Weeknight Dinner Recap: Volume XXII
Welcome to the twenty-second edition of Weeknight Dinner Recap! This is the first review of 2018 and this week’s dinners have us focused on a slightly healthier angle, but also trying to stay warm through food because Boston is freezing! Take a look at what we made this week and see if any of these gluten free dishes will make their way on to your table soon!
Sunday: New Year’s Eve! We rang in 2018 with friends and a lot of delicious food made by my friend who is a terrific cook. Too much delicious to list, but let’s just say there was an amazing cheese platter and everything that was gluten free was labeled as such (including an array of super awesome, homemade GF meatballs). What a host! Hope you had a wonderful NYE and rang in 2018 however you pleased!
Dish: Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Parsnips with Red Onion, Tomato, and a Caper Vinaigrette. Paired with GF Italian breadcrumb chicken.
Recipes: The roasted veggies recipe is from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi. The chicken is a classic we have made for years using Aleia’s Artisan Foods gluten free breadcrumbs. The vegetable recipe was naturally gluten free and we followed it as written.
Outcome: Once again, we make dinner for a family of seven without even realizing it. These roasted veggies could serve a lot of people! Our baking tray overflowed with the ingredients and the smell while roasting was incredible. Time-wise, I recommend for a weekend or Friday night as they do need a while to bake and for everything to get good and “roasty toasty.” Delicious flavors and a great use of winter vegetables, I love the mixing of parsnips, potatoes, tomatoes, and that whole head of garlic. Yum!
What can I say about the chicken? It’s awesome, easy, and I’ve been living off of versions of Pan-fried crispy chicken “cutlets” for decades. This brand of breadcrumbs (Aleia’s) works like a charm and comes in a few varieties including Panko, which I keep stock of in our cupboard. :)
Tuesday: Feeling energized by going back to work and the gym, shockingly, I wanted to keep up the health streak for the second night (any length of time is a streak in my book), and make something green. Like super green! We are not vegetarians, in the least, but this soup was a great way to feel healthy, and enjoy a nice, bright bowl amidst the darkness of a winter evening.
Dish: Zucchini soup with grated Parmesan.
Recipe: This recipe is from The Home Cook by Alex Guarnaschelli. Naturally gluten free, we did not alter it one bit!
Outcome: I love this soup. This is the second soup we’ve made from this cookbook and it’s another standout dish. Flavorful, bright, easy to make, and definitely worked as a full meal. Maybe that’s due to my hearty handful of Parmesan on top, or my pre-dinner cookie (oops), but either way, after two portions of this zucchini-filled, super-green soup, I was full. The consistency wasn’t too thick, which I appreciate as well, for a smooth soup. Cooking tip: swap out the butter for ghee and this would be dairy free! Leave off the Parmesan, too. If you must...
Seth reports back, as he is the chef, that this soup was great for a weeknight due to the easy-to-prepare ingredients and the fact that you finish it off in the blender! Our Vitamix comes through, once again. Another tip: use your Cuisinart to slice the zucchinis to save a lot of time. Trust me. :)
Wednesday: Proud of my return-to-running efforts at the gym, and finally finding some good TV to watch while I slog along, I am also always motivated by knowing that we are going to have a delicious dinner after the fact. Is it a coincidence that I plan my favorite dishes on the days I have my harder workouts? We may never know... ;)
Dish: Oven Roasted Shrimp with Chiles and Slivered Almonds. Served over gluten free polenta.
Recipes: The Shrimp was another naturally gluten free recipe that came from The Home Cook, again. The polenta recipe (naturally gluten free) is one we used previously that came from Half Baked Harvest by Tieghan Gerard. Yes, she has a blog of the same name!
Outcome: Can you say warm and cozy? This dinner felt like putting on a new fleece jacket. Warm flavors, smooth polenta, and the tiniest kick of heat from the Chile used for the shrimp. The almonds provided a perfect crunch and the sauce leftover was definitely poured over our bowls once this photo was taken. It also felt luxurious to be eating shrimp and polenta on a very cold night - a night before a blizzard, in fact!
I find meals such as this one to be a cornerstone of winter meal planning: a blend of awesome flavors, favorite ingredients, and one that is hearty and filling. Cooking tip: have you made polenta? We are making it more often these days and every time I forget that it requires constant stirring with a whisk for several minutes. Works perfectly! But is a (little) arm workout. ;)
Thursday: Well, we had a snowstorm! A major one. So major that we stayed home from work, hunkered down, and watched the news all day. Not really, I actually worked from home (thank you laptop!), but Seth’s office was closed so he got to stare mindlessly at the news (same updates all day!) and watch the snow pile up absurdly quick. He also watched The Olympics Channel. Did you know that exists? It’s amazing and you’re welcome. :) We also learned that if I have an espresso before 11am, I will have enough energy for approximately four days. HA! That stuff is strong. And made me slightly jittery. Whoops.
Dish: Pizza night! Two gluten free pizzas made with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Crust Mix. Both vegetarian: one topped with Chinese broccoli, garlic, kalamata olives, and fresh ricotta, and the other topped with fresh basil, sliced tomatoes, mozzarella, and a little ricotta. Fresh basil leaves on top, as well.
Recipe: The first recipe is straight from Dinner by Melissa Clark, which has quickly become one of my favorite cookbooks we own. The toppings recipe is entirely gluten free as long as you’re using a GF crust as your base. The other is less of a recipe and more of a “I want these things on my pizza,” pizza. We all have those types of pizza requests. Mine just tend to be super specific (most of the time).
Outcome: How delicious! First off, we are big fans of this pizza crust mix. Not only does it create two crusts, but they are crispy-edged and have an awesome flavor. Somewhat biscuit-y, but that works for me. Plus, making the dough is fairly quick and lends itself to weeknight pizza-making. Always appreciated!
The recipe we chose for toppings, from Dinner, came out well and we loved the roasted garlic and kalamata olive slices. And I adore ricotta on pizza. While it called for broccoli rabe, we chose Chinese broccoli as I prefer that flavor over the rabe. I’d be interested to try this again with the called-for green as a comparison.
The other pizza, a classic combo, was a result of the fact that we were still hungry (always) and I had asked Seth to run out that morning (in the snow! The horror!) to get a few extra ingredients to have around since we were kind of stuck. #snowdayproblems It came out deliciously and confirmed once again that you don’t necessarily need a lot of toppings to make a super flavorful pizza. We added mashed garlic on this one as well since we can’t get enough of it. It’s for our health! ;) A quality - pizza-filled - snow day dinner, indeed.
Friday: And that wraps up the first work (and dinner) week of 2018! A quick one due to the snow, incidentally, which left us with a shorter meal plan because of New Year’s Eve. However, if this week’s meals are any indication of the dinners to come, then I would say we have a lot to be excited about this year!
Stay tuned on Instagram for our weekend dining adventures, and any other food-related joy. As usual, there’s always a new Poll of the Day with the results shared over on Lifestyle each morning.
Have a delicious weekend, and eat well!
Mollie and Seth