Weeknight Dinner Recap: Volume XXXIII

Welcome to the thirty-third edition of Weeknight Dinner Recap! And what a special one it turned out to be! For this week’s meals we partnered with a local, family-owned business, Wilson Farm, based in Lexington, MA. Not only have my parents and grandparents been shopping at Wilson’s for decades, but Seth and I have been following suit and have made our shopping trips there a Sunday tradition. 

Filled with everything you could possibly need to make any and every delicious, gluten free dinner, we love Wilson Farm for its incredible array of farm-fresh produce, poultry, vast cheese selection, awesome prepared foods, specialty items, and even a beautiful flower and garden shop. It’s a one-stop shop for all of your eating and entertaining needs! 

We couldn’t be happier to partner with them to present you with a full week of gluten free meals: every ingredient featured, as well as all of the cookbooks mentioned, are available at Wilson Farm. How convenient is that?!

Now, let’s dig in to the dinners, shall we? It was a really great week. 

Sunday’s Dish: Spicy Cumin Stir-Fried Lamb

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Recipe:  Dinner Changing the Game by Melissa Clark

GFMD: Make sure to use GF soy sauce (Tamari) for this dish! Otherwise, everything else in it is already gluten free. 

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Outcome: Oh, what a dinner! We kicked off the week with one of the spiciest meals I’ve ever had. But also one of the most awesome. Inspired by literally all words in the meal’s title, we knew this would be delicious even before we broke out the wok. We did not know (or willingly admit) how spicy it would be and how badly our mouths would eventually sting. Maybe I am a spice wimp? 😳

Stir-fried cumin lamb may just be one of the most smile-inducing flavors you could eat. However, I’d recommend checking the chili count as you’re preparing to cook. We used several Thai chilies, but less than the recipe called for, since we actually wanted to taste the food. But even then, we were stumped!

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Seth and I really enjoy spicy food of varying intensity and yet, with this one, it was just too much. When the spice of a dish becomes so great that you can’t quite enjoy the rest of the ingredients to their fullest extent, it may be time to turn down the heat. 😉 Just a notch or two.

On the upside, we did love this meal overall and while I’m whining a little (sorry!) about the strong heat of the dish, I really did enjoy it through and through. Thankfully, a serving of brown rice was underneath all of the lamb and veggies which helped a lot and provided a great balance to the tangy other flavors. 

There is absolutely nothing I would change about this meal’s ingredients or preparation except the total number of Thai chilies. And that’s just my preference. You may love the feeling of your throat burning throughout dinner! But I may skip that next time. ;) 

Full disclosure: man, we love lamb! And this dish rocked. 

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Monday’s Dish: Coconut Rice with Brussels Sprouts 

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Recipe:  Love and Lemons Cookbook by Jeanine Donofrio

GFMD: Entirely gluten free! And it would have been vegan if we had left out the chicken sausage, which was not included in the recipe. 

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Outcome: When using a new cookbook, I like to dive in and go through all of it before selecting recipes to include in a meal plan. Of course, that sounds like a natural/obvious course of action, but with this one, I could barely get through the first chunk of pages - I wanted everything!! How could I add all of these great meals to just one week of dinners? Tough choices had to be made and this one in particular made the cut. Thank goodness for that as it was absurdly good!

Now, we’ve made a variety of these grain bowls over the months, but this one in especially stood out from the crowd. And I think that’s because of the base: coconut rice! So simple to make and yet enhances the dish so, so much. I loved the flavor and cannot wait to have this rice again with other meals.  Major yum.

If you’re curious, we made ours in a rice cooker and just substituted coconut milk for the water (as instructed) and used brown rice instead of white. So delicious! Having leftovers of this rice (and the other parts) was awesome. 

