.

I love kale as a side dish because it’s a hearty vegetable (I think), and doesn’t slink away. It stands it’s ground on the dinner plate and brings yum and joy to all. Well, mostly everyone. Some people still might cringe at the sight of kale. I’m sorry! Grab some spinach instead? 

While the burgers were wonderful on their own, the awesome recipe called for a Greek yogurt sauce that included sumac, which up until now, we had been skipping on account of it being hard to find. Not anymore! Adding the sumac to the already savory sauce made it even better and a fantastic “dip” for the burgers. My mouth is watering right now as I wish I could be snacking on them this instant.  😳

Isn’t that the great part about amazing dinners you get to enjoy at home? Despite my best efforts to create plans that have five different meals each week, I oftentimes cannot help myself and put in one of our now “classic favorites,” from the early days of these meal plans. Dinners that are absurdly delicious, reliably quick, and encourage us to remember flavors that are always a mealtime success. 

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Thursday’s Dish: Gluten Free shell pasta with tomato-based meat sauce. 

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Source: Our own recipe which we’ve honed over the years. This time around we added a little vodka and whole milk to enhance the flavor and make it a little creamy! 

GFMD: As long as you use gluten free pasta (duh!), this dish is entirely gluten free! 

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Outcome: When Jovial Foods announced their new GF shell pasta, I scrambled to their website and ordered a few boxes. I just couldn’t wait for it to be in stores. I’m impatient and overly excited by new gluten free pasta options. Shells, especially!

Shells are a shape that I associate with comfort-food-style dishes, so I knew these would be perfect for a pasta night with meat sauce. A quintessential comfort food meal to close out our cooking week!

What we love about making meat sauce and pasta is the opportunity to enhance it a little bit as you cook. Care to make it spicy? Go ahead! Feeling funky and craving creamy? Add some milk! This somewhat basic from-scratch tomato sauce is easily adapted for whatever extra goodness you’re in the mood for at that particular instance.

For us, we decided to do a very casual take on vodka sauce by throwing in a couple shots of vodka (literally) and a few splashes of whole milk. Not exactly recipe-specific, but by adding these two extra elements, the flavor was superbly delicious, and a little creamy which is exactly what I was craving. Yum! 

For the shells, we followed the cooking instructions and they came out so well! I’d say total cook time was a smidge under the recommended 12 minutes. Also, much to our surprise, the shells got bigger once they cooked! They didn’t become giant, but I was glad to see that they expanded and had distinct “shells” with space for sauce and meat to hide inside. Plus, they’re just so cute!

There’s something calming to me about having red sauce and pasta as a week comes to a close. It’s reliably delicious, easy to make, and such a crowd pleaser. We are always excited when this lands on a meal plan and are always reminded that you do not need a lot of ingredients to make a really amazing dinner. 

Did you catch our Insta-Live while we cooked this one? If you watched, then we are so glad you joined us! And if you caught up later, then I hope you were entertained.

I love sharing our kitchen with you and answering questions while we (Seth) cook! It’s a great way to share more about us, the cooking process, and to know more about you! I hope you’ll join us next time!  :)

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Friday + Weekend: This was a quick weekend, don’t you think? I feel like I blinked and it was suddenly Sunday night. But in the mean time, we had a lot of fun and ate some great food! And I baked - a lot!

On Friday night we decided to go to Burton’s Grill and Bar, which, if you didn’t know, has a ginormous gluten free menu! Celiac-safe everything!! I took that literally and ate my weight in dinner. OMG. We loved all of the food and can’t wait to go back! Great food, friendly staff, and safe food - oh wait I said that already.

But that’s my point: it can be hard to go out to dinner when you have Celiac. However, that’s not stopping me. Ever! The fact that Burton’s had delicious menu items and a knowledgeable staff made it an even more relaxed evening. I got a martini and had a fabulous night! 

We ordered Arancini, General Tso’s Cauliflower, Crab Cakes, and then another order of that cauliflower. Holy vegetables that stuff is amazing. A flavor I hadn’t had in who knows how long, I couldn’t get enough of it! So I had that second order for dessert. 😮 No regrets. 😎 And every bite I had was  safely gluten free! I can’t wait to go back and try more of their vast GF menu. 

Saturday was spent outside! Another glorious spring day, we went for long walks, grabbed tacos in Allston at Lone Star Taco Bar, and then stayed in at night after watching the Kentucky Derby. 

 A selfie that was supposed to include Seth. :)

A selfie that was supposed to include Seth. :)

 Carnitas tacos and the breakfast taco at Lone Star.

Carnitas tacos and the breakfast taco at Lone Star.

 Bloody Maria for lunch. 

Bloody Maria for lunch. 

We made kimchi pancakes for dinner which is now my new pancake obsession. Oh man, these are freaking awesome. The recipe only made eight and we wanted a second round immediately. Next time, we will double or triple the amount due to the fabulous factor.  ☺️

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 Kimchi pancakes. Love.  

Kimchi pancakes. Love.  

In other news, I did a lot of baking this weekend so stay tuned for exciting updates on all of that. Think: pie! It’s going to be great. and super delicious. {Update: it’s amazing!!}

 The start of my pie.

The start of my pie.

Sunday was a mix of meal planning, grocery shopping, visiting with both of our families, and you know, the usual intensity of Sunday afternoons. So much to do! So little time! But a day that was well spent and quite productive. :)

How was your weekend? I hope it was fun and filled with food and everything else you enjoy! We have a great new week of meals coming up so head over to Instagram to keep up each day.  

 Someone was watching me! 😮

Someone was watching me! 😮

Cheers to delicious food! 

Eat, well.

Mollie and Seth

 Saturday was gorgeous!

Saturday was gorgeous!

 Scrumptious beyond words every time. 😍 

Scrumptious beyond words every time. 😍