Weeknight Dinner Recap: Vol. IV

Hello friends, and welcome to the latest Weeknight Dinner Recap: Volume IV! I'm so glad you stopped by to read. Starting off with the tail-end of an amazing birthday weekend, and breezing through a beautiful week filled with workouts and delicious meals (as usual), let's get into the nitty-gritty of a pretty fantastic set of food, shall we? I cannot wait until you see the birthday pie!

Full Weeknight Dinner Recap, after the jump! 

 Our pre-birthday 36 hours in Maine wasn't sunny, but it was filled with seafood! Shortly after this photo, it rained for the entire time we were there. No joke. 😳 Despite the rain I ate a two-pound lobster filled with shrimp and then had a multi-course dinner with swordfish and mushroom risotto. What else was I going to do in that weather? 😉

Our pre-birthday 36 hours in Maine wasn't sunny, but it was filled with seafood! Shortly after this photo, it rained for the entire time we were there. No joke. 😳 Despite the rain I ate a two-pound lobster filled with shrimp and then had a multi-course dinner with swordfish and mushroom risotto. What else was I going to do in that weather? 😉

 Birthday dahlias - gorgeous. 

Birthday dahlias - gorgeous. 

 Cheese platter! The Bayley Hazen Blue and Harbison, both from Jasper Cellars in VT, were my favorites (located on either side of the almond bowl).  

Cheese platter! The Bayley Hazen Blue and Harbison, both from Jasper Cellars in VT, were my favorites (located on either side of the almond bowl).  

 Veggie frittata with basil, zucchini, and mozzarella. One of the many dishes my mom made for my family birthday gathering.  

Veggie frittata with basil, zucchini, and mozzarella. One of the many dishes my mom made for my family birthday gathering.  

 From-scratch gluten free chocolate cream pie - the best ever. My mom makes this for my birthday each year and it's incredible. And there are 33 candles on it because you need one for good luck! ;) 

From-scratch gluten free chocolate cream pie - the best ever. My mom makes this for my birthday each year and it's incredible. And there are 33 candles on it because you need one for good luck! ;) 

 After the candles were blown out and removed. That's my name and '32' made out of GF pie crust.  

After the candles were blown out and removed. That's my name and '32' made out of GF pie crust.  

Sunday: I try to keep it real and honest on here about my meals, especially since for the most part we eat pretty healthy save for the occasional taco party or cheese indulgence. After my wonderful birthday weekend filled with meals in Maine, my hometown, and at my parent's house, we were too "cooked" to cook! Saturday night we dined at our fave Il Casale and Sunday we had a small family brunch with a curated cheese platter by yours truly, multiple frittatas made by my mom, and a decadent and perfect birthday chocolate cream pie, entirely gluten free, and also made by my mom. So! To say we were full would be an understatement (plus those lobsters etc in Maine). Eventually we felt a tiny hunger creep in so we did what anyone else would do after feasting for three days: we had tortilla chips and Stonewall Kitchen queso (served hot) while watching the Food Network! No joke. It was blissfully simple (read: no effort) and a cheerful way to end a magnificent birthday weekend. Snacks like that rarely make it into our house these days (fact), but it was the best, most relaxed way to close the weekend. Don't knock hot queso dip at home - it's a real treat! :) And our cat loves it... 😳

 Sweet corn and baked crispy chicken, spicy.  

Sweet corn and baked crispy chicken, spicy.  

 Spicy Sriracha dipping sauce in the distance. 

Spicy Sriracha dipping sauce in the distance. 

Monday: Back to reality! Monday was a busy work day, a strong workout day (ran over 5 miles!), and beautifully sunny, so motivation was on my side for eating well again. I'm adoring sweet corn so we've been buying it weekly at Wilson Farm and adding it into at least one meal per week. This night we paired it with Coat and Crunch (Aleia's Gluten Free Foods) to coat chicken and it was perfectly summery for a Monday. The spicy dipping sauce was awesome for the chicken and even better when drizzled on the corn! I highly recommend that combo and I am loving trying out new corn "toppings" aside from my usual sea salt and butter (even though that's always a winner). 

 Chicken Parmesan with homemade tomato sauce and fresh basil. GF pasta underneath. 

Chicken Parmesan with homemade tomato sauce and fresh basil. GF pasta underneath. 

 Yum. 

Yum. 

