This Week for Dinner

And, it’s Sunday again.

So, here’s what we’ve been cooking up for the last few days:

Pasta with Butternut Parmesan Sauce

From: Simply Recipes

This was the highlight of my week! The prep time is a bit lengthy, because you have to roast the squash for about 40 minutes in the oven, but the results are worth it. The sauce is rich and velvety and got me really excited about cooking with more fall flavors in the months ahead. You could probably use this as a base for a butternut squash soup—just use chicken stock for a bit more flavor and thicken it up a bit with some cream. We added garlic (it’s the base for almost everything we cook!) and I’m glad we did, since it might have been a bit bland without it. I’ve also seen a few similar recipes that jazz things up even more with the addition of other ingredients, including pine nuts, bacon and/or sage.

Baked Chicken Parmesan

From: Skinnytaste

The staple Italian dish gets a healthy makeover. Since we had a couple of pasta dishes on the menu, we opted for quinoa and zucchini as side options.

Beef and Broccoli

From: Cooking Light

Yes, beef can be pricey, but be sure to splurge a bit for a good cut for this dish. The broccoli and other ingredients are cheap, so it all evens out.

Chicken Marsala Pasta

From: Baked Bree

One of the nice things about chicken marsala is that it smells so darn good when it’s cooking—earthy and sweet at the same time. You can get the same effect with this relatively easy dish.

Greek Pizza

From: Cooking Light

Someday, I’m going to try to make my own pizza dough. But, for now, we save time by buying pre-made crust (we usually use Mama Mary’s honey wheat. They come in packs of two so you can keep one in the freezer for another meal). We added Portobello mushroom slices to this for a bit of extra protein.

Okay, now to work out our plan for the next week! What’s on your menu?

This Week for Dinner

Summer meals were kind of random. There was a period of time where I had 2 to 3 work events per week, which meant I was eating sandwiches from Whole Foods, some sort of food on a stick, and/or mini pastries on a regular basis. There wasn’t too much cooking and eating going on at home.

We are slowly getting back into our normal routine of scouting out good dinner recipes to try. Here are a few that I recommend from the past week:

Thai Chicken Saute

From: Cooking Light


I’ve come across a few good recipes recently that remind me of the food from Lemon Grass, my favorite Thai restaurant located in University City. Adding this one to the list. The recommended amount of hot sauce in the recipe was just right for me, but you may want to tweak it for your own personal taste.

Pork Mango Picadillo Burritos

Inspired by: Simply Recipes

Instead of just serving the pork mixture over rice, we used it as filling for burritos, topped with diced tomatoes and green chiles. I added some of my favorite burrito toppings, including black beans, sour cream, guacamole and cheese. These burritos definitely required a knife and fork to eat!

Pasta with Sausage, Tomatoes and Roasted Peppers

From: Simply Recipes

Pasta topped with homemade Bolognese sauce is one of our go-to meals for easy weeknight cooking. The best part about this kind of sauce is that you can jazz it up with whatever you like or happen to have on hand in the pantry.

Have a great weekend, all!

Date Night at Sur La Table

Has anyone ever seen food poisoning listed on those Hallmark lists of traditional anniversary gifts?

I didn’t think so.

Which is why, instead of attempting to make Chester a fancy steak dinner at home to celebrate our second anniversary back in June, I signed us up for a steakhouse themed “Date Night” cooking class at Sur La Table instead.

This was my third experience with a cooking class Sur La Table (I previously attended a cake baking and decorating workshop with my mom and aunt and a class on French pastry) and I really enjoy them. There is ample counter space to work, really great kitchen equipment and someone else to clean up the mess.

 Flank steak, ready for the grill

The instructor split everyone up into groups of four people and we all took turns preparing the ingredients and doing the cooking. My culinary ineptitude was on full display, as I had trouble operating a vegetable peeler. Chester, of course, was one of the star students. The instructor could tell that he knew his way around a grill.

Grilling zucchini

We made four different dishes, starting off with shrimp wrapped in pancetta:

Rosemary stuffed flank steak, topped with Parmesan cheese and accompanied by a side of zucchini with pesto:

Dessert was a caramel apple “pizza,” baked on puff pastry and topped with vanilla ice cream and dulce de leche sauce.

