Weeknight Dinner Recap: Volume XXVII
Welcome to the twenty-seventh edition of Weeknight Dinner Recap! This week was a blur, but in a good way! Did you hear? We’re moving! Brand-new apartment coming our way in less than two weeks. And you know what that means? Time to pack! And then cook. Because our kitchen will be brand-new! Woohoo!
But until that happens, let’s get into the nitty gritty of this week’s meals. So much great food this week including two (!!) marvelous pasta nights. Let’s dig in, shall we? ;)
Sunday: One of our favorite comfort foods to close out a weekend, but also a great dinner to start the week, this fried rice was filled with veggies, protein, and goodness, but wasn’t so heavy that we couldn’t do some packing afterward. I think that’s thanks to the turkey, or maybe because I held back and didn’t have two giant bowls like I tend to do with this sort of meal. I can’t resist! Fried rice fan for life. 😎✌️
Dish: Spicy Thai Fried Rice with Sausage and Greens
Recipe: This recipe is from Dinner Changing the Game by Melissa Clark. While we used ground turkey instead of sausage, no other changes were made to the recipe. I would strongly recommend this substitution if you’re trying for a healthier version that doesn’t lack in flavor. We actually decided that this version with turkey was even more delicious than the original with sausage, which we made a few months ago.
Outcome: What a great dinner! Once in a while I'll decide to make a couple of our favorites with a new twist, and I am so glad we did that with this dish. It may not look it to you, but this fried rice is filled with veggies: several cups of spinach and cabbage, the rice is actually the minority ingredient in the bowl. And while my younger self would probably deem it "too healthy," my current state of mind is thrilled to have a favorite food (fried rice) that is still health-focused with plenty of greens and protein.
The recipe called for sausage, which we used the first time, but found that the sausage was a bit distracting from the rest of the great flavors in the dish. This time around the ground turkey was a perfect solution to keep up the protein count, but make it an overall healthier meal. Not to say we won't experiment again with a fattier meat (we will), but I was really happy with this outcome. Delicious fried rice that doesn't leave you feeling fried?! Major dinnertime win. ;)
Monday: While repeat meals aren’t seen here too frequently these days, sometimes you just give in and make something you’ve had before and really want at that very moment. And that’s what happened for this night: we adore this red coconut curry and it was exactly what a very cold winter night needed! Besides, who can resist these flavors?! My love for coconut milk came back in full force. :)
Dish: Red Coconut Curry Chicken
Recipe: This recipe is from Dinner Changing the Game by Melissa Clark. We followed it as written, but decided to use chicken instead of shrimp. And we added in extra red curry paste because it’s too good! Love it nice and spicy.
Outcome: Isn’t it the best when a classic is as yummy as you remember? That’s most certainly the case with this great dinner as we’ve now made it on four separate occasions and each time it’s just as satisfying and awesome as the last. And this one will be tough to beat!
Before our local Thai restaurant closed, we always ventured out for our curry cravings, but since it closed, and we decided to make it at home, I’m not sure we even need to find a replacement! This recipe packs a punch of delicious red curry and coconut flavors and is just the right level of spice.
We opted for chicken as the primary protein this time around, but making it with shrimp as the recipe requests is even better! The chicken was great too, don’t get me wrong, but the shrimp made it really standout. Guess we’ll need to make sure we add those to our shopping list next! ;)
Tuesday: In an effort to get in more protein, but not sacrifice flavor or a great meal, we have been buying ground turkey fairly frequently to use in some of our weeknight favorites. Skipping the taco route on this Tuesday night, this chili turned out to be exactly the flavors we craved in a protein-rich, and bold-flavored, scrumptious meal.
Dish: Turkey and White Bean Chili
Recipe: This recipe is from Weeknight Gluten Free by Kristine Kidd. It is part of the Williams-Sonoma cookbook collection. Naturally gluten free, no modifications had to be made! In regard to the ingredients, make sure when purchasing chicken broth that the package is labeled gluten free. We often buy Wegman’s Organic chicken broth because it is clearly labeled GF. :)
Outcome: One of my new favorite types of chili! The turkey and white beans make this lighter dish ultra-filling while the red onions, avocado, and cilantro are the perfect complimentary toppings. We loved the hot bites of chili that were cooled down by the chunky avocado and made crispy by that tangy red onion.
