Weeknight Dinner Recap: Volume XI
Welcome to the eleventh edition of Weeknight Dinner Recap! A short work week after an extra long weekend, but it still felt long! Our time in VT was great, save for one unexpected trip to the emergency room (for me!), but everyone is home, healthy, and back to normal!
By the time we got in Sunday night, we were starving, without any food in the house, and decided to stop by one of our favorites for an easy, delicious, and trustworthy meal to continue the long weekend. Also, a bit to my surprise, the majority of meals this week featured seafood! No complaints here as I love it year round and enjoy finding new ways to incorporate my favorite sea foods into our weeknights with new/different pairings. You'll see our new combos below and perhaps be inspired to change up your own seafood routine as well! ....And now I'm hungry and want a plate of shrimp, stat. 😬
Recap begins after the jump!
Sunday: As mentioned already, we got back late from VT, our fridge was empty, and we just wanted something reliable, safely gluten free, and yummy. Thankfully, Legal Sea Foods is nearby and acts as an excellent “default” for this set of needs, especially when we’re extremely hungry. We secured bar seats fairly easily, and I ordered my usual (truth time!): Caesar salad, then the appetizer size fried clams with a side of the sautéed kale with yogurt and crushed peanuts. This meal is extremely delicious and satisfied every flavor I was craving.
Of course, those fried clams aren’t on the world’s healthiest foods list, but after a long drive, and eventful weekend, I just wanted major comfort (sea) food. It was nice to unwind and re-group at a local spot, feeling grateful to be healthy and home once again. PSA: drinks lots and lots of water my friends! Dehydration is no joke and can happen when you least expect it. 🙊💧
Monday: It was Columbus Day back on Monday and while we didn’t have to go to work, I did want to get back on track with cooking and our meal plan for the week. However, in honor of enjoying said day off, we made a big meal with a new dish: GF savory stuffing! Man, this was delicious and instantly craveworthy.
The mix is made by Aleia’s and the recipe couldn’t be easier: simply sauté a carrot, celery, and onion together in a pan with a little butter, then mix the cooked veggies with the stuffing mix and put into a square/rectangle baking dish, baking in the oven for about 25 minutes, covered with foil. Then cook uncovered for a little longer to get the top crispy! It comes out so perfectly and and could easily serve 4-6 people depending on the other dishes being made.
We decided to pair it with Panko-covered pan fried cod, which surprising went really well! I love using Panko for pan frying and this round of cod was crispy and scrumptious. Adding in a greens element, we served the fish on a bed of arugula (yum) salad which was dressed with olive oil, lemon, salt, and pepper.
Overall, this meal was a big hit and a great start to our upcoming short work week. I cannot wait to make the stuffing again (omg so good), and I’m always in the mood for perfectly crisp fried fish. A bit indulgent, sure, but we also had that salad, and it was still technically the weekend since it was a holiday Monday. :-)
Tuesday: Sticking with seafood again, I was really in the mood for scallops and my husband has learned to sear them exactly right! Large, local sea scallops seared in cast iron, served over sweet potato noodles! Now, we didn’t add a sauce of any kind to the noodles, which wasn’t the best move, but I’d say the dish still tasted great due to the scallops (wow) and the natural flavor from sweet potatoes on their own.
Next time I think we may include a light sauce of some sort for the noodles, but overall it was a truly awesome, really yummy seafood-focused dinner. And pretty healthy, which is always a win for a Tuesday night. We had to balance out that fried fish from the night prior, somehow! ;)
Wednesday: Now, this was an interesting dinner! I have a lot of grand ideas and plans for meals in my mind when I decide on our dinners for the week, which happens on Sundays, so by the time we got to Wednesday, my “vision” for this meal in particular had become a little fuzzy. I knew I wanted to sauté veggies, and use the rest of the shrimp and scallops we had available, plus homemade tomato sauce because I was in the mood for it!
Seth and I discussed how to arrange the food, in regard to cooking order, and so it came to be as follows: he sautéed the mushrooms in the tomato sauce, layering in olives, capers, and eventually the seafood, which all simmered together. It came out much like a light seafood stew, which we decided to serve over Arborio rice that had been cooking away during all of that sauté going on.
Scrumptious! I loved the combo of ingredients, and am glad we had rice with it to soak up the yummy tomato sauce that spilled all over everything (I suppose one could use bread for a similar effect). Sometimes the best dinners are a result of a semi-formed, mildly “fuzzy” plan, that develops into a beautiful plate of food, satisfying the evening’s flavor cravings in every bite. :)
Thursday: I suppose I shouldn’t have called Wednesday’s dinner interesting before getting to this somewhat wacky combo! Nonetheless, we had quite a meal with a couple favorites all blended together.
Seth competed in a chili cook-off at work and saved some of the giant batch for our dinner that same night. I love this beef chili: slow cooked for a very, very long time, and filled with beef, charred poblano peppers, Serrano peppers, Anaheim peppers, kidney beans, and tomatoes, it’s spicy and so flavorful you can’t help but eat a giant bowlful. On the other side of the plate, we had bought a large eggplant and since I’m all about using up all food we buy each week (no waste!), we cooked that as well.
What was once going to be eggplant Parm stacks, became crispy eggplant slices topped with chili, shredded mozzarella, and Serrano peppers. A funky mix, I admit, but it was quite good and the crispy eggplant was a nice addition to the not-crispy chili. I think the juxtaposition of the spicy and non-spicy items was a great way to blend these pretty different foods together. And while I wouldn’t routinely repeat our chili-and-eggplant bowl, it’s a solid way to make sure you use up everything you purchased for the week in a creative, yummy way.
That chili was fantastic and it’s a staple now that it’s fall and football season. Plus, who can say no to crispy eggplant? ;)
Friday: Oh hello, weekend! Fridays show up much more quickly during a four-day work week, but somehow it still felt long! Busy days, I suppose, and it was time for our weekly, “where do you want to go tonight?” Conveniently, Bar Bites now exists, if you haven’t checked it out yet, which is where I list and describe all of our favorite restaurants, organized by cuisine, for going out on the weekend (or any time).
Plucked right from the Mexican/Spanish/Spain section, we went to our standby local favorite, Burro Bar! Sliding into two comfy bar seats, we had a relaxing evening filled with a spicy margarita (me), and a lot of their delicious grilled mahi mahi tacos. And shrimp tacos. And other dishes. What can I say? It was Friday, we were happy, and the weekend had just begun. :)
Check our my Insta Stories for the rest of the weekend’s food adventures, including a new-to-us restaurant in the South End, and an all-time favorite brunch spot in the heart of the city. I hope you’re having a delicious weekend, and we’ll be cooking again Sunday night!