All of the recipes were fairly simple and, since we got to take them with us, I’m fairly confident that I could recreate them at home. Everyone seemed to agree that the zucchini was one of the highlights of the evening, particularly since the pesto had a few non-traditional ingredients–earthy parsley, sweet almonds and tart red wine vinegar–that made for a great combination of flavors.

As a bonus, we got ten percent off all of our purchases at the shop that evening. We bought a bench scraper and a food scale. I was pretty excited about the latter item because now I can try my hand at making macarons.

Chester and I had a great time cooking together, and it made me kind of sad that we don’t have a big enough kitchen to do that more often. That’s definitely going to be a priority when we move to our next home.

Enjoying the end result of all that hard work.


This Week for Dinner

Well, hi! Hope that your weekend was just dandy. It was gorgeous here in Philly on Saturday, and I took advantage of the pleasant weather to have lunch outside and run some errands around Center City. Yesterday, I had to work in the morning and upon returning home I plopped on the couch and got sucked into a Travel Channel marathon related to all things London. It really makes me want to jump right on to the next plane and go to there and eat mass quantities of chicken tikka masala as well as loads of tea and pastries every afternoon. Who’s with me?

The reality is, though, we probably aren’t going to London, so if you need a back-up plan for your menus this week, here are a few things to consider:

Lemony Pasta-Veggie Salad with Chicken

From: Cooking Light

I’ve probably posted several variations of this salad already, but I will never get tired of this combination of ingredients. Ever.

Parmesan-Pesto Crusted Fish

From: Pink Parsley

The original recipe calls for halibut, but you can probably use any mild white fish that you would like, since the lemon, pesto and cheese will give it a robust flavor.  And, I suppose if you were really ambitious, you could make your own pesto, but the jarred varieties are just fine and will save you a few extra minutes on the prep time.

Greek Quesadillas

From: Annie’s Eats

This was the second time we made these, and I love, love, love them. They are a nice change of pace from the standard Mexican ingredients and flavors. We had some leftover chicken, so we tossed that in to one of the quesadillas, but they are just as filling and tasty without meat. And, that’s the beauty of a quesadilla, really–you can fill it with whatever you like and satisfy any picky eaters.

Side note: you’ve been following along for awhile, you’ll see I’m pretty good at finding things to make for dinner and sticking to that plan. When I have leftovers from dinner, I usually take them for lunch, but on the days that this is not the case, I’m kind of at a loss. I can’t look at another Lean Cuisine. And, I came to the realization on Friday that I should probably eat something other than frozen yogurt or the man at Sweet Ending and I are going to be on a first name basis very soon.  Any lunch suggestions? Send them my way!

The Week for Dinner

Happy Friday, all!

Here are a few ideas for you, if you’ll be doing some menu planning or heading to the grocery store over the next couple of days:

Pasta Salad with Goat Cheese and Arugula

From: Martha Stewart

Cold pasta salads are a good summer dinner staple. This wasn’t my favorite of the recipes I’ve tried. It was missing a little something and I’m thinking that grilled chicken or another vegetable (maybe tomatoes) could enhance the flavors. Still, this was the perfect light option for dinner after our massive brunch at Cochon last Sunday.

Penne with Tomato Cream Sauce

From: Back to Her Roots

This isn’t a blog I read regularly, but I came across this recipe on Pinterest, and was sold by the quick prep time. We used  chicken instead of shrimp, which meant that 15 minute estimation went out the window. We would probably use a bit less spinach next time because our generous handful of the green stuff ended up soaking up a lot of the sauce. The creaminess and taste of the Greek yogurt was a bit hard to detect, but, it was still very tasty overall. I would probably make it again and try more of the recipes from this blog.

Fish Tacos

From: Chester

Someday, I’ll get Chester to write all of his recipes all down, but this is fairly simple: you need a firm, white fish (he’s used cod in the past, but switched it up for flounder this time), cole slaw mix with pineapple chunks added in, and guacamole. Fill a taco shell with all of your ingredients and add few squeezes of lime, to taste. Although nothing beats homemade guac, if you are looking for a shortcut, I highly recommend Wholly Guacamole. It tastes just like what you would made yourself.

