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

Hope that everyone had a good weekend! It seems as though the summer is just flying by, but July has been a bit more relaxing than June was. Thank goodness for that.

Still looking for some ideas for dinner this week? Well, here you go!

Steak Fajitas with Sweet  Potatoes

From: Real Simple

I’ll get these out of the way first, because I just wasn’t a fan. I’ve decided I feel the same way about skirt steak as I do about snow peas. Big dislike. Maybe with a different cut of beef, I would have enjoyed these more. And, maybe you like skirt steak. In which case, you should make these.

Honey Cashew Chicken

From: Cooking Light

Moving on to better things, with this stir-fry, which had a great combination of flavors and ingredients. You could substitute whatever vegetables you happen to like or maybe what you have growing in your garden this summer.

Summer Pasta Bolognese

From: Real Simple

This sauce has a nice, chunky texture and includes all of the best summer vegetables, including sweet tomatoes and basil and cool zucchini. I really need to start growing tomatoes though, because those things are expensive–four beefsteak tomatoes at our grocery store were nearly $8. That’s crazy.

Mini Greek Lamb Burgers

From: Martha Stewart

We don’t eat lamb that often, but this recipe reminded me how good and versatile it can be. If you are grilling, you could make these into larger patties, but the sliders are pretty adorable, aren’t they?

Summer Squash, Prosciutto and Pasta Salad

From: Cooking Light

We make so many pasta salads in the summer that they all start to run together. That’s all I have to say about that.

What was your favorite recipe from last week and what’s on your menu this week?

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

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?

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?