Weeknight Dinner Recap: Volume X

Welcome to the tenth edition of Weeknight Dinner Recap! I know we're going to print a bit later than usual, but I hope you'll forgive me. Our long weekend was spent in Vermont visiting close friends and going to my college reunion! Time flies when you're having fun and it was so nice to see my school, the beautiful campus, and all that's changed in the area over the last ten (!!) years. But, before we traveled, we cooked, and so that's what's featured below. It was a short and delicious week of food and even included a surprise evening out on Thursday!

Weeknight Recap begins after the jump!

 Capellini carbonara with mushrooms and kale. 

Capellini carbonara with mushrooms and kale. 

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Sunday:  While Sunday dinners are sometimes quick, simple, and low key, this was not the case when we decided to spruce up meal time with this amazing dish. Gluten free capellini pasta in a carbonara sauce (wine, eggs, cheese) all tossed and sautéed with mushrooms, kale, onion, and pepperoni. A knockout dinner! So much flavor, so much goodness, and a new take on the carbonara overall as we subbed in pepperoni for pancetta  which I dare say made the meal (slightly) lighter.

While pepperoni is a definite treat and we don't buy it often, I love it within a pasta dish with a lot of other components. I think the pop of pepperoni flavor is an unexpected, delicious surprise and can really be a nice addition to a mostly veggie-filled bowl. Also, we had not used capellini before in Gluten Free form and it came out perfectly! Once again, our trusted Jovial Foods came through with a terrific GF pasta for this awesome Sunday night feast. Let's be clear: we ate almost all of it and the tiny bit of leftovers were inhaled, cold, later in the week during another night's meal prep. 

 Crispy spicy oven baked chicken with pesto zucchini noodles.

Crispy spicy oven baked chicken with pesto zucchini noodles.

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Monday:  Since the night prior's meal was somewhat involved, we kept it simple and straightforward after a busy Monday with oven baked chicken, homemade basil pesto, and our trusty zucchini noodles. The oven baked chicken had our go-to crispy spicy coating which made it crunchy, spicy, and full of flavor. Our basil plant is still producing a lot of basil so fresh pesto is still in the meal rotation! Thank goodness!

I love this meal because it's pretty basic, but is reliably yummy whic is exactly the type of dinner we need sometimes after a busy work day. Plus, once the chicken is in the oven, the hard part's over! Blend up the pesto, spiralize the zucchini, and dinner is just a few steps to done! I think meals such as this are good to incorporate into the week amidst other, more time-consuming ones so that you can appreciate the basics amidst the fancy, too.

 Asian flavored beef and snow pea stir fry. 

Asian flavored beef and snow pea stir fry. 

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Tuesday:  Now, you may have noticed we don't cook beef at home too often, which is on purpose for the sole reason being I like to keep it as a treat most of the time. I love steak, but just order it when we're out, and that's rare (ha ha) as well since I don't crave it too often. But on this particular Tuesday, we decided on a beef and snow pea stir fry with an Asian sauce recipe we had found in one of my GF cookbooks. Low and behold, my new favorite stir fry has arrived! This meal was so scrumptious and so yummy, I couldn't eat it fast enough (bad idea, I know).

The sauce went so well with the beef and snow peas that it made me immediately think of Chinese food takeout we used to get when I was little. I think everyone who orders Chinese takeout has had some version of this dish in their home, and I'm pretty sure everyone loves it. We added in onion and mushroom for some extra depth, and couldn't have been happier with the results. I'm so thrilled we have found a perfect go-to stir fry sauce that works well to use for marinating before grilling or stir frying. A new "pantry staple" has been found! And for the record, I couldn't stop talking about this dish the rest of the week. Too good!!

 Pork chops and polenta topped with tomatoes, capers, and kalamata olives. 

Pork chops and polenta topped with tomatoes, capers, and kalamata olives. 

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Wednesday:  On a brighter note, and different flavor profile completely, this night featured pork chops, polenta, and a simple sautè of tomatoes, olives, and capers. I don't often feel in the mood for pork chops, but when we decide to have them, I remember how good they are and that perhaps we should incorporate them into dinner time more frequently! Sounds silly but I'm from the mindset of "sometimes I forget how delicious certain foods are if I haven't had them in a while," which could be said for a lot of people! :)

The polenta was a great pairing food and I loved eating it with the tomatoes and olives - I added the capers as a fun little extra! For olives we used kalamata because they are my favorite, but I'm sure other varieties would go nicely with this dish as well. I would say that this dinner fit squarely into a somewhat "basic" category, and yet came out super flavorful and fun due to the bright colors and fresh ingredients. Yum!

 Close up! 

Close up! 

Thursday:  Surprise! We went to the home-opener of the Bruins regular season and had a blast cheering in the stands and enjoying a fun night out watching hockey to start an extra long weekend! Foodwise, I had a hot dog (bunless) and tried out the GF mac and cheese from the Frito Lay test kitchen (yes, that exists). And that's all I will say about the food! Next time, I think we should have dinner elsewhere first. At least the Bruins won! ;)

 Sorry, this was too good not to share another photo! Mmmm!!  

Sorry, this was too good not to share another photo! Mmmm!!  

Friday:  Hello, extra long weekend! We took the day off from work and drove to Vermont for my 10-year college reunion! What a fun weekend we had eating at new restaurants in the area, seeing a lot of close friends, and feeling somewhat nostalgic for a very different time in my life.

However, as I shared my past college experience with Seth, showing him around campus and explaining the different buildings and areas, I quickly realized how much my life has changed, and how happy I am with my current status as a "post-college grown up" (adult?) living a joyful life with a wonderful person whom I met so many years after graduation. College has a lot of fun memories and experiences connected to it, but I'd say life right now, ten years later, is my version of living my best life. 

I hope you had a delicious weekend and have all kinds of great memories from that time in your life as well. I cannot even imagine what the next ten years will look like! 

Eat well,

Mollie

 Loving life. :) 

Loving life. :)