Weeknight Dinner Recap: Volume XXVI
Welcome to the twenty-sixth edition of Weeknight Dinner Recap! While the Super Bowl didn’t provide the outcome we hoped, it didn’t stop us from having some seriously delicious meals throughout the week to lift our spirits. Not to mention a crave-worthy dinner at the end of the week that would cure any and all sports-related-loss blues!
Now, let’s get into the details of this week’s dinners. They’re sure to make you hungry and that will always be our goal. Let’s eat!
Sunday: For our Super Bowl-watching, we headed to a friend’s house where we knew there would be snacks, but decided to have a second round of our dinner from Friday night first as a way to curb our appetites a bit. And those leftovers were incredible!
Dish: Midnight Bolognese
Recipe: This recipe came from The Home Cook by Alex Guarnaschelli. The only change we made was using GF penne from Jovial Foods instead of regular pasta. Otherwise we followed it as written!
Outcome: Now, this is a bolognese! While we made it first on Friday night and loved it, the real success came on Sunday when we reheated it on the stove top for an early, pre-football dinner.
Aptly titled by the author, we agreed that this meal is best when eaten late at night cold from the fridge (standing in our kitchen) or a couple days after that and re-heated. The flavors melded together a lot and everything was just much more concentrated and delicious. Our waryness wore off from the first night (we thought it wasn’t quite as intense as we hoped) and subsequently inhaled it on Sunday.
The beauty of this meal, like many from this book, was that it could serve six people or more, easily! So in the future, when we want to make an Italian dinner for a group, I’m pretty sure this is the cookbook I’ll grab for the menu. Remember that epic eggplant Parmesan?! Well, you should, it came from this cookbook as well. Scrumptious food for everyone!
Monday: We’ve gotten to really enjoying all different types of meatballs lately and this time around was no exception! Tonight’s meal was going to be so good that I decided it would be best to double the recipe, before we even knew for certain! However, given the title and it coming from the reliably awesome Dinner, I was almost sure it was a wise move. Plus, we didn’t plan a side dish to go with them (oops) so I figured better safe than sorry (read: hungry) and make a lot.
Dish: Ginger Pork Meatballs with Cilantro and Fish Sauce.
Recipe: This recipe came from Dinner Changing the Game by Melissa Clark. We followed it as written and made sure to use GF soy sauce (tamari) when needed. Otherwise, no modifications necessary!
Outcome: Well, thank goodness I made a double batch! These were amazing!! Such incredible, fresh flavor paired with a dipping sauce that wasn’t too spicy or sweet, these meatballs were a big success. Easily made on a weeknight, these cooked under the broiler and came out perfectly in a very short amount of time.
My favorite part was that I mixed all of the ingredients together, by hand, and formed the meatballs by hand, so it really was a “hands on” cooking project (dinner). This may bother some people, but mixing it together by hand has always been a favorite activity of mine going back to when I was really little and helped my mom make meatballs.
While I didn’t form the actual meatballs back then, she let me combine all of the ingredients and I would shriek with delight from the super cold meat and ingredients covering my hands. Ha! What a funny little kid I was; funnier because I get the same satisfaction and delight from that activity now! :)
But in all seriousness, I highly recommend making these meatballs. They’re delicious and taste pretty much exactly like the meat-filling of your favorite Peking dumplings from the local Chinese food restaurant. Enjoy!
Tuesday: Continuing our tradition of pasta on Tuesdays, this night featured another veggie-focused version that was simple from afar, but ended up being one of the more awesome veggie-and-pasta combinations we’ve had recently. And it didn’t even have any sauce! 😲
Dish: Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Almonds
Recipe: This recipe came from Dinner Changing the Game by Melissa Clark. We used gluten Free elbow pasta from Jovial Foods, but otherwise did not change the recipe. How convenient! My fingers are always crossed that someday a GF Orecchiette will exist.. I used to love that shape!
Outcome: How delicious was this?! And what a fantastic blend of flavors: bitter from the broccoli, but salty from the Parmesan and crunchy, toasted almond slices. Also, if you’ve never had toasted almonds in your pasta, then now is the time to try! So flavorful and adds a terrific crunch to each bite.
I haven’t been a big fan of broccoli rabe in the past, but I think this dish has made me change my tune! Another great bowl that was vegetarian and without a traditional red sauce; however, I think it actually had more flavor and complexity than many of the heavier pasta dishes we have made previously. Looking forward to making this again, and again! 😊
Wednesday: One of those nights when you realize you have a large amount of kimchi in the fridge and you don’t want it to go to waste... so you make it a primary ingredient in your dinner! Lucky us! Truly, we really love kimchi. :)
Dish: Kimchi Grain Bowl with Kale, Avocado, and Egg
Recipe: Not to sound like a broken record, but this recipe came from (again) Dinner Changing the Game by Melissa Clark. Naturally gluten free, we did not have to make any modifications! I know we use this book a lot, and we just can’t help it. Countless great meals, new flavors, and awesome new ways to make our favorite foods. I cannot apologize for the repeated use of it because it just keeps getting better! :)
Outcome: Topped on a bed of jasmine rice, this bowl was packed with bold flavors and ingredients! Kimchi, kale, avocado, sesame seeds, and a fried egg, these toppings all came together beautifully with a great sauce (a sweet/salty combo) drizzled on top.
What I loved most about the dish was the variety of textures and temperatures in each bite. Cold kimchi and avocado, hot kale and egg, plus the warm rice made for a really delicious forkful every time. My only suggestion for next time would be to make extra eggs! We loved mashing the yolk with everything else in the bowl (so yummy), and it was just gone too soon! A great weeknight dinner, or lunch, that will certainly be on our table again!
Thursday: An experiment in what to do when your plans suddenly change, we were forced to decide on a dinner plan right at dinner time! Unheard of for the most part in our house, we braved Whole Foods with a pang of starvation (I’m dramatic) and even some hanger (it happens), and decided to make the best of the situation. We were going to make nachos! 😎
Dish: Skillet nachos with beef and all of the toppings!
Recipe: We made this one up! Using our favorite GF tortilla chips by Tortilleria Mi Niña, we topped the chips with custom-seasoned beef, several kinds of cheese, pinto beans, and corn, then baked to perfection in a large cast iron pan. Once out of the oven, we topped with salsa, guacamole, radish slices, cilantro, and Fresno Chili slices.
Outcome: Some might say this was a quintessential dish for watching the Super Bowl, and I wouldn’t disagree, but for us this was a perfect meal for our Thursday night. And our nacho cravings! Sometimes you need a big, splashy, indulgent dinner of skillet nachos with every topping possible. It just felt right.
Skillet nachos aren’t exactly healthy, but it could’ve been worse, and they were absurdly delicious. Not much more to say about them other than the fact that this dinner could have fed about six or eight hungry adults! OK, maybe ten. But only if we had a salad on the side as well. ;) Skillet nachos: your new favorite way to enjoy Thursday night dinner.
Friday: We got to the weekend!! This was another busy one filled with apartment hunting, family time, birthday gatherings, deciding to move (!), more biscuit-baking, and the usual meal planning and cooking! 2018 has been a busy, busy year and we aren’t even a quarter of the way through. I must admit - that’s OK with me; the busy times are all about having fun and making some good changes to our life that I can’t wait to see take shape.
Tune in next week to see what we made to celebrate Valentine’s Day and the continued excitement of our plans to move! More to come!
Hope you had a fun, delicious weekend spent with your favorite people and food. :)
Mollie and Seth