So I’m happy to say that I did much better on keeping in line with my weekly dinner menu this past week. Actually Zoe was the one who made me stick to it. She took a look at Sunday’s weekly menu post, and was so giddy at what I was planning on making for the week. She couldn’t wait for the buffalo burgers with the chipotle mayo. Oh my goodness, those burgers were so good. We all seriously stopped speaking as we ate. I put in 1/2 cup of sharp grated cheddar cheese into the patties, topped them with the chipotle mayo, put the burger between two grilled brioche buns, and it was pure burger bliss. BTW, if any of you are wondering what’s in the top photo, it was my lunch on Tuesday. I had a lemon and thyme popover (recipe soon) and a spinach power smoothie.
On Tuesday we had pure comfort cooking and a full stove top as well. John and I pulled dinner together as a buddy team (I love when I have a cooking buddy) and even cleaned up as we went along. As you can see in the picture below, I really do follow my advice and have everything prepped off to the side ready to go. It just makes cooking that much easier.
Here’s a snap shot of our dinner. Parmesan-crusted pork chops, mashed potatoes with kale and broccoli rabe sautéed with shallots (not in the pic). Since we were sautéing shallots, we put some in the mashed potatoes and omitted the garlic, and they were so good! We all declared that we need to have this dinner at least once a month. It was one of those dinners, like Thanksgiving, where everything tasted great together.
Thursday was the only night that we broke away from the planned menu. It felt a bit like summer, so I wasn’t in the mood for cooking up soup, and honestly no one wanted to eat soup, so I made up these coconut-lime pork tacos instead. They were so good and so easy to make (recipe soon).
My family’s excitement helped me stick to the menu this week, but I was also smart with my grocery shopping. I bought all of the staple items on Sunday for the week like the pastas and pantry items, veggies that can last a few days in the crisper, like the kale and broccoli rabe, and stocked up on my pantry items. This upcoming week is going to be busy, so I’m planning on getting the bulk of my items on Sunday and doing some food prep as well. Also, I’m having a lot of kale salads on the menu this week and kale keeps for up to 2 weeks if properly washed and stored. The only night that I really have to buy fresh items is Sunday and Tuesday as I like picking up my meat the day of.
So my tradition has been that within a few days after Halloween I bake up something homemade for the kids to steer them away from their Halloween candy. This was a great tactic a few years ago when the kids LOVED Halloween candy, but they don’t love candy the way they used to, and this year I got lazy and let the homemade dessert thing slide. On Monday night the kids asked if there was anything else besides candy for dessert, as they were totally over it. So I felt the tug (and guilt) to make up something homemade, so on Tuesday I made up our favorite chocolate coconut pie. This pie is a chocolate and coconut lovers dream, and only requires 4 ingredients, bittersweet chocolate, coconut, heavy cream and butter. I wanted to try making mini pies, so I put them in muffin tins. I felt a hesitation as I started molding the crusts into the tins. I had a feeling that they were going to stick to the muffin tins and be a pain to get out, (which they totally were) also it was sort of labor intensive molding 9 mini crusts instead of one big one. What I learned from this experiment is that I prefer molding one pie crust, and that muffin tin pies are cute, but a messy and labor intensive way to go.
I also have a new cereal additction. I’m topping my 5-minute hot quinoa cereal with creamy peanut butter and sliced bananas. The peanut butter melts into the quinoa, and honestly it tastes like a peanut butter and banana sandwich. I’m not kidding, so if you like peanut butter and banana sandwiches, then you will love this cereal. If you’re not a fan of peanut butter and bananas, then omit the bananas and just stick to the peanut butter on top. It’s great both ways.
Sadly soccer season has come to a close. Watching my kids play soccer in the fall is one of my favorite things. I love watching them race around with that determined look on their face. I love seeing the teamwork, joy, freedom and support among the kids. I also must admit that there is nothing better than sitting in the sun on a beautiful day. The games gave me an excuse to put aside all of my chores at home and get out and enjoy mother nature for 3 hours each Saturday. Here’s a pic of Zoe and her team, aka Beckam’s Babes. John is one of her coaches and he’s been co-coaching her team for the past 8 years. Hopefully he will stay on as a coach, as Zoe wants to continue to play rec soccer in high school.
Eli’s team is a bit smaller, as it is with this age group. His team had all of his best buds on it and the two coaches were dads as well. These boys wanted to have a silly team picture, so they chose to wear mustaches. The boys are trying to play cool manly guys in this photo below.
For those of you that have kids addicted to rainbow looms I found this great carrying and storage case from the Container Store (thanks to my friend Carrie) to keep all the rubber bands sorted and contained. I was finding rubber bands everywhere, and since Eli and I picked this up, they have been contained. Eli also loves taking his case with him on play dates.
Ok, let’s move onto this week’s menu.
Sunday night dinner: Favorite turkey burgers and kale salad with cranberries, apples and toasted almonds. It may be dark at 5:30, but it’s still warm enough to grill in my neck of the woods. The kids have been craving these burgers, so I’m making them up. These burgers are filling, so a simple fall kale salad is the perfect side. My kids have also been craving my chocolate chip skillet cookie, so I’m going to be baking up that as well.
Monday night dinner: Roasted red pepper and tomato soup and roasted red pepper paninis with cilantro lime mayo. Ok, this may seem like a complicated dinner for a Monday night, but it’s not, because I’m going to be roasting up the red peppers on Sunday as well as making a double batch of cilantro-lime mayo on Sunday as well. All I have to do Monday night is re-heat the soup and assemble the panini sandwiches. This is a tasty Meatless Monday night dinner.
Tuesday night dinner: Chicken with shallots, popovers with rosemary and sea salt and lacinato kale salad. Tuesdays are now our comfort dinner night. There’s no after school activities, so I’m able to make up something that might be a bit more elaborate. Chicken with shallots is one of our favorite fall and winter chicken dishes (the recipe is from Barefoot, so you know it’s good). The sauce that accompanies the chicken is AMAZING! We often find ourselves dipping our popovers into the leftover sauce. I’m making up our favorite kale salad earlier in the day because between the popovers, the chicken and the sauce, I will be busy slaving away at the stove and won’t have time to deal with cooking up a vegetable. That’s another reason why I LOVE kale salads.
Wednesday night dinner: Pasta with kale, lemon and toasted walnuts and crispy garlic bread. This is such a simple and tasty pasta dinner and is totally kid approved. The kids really love garlic bread (I’m trying to stay away from the extra carbs) so I’m going to make up a small loaf for them. The pasta makes great leftovers, which I will use in the kids lunches this week. I just re-heat the pasta in a warmed cast-iron skillet and it’s so tasty. Thursday night dinner: Easy skillet sausage and white bean stew and whole-grain bread. This is a 30 minute meal and honestly tastes like a stew that’s been cooking all day. The kids love dipping their bread in the stew. It’s an easy one-pan and one-bowl meal!
Ok, I have 2 questions for you all!
How many nights a week do you all actually cook at home? I will honestly say that I cook between 4-5 nights a week, and sometimes those nights will be leftover nights.
What recipe do you want to see next?
Coconut-lime pork tacos.