Weekly Menu September 21 -September 27, 2020

This week’s menu includes using your rotisserie Costco chicken two ways, three vegetarian/vegan dishes, and two seafood entrees. I hope this inspires you to do some cooking this week.

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Shrimp in a Pernod cream sauce. 9/17/20

Shrimp in a Pernod cream sauce

This is a pretty fancy dinner for an ordinary weeknight. We have had this before and I posted the recipe here. John did the cooking and I did the chopping for this dish. We served it with rice and finished up the bottle of Albariño that we cooked with.

It seems this week is full of fancy dinner celebrations!

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Winner, winner, chicken dinner. 9/16/20

September 16 is a celebration day for John and me. It is the day he retired from full-time work in 2002. He has been retired for 18 years! We have had a wonderful time being with each other doing so many exciting things. Until the pandemic he was still “working” but he has been doing the kind of part-time work that makes him happy and keeps his stress level low. Happy Retirement, John!

In addition we are celebrating having reached our weight loss goals. John and I have each lost about 50 lbs. on our diet that we started exactly one year ago. So it is a double celebration day.  Our treat-yourself dinner is delicious sous vide chicken breast, with mushroom gravy, rice, and broccoli. It tastes great and is part of our healthy eating plan.

Sous vide chicken breast with mushroom gravy, rice, and broccoli

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Kale and white bean vegetable soup. 9/15/20

Kale and white bean vegetable soup

The soup I made the other day and had for lunch transformed itself into dinner. I added more vegetable stock to it which made it soupier and less stew-like. All the vegetables in it are things you probably have in your refrigerator – carrots, onions, potatoes, celery, white beans and tomatoes from the pantry, and any sort of greens. I added some Parmesan on mine at the end but without the cheese it would be a fine vegan dinner. I still have a quart left and I am trying to decide whether to freeze it or have it for lunch tomorrow.

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John’s birthday dinner. 9/14/20

Because of the pandemic this year instead of going out for John’s birthday we cooked his requested favorite meal. He chose popcorn before-sies, sushi appetizer, and fried scallops with collards and corn for the main.

Fried scallops with tartar sauce and collard greens with corn

We bought the sushi at Safeway and I do not think I would get theirs again. As it turned out all the interiors were like a California roll and what differentiated this combo pack was a very thin slice of tuna or eel on top. I want the fish inside!

I made the collards and corn. I started out by cooking onions and sliced garlic and then removed them from the pan. Next I steamed the cut up stems. At the end I put everything back in the pan with a little butter, sugar, and salt and tossed the chiffonaded leaves with the rest. It was pretty yummy.

John dredged the scallops and coated with them with seasoned panko breadcrumbs. Then he deep fried them in our electric wok. He does this outside on the patio so the house is not filled with aerosolized grease. I made some tartar sauce to go along with the scallops.

With all that we had eaten and drunk (a very nice bottle of Chardonnay) we had no need for dessert. It was a very fine birthday celebration.

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Breakfast for dinner. 9/13/20

Mushroom and Swiss cheese omelet, Romaine and kale salad with tomatoes and mushrooms

I enjoyed my omelet this week which I pared down to just three ingredients eggs, mushrooms and Swiss cheese. I hardly ever eat cheese so a slice of ultra-thin Swiss cheese is a special treat. I stayed with the mushroom theme with my salad and used one of our daughter’s waning supply of tomatoes as well. It will be sad when the tomatoes are gone and we have to go back to the grocery store ones.

Tomorrow is John’s birthday when he catches up to me age-wise for the last 3 1/2 months of the year. Since all celebrations in our house are food-centric we are starting off the day with home-made pretzel rolls from our daughter and finishing the day with sushi and fried scallops. Yum! Then I will have to spend most of the rest of the week strictly following my diet. Boo!

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Weekly Menu. September 14 – 20, 2020

This week we are celebrating two special occasions, John’s birthday and Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year. Usually John and I would be going out to dinner with friends for his big day but not this year. We will cook at home and just enjoy each other’s company. On Saturday our son is coming over for a Jewish new year celebration with the three of us. We will eat some traditional foods and wish each other a healthy and prosperous new year.

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Roasted Chilean sea bass with mango salsa. 9/12/20

Roasted Chilean sea bass, mango salsa, parsley tartar sauce, rice, and broccoli

John roasted three pieces of sea bass for 12-15 minutes depending on their thickness. How’s that for a fast delicious dinner?! I made a mango salsa to go with the dinner by combining mango, a chiffonade of kale, Fresno chile, lime juice, olive oil, and a sprinkling of basil, tarragon, and mint. It was sweet and spicy. I also made a parsley tartar sauce. John cooked some rice earlier in the day and I steamed some broccoli when the fish was half-way done.

This dinner is definitely company-worthy if we were able to have company! However, it was lovely just to make for ourselves.

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Leftover day. 9/11/20

One of the great things about making a double recipe of something you really like is that there is plenty left for another dinner. Of course you run the risk of overeating which I managed to do on both nights we had Chana dal. The great thing about Chana dal is that while it is great the first night, it is even better when it has spent some time in the refrigerator getting to know itself better. We also made extra rice so this was a real hands-off kind of dinner. From humble dried split chickpeas we managed to get two dinners and two lunches!

Chana dal leftovers with rice, spinach, and cherry tomatoes

While I was busy not cooking I decided to make some Vegan vegetable soup to have for lunches during the weekend. I had quite a few tired vegetables in the refrigerator so it was everybody into the pool! Onions, carrots, parsley, celery, potatoes, canned tomatoes with chiles, snow peas, white beans, and kale all contributed to the soup. I herbed it up with fresh thyme, dried oregano, and a bay leaf. I used water, vegan broth, and the liquid from the tomatoes for the soup broth. It actually turned out more like a vegetable stew than a soup. It tasted good yesterday but even better today! I have three quarts in the refrigerator.

Vegetable soup cooking on the stove

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Creamy corn orecchiette. (Vegan) 9/10/20

Creamy, vegan corn orecchiette

This creamy pasta dish has no dairy in it  at all as long as you exchange the butter for oil and omit the parmesan cheese.  The creaminess is basically due to some water or vegetable stock puréed in the blender with corn kernels. The recipe comes from Melissa Clark at NYTimes Cooking. You can open it if you have a subscription to the site.

I used fresh corn but I think you could probably use defrosted frozen kernels with much less mess. I also puréed a Fresno chile along with the corn instead of using pepper flakes which gave the sauce an orange-y look, kind of like lobster sauce. I also feel like you could use regular onion and save the scallions for garnish.

I have to admit that it was a little sweet for my taste although the Fresno chile toned it down somewhat. Would I make it again? Hmmm…having creaminess was nice and John liked it, so maybe I’ll try it again with the alterations I mention above.

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