Weeknight Dinner Recap: Volume VII
Welcome the seventh edition of Weeknight Dinner Recap! This week featured some amazing new meals, a brief stint of sickness, and a splash of excitement when we nixed our cooking plans in favor of a midweek "date night," resulting in shifting our meals and not sticking to a plan! Oh my! And, for the record, that barely happens, so it's kind of a big deal (but not that big, let's be honest).
This week's Recap is after the jump!
Sunday: Running around doing errands, grocery shopping, and keeping tabs on the impending hurricane down south, this day was busy and also full of not feeling my best. This led to the start of a brief, but intense, first-cold-of-fall for me so our meal plan reflected my sickness flavor cravings (described in more detail on my Insta posts this week). While relaxing with football on TV, I had perused a few of my favorite cookbooks and pulled some recipes for the week. This first one, sausage and chard risotto, turned out to be just fabulous.
From my go-to Weeknight Gluten Free by Kristine Kidd, this dish was my husband's first time making risotto, and my first time praying for it to come out as well as I truly hoped. And guess what? He did so well and the dish was so, so good. Risotto is one of my absolute favorite foods in general so now that we know it's an at-home option makes me incredibly happy and excited. It also means that I must continue to go to the gym. Man, that's a lot of Parmesan. ;)
Monday: My cold took a turn for the intense and while I was hungry, all I wanted was pasta! I don't often get very carb-focused for our meals, but for some reason when I don't feel well that's all I want. We chose an easy recipe from Jessica Seinfeld's latest book, Food Swings, which is awesome because each dish is labeled gluten free/dairy free/vegan as appropriate. And while this pasta one wasn't labeled specifically gluten free, we simply subbed in our usual GF penne and it worked out just fine! Spicy eggplant pasta was the name for the meal and that sounded very appealing for my stuffy self.
We used zucchini and Chinese eggplant for the main veggies to roast and added in basil, grape tomatoes, and mozzarella as instructed. The dish was delicious, but we decided to add in extra red pepper flakes to enhance the spice level a bit. I would consider this a great meal for when you're having vegetarian friends over for dinner, or if you just don't feel like adding meat. I didn't miss it at all; however, I dare say it could be (even) more filling if some chicken or turkey was mixed in at the end. Overall, I'm excited to continue to find new recipes in Seinfeld's book as the photos are fun and she has great, humorous commentary throughout.
Tuesday: Pretty sure this is the meal that (almost) cured my cold! A busy work day and a reluctant gym session, I was not feeling my greatest while this was being made, but I knew the savory, grilled flavors would satisfy my salt-focused cravings. Once again, we found this recipe, Asian-flavored chicken with shiitakes and bok choy from Weeknight Gluten Free by Kristine Kidd, a Williams-Sonoma cookbook. And while we had to pan-grill all of the pieces (oops!) I do not think the dish suffered one bit. A real outdoor grill will be such a luxury in the future, but for now, our stovetop will have to suffice (despite my husband's frequent longing for "outdoor space to grill" we just cannot have it right now). We live in the city. If anyone wants to let us borrow their outdoor grill, we'll make you this meal. It's awesome!
A delicious Asian sauce is made first and then brushed on the chicken thighs and everything else while they grill away. Yes, there's a lot of smoke while this is being done. No, nothing bad will happen. I really loved the grilled bok choy with the sauce and it was such a welcome change from the usual stir fries we make when leaning toward these flavors. Next time we make this dish, I may add in some white rice, or brown (pick your favorite starch), so that it's a little heartier. However, for this night's dinner needs, and my cold not quite done, this pan-grilled assortment was just perfect.
Note: I really love using this cookbook as it's 100% gluten free and therefore we don't have to do any substitutions for the recipes. BUT! I will never not purchase a cookbook because it's not specifically gluten free, that would be ridiculous (in my opinion). There is so much wonderful food and beautiful cookbooks out there in the world, I would never limit what I buy book-wise based solely on my dietary needs. Happy to make adjustments, substitutions, and other recipe 'edits' to create the dishes I want to try and enjoy at home.
Wednesday: A toast! My cold had finally subsided and I was feeling more life-like than I had in several days! Therefore, we nixed our plans to cook and went out for celebratory tacos at one of our local favorites, Burro Bar. The photo shown above is homemade carnitas tacos we made in a prior week, but I had to share because the colors were incredible. At our "yay no cold" dinner, I had blackened mahi mahi tacos and my favorite queso fundido - something I cannot resist each time we go there to eat. It's hot, gooey cheeses blended together and baked with tomatoes and corn. Then I fill soft, warm corn tortillas with spoonfuls of the delicious, bubbly and super cheesy mixture. A makeshift quesadilla! Hooray!
This spot also makes great margaritas for a variety of tastes as well as extensive tequila options - they even offer tasting flights! Burro Bar will for sure be included in my still-in-progress Bar Bites section of this website, which will debut soon, I promise. Creating a very curated guide to everything I love to eat outside of our home is taking time. And is having me stumble upon a lot of delicious memories! Stay tuned - Bar Bites will be out for your enjoyment in the near future!
Thursday: OK, back to health, and back to our dinner plan! Feeling like my old self again, we aimed for a big plate of veggies and some meat. This night we made awesome lamb burgers that were juicy and scrumptious, plus a Greek salad to spill over the top, and a bunch of sweet corn that we needed to use up. This dish was well timed because it suddenly got very hot and humid in the city, and this summery dinner felt exactly right given the weather. I loved the flavors of this meal and the Greek salad was all but perfect, since we completely forgot to buy feta! Whoops! Mistakes happen and actually, I barely even missed its presence. But if you ask me what's the first ingredient I need next time we make this, I would definitely say, "feta." :)
Bun-less lamb burgers and Greek salad: a summer staple or a mid-September feature full of bright colors and delicious meat. See? My cold must have completely gone away as my pasta-focus dissipated, and I was back to the protein+veggie combo that's de rigueur around here, most of the time. Unless it's pasta Tuesday, of course. ;)
Friday: Cheers to the weekend! A very busy work day to close the week, and all I wanted to was relax, unwind, and not be in our apartment (I was working from home all day). A quick ride over to Davio's where we had a great evening at the bar, and lots of delicious dishes. Another go-to option for us because of the great GF menu, proximity to our house, and wide variety of dinners to choose from no mater where our tastebuds lead us.
On this visit, we shared a GF mushroom and truffle oil pizza, and I had a yummy shrimp and pancetta pasta as well as one of their great martinis. I know I went on and on about my less-carb-focused self once my cold went away, but when there are options like these at restaurants we enjoy, I cannot resist. So scrumptious and a definite treat to begin the weekend!
Follow along on my Insta Stories for our food adventures over the next couple days and we'll get back to cooking Sunday night! I hope you have a fun weekend; we're seeing some friends Saturday afternoon and a variety of errands and perhaps some shopping as well. Oh, and I need to break in a new pair of sneakers. They're blush pink satin low-tops by Superga. I'm psyched. :)
Have a delicious weekend!