This Week for Dinner

How is it Sunday night already?

The past week at work was pretty crazy, and I don’t feel like I got as much of an opportunity to relax as I would have liked this weekend. Luckily, part of next week’s plans involve some quality time with my BFF, including a spa trip! I just need to make it through a few more days.

Lucky for you, though, that I’m not too tired to share a few ideas to help you plan dinner for the week ahead. You’re welcome.

Soy-Glazed Salmon

From: Everyday Food

We have been eating salmon at least every other week, and the fact that you can prepare it so many different ways keeps it from getting boring. This version, with a brown sugar and soy glaze, is one of my favorites. We switched up our usual side of broccoli for yellow and green zucchini. Note to self: do this more often.

Pear and Prosciutto Pizza

Adapted from: Cooking Light’s Beet Salad Pizza

I first became a fan of the salad pizza when Cosi served them back in the day. So, I was excited to see that the April issue of Cooking Light had a whole section dedicated to them. The beet salad pizza sounded delicious—except for the part about the beets. Since neither Chester and I are fans, we substituted pears. They provided a similar bit of sweetness, without the weird earthy taste and chewy texture of beets. Salad pizzas are good to keep in mind for summer meals, because there’s little cooking involved—all you need to do is bake the crust (or heat a pre-made one, like we did) and top with all of the ingredients.

Garlicky Meatball Pasta

From: Cooking Light

Although this recipe calls for ground sirloin, it would be sacrilegious to use anything but meatloaf mix (beef, pork and veal) to make meatballs. These meatballs were even tastier because we used the leftover homemade breadcrumbs from last week’s Parmesan and sage crusted pork chops. I’ve pretty much decided that from scratch bread crumbs are the way to go. I won’t be buying them from the supermarket anymore.

Thai Chicken Enchiladas

From: How Sweet It Is

This is the first recipe I’ve tried from this blog, which I just started following a few weeks ago. I’ll definitely be trying more! The concept might sound weird, but trust me, these are delicious. They weren’t as heavy as the cheese-smothered Mexican variety, even though they have a rich-coconut milk based sauce. Be warned that these may take awhile to prepare, since you will need to poach the chicken breast before shredding it for the filling. You can however, take a shortcut by using packaged cole slaw mix so you don’t have to chop carrots and cabbage. I can’t wait to have the leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

What’s on your menu for the upcoming week?

This Week for Dinner

Happy Easter, Peeps (see what I did there? Just a little holiday humor!). I hope that everyone got their fill of Cadbury Crème Eggs and other assorted goodies. I’ll be at the CVS tomorrow looking to stock up on chocolate at 50 percent off. I just hope I make it there before they start packing it away for next year. That’s what happened with the Valentine’s and Halloween candy. By the time I got there around lunchtime, it was all boxed up. Disappointing.

We usually cook at home for the holidays, but my aunt is still in the hospital, and it wouldn’t have seemed right not to have her there. So, we brought the party to her for a bit at Pennsylvania Hospital and then headed out to dinner afterwards at Spasso Italian Grill in Old City. We went there for my bachelorette dinner two years ago. I remember liking it at the time, but the details of that night are a bit sketchy. After today’s meal, I’m wondering why we haven’t gone there more often. So delicious. You should go. And, get the crab ravioli. Trust me.

If you don’t happen to have any leftover ham from your Easter feast, here are a few good ideas for the week ahead. While I was out crafting my butt off last weekend, Chester picked out some pretty good recipes to make up for our previous lackluster week:

Linguine with Sausage and Peppers

From: Everyday Food

I made this before, but Chester’s attempt was better because he used a thicker pasta. I’m a fan of all of the colors in this dish. It’s so pretty.

Stir-Fried Chicken Salad

From: Cooking Light

This reminds me of the Warm Chicken Salad from Pod, one of my favorite salads ever. The warm chicken wilts the greens ever so slightly and the peanuts add a nice bit of crunch. The marinade from the chicken doubles as a light dressing, but I liked it even better with a squeeze or two of lime.

Open-Faced Hummus Sandwiches

From: Cooking Light

This sandwich has the best combination of ingredients, ever. We added thinly sliced chicken breast to it for a bit of protein, but it would still be pretty substantial without it. This would make a great summer meal—it’s light and if you left out the chicken, there would be no cooking required.

Parmesan and Sage Crusted Pork Chops

From: Cooking Light

This recipe calls for homemade breadcrumbs, which is a good way to use leftover bread. They made for a thicker coating which kept the pork pretty moist. Also, I’m becoming a huge fan of polenta. It’s a nice change of pace from the rice we usually have as a side.

Lemony Orzo-Veggie Salad with Chicken

From: Cooking Light

I like orzo because it’s pretty versatile. You can add some spices and veggies and have a nice side dish, or you can make it into a substantial meal, as in this salad (We’ve made a similar version of this dish with salmon, too). This recipe makes pretty substantial amount of food, so you’ll have leftovers for lunch the next day.

Enjoy the week ahead, friends! I’ll be starting my countdown to vacation in Italy as of tomorrow–one month to go!

This Week for Dinner

Back when Chester and I first moved in together, we used to go to the grocery store almost every day after work to pick up ingredients for dinner. That was a pain. Now, we’ve gotten a lot better about planning out a week’s worth of dinners so we can just make one trip a week. Since our local Shop Rite is pretty crazy (actually, I’m pretty sure that all Shop Rites, everywhere, are crazy), one visit a week is really just about all that one person can handle.