As a side note, if you are a fan of fish tacos, Cooking Light has some great suggestions right now that I hope to try soon!

Curried Pork and Mango Stirfry

From: Cooking Light

There are a lot of great flavors in this dish—it’s a bit on the spicy side, but a sweet mango was a nice balance to that. Since, I’m not a fan of snow peas we used green beans, which gave a nice bit of crunch, instead, and I’m thinking a green pepper could also be good.

Anyway, hope you are doing something fun to kick-off the weekend right now. Speaking for myself, there’s a Friends marathon on Nick-at-Nite right now, and it’s kind of making my day.

This Week for Dinner

Well, I survived my first week back in the real world. Luckily, one of the nice things about working in higher ed means that summer is a pretty slow time, so getting caught up and back into the swing of things hasn’t been too difficult. I did have a minor set back today when I walked by Tiffany’s on Walnut Street and saw it all decked in a Venice theme, complete with gondolas and the Rialto Bridge.  I wanted to crawl into the window. But that would have been embarrassing.

Anyway, we’re also back to cooking and eating in the comfort of our own home, which has been nice. So, here are a few quick and easy ideas for your upcoming menu planning (also, this week I discovered Picasa—I know, I’m probably way behind the times—and might make everything into a photo college. I’m hoping it also helps to hide the fact that I was too lazy this week to use my real camera, so all of these are sub-par iPhone photos):

From top to bottom: Balsamic and Shallot Chicken, Asparagus Prosciutto Panini with Garlic Mayo, Greek Chicken Cutlets

Balsamic and Shallot Chicken Breasts

From: Cooking Light

This sauce for this recipe calls for quite a bit of balsamic vinegar, so if you aren’t a huge fan of that flavor, you might want to reduce the amount. But, the result almost has the consistency and richness of a BBQ sauce, so it might be a good option for summer grilling.

Asparagus Prosciutto Panini with Garlic Mayo

From: Gina’s Skinny Recipes

You pretty much can’t go wrong with any of the ingredients in this one, in my opinion. The asparagus adds a nice crunch, but if you don’t like it, you could leave it out and still get a nice hit of flavor from the arugula and garlic.

Greek Chicken Cutlets

From: Everyday Food

I feel like I’ve posted several variations of this dish, but I’m always a fan, since it’s simple, delicious and requires just a few ingredients. Unfortunately, our supermarket was out of mint, but I would definitely add it next time (or maybe substitute basil).


Happy Weekend, y’all!

This Week for Dinner

Happy Saturday, all! It’s pretty dreary here in Philly today, and it’s making me kind of sleepy.

Or, perhaps the sleepiness could be attributed to the fact that it I ate my weight in Crème Brulee French Toast at Green Eggs Café this morning.

Yes, I ate the entire thing. I am not ashamed.

Anyway, if you are planning your menu for the upcoming week, here are a few ideas:

Beef Stroganoff Hamburger Dinner

From: Emeril Lagasse

Since we completely forgot about the ground beef we purchased for last week’s Mexican Frittata, we ended up using it in this recipe. It’s a good one to keep in mind if you are looking for comfort food and/or something kid-friendly. It’s pretty economical too, because it uses affordable ingredients and makes enough that you will have leftovers for other meals.

Fish Filet Veracruz

From: Goya

We make this recipe quite frequently. We usually use cod, which is pretty mild so it really takes on the flavor of the tomato, garlic and white wine broth. The briny flavors of the capers are also a nice touch.

Spaghetti Carbonara

From: Martha Stewart

We continued to get in the mood for our Italy trip with this dish. We used turkey bacon in ours though, so it’s not entirely authentic. I’ll be on my way to having the real thing in just about 11 days!

Beef and Mushroom Sloppy Joes

From: Cooking Light

I was a huge fan of these. They definitely had a richer flavor than the Manwich variety, which we sometimes use as a shortcut for dinner. We also used turkey sausage, which has a lower fat content than beef. This, plus the mushrooms and molasses, absorbed a lot of liquid, so that they weren’t too sloppy.  Fine by me–I don’t like getting my hands dirty.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, friends! Chester and I are headed to the Phillies/Cubs game in a bit. Keep your fingers crossed that my dear husband, who will be all decked out in his Chicago gear, doesn’t get into any fights. I’ll be rooting for the right team, though, so no need to worry about me.