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While this recipe was advertised as vegan and gluten free, we tossed the vegan aside and added in chicken sausage from Pig Rock Sausages for extra protein. For us, this was a great decision and really enhanced the dinner. For you, feel free to skip it! But, I love protein. And you should too. So add it. Unless you’re choosing to have vegan meals (hooray!) or just plain hate chicken sausage (why tho?), I’d recommend adding in one more protein source to the bowl.

The most rewarding part of this dinner was the amazing flavors that got crammed into each bite. OMG! Coconut rice, Brussels sprouts, chicken sausage, avocado, and sriracha - what a blend!

I loved this meal after a busy work and gym day, but I have to admit I could easily eat it any time. Perhaps for a fun, different take on a brunch! Or, you could pack it all up for an outdoor picnic - slightly messy? Maybe. But it all fits in one bowl. So how messy could it actually get? Bring some napkins and you’re good to go. :)

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Tuesday’s Dish: Swiss Chard and White Bean Tacos

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Recipe:  Love and Lemons Cookbook by Jeanine Donofrio

GFMD: Naturally gluten free with corn tortillas! And it would be vegan if you leave out the ground turkey. Again, the recipe did not include meat, but we chose to add it. 

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Outcome: And the new book strikes again! I couldn’t resist trying one of the numerous taco options in Love and Lemons and this one stood out immediately: I love Swiss chard! And white beans. And tomatillo salsa. I guess I just love it all. 

While these are entirely meatless in the book’s recipe, we opted to include ground turkey to give them a little oomph and keep it pretty healthy at the same time. Good idea, I kept saying while inhaling all of these tacos. Good. Idea. 

Some taco recipes seem to rely heavily on one specific ingredient to give them the majority of their joy, but these did something else: every aspect stood out so nicely! I loved the combo of Swiss chard, beans, turkey, red onion, and cotija - balanced and scrumptious and healthy! A major win. 

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I don’t know about you, but my taco preferences are not always sitting in the super-healthy bucket. They tend to more often lean in the seriously-delicious-but-omg-decadent category. You know what I mean (slow roasted pork, I love you!). But I digress.... This recipe was quite healthy and I enjoyed every single bite.

Oh, and that tomatillo salsa that Seth made from scratch? Freaking perfect for this taco night. The recipe called for it, so it got made, and I’m so glad we didn’t skip it. A salsa that complimented everything else so, so well. Am I gushing about salsa? Yes. It’s worth it. :) 

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Wednesday’s Dish: Kimchi Pork Chops with Kale

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Recipe:  Dinner Changing the Game by Melissa Clark

GFMD: All natural and naturally gluten free! My favorite types of meals and the sort we aim for almost every night. 

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Outcome: What would a week of dinners look like in our house without including something with kale? I can’t imagine. So, we made this great dish that mixed kale with another favorite: kimchi! And a new, awesome veggie combo was born. 

You haven’t sautéed kimchi with your kale before? No worries. We hadn’t yet either, but hello, flavor! The kale goodness sang even more than usual when cooked with my other love, fermented cabbage.

If you don’t enjoy kimchi, then I’m sorry. And if you haven’t had it before, it’s time! It’s time, my friends! So scrumptious in a variety of meals, or even on its own. I’ve been known to grab the jar from the fridge, on multiple occasions, and have a few forkfuls before dinner. Call me crazy. It’s OK. I just love kimchi. And kale. Don’t you remember my kale club? 😉

Fear not! I’m not ignoring the pork chop! It was seasoned with salt and pepper, cooked in the kimchi and kale bed we created in the skillet, and came out perfectly. It was yummy! But I won’t lie: the veggies on this plate were the real standout of the dish. Mmmmmmm. And this is coming from someone who used to avoid vegetables for years at a time. So that’s saying something. ;) 

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Thursday’s Dish: Spiced Crab and Corn Cakes with Coriander Yogurt

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Recipe:  Dinner Changing the Game by Melissa Clark

GFMD: For this dinner, simply use GF Panko breadcrumbs and the rest is already gluten free! It’s just that easy. 😎

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Outcome: When I wrote about this meal on Instagram the night we ate it, I referred to crab cakes as being one of the ultimate party foods. And I’m still sticking with that declaration. Specifically, these crab cakes! Holy mother of crab and joy, these crab and corn cakes are out of this world. For real. 