On Sundays, we consult our cookbooks and recipes pinned on Pinterest or bookmarked from blogs and magazines that I read and head to the grocery store with our list (which Chester manages to fit onto a single Post-it note each week). We’ve come across a lot of good recipes lately, so I figured I would start sharing them in case you are looking for some things to add to your own meal plans. Plus, I have this cool new 50mm lens that I need to practice using, so taking pictures of what I’ve eaten for dinner this past week seems like a good way to do that.

Sunday: Fettuccine with Prosciutto and Peas

This recipe comes from Martha Stewart’s Great Food Fast, which is one of our most frequently used cookbooks, since it includes more than 200 recipes are pretty easy to prepare after we come home from the gym. The recipes are arranged by season, so you can choose from the heartier dishes in the winter and lighter options at other times of year. Then, there are some, like this pasta, with its bright lemon flavor and sweet peas that work just about anytime of the year.

Monday

I worked late. We had takeout.

Tuesday: Chicken and Broccoli Rice Bowl

I recently started subscribing to Cooking Light since it’s packed pretty much from cover to cover with recipes. The magazine’s website is also a good resource because it breaks down the recipes into several collections, including those that take just 20 to 40 minutes to prepare or that use just five ingredients.

Be aware that some of the recipes do contain canned or processed items, so, you might want to make some substitutions to avoid increasing the sodium content. This rice bowl, for example called for Velveeta Cheese. Eww. We substituted a bit of sharp cheddar and also added garlic, which is pretty much the base for everything when we cook. This recipe would have been kind of bland without it.

Wednesday: Grilled Portobello, Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Sandwich

From time to time, I convince Chester to eat a meatless meal. He usually complains that he still feels hungry afterwards. This time was no exception. If you ask me, though, Portobello mushrooms are hearty enough that you don’t need a protein to accompany them. This sandwich is a good one to keep in mind as grilling season gets underway. We couldn’t find basil at the grocery store this past week, and I think that would have been a nice touch in this sandwich and I’ll definitely make sure to add it next time around.

Thursday: Avocado Pasta

Avocados are one of the foods that I just can’t seem to get enough of lately, which is why I was thrilled to come across this recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod, via Pinterest. The sauce comes together quickly in the food processor, and is so rich that you would think that there is cream or butter included. We added chicken, since one vegetarian meal this week was enough for Chester.

Friday: Arugula Salad with Chicken, Prosciutto and Asiago Cheese

I’ve only recently become a fan of arugula. Now, I love the slightly spicy flavor that it adds to everything—from pizza, to sandwiches, to salads like this one. We added red onions and a bit of Dijon mustard to the simple olive oil based dressing and skipped the croutons. We had a particularly sweet batch of grape tomatoes, which was a nice compliment to the peppery greens.

So, that’s what was for dinner this week. And, if you’ve been reading this blog for the last year, wondering if I ever eat at home, now you know that I do.

What are your go-to sources or favorite recipes for easy weeknight meals?

Restaurant Review: Fuel

After a few days of eating like New Englanders, we were craving something on the lighter side when we got home. We decided to check out Fuel (1917 E. Passyunk Avenue), which serves salads, snacks, soups, sandwiches that contain fewer than 500 calories.

The lounge style furniture, brightly colored walls, and TVs tuned to dance music videos at top volume combine to create an atmosphere that’s a cross between a club and a gym. It seemed a little strange, especially on a slow Monday night (I’ve since learned that Fuel is owned by Rocco Cima, a DJ at Q102, so I guess these things make sense).

With this first impression, I became a little bit skeptical about the place. Turns out, I needn’t have worried. Service was attentive, and everything was made to order, with fresh ingredients.

We debated between guacamole and hummus to start, and finally chose the latter, which was served with soft, grilled pita. It was decent, but had a bit more lemon than I typically like. A bit more garlic could have evened it out.

The sandwich and salad combinations were creative. I considered the skewered Greek salad and spinach and strawberry salad before I noticed the South Philly wrap (note that the bread will up the calorie counts on the sandwiches past 500!), with grilled chicken, provolone, spinach, roasted red peppers, and garlic spread. The wrap had a generous helping of tender chicken and was served with a side of mixed green salad with tangy balsamic dressing.

Chester opted to order the  Roasted Portabello and Eggplant Sandwich as a salad. It was served with roasted peppers, strips of provolone cheese, olive tapenade and chicken. The portion was also generous, but there was a little bit too much dressing. This probably pushes the calorie count up too, so order on the side, and you should be fine.

In between courses, we perused the juice/smoothie menu. Of course, the Protein Buster, with peanut butter, honey, and banana was the first thing I noticed, but many of the fruit based options, including the Fruit Fuzzion (with strawberries, raspberries and banana) sounded appealing, too.

If you are one of those people who don’t believe that healthy food can be delicious too, a trip to Fuel is sure to change your mind. Fuel also has a location in Center City (around 12th and Walnut), and delivers pretty much anywhere. Prices are reasonable too—our meal came out to roughly what we would have spent at a fast food restaurant and the quality was far superior.

We’ll definitely visit again, even when we aren’t in detox mode.