WDR: Award-Worthy Flavors

How varied are the flavors on your plate each night? As we continue cooking, week after week, the most prominent feature I try to keep in mind while planning is to make sure each night’s flavors are drastically different from the night prior. That way, it keeps things interesting and we are always excited for what’s to come.

And yes, there are times when leftovers-for-dinner are necessary, but I find that it’s best (for us) to reserve those foods for workday lunches and have a brand-new plate of flavors at night. Conveniently, Wilson Farm has everything we need to not only make incredibly delicious dinners each night, but extremely varied meals as well. 

Let’s dive in to last week’s dinners which featured a host of different flavors, each scrumptious in their own right, and each proving that if you keep your meal plan filled with variety, then you will always be excited for dinner. ;)  

Chicken Fajita Skillet Quinoa Bake

Source: What’s Gaby Cooking. Grab the recipe by Gaby Dalkin, here!

Tip: Joyfully, this dish is naturally gluten free! Make sure to purchase quinoa that’s labeled correctly. 

Review: Sometimes Sunday nights lend themselves to big, hearty meals, which are perfect for cold weather, and offer plenty of workday lunch leftovers. Sunday nights are also when I most frequently crave Mexican flavors and cheese (not sure why). Thankfully, this dish met all of the above requirements. And despite the cheese on top, it was fairly healthy-ish. 

The great part of this dinner, besides the semi-spicy chicken and veggies, was that it all got mixed with quinoa (a healthy grain), topped with cheese, and then baked. So while the word “fajita” was in the title, there was no traditional fajita-creation whatsoever.

I loved that you could simply serve a scoop of the dinner in a bowl and enjoy immediately. No fajita-building necessary! All of the crave-worthy fajita flavors, minus the tortillas, resulting in a delicious, but still quite hearty, dinner.

This recipe made one very large, very full skillet. We had several days’ worth of leftovers which was another perk of the meal. And, my personal favorite, it was also yummy when eaten cold out of the fridge as a pre-dinner snack.  ;)

Green Curry with Chicken, Bell Pepper, and Sugar Snap Peas

Source: Cook90 by David Tamarkin

Tip: This meal is naturally gluten free. Just make sure the curry ingredients are labeled properly as GF (ex., curry paste, coconut milk). 

Review: Despite my best efforts to switch out the cookbooks each week, I simply cannot put this one (Cook90) down because it’s overflowing with incredible recipes that yield fabulous weeknight meals. We just can’t get enough of it!

While we have made many red curries, this was our first time making a green curry at home. What were we waiting for? An invitation?! This green curry was awesome and I’m not just saying that because we served it over brown rice thus temporarily lifting my ban on rice in our house.

Note: I love rice. But my current health track has me avoiding it for the most part. It’s too delicious and I have no self control in terms of portion size.

Bursting with spicy and smooth flavors thanks to the green curry paste and full-fat coconut milk, those elements provided an excellent base for the chicken, peppers, and snow peas. I’m sure you could easily swap the veggies for others of your choosing, but I do think the ones requested were perfect for this dish.

The curry came together quickly and before I knew it I wasn’t just enjoying the scent of Thai food permeating through our apartment, I was eating it (inhaling?) at our dining table, with a very big smile. It’s a terrific weeknight meal, leftovers aplenty, and is a welcoming, cozy bowl on a cold winter night.

Curry is a favorite food of mine despite only having it for the first time a few short years ago. I was missing out! It’s naturally gluten free and so darn delicious I would add it to the meal plan weekly. But maybe that’s just the coconut milk talking. ;)

Shrimp with Herby White Beans and Tomatoes

SourceCook90 by David Tamarkin

Tip: It’s naturally gluten free! Just skip the suggested bread. ;) Post-dinner, we decided it would be great with bread, or spooned over pasta, but not essential. 

Review: Imagine yourself relaxing on a Tuesday evening, white wine in one hand, your fork, full of this meal, in the other. In a little Italian café. That’s how I envision this dinner.

Perfect with wine to amplify a regular weeknight, transporting you to Italy, where I can only assume life is a bit more relaxed and slowed down so as to let you enjoy every last morsel of this flavorful, savory meal. But if you’re eating this on your couch, or more formally at the table, I think it will be just as divine and relaxing.

This recipe combines a handful of ingredients, but not too many, to make a stew-like creation that’s so scrumptious you’ll barely be able to ask for bread to sop up the liquid. Fine by me though - we didn’t serve it with (GF) bread! No need!

The wonderful part of this dish were the bright flavors of the shrimp and tomatoes melding beautifully with the creamy beans and dollops of bold, roasted garlic pesto. It was such a great mix of flavors and textures that made me want to make it again immediately.

To make the meal even heartier next time we may serve this goodness over pasta or perhaps be fancier and whip up a loaf of homemade GF bread in advance. I’d love to spoon all of this (shrimp, beans, tomatoes) on top of bread to create a seriously stupendous bruschetta. ;) 

Vietnamese Pork Patty Salad with Rice Noodles

Source: Cook90 by David Tamarkin

Tip: Make sure to purchase rice noodles and sausage that are properly labeled gluten free. All other ingredients are naturally GF! 