This dinner definitely appears labor-intensive, but it was actually very quick and worked well with our Tuesday night laundry plan (seriously, we did laundry this night). Tons of great flavor and made even better with a squeeze of lime, I can see us making this dinner frequently during winter, but also during the warmer months when we are craving chili. Have a second bowl for a really filling meal, or just one and you’ll be super proud for having a hearty, but still pretty healthy, bowl of chili. Yum!
Wednesday: Oh hi, Valentine’s Day! While previous years included dining out at some of our favorite spots for tacos or other favorite dishes, this year we cooked! And packed. Because moving is imminent and nothing says “I love you” like eating way too much pasta with cheese and then packing your wedding china together while watching Olympians compete for medals in the Super G . :)
Dish: Baked Pasta with Artichokes, Greens, and Too Much Cheese.
Recipe: This recipe is from Dining In by Alison Roman. We followed it as written except for using GF farfalle instead of regular lasagna noodles, and added extra artichokes. Because I love them and it was Valentine’s Day. :)
Outcome: The title alone suggests a major mealtime success, but it doesn’t quite convey the extent to which you will inhale this dinner. OMG. One of those meals with all of your favorite flavors in every bite and you just keep saying, “is this really that good? Am I dreaming?” No, you’re not dreaming. Yes, it’s freaking amazing.
The author notes that this is essentially spinach and artichoke dip in baked pasta form, and she is not wrong! But I need to say, it’s way, way better. The flavors go together incredibly well and the mix of (lots of) artichokes, kale, spinach, and oh-so-much cheese was just a stunning blend of make-at-home Valentine’s Day dinner joy.
We will definitely be making this again, possibly for guests, because it could feed a crowd without question. But! The leftovers were as yummy as the original so making it just for the two of us is not off the table, either. ;) Hope Your Valentine’s Day was delicious, too!
Thursday: Coming off the high that was our magnificent baked pasta of Valentine’s Day, I was kind of wary of another pasta night. However, we had planned meals this week while sitting in the grocery store parking lot so apparently pasta two nights in a row got overlooked.
Much to my surprise and delight, this meal was just what we needed! Completely different than the previous night’s pasta in flavor, texture, and just about everything, we were actually thrilled that this “two night pasta” week came to be.
Dish: Penne and Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Pecorino.
Recipe: This recipe is from Dinner Changing the Game by Melissa Clark. We followed it as written except for using GF Fusilli pasta from Jovial Foods instead of regular and sprinkling Parmesan on top instead of pecorino (we already had Parmesan at home!).
Outcome: Goodness, this was a most-amazing bowl! Sizzling bacon and garlic together, then adding Brussels sprouts and letting it all meld into something absurd is basically what a great dinner should be by definition, right? We were blown away by the flavors, textures, and how perfectly it came together once the pasta was tossed into the mix.
Something I love about this cookbook is that it has really taught me to love pasta dishes that do not include a traditional sauce. There will always be a time or occasion for red sauce on pasta, but I’m really enjoying these other versions that focus on the vegetables.
Yes, bacon was a big flavor supplier for this one, and I can’t ignore that, but other simple pasta dishes that don’t include this salty treat have been just as scrumptious. And who doesn’t love getting in some extra veggies while enjoying a piping hot bowl of pasta? ;)
Friday: What a week! While we indulged in so much great food at home, I knew the weekend would be a good time for a break. So amidst packing, organizing, visiting the new apt, and enjoying some quality family time, we also went out! Friday night we dropped by Citrus and Salt for some great coastal Mexican plates and then on Saturday night we braved the wait and had delicious dishes at a favorite out in the ‘burbs: The Bancroft. Highly recommend both of these fun restaurants whether you live in the city or not! Read all about them over on Bar Bites: Local.
While the next couple weeks will be a blur of packing, working, and everything else that happens right before you move, I cannot wait to get into our new place and relax! Well, hopefully relax, we haven’t chosen a new couch yet. So it may be some chic floor-sitting until that decision is made. We will let you know!
Until then, we hope you had a delicious weekend and don’t worry - we will be cooking and sharing our dinners up until the day we move! Is that a little crazy? Maybe. But just a little. ;)
Mollie and Seth