Weeknight Dinner Recap: Volume XVII
Welcome to the seventeenth edition of Weeknight Dinner Recap! And I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving! This week featured a few of our new favorite meals, and then we went straight into a vibrant Thanksgiving holiday in which we got to celebrate (in a big way) twice! For me, Thanksgiving is primarily about the family aspect, since I really love spending time with family in general. The more the merrier!
I know it’s clichè and kind of mushy, but family really is the best part, in my opinion. A big feast is great and all, and having some of my favorite November foods en masse is a plus, but I truly enjoy the feeling of having my family around since as we have all grown up, it gets harder to get everyone together, let alone in the same room, at the same table. So, I hope your Thanksgiving included spending time with those closest to you, and toasting to the fact that being together really is the best. And perhaps a slice or two of your favorite pie(s). ;)
This week’s recap is after the jump. If you can get past these crave-worthy cookies! :)
Sunday: For this week’s meals, we wanted flavors on the opposite end of the Thanksgiving spectrum because we knew once Thursday hit, it would be all turkey, all the time. So to begin way back on Sunday, we made a most scrumptious red coconut curry with shrimp that turned out to be the best dinner I’ve had in weeks (slight exaggeration, but OMG was it awesome).
We’ve been in a Thai food cycle lately where we reach for curry and coconut milk often, and I cannot complain. This dish was a perfect blend of spicy and “milky,” and tasted almost exactly like a curry dish I adored at a local restaurant that has since closed. However, now that this meal is in our “food bank,” I can confidently say I no longer miss that restaurant. And let’s be honest: homecooked versions of your favorite foods almost always beat out the restaurant version (not 100% always, but quite often). Shrimp worked so well for this dinner, but I could see us swapping it for chicken in the future, or maybe even another shellfish/seafood. You could use your preferred protein of choice! I’m sure it would be delicious no matter what.
The recipe came from our beloved Dinner by Melissa Clark which I have now dubbed “let’s just look through Dinner,” if we need some meal inspiration. Seriously, we have had amazing luck with this book and I keep it at the top of my books-to-use-for-dinner stack. I love all of our cookbooks, but I can’t hide my adoration for this colorful, informative, and very splendid cookbook. What I love even more is that if we need to edit an existing recipe to be gluten free it’s at a bare minimum, or not at all. And that’s a major Dinner win!
Monday: Keeping up with the anti-Thanksgiving flavor train, we made a very interesting dish of Colombian chicken (from Dinner, of course) which turned out to be a spicy, summery chicken soup of sorts with a great tomato salsa, avocado, and chunks of corn on the cob. Yes, perhaps it was a little too much summer for the end of fall, but it was good! And had a lot of bold flavor and spicy kick, which I tend to appreciate year-round.
Often when we try out new styles of meals, I try to imagine when else we can have them, such as at a future dinner party, or the next time I’m craving dinner “x.” You’ll notice our meal plans unfold from my random flavor cravings of the week, or a mix of our favorite foods and seasonings. Certain weeks lean more toward comfort dishes, and others may have a little more balance. Overall though, we try to have a variety of dinners that satisfy and make us full and happy. Because we love great (gluten free) food!
In looking to a next time for this meal, I would love to have it on a cool summer night when corn is fresh in New England, and perhaps even serve it as a first course of a full dinner since it was a much lighter bowl than we typically have come late November (hello, pasta!). I loved the spicy broth and the perfectly-cooked chicken, and enjoyed the bites that incorporated all of the elements at once, the most. I would recommend making this dinner year round, but perhaps the summer time may be best to enjoy the bright and light flavors and the ingredients when they are at their peak - in the Northeast at least! :)
Tuesday: For our last cook-at-home night of the week, we opted for a classic that’s reliably delicious and reminded Seth of his childhood: shrimp scampi! He said that this was his favorite pasta meal to order when going out with his family when he was little, so it brought back all kinds of fun memories while we were cooking and eating. Too cute!
Who doesn’t love a great scampi? It’s filled with garlic, olive oil, cheese, yummy GF capellini, and a hearty splash of white wine! Plus a lot of shrimp because my thinking tends to be that your bowl should have a shrimp-to-pasta ratio of about 3:1 (this isn’t an exact amount. Nor is it scientifically proven in any way). I chose gluten free capellini pasta for this dish as my own childhood memories of shrimp scampi always included angel hair pasta (nostalgia!), which these days translates to my favorite Jovial Foods gluten free brown rice capellini. The taste and consistency is perfect and the thin strands are just right when mixed with the garlic oil and wine sauce, and then twirled on my fork with a big shrimp! Mmm! Now that’s a pasta Tuesday. :)
For the record, when we decided to make shrimp scampi, we opted to search the internet for a quick recipe. Low and behold, the one we chose came from The NY Times Cooking section and was written by none other than our current favorite, Melissa Clark. Dinner author once again, for the win.
Wednesday - Saturday: Well, we made it! A quick cooking week, and all of a sudden it was Thanksgiving “break,” which I still refer to as a break like I did during school. I loved our time off spending days with family, sticking with some favored traditions, and just hanging out without much to do besides cook, eat, shop, and cook some more.
As I mentioned at the start, we were so very fortunate to celebrate Thanksgiving twice, once with each of our families, and to enjoy the fun of the holiday over multiple days.
At my parent’s house, Thanksgiving began early at 6am, with my yearly job to help get the turkey in the oven at 7am followed by my own personal “turkey trot,” going for a brisk (freezing) run around town and getting back just in time for the first basting. It is my job to lift the turkey in and out of the oven every hour for this task. I train by weightlifting year round. ;) Thanksgiving in my family is marked by a lot of delicious food made by my mom, and spending the day embracing the noise of family filling the house, food spilling over on every plate, and enough desserts to last weeks. I cannot imagine the day to look any different than it did on this day, and I’m grateful for these traditions that have continued through the decades. Now that’s a lot of turkey!
For our second Thanksgiving of the week, a new excitement began as Seth and I hosted our own dinner for his family in our apartment! Perhaps a new tradition has begun, as we all gathered around our table covered with so many delicious dishes, and a great turkey that Seth cooked quite well! Awesome for his first time! I was so proud to have a full Thanksgiving dinner in our home, surrounded by family, once again, joyfully embracing traditional foods with our new setting. I was excited to invite them to our home not only so we could really put to use lots of dishes (haha), but also to share our home with my new, extended family. Well, not brand new, since we’ve been married for over a year (and together for more than six), but you get the picture. We made several of the dishes and his family contributed many as well so it was a great blending of the foods to make one, wonderful Thanksgiving feast. :)
I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving surrounded by the ones you love and perhaps began a new tradition or two as well. The rest of our weekend included some shopping (of course) and settling back in to meal planning for this new week. It’s going to look very different from the turkey/stuffing/potatoes-filled days of last, so stay tuned for some delicious dinners!
Happy Thanksgiving and best wishes for a fun and exciting holiday season ahead!
PS: lots of photos from our holiday break, below!
Follow along on Instagram so you never miss a meal! @glutenfreemollied 😎🍽❤️