The last time we had made them, months ago now, we had been slightly surprised by the Indian-spiced flavor of the cakes (read: we were ridiculous and somehow skipped the note stating this fact in the notes of the recipe itself), but this time around we were prepared and loved them even more.

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Sure, we enhanced the recipe slightly by using more crab than it called for (half a container leftover? What? Just add it in!) but I’m pretty sure that’s my new crab-cake-related life motto: when in doubt, just add it! Who says no to an extra-crabby crab cake? Who would dare? I don’t know such a human. 

The coriander yogurt (YUM) was simply the perfect dipping sauce for these cakes and you didn’t even need too much to add that burst of flavor amidst the crab, corn, and Panko. Yes! The Panko. Frying crab cakes covered in Panko is the best and I’d say it’s way better than other breadcrumb options for this use. I suppose I’m a little biased. 🤷‍♀️

If you have another method for this part of the process, I’d love to hear it! We really enjoy learning about ways to make our favorite foods even better. And if it’s a way to make these crab and corn cakes better than stupendous(!), I must know. 

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Full disclosure: Seth and I have an ongoing debate of whether or not the mighty crab cake is the quintessential wedding reception hors d’ouevre. I think it is. And he says I should probably move to Maryland where such a thought is probably more welcome and common (Boston is more of a lobster town). 😂🤷‍♀️

We’re already married so thankfully this discussion will always be hypothetical. But maybe we need to throw a big party anyway? 😉

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Friday + Weekend: Well, that was a major set of dinners! So many different flavors, foods, spices, and seasonings, I can barely tell you which meal was my favorite from this set. And honestly, I hate trying to pick a single meal that stands out from the rest when they are all special in their own way. Is that a cop-out sort of answer? Yes. But it’s true! I loved them all. Those crab cakes make me smile instantly every time. And so did every other flavor we had. ;)

 Gluten free matzah pancakes - for Passover!

Gluten free matzah pancakes - for Passover!

For the rest of the weekend, we toasted a few fun things out at dinner Friday night, and then celebrated Passover with my family. Oh! And I baked some delicious cookies which were a big success - a family favorite. I’m working hard to become the new “baker” of my family. So, it seems, the more baking the better! They can’t wait for my next baking adventure.

If you’re wondering about my April feature for “Mollie Bakes...,” then stay tuned. It’ll be announced very soon!

 My grandfather (Papa) is a big fan of my learning to bake. He’s always excited to try my next venture! 

My grandfather (Papa) is a big fan of my learning to bake. He’s always excited to try my next venture! 

On Sunday, we returned to routine, planning our meals for the week (poring over several cookbooks and magazines) and shopping for everything we needed! Plus, we went for a walk in our new neighborhood and stopped for a late-day cocktail along the way. ;)

 Cookies! These are a new family-favorite. 

Cookies! These are a new family-favorite. 

Our meal planning time is a block I’ve come to love and look forward to since we try to vary our meals as much as possible. I cannot tell you how wonderful it is to have expanded our palettes so much - simply by cooking at home! Sure, we veer toward similar ingredients from time to time, or do a variation on a favorite food, but for the most part we have five, different (gluten free) dinners each and every week. And it’s just delicious. 🙂

We hope you had a terrific weekend and got to enjoy some of your favorite foods with friends and family. Isn’t that the best? Friends, family, and food. I can’t think of anything better! 

Eat well, 

Mollie and Seth

 That’s Athens in the middle! 

That’s Athens in the middle! 

Thank you to Wilson Farm for partnering with us for this week’s dinners. All opinions and ideas expressed are my own, always.