After a delicious dinner out it is time to get back to eating correctly. Friday’s dinner was heavy on the vegetables and light on the turkey sausage. I started the vegetables in a pre-heated 425F oven 15 minutes before adding the already cooked turkey sausage and then cooked everything together for an additional 10 minutes. The vegetables were lightly oiled and salted to help with the browning.
The sauce consisted of some whole grain mustard and Dijon mustard, lemon juice, olive oil, parsley, and shallot. We thinned it out a bit with a dash of water. It added a nice mustard-y zing to the vegetables and the meat. Pretty soon it will be too warm to be heating up the oven to make these sheet pan dinners but I am thinking that maybe the grill would work just as well.
I love Pasta Wednesday! And I can probably spin out a different variety of pasta, mushrooms and vegetable indefinitely! John and I have really grown to prefer the taste of whole grain pasta (Barilla) and it is better for us, so win-win. Always cook pasta in water salted so it tastes like the ocean as the TV chefs say. This is good advice if you live near a coast but middle America is probably wondering, wha? Plus drain it just short of done because you are going to put it in the pan with the vegetables and cook it a little more.
Here is our routine for Pasta Wednesday. I cut up all the veggies while John fills and salts the water, weighs out our portion (3 oz. of pasta each), and gets out all the things I have a hard time reaching in our cabinets like pepper flakes, oregano, and olive oil. He brings the water to a boil while I cook the mushrooms, onion, and kale stems. When the mushrooms and onions are cooked enough he puts the pasta in for six or seven minutes. I put the spices in with the veg. With two minutes to go on the pasta I add the kale leaves. He drains the pasta reserving at least a half cup of pasta water and drops the penne into my veg. I stir it all around over medium-high heat and add the pasta water and a little olive oil and we are done.
This dinner comes together in about 15 minutes and always tastes great. John garnishes his with toasted pine nuts, parmesan cheese, and additional olive oil. I do not have the luxury of adding extra calories so I have mine without the embellishments. It tastes really good anyway.
This dinner was supposed to be made and eaten on Monday but, my bad, we decided we would rather have popcorn and drinks for supper yesterday. So the salmon got pushed to today and we have decided to eliminate the flank steak this week. We are also going out to dinner on Thursday and will not be making the kale and white bean stew. Sometimes you just have to be flexible! We will move those two dinners to next week.
John used his start-in-a-cold-pan-after-brining technique for the salmon. It is supposed to eliminate the albumin from seeping out. It worked on John’s piece but not on mine so the salmon is not as pretty as it might be. I made a sauce Grabiche to go with it. It is supposed to be an oil and Dijon mustard based sauce but I used light mayonnaise instead of oil because I could control the calories better with it. There are also capers, cornichons, tarragon, vinegar, and parsley in it. It also features a chopped up hard boiled egg.
The cauliflower rice recipe was billed as Mediterranean, not sure why. Maybe because it has lemon and almonds in it. We did not use any real rice and the dish kind of suffered due to it. If I make it again I’ll make the rices 50/50. The recipe is from the website Cookie + Kate https://cookieandkate.com/mediterranean-cauliflower-rice-recipe/.
In any case John and I enjoyed the dinner. The salmon is full of healthy omega-3 fat, the total carbohydrates are low, and the overall dinner tasted good!
Because I am never satisfied with the same-old same-old for our Sunday night Breakfast For Dinner, I made a veggie stir-fry with real egg noodles.
To make my egg noodles I sprayed a frying pan with butter spray and then added two thoroughly whipped eggs. I left the eggs alone for a couple of minutes and then moved my disc of eggs around to make sure it was not sticking. Using a wide spatula I flipped it over and cooked it for maybe 30 seconds on the other side and then slid it off onto a plate.
For vegetables I used carrots, mushrooms, celery, onion, garlic, broccoli, and kale and seasoned them with some soy sauce and a little stock. To finish the dish I put the veg in a bowl, topped that with rolled up and noodle-sliced eggs, dropped on a tablespoon of peanuts, and gave the whole thing a good squirt of sriracha.
Since I have been super serious about staying on my diet this past week, I have gotten back and a little below my goal weight. This is a reason for celebration! Wait, hold on, Beebamom, don’t undo all the good you have done this week, just make the meals a little more exciting.
Presenting my “a little more exciting” weekly menu!
Since Saturday dinner is usually leftovers I used our leftover rice from Friday and stretched it by adding an equal amount of cauliflower rice and then enhancing it with red bell pepper, onions, garlic, jalapeño, and a little spicy salsa. It turned out really well and tasted mostly like rice and less like cauliflower. John cooked the shrimp in a lightly oiled pan for 3 minutes on the first side and then turned the heat to low and cooked the other side for around 2 minutes. It is important not to overcook your shrimp! While he was spending 5 minutes cooking the shrimp I took care of the snow peas. I cooked them briefly in a smidge of butter and a little water, covered for the first two minutes and then uncovered for the other three.
John said the snow peas were quite the star of the dinner. (I think that it was because i used that smidge of butter.) Everything was really tasty, though, and I really could have eaten twice as much. Since portion size is always my problem it is best if we do not make too much!!
On Friday we used Tuscan kale grown by our daughter in the community garden as a base for our delicious Afghani red lentils. This simple and homey dish cooks in about 15 minutes and is tasty and nutritious. I garnished mine with a dollop of non-fat Greek yogurt and sriracha but to keep it vegan skip the yogurt.
Heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a medium sauce pan. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and saute for about 5 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the salt, turmeric, cumin, cayenne and let them cook in the pan briefly and then add the lentils and broth, stir and turn the heat up to high. When the liquid boils, turn the heat down to a simmer, cover and cook until the lentils are very tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice and adjust salt if needed Serve with a spoonful of plain yogurt (or not) and rice, greens,warm pita or nan bread.
John bought some bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs to grill and I decided that I would be better off with some of my Costco precooked chicken breast warmed through with a little BBQ sauce. I laid my slices on cauliflower rice. With the oven at 425F convect I cooked all the vegetables on a sheet pan for 25 minutes. They were simply seasoned with olive oil and salt. The vegetables were delicious and the chicken was fine. John’s grilled chicken thighs looked pretty spectacular but I was totally happy with my dinner.
Pasta Wednesday is one of my favorite dinner nights. We usually make vegetarian or vegan pasta. Sometimes it’s pasta and greens, or broccolini, or broccoli like tonight’s. It almost always includes mushrooms, onions, and garlic. The sauce is a little pasta water and a couple of teaspoons of olive oil. Simple, quick, delicious.
For Taco Tuesday John pan-roasted some Pacific cod with a dusting of spices, we heated up a can of black beans with some spicy salsa, and I cut up a mango and made a watermelon, mint, cucumber, red onion, and feta salad with a lime juice/olive oil dressing. Between the garnish of cilantro on the tacos and the mint in the salad, our dinner was kind of a Mexican-Greek combination. This was plenty of healthy food for a small investment of time and calories.