Tuesday:  In honor of the weekend's tomato fest happening at Wilson Farm, we made our own homemade tomato sauce (!!) for my favorite chicken Parmesan served over GF pasta. This dish is always a standout to me because it's actually something I have not been able to have out at a restaurant ever since my Celiac diagnosis. I love the crispy chicken, the heavy hand of melted mozzarella cheese, and the amazing tomato sauce all together in perfect food and flavor harmony. That tomato sauce is unreal with fresh tomatoes, garlic, salt, and a little basil. Plus we used basil from our own balcnony garden which made it that much sweeter! We use Jovial Foods GF pasta (fusilli) but any brand of GF pasta will work just fine; we prefer this one for the most part. There's nothing not to love about chicken parm, you know? It just tastes so good. :)

 Arugula salad with all the trimmings.  

Arugula salad with all the trimmings.  

 Feta, pistachios, and pine nuts, oh my! 

Feta, pistachios, and pine nuts, oh my! 

 I like my cucumbers skin-off, if you wondered.  

I like my cucumbers skin-off, if you wondered.  

Wednesday:  By this point in the week, we try to stay on track with the meal plan, but sometimes life happens and meetings run late or you have a big snack when you walk in the door, shoveling away any plans of a "real" dinner. Both of those things happened on this night; I was already past starving when I got home from the gym and my husband was running late at work. I said "whatever" and had a snack that was more like a small meal as soon as I got in and then realized I wasn't nearly as hungry anymore (too much corn salsa, oops). So by the time my husband got home, we nixed our original plan and shifted the ingredients around. Reviewing the inside of our fridge, we found a lot of veggies, some cheese, and a big bag of arugula - all from Wilson Farm, per usual. Salad time! This dinner (appetizer?) turned out to be one of the best "green bowls" I've had in a while and would love to make it again. But next time it would be on purpose and not because I'd already had a pre-dinner dinner. Ingredients included: arugula, cucumber, pepper, pistachios, pine nuts, and Greek feta crumbled on top. We then drizzled olive oil, fresh lemon juice, salt, and a little pepper for a very light dressing which was perfect! I have to say I'm much happier with this version of "salad dressing" lately because it doesn't get in the way of the actual salad flavor! Surprise, surprise! And well, that feta was freaking awesome because every good salad deserves good cheese. Wouldn't you agree? :)

 Zucchini noodles with basil pesto and shrimp. 

Zucchini noodles with basil pesto and shrimp. 

 It was perfect summer fare. I added a little ricotta; just for fun. 

It was perfect summer fare. I added a little ricotta; just for fun. 

Thursday: Feeling a little silly for only having salad the night prior, we jumped back on the "full dinner" wagon with one of my favorite dishes of summer: zucchini noodles with basil pesto and sautéed shrimp. These noodles are one of the best "discoveries" we've made even though we were definitely not the first to jump on the spiralizer train trend. I love that they are super easy to make and cook up in no time - sautéed is our preferred method. My other (another?) summer passion is fresh basil pesto using the basil from our multiple thriving plants on our balcony. I think it's awesome how well they've done and that we really are eating fresh basil grown in our "backyard!" I will surely miss this fresh flavor when the seasons change. And you can't go wrong with shrimp for the final part of this dish. They work so well with the pesto, and I love how they contrast the zucchini noodles. I love this dinner because it's summery and light, but can be adjusted for personal tastes; I'm sure any number of pesto styles would be delicious and you can easily swap out shrimp for another protein of your choosing. Or even leave it out entirely! The world is your oyster. Well, actually, this dinner would be the oyster, but since I don't enjoy oysters this may not be the wisest phrase here. 😬 Zucchini noodle dinners are incredibly versatile. That's my point and I'm sticking to it! ;)

 Another shot of the Harbison. It's spruce-wrapped and ooey-gooey once it comes to room temperature. Then you scoop it out with a spoon. OMG. Divine!  

Another shot of the Harbison. It's spruce-wrapped and ooey-gooey once it comes to room temperature. Then you scoop it out with a spoon. OMG. Divine!  

Friday: Oh hi, Friday! So glad to see you again! What are your plans? We are going out with friends tonight to Ostra in Boston. I have heard it's magnificent and cannot wait to let you know how it turns out. The rest of the weekend is a bit TBD on food plans so you'll just have to stay tuned on my Insta Stories to see how it unfolds! 😂 And that's a napkin joke.. ha ha ha... (you're welcome). 

Have a delicious weekend!

Eat well, 

Mollie

 Keeping it cool and casual on my birthday! Or maybe just a weird pose. Oh well! :) 

Keeping it cool and casual on my birthday! Or maybe just a weird pose. Oh well! :)