“I’m going on a diet when we get home!” says every person ever after a vacation. We spent a long weekend in Michigan, where we ate and drank so many good things, and now we’re on the “only healthy things” train. I’m menu planning for the week (I’ve been slipping) so that I can shop once and be done and so that we’ll make smart choices this week.
This is what the week will look like:
Spinach and chickpeas
Easy cauliflower fried rice I’m so-so on cauliflower rice. I find that if it’s highly seasoned, I like it, but if it’s bland I’d rather just have rice. So I’m going to try this recipe and see how it goes.
Smoked turkey lentil soup
Easy Thai green curry with whatever assortment of vegetables I have in the fridge, but definitely red and yellow peppers and zucchini
I also may add another soup to the mix, or make my favorite Swiss Chard and Potato Enchiladas.
photo by Eric Wolfinger
Lately, I’ve been checking out a lot of cookbooks from the library and making meals from those books. Or at least thinking about making meals from those books when I’m not relying on staples. So while I have been cooking as much as usual, I’ve been making quick, easy meals that aren’t really blog-worthy: grilled brats, pasta … things like that.
However, I have to share this blog-worthy recipe. It’s from Dinner: Changing the Game by Melissa Clark. I think I’ve bookmarked 20 recipes from this book. I’m a big fan of Melissa Clark. Another of my favorite recipes, Roasted Broccoli with Shrimp, is hers. Her recipes are simple – when I say simple, I mean if you’re a person who is adept at cooking and familiar with more nontraditional flavors and ingredients – and always full of flavor. Take that Roasted Broccoli with Shrimp – there aren’t many ingredients, but it works. The first time I made it, I thought, “How good could this be?” Then I basically devoured the entire pan. That’s how good it is.
So, I decided the first recipe to try from her new book was the Sheet Pan Harissa Chicken with Leeks, Potatoes and Yogurt. The picture in the book – the one on the cover – sold me. I would all caps this next sentence, but I’ll restrain myself: It is so good! We both loved this. When Jim likes something, he’ll usually say, “This is good. Thanks.” He remarked three times, during the course of the meal, how good it is. So I call that a win.
We have a new range! It was installed Friday. The first thing I cooked? Hard-boiled eggs. Actually, I wanted to see how long it would take to boil water (our old stove took forever) and I figured I might as well boil some eggs while I was at it. Then, I decided to make Pickled Turmeric Eggs. I tried one after they were in the fridge overnight and they are gooooood. (It took exactly 4 minutes for a simmer, 6 minutes for a rolling boil. That’s so much faster than the old oven.)
Here’s what is on the menu this week:
Maybe it’s the warmer weather, or maybe it’s my body, but I’m feeling the need to eat lighter. So for this week’s meals (besides Easter), I’m aiming for mostly vegetarian, vegan if possible, meals. That means I think I’m going to try walnut taco “meat” or chickpea “beef.”
I got The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook from the library, and I plan to make a couple of recipes from that this week. A lot of Cook’s Illustrated recipes aren’t available online, but I found a link to Moroccan-Style Quinoa and Kale with Raisins and Pine Nuts.
And that Sesame Soba and Ribbed Omelet Salad that I didn’t get to make a couple of weeks ago will make the menu this week.
I don’t like mushrooms, but I really want to try this recipe for Baked Mushroom Curry (it’s the mango chutney that sold me), so I’m going to attempt it with zucchini. It may be a disaster, but we’ll see. EDIT: I just read that eggplant is a good substitute for mushrooms, so I think I’ll try eggplant.
Thanks for reading!
A couple of weeks ago, I read an Instagram caption written by a blogger who wrote about saying “I get to” instead of saying “I have to.”
“I get to go to work today.” “I get to wake up early.” “I get to go grocery shopping.”
It really resonated.
I publish these posts on Sunday mornings as a way to set up the week. I wrote last week’s post on Saturday afternoon and scheduled it for Sunday morning. Sunday morning, I got up and made breakfast. I baked some potatoes and scrambled some eggs and went about my day. Around 5:15 p.m., I reached out to turn on the oven to start roasting cauliflower for this recipe. The range made a loud whirring sound, FLAMES SHOT OUT OF THE BACK, there was a loud pop and that was that. The range was dead af. So I ordered a pizza.
Long/frustrating/annoying/infuriating story short, our new range won’t be delivered until this coming Thursday. That’s 12 days without a stove/oven. It took four days for it to even occur to me that we have a slow cooker. So I made this soup. It took six days for me to realize, “Oh, I can just use the gas grill. It even has a burner on the side.” And “Oh, we also have an electric griddle. I can cook more than pancakes on that thing.”
I was so annoyed with not having a range and with the delivery schedule/mix-up – that’s another story. It really doesn’t matter because it’s not the point – that I failed to see my other options. I have so many other options. I just had to adjust my thinking.
Needless to say, I didn’t make anything I set out to make last week. I get to save those options for another week. This week, I’m cooking on the gas grill, so there will be grilled sausages and grilled chicken grilled and grilled vegetables and probably turkey burgers.
I get to be creative and find other ways to cook. I still get to feed myself and my family. It’s something I normally take for granted, but this has been an opportunity to learn that it’s something to be very, very thankful for.
There will be a few nights away from home this week, so this list may be a bit ambitious, but I’m going to try!
Here is what is (probably) on the menu this week:
Orzo Salad with Roasted Cauliflower, Spinach and Feta. I love this salad so much. I found it last year in Chrissy Teigen’s cookbook, Cravings. It’s perfect as written, but sometimes I add chickpeas for a little extra protein.
Creamy corn basil and pasta. I really should wait until summer to make this when fresh corn is plentiful, but it looks so good that I can’t wait 3 more months.
Chicken Gyro Salad. These ingredients are favorites in this house. I make some version of this a couple of times a month (see those Chicken Shawarma wraps I constantly link to). I will definitely scale this down to 2-4 servings.
Sesame Soba and Ribbed Omelet Salad: Another popular flavor combination around here.
Thanks for reading!
Next week will be a busy/off week as far as meals are concerned, so I thought now would be a good time to look at some past posts and point out some of my favorite recipes.
This Sheet pan chicken tikka masala was delicious. I halved the recipe, but kept the amount of spices the same. I also used the same spice mixture on the vegetables. It was so good! Definitely going in rotation.
We love Grilled Chicken Shawarma Wraps around here. They’re actually quite easy and quick to make and they’re always good.
Thai chicken lettuce cups are also a staple. They’re surprisingly filling. I always think, “We’re going to need a side dish with these,” and we never do.
And when all else fails, there’s always a bag of Trader Joe’s turkey meatballs in the freezer. They often save the day.
I know that at least two days this week, we won’t be home for dinner, so the planned menu is a little light this week.
Here is what is on the menu this week:
Sunday: Sheet pan chicken tikka masala I will halve this recipe (I’ll use 1 lb of chicken), but keep the amount of spices the same. I’m also going to use sweet potatoes instead of Yukon Gold.
The rest of the week will include: Pasta with roasted cauliflower. Since I’m halving the above sheet pan chicken tikka masala, I’ll have leftover cauliflower to use in another recipe.
Fish tacos. I don’t have a recipe for these. I just kind of make it up as I go. But these look close to what I like. (I’ll likely use wild-caught Alaskan cod. Something wild-caught always)
Turkey burgers. This is our go-to recipe. I could make these things in my sleep.
Thanks for reading!