Review: What. A. Dinner. Yum! Crispy, hot pork (sausage) patties, cold, crunchy lettuce and cucumbers, and cool, soft rice noodles. A magnificent blend of textures, flavors, and temperatures all together making for one amazing dinner.

I cannot tell you my favorite part of this meal because each element, while awesome on their own, really was made better by the rest of the ingredients on the plate. Yes, the pork patty was so yummy, but it was even yummier when eaten with some lettuce, cucumber, and noodles. Each delicious bite was due to team effort, for sure!

While this dish was a great weeknight option, I could see it being a fun meal for a small dinner party for friends who love bold flavors and something beyond the ordinary. Spicy, sweet, savory, cold and crunchy, it’s all on the plate and all awesome in each bite. 

Beyond that first night, the leftovers from this meal are just as good eaten cold (I had the noodles and veggies for workday lunch) or hot (I added some noodles and lettuce to a stir-fry with scrambled eggs for breakfast). Have I convinced you yet? Is this on your next meal plan? Because it should be. ;)  

Carrot Salad with Tahini, Crisped Chickpeas, and Salted Pistachios

SourceSmitten Kitchen Every Day by Deb Perelman

Tip: This recipe was naturally gluten free and dairy-free. We don’t necessarily seek out dairy-free recipes, but plenty of our meals are leaning that way lately. 

Review: Let’s be honest. Ending the week with a fairly minimalist, meatless salad may not sound that exciting. I know. I totally get it. What with all of the blazingly bold and fabulous meals we had throughout the week, ending with a raw-carrot-based salad sounds just a little...dull.

But fear not! This was a palate-cleansing, truly delicious salad that we welcomed with a smidge of skepticism (mostly me) only to be shocked and awed after the first bite.

My wariness of eating raw carrots doesn’t have much of a backstory other than I’ve never been a huge fan of the raw carrot flavor. I’m learning though that one must expand their horizons when it comes to flavors in all forms and that is especially true when it comes to vegetables. You never know which ones may come back to the table after years of saying, “no, thanks.” I’m sorry carrots; you’re welcome to come back now. 

Despite this salad lacking meat and dairy, I think it still had a hearty punch from the crispy chickpeas and salty pistachios. The Tahini dressing melded it all together quite nicely, and was definitely the sole flavor in my changing my opinion on the carrots. ;)   

After a very busy work week and so many scrumptious dinners, this one was very low-key in regard to preparation, but equally joyful when it came time to eat. I’d say it was the “sleeper hit” of our week.

Yes, there were dinners with far bolder flavors and flashier ingredients, but this humble carrot and chickpea salad held its own. I was quite delighted by its presence, carrots and all. ;) 

Eats and Events from the weekend... 

Have you ever naturally woken up before 8am on a Sunday morning, and then promptly gotten up and had an absurdly productive morning? Well, that’s what happened around here on Sunday. Wow! What a great feeling it is to have several chores done, as well as meal planning and a workout, before the early afternoon.

Maybe it means I’m overly energized by the fact that I love mornings more than most, but it was awesome. I’d definitely “plan” future weekends to be like that, too. We shall see how that works out!

Saturday morning: scrambled eggs with veggies, topped with hot sauce. Side of sausage.

Saturday morning: scrambled eggs with veggies, topped with hot sauce. Side of sausage.

Sunday morning: rice noodle stir fry with lettuce and scrambled eggs.

Sunday morning: rice noodle stir fry with lettuce and scrambled eggs.

Besides our successful Sunday, we enjoyed a a couple of excellent meals out, I baked a batch of incredible cookies (their words, not mine!), and started organizing for Seth’s birthday by ordering his gift. 😎🎉 I love birthdays and I’m excited for his in a few short weeks! 

Mmm...cookies. Gluten free and made by me.

Mmm...cookies. Gluten free and made by me.

Food-wise: we had dinner at The Bancroft Friday night where I decided that French fries are a totally acceptable appetizer. And my rare tuna for dinner was amazing. I love the bar at that restaurant and always consider it a win for the weekend if we don’t have to wait too long for seats. ;)  

Fries are a Friday night must.

Fries are a Friday night must.

Seared tuna, post-fries.

Seared tuna, post-fries.

Post-cookie baking on Saturday, we eventually landed at The Stones for our second time visiting this awesome, local spot. Plentiful gluten free options and a relaxed, neighborhood atmosphere, my only complaint is that I wish it were walking distance to our apartment. However, that’s probably for the best. ;) 

Homemade chips and dip (GF!) at The Stones.

Homemade chips and dip (GF!) at The Stones.

The best Brussels sprouts and kale salad.

The best Brussels sprouts and kale salad.

As noted above, our Sunday was supremely productive and we even managed our weekly Wilson Farm visit hours earlier than usual! Go us!  

While our weekends are usually pretty food-focused already, this one seemed a bit extra, given the cookie-baking and prompt meal planning Sunday morning. What can I say? We love food. And as I type, I’m already excited for dinner. It’s only 1:30pm. ;) 

We hope you had a great weekend and got in delicious meals and perhaps some baking given the snowy Saturday. In my opinion, snow days are always the best baking days. :)

Eat, well.  

Mollie and Seth  

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