Week of April 30, 2017

I am still a week behind but bear with me! This week we had lots of great meals though they were all repeats, except for the meatloaf. No pictures either – I will try to do better with that as well.

NYT Oven Roasted Chicken Shawarma
This is a new family favorite and I am finally remembering to get out the feta when we fix our pitas. Post here.

Spinach & Feta Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Roasted Cauliflower
Another new favorite that Malcolm also loves. For the roasted cauliflower, I split it into chunks and roast with olive oil and salt at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes. If you haven’t tried roasting cauliflower yet, you must! It’s delicious!

Ravioli
Yep, just boiled it and slathered some marinara on it.

Turkey and Pork Meatloaf with Roasted Sweet Potato Fries and Broccoli
Meatloaf isn’t my favorite but Sol loves it. He asks for it every week (jokingly, I think.) This time I was really happy with how it turned out, and I basically combined the beloved Lipton French Onion Soup mix recipe from my childhood with a more savory (read: less ketchup) recipe from Barefoot Contessa (Ina Garten) that I think is awfully time-consuming for a meatloaf. It’s a restaurant recipe so that may explain the time; they likely make a very large batch in advance. I used our Ground Pork from Hasselmann Farms and regular ol’ ground turkey from the grocery store – I like to use 2 lbs of meat so we have leftovers. I’ll get the AKA recipe up here soon! For the sweet potato fries, cut the sweet potatoes into large steak fries, and roast, with broccoli, lightly covered in olive oil, at 400-425 degrees for at least 30 minutes if not more. The broccoli may not need as much time; I much prefer it roasted.

Week of April 23, 2017

This was a crazy weekend because Sol was in Phoenix, Malcolm didn’t feel great Sunday, so I didn’t get the shopping done, and Sol did it Monday on his day off. Yes, that is enough to constitute a “crazy” weekend for me. Nonetheless, a couple days (er weeks) late, here are that week’s meals!

Pimiento Cheese BLTs
These are inspired by the incredible, salty, cheesy, bacon-y, super-fresh pimiento cheese BLTs at Merritt’s in Chapel Hill, NC. I really wasn’t much of a pimiento cheese fan (horrors!) until having this sandwich. It is also a top favorite of Sol’s. I love making the pimiento cheese at home so I can make it to taste. Here’s a great base recipe, be sure to update it to your liking! Then just stack the ingredients – I love using thick-cut bacon and baking it at 375 rather than dealing with a greasy mess on the stove-top. And, I just toast the bread, so there’s really not much “cooking” at all. This is also a great summer recipe.

Anna Kate’s Pimiento Cheese

Ingredients
1 CUP shredded cheddar cheese
1 CUP shredded mozzarella or provolone cheese
2/3 CUP mayonnaise
1 TBSP dijon mustard
1 small jar pimientos, drained
Hot sauce to taste

Combine, taste, and enjoy! I like a lot of hot sauce, and I don’t use salt and pepper due to that, but you can always add salt and pepper to taste, remembering that cheese has a lot of sodium.

Shrimp Fried Rice
I liked my one-off meal so much I decided to make it for all of us! Malcolm loves rice too. Just increase the amounts for each item and add more veggies!

Fried Pork Chops, Stewed Cinnamon Apples, & Roasted Broccoli
I’m using my incredible, 3/4″ thick pork chops from Hasselmann Farm for this meal. I haven’t used a recipe for pork chops in a while, but have probably referenced a few, as well as remembering how my Mom made them, as these are a favorite of hers! For the apples, I’ll just peel and soften them on the stove-top in some lemon water, and add cinnamon and sugar if they’re too tart.  Here are a couple recipes if you prefer more guidance. And for the broccoli, please know that every vegetable is better roasted than boiled. Every. Single. One. Okay, maybe not peas, but you get my point. I like to coat lightly in olive oil and roast at 400 for at least 20-25 minutes. Recipe later!

Frying Pork Chop

Grilled Ham & Broccoli Rabe Sandwiches
I love this Martha Stewart recipe – once you get it down it’s fairly easy and the combined flavors are amazing. I love fig jam and could eat it with a spoon. I always by Bonne Maman brand when it’s on sale.