This Week for Dinner

While I was out gallivanting (I love that word. Why don’t people use it more often?) in Boston, I’m sure you were missing my weekly recipe round-up. Right?

I knew it!

Okay, so here it is.

Cacio e Pepe

Two weeks from today, we’ll be in Italy. I’m looking forward to enjoying cacio e pepe in a trattoria in Rome, Florence, or Venice. Or, maybe in all three cities. I pretty much plan to eat my weight in pasta and pizza.

Anyway, the good news is that it’s easy to make this dish at home. All you need is salt, black pepper, butter, some good cheese (we always have Parmesan on hand) and spaghetti. Make a pan sauce with your first four ingredients and toss with the pasta. You don’t really need a recipe, but Bon Appetit has a pretty straightforward one, for your reference.

Polynesian Pork

From: All the Cooks

Chester has this app on his phone, and it’s turned up some pretty good recipes. I like the flavor combination of green pepper, pineapple and pork in this one. I just noticed that the recipe calls for shredded coconut on top, though. Gross. I’m glad we skipped that.

Mexican Frittata

From: Shape

I love breakfast anytime of day, but Chester is not a huge fan of sweet breakfast items like pancakes and French toast like I am. So, I figured this frittata would be a good way to get my breakfast for dinner fix. The recipe calls for rice to be mixed in with the egg mixture, but we omitted it. It just seemed like it would make it to heavy. We had also brought ground beef for this, but ended up forgetting that we had it in the fridge. Oops. It was pretty tasty without it.

Chicken Stir-fry Wraps

From: Everyday Food

This is a very flavorful dish, and I think forgoing rice or noodles allows all of the elements to come through even more and of course lets you cut down on the carbs. Definitely get the butter or Boston lettuce recommended in the recipe, as it will hold up better and is easier to hold/eat than romaine or iceberg.

That’s all for now—almost time for me to gallivant off to bed (See, I’m totally bringing that word back, a little at a time). Hope everyone’s having a good week so far!

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

How is it Sunday night already?

Probably because I pretty much packed this weekend as full as I possibly could with all kinds of fun stuff, like dinner and a show with Chester last night and fun times crafting all kinds of adorable stuff with my blog buddies, including Bethany, Kate and Shannon, today.

I’ll fill you in on all of that later, but about all I have the energy and brain power for right now is to tell you what we ate for dinner last week.

Shrimp and Penne with Spring Herb Pesto

From: Everyday Food, April 2012

This was very…leafy. I don’t recommend skipping out on the ricotta, because it definitely cut down on some of the earthiness from the parsley and mint combo. When I took the leftovers for lunch, I left out the ricotta and the flavors were totally overwhelming. As a result of this recipe, I have decided that I just do not like sugar snap peas and basil pesto is where it’s at. End of story.  All of the green sure is pretty, though.

Spicy Basil Chicken

From: Cooking Light, April 2012

This is kind of like a stir fry, without vegetables . Although the magazine suggests a side of snow peas (no thanks) and peppers, we just threw in some frozen broccoli to speed up the preparation process.  Our version wasn’t spicy because we left out the chili paste. We try not to buy ingredients that we know we’ll only use for one recipe, but this definitely would have benefited from a bit of a kick.

Chili Garlic Chicken

From: Everyday Food Blog

Martha claims that this is this is similar to chicken adobo, a traditional sweet-and-sour Filipino recipe. Not so much. Yes, friends, I just told you that Martha was wrong about something. Please don’t cry.

It was a pretty tasty dish, but it doesn’t really pass for adobo. Chester should know. He’s been eating adobo forever. It’s also one of the Filipino dishes that I really like (I also like eggrolls, pancit and sweet-and-sour meatballs). Real adobo is pretty sour, but this recipe called for ¼ cup of sugar. Chester cut that down a bit, but the ratio of sugar to vinegar was off. So, along with his much requested mac-and-cheese recipe, I’ll get Chester to share his adobo recipe someday.

I usually pick out pretty good recipes for us each week, but felt a bit “meh” about all of these. Maybe you’ll try them and have better results. Let me know, m’kay?