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

Happy Weekend, friends!

Since we are already halfway through September (how did that happen?!), I’ve made my first foray into fall baking with a batch of pumpkin spice granola.  I think the recipe I threw together with needs a bit more tweaking, but at least the house smells delicious at the moment!

In other news, I feel like my food was just not photogenic this week. But, I’m sharing anyway.

Sweet and Sour Pork Stir-fry

From: About.com

Instead of deep frying the pork as called for in the recipe, a lighter option is to simply coat the pork in cornstarch and stir-fry.

Baked Orzo with Eggplant, Chicken and Mozzarella

From: Smitten Kitchen

I was pretty excited when I came across this recipe because it has a ton of my favorite ingredients in it (the chicken was a addition), but it was just okay. The flavors were nice, but tomatoes and eggplant released a lot of liquid when cooking, so it was very runny. You might want to reduce the amount of broth that you include. I thought it was much better the next when I ate it for lunch.

Roast Cod with Garlic Butter

From: Coastal Living

This recipe is like something Paula Deen would make. It has a fairly healthy amount of butter and then it’s topped with prosciutto. To lighten it up, you can use your choice of butter substitute (I like Smart Balance). It’s even better with a squeeze of lemon over the top.

Have an awesome week!

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!

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!

This Week for Dinner

It’s been awhile since I did one of these posts, and that’s because the last half of June was so crazy busy that we didn’t cook too many meals at home. I figured I would wait until I had a collection of things that somehow resembled a week’s worth of meals, you know?

So, without further adieu, here are some ideas for your upcoming meal plans:

California Grilled Chicken Avocado and Mango Salad

From: Skinnytaste

This is one of my favorite lunchtime salads from Mixto, which is located just down the street from my office. The dressing includes a white balsamic vinegar, which has a very clean, slightly sweet taste so that it doesn’t overpower the flavors of all of the good stuff in this salad.

Orecchiette with Sausage and Roasted Peppers

From: Martha Stewart

This is one of our staple pasta dishes. It’s quick and easy to make (you can use jarred peppers—we like the Cento brand the best—if you don’t want the hassle of roasting your own) and features the cutest pasta shape ever.

Easy Pesto Salmon

From: Cooking Light

You might have some basil growing like a weed in your garden at this time of year (we unfortunately didn’t get around to planting any this year, but maybe you have. If so, come on over, I have a few containers you can fill for us) and making fresh pesto is a great way to use it up. Pesto is one of my favorite complements to salmon. We made a simple side dish with sweet asparagus and yellow zucchini and also tried out one of the new quinoa blends from Near East, our go-to brand for instant rice and couscous. I recommend.

Farfalle with Creamy Wild Mushroom Sauce

From: Cooking Light

Another quick, easy pasta dish. We just used baby portabella mushrooms in this version, because that’s usually what is available in our grocery store, but you can mix and match with other varieties, like crimini, oyster and shiitake if you prefer.

Pulled Barbeque Chicken Sandwiches

From: Chester

It’s been too hot to grill outside, so this is a good way to get your barbeque fix in the comfort of your air conditioned kitchen. There are all kinds of recipes out there for pulled chicken, but here is Chester’s:

  1. Take three chicken breasts (this will make enough for about two people) and give them a dry rub consisting of paprika, coriander, garlic powder, onion powder (1 tablespoon of each), chili powder and cumin (1 teaspoon of each) and salt and pepper (to taste).
  2. Bake the chicken for 30-40 minutes covered in foil, while you make the barbeque sauce. The sauce is tangy, so you may want to make adjustments to it based on your preferences, but the basic recipe is: one can of tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce and Dijon mustard (2 tablespoons of each), vinegar (2-3 tablespoons of each, depending on how tangy you like your barbeque), brown sugar (1/3 cup at least, adjusted for your preferences on sweetness).
  3. Mix all of the ingredients together and simmer over low heat on the stove until the sauce thickens.
  4. Shred the chicken with a fork and mix with sauce; Serve on toasted rolls with your choice of sides.

Happy Weekend to all! Stay cool!

This Week for Dinner

Hope that everyone had a great weekend!

I spent part of mine in New York with my BFF, our moms and my aunt, for belated birthday/Mother’s Day celebrations. We saw the revival of Evita, which has always been one of my favorite musicals. Evita was one of the first shows I had ever seen way, way back in the day and was part of the reason that I grew up preferring show tunes over most other kinds of music. Yes, I am a dork.

Anyway, as we get back to the work week, here are a few ideas for your upcoming meal plans:

Prosciutto, Mozzarella, Tomato and Basil Sandwich

The chicken, tomato, basil and mozzarella sandwich is one of my favorite menu items from Cosi and one that we recreate frequently at home. We wanted something quick on the day we made these sandwiches, so we substituted prosciutto for the chicken. No cooking required.

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers

From: Simply Love Food

This was one of my favorite Pinterest finds to date. These are made with ground turkey and full of veggies, so they are hearty and healthy at the same time. We substituted yellow zucchini for the corn, since I only enjoy my corn on the cob.

Rigatoni with Roasted Sausage and Broccoli

From: Real Simple

I love roasted broccoli, so this recipe immediately jumped out at me. This was my first time trying a Real Simple recipe, and it actually was pretty simple to make. I added some garlic to the roasting part of the process (we rarely cook without garlic) and that enhanced the flavors a bit more.

Chicken Teriyaki Meatballs

From: Real Simple

An additional gold star for Real Simple this week. These meatballs were very light and had a nice flavor without needing to be drowned in the teriyaki sauce. We omitted the sugar snap peas, because they are gross. Next time, I would probably double the amount of shelled edamame or add another kind of vegetable to compensate for this.

Till next time!

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!