Ina Garten’s Fresh Corn Salad
This is another go-to, especially when it’s warm outside and basil is plentiful. I’ll often add chopped grape tomatoes or bacon when I have it on hand. Delicious!

Quick & Easy Shrimp Fried Rice

Quick & Easy Shrimp Fried Rice

Sol was out of town this past weekend and I made a few quick meals just for me. One of those was Shrimp Fried Rice, which is so easy to make with leftover rice. I love making fried rice at home because I can make exactly as much as I want, and it’s perfectly crispy and hot, unlike rice that’s been in a take-out container. Here’s my easy personal recipe; adjust it to your taste and add tofu, chicken, or more veggies!

Quick & Easy Shrimp Fried Rice

Ingredients
1-2 TBSP oil (sesame oil is great, otherwise vegetable/canola oil, olive oil, or even coconut oil would work)
1 Egg
1 CUP day-old rice (Really, don’t use just-made rice. It won’t crisp up enough. I often make extra rice at dinner so that I know there will be leftovers.)
5 Pre-cooked shrimp

1/4 CUP frozen peas

3-4 TBSP low-sodium soy sauce

Sriracha to taste

Instructions
Heat half of oil on medium in a small frying pan. Add egg and cook gently, until just firm. (Don’t overcook.) Remove egg and place in bowl you will eat in. There’s no need to dirty an extra bowl, people!

Heat remaining oil in pan on medium. Add rice and spread across the pan. Allow to cook UNDISTURBED for 2-3 minutes, until rice is crispy. Turn rice once and cook for 2-3 minutes on the other side.

Add peas, soy sauce, and shrimp; stir and warm shrimp through, 2-3 minutes more. Add cooked egg, mix. Return to bowl, sprinkle (or douse) with Sriracha, and eat immediately!

Shrimp Fried Rice for one!
Cannellini Bean Salad with Radicchio and Celery

Cannellini Bean Salad with Radicchio and Celery

Writing this blog has made me realize how carb-heavy and dense our dinners are. I do try to eat lighter during the day so we can have a satisfying, tummy-filling dinner together at night, but there is clearly a dearth of vegetables here and we need to do better. This is why I’m writing the blog though, to figure out the good and the bad! Something we could use more of is a vegetable side salad I made this week from Saveur, Cannellini Bean Salad with Radicchio and Celery. It is crisp and bright and easy to substitute if you don’t have everything. I used fresh lemon juice in place of the red wine vinegar and skipped the anchovies (even though I have them, next time I’ll try them.) I really enjoy dishes like this but rarely take the time to make them. A good reminder.

Yum! A bright winter salad.

Week of April 16, 2017

Happy Easter! Hope everyone had a great holiday whether that included Easter, Passover, or just celebrating Springtime. We had a great weekend and I headed out to do the week’s shopping on Easter during Malcolm’s nap. When I got to the store, as soon as I entered I heard “closing in 10 minutes at 2pm.”  I had a great time running through the store like Supermarket Sweep to get everything we needed for the week. The only thing I missed was the rotisserie chicken for Malcolm, which they didn’t have . I spent about 20 precious seconds finding the noodles for the first dish listed; so worth it. Have a great week!

Easter Cookies! Why do I ever spend the time making these? Oh, right! Sugar!

Stir-Fried Udon with Pork

A current favorite.

Super-Fast Spinach, Pesto, and Cheese Lasagna

This has been a go-to for years. I made 2 Sunday night and brought one to a friend at work. Popping this in the oven on Monday makes that first weeknight’s dinner so easy. This is also my large meal of the week that will provide leftovers for lunches.

Broil it for the last 5 minutes for a beautiful golden top!

Spinach & Feta-stuffed chicken breasts with roasted cauliflower and brown rice

This is my “healthy” meal for the week! Found the chicken recipe via Pinterest. We’ll see if Malcolm likes it. We LOVE this cauliflower recipe…the pumpkin seeds are definitely worth it.

Burgers & Fries

Always a winner.

That’s all folks! Stay tuned for more pictures.

Why do I ever spend the time making these? Oh right, sugar.

Week of April 9, 2017

This week I’m playing catch-up, as we had a great weekend in Michigan but only got home on Sunday afternoon, and I didn’t get a chance (read: too tired) to grocery shop OR make a list for this week. Sunday we had the scrumptious best-local-Chinese-food Hunan Spring – Sol got his usual chicken and string beans, Malcolm and I shared sesame chicken (oh so sweet) and Malcolm ate a TON of white rice! Seriously if you live in Evanston, you need to try them. That’s always what my Dad wants on the first night of his visits!

So this is the PLAN for this week, and I’ll likely order via Instacart. So easy, cheap, convenient, and you don’t buy a bunch of stuff you don’t need (or won’t end up eating.)

Barefoot Contessa’s Lobster Corn Fritters and green salad

I make some pretty big changes to this recipe each time: I use crab (jumbo, lump crab) and I make them much larger, so that 1-2 is a good dinner portion. I absolutely love these. I am a huge seafood fan and have made many crab and salmon cakes, but these are definitely the best. They’re meaty, fresh, and the sauce adds the perfect amount of spice/tang. Barefoot Contessa Foolproof (which this recipe is in),  (and all of Ina’s cookbooks) are absolutely worth getting, for easy family meals.

Crabcake!
Remoulade

Oven-Roasted Chicken Shawarma

I get the NYT Cooking email every week, and while it’s a lot to get through, I am especially glad that I tried this one-sheet-pan Chicken Shawarma. Mediterranean food is something that is so healthy and that this little family doesn’t eat enough of. I am lucky enough to work with two wonderful Indian moms and one Palestinian mom, and they have truly opened my eyes to the amazing deliciousness of food from this region. (I realize I’m describing this region very broadly.) This recipe is so easy and filled with good spices. We used all of the suggested sides and pita. Malcolm loved it too! Definitely a winner and a staple.

Chicken Shawarma fresh out of the oven. So easy!

Pesto Pasta and a green salad

It’s a staple people.

Burgers & Fries

Again, I need an easy week.

 

Week of April 2, 2017

I promise I’m going to catch up, and eventually be posting recipes in advance. In the meantime, it’s still helpful for me to log these. This week was a bit funny because we ended up going to visit Grandma, Grandpa, and Aunt Connie this weekend, which made for a “shorter” week dinner-wise, even though I made dinner Friday night before we left! We had a wonderful trip and I was treated to someone else making dinner, which my mother-in-law and I agree is the ultimate treat. She made delicious spaghetti and meatballs for dinner on Saturday, and awesome French Toast on Sunday. I am a lucky daughter-in-law!

Pro-Tip: I enjoy making one large meal a week, that we can eat throughout the week for leftovers or for another dinner if other plans arise. Last week that was the posole. This week that meal was baked manicotti.

Baked Manicotti with Sausage and Peas, Side Salad

This is a Giada De Laurentiis recipe that I found through a wonderful lifestyle blog, Designer Bags & Dirty Diapers. Natalie’s recipe page is outstanding and I often review her favorites before making my weekly list. Here’s her post on the manicotti. She also has EXCELLENT salad recipes, which is something I’m not great at and want to work on.

The manicotti was a HUGE hit with both Sol and Malcolm. It had a delicious, easy white sauce in addition to using jarred sauce, which I thought really elevated it to a restaurant-style manicotti. Again I loved using the Hasselmann Family Farm sausage. This recipe is definitely a keeper but does require some work (stuffing manicotti is a bit time-consuming.)

Baked Manicotti with sausage and peas

BLTs and Fries

These were simple, just baked bacon (375 degrees F for 15 minutes), romaine, tomatoes, and brioche bread. And of course the all-important mayonnaise. Malcolm had some bacon and a few of his toddler staples.

Easy Pad Thai

Another winner from Rachel Shultz via Natalie, although I think I’ll add some garlic to the pad thai sauce next time. (That may not be authentic but I think it would be good.)

I had another recipe for this week but we didn’t get to it, so I’ll fold it into next week. This was a very carb-y week; I am aware and usually we do better!

Happy Cooking & Eating!