Happy Sunday! I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving. Whether it was a large group or small, you had turkey or tofu, and were at home or elsewhere, gathering around a table for a shared meal is always a beautiful thing. I look forward to it every single year. So much to be thankful for…
we decided I informed my family we were skipping the turkey and doing a pork tenderloin. My immediate family didn’t mind as they don’t care much for turkey and certainly don’t love the leftovers so that was an easy decision. As for the guests, it’s best to give them a head’s up on the main dish switch-a-roo upon extending the invitation. Expectations and traditions run deep. We still did several of the traditional sides and everyone around the table was pretty satisfied with the dinner. Actually, it was one of the best Thanksgiving meals I’ve ever had thanks to a great collaboration from our guests. I’ll share some of the recipes soon as they would make an excellent Christmas or holiday dinner.
And here we are- Thanksgiving all wrapped up and the first of December is not for many more days. It’s the biggest gift of the season- a bonus week! It can be a crazy time of year with lots of additional commitments, gatherings, festive parties, etc. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with a long list of to dos. For me, old school paper lists are the way to keep the crazy to a minimum. Similarly, a meal calendar posted in my kitchen gives me a sense of calm. Just knowing what we are having for dinner in the week ahead allows me to end each day with a little sanity, even if the day was a little nutty.
Below is what I have planned for this week. Days where I’m not planning on cooking are for leftovers or we use our freezer and pantry for something quick and easy. Go to meals for us include: bean and cheese tostadas, frozen Amy’s burritos, frozen Trader Joe’s pizza as well as TJ’s Mandarin orange chicken with frozen broccoli and rice. These items are almost always on hand and have saved us dozens of times from the more expensive and less healthy option of take out or delivery.
Have a great week!
Curried Red Lentil and Swiss Chard with Garbanzo Beans
This is a super easy, healthy and satisfying meal. It calls for curry powder but has little to no heat. I add the full amount of cayenne and it still isn’t spicy. The plain/Greek yogurt is key for this dish. My kids all eat it and it fills them up so much that they don’t “need” a bowl of cereal an hour later. I’m sure that just happens in our household though… A few things: I add chopped carrot and saute with the onions, feel free to also chop the chard stems and add here as well, add 3 minced garlic cloves with the spices, and only add the chopped swiss chard in the last 5 minutes of cooking. Enjoy!
This is SO good! A huge hit and on regular rotation with my family. The Thai Kitchen brand has rice noodles and they can be found at Safeway or Amazon (6 box pack). You can easily leave out the shrimp (I cut each piece of shrimp into 3 pieces before sauteing) and add more veggies- I always add red bell pepper. Low-sodium soy sauce is a must and coconut oil is a great substitution for the grapeseed/high heat oil. Biggest tip for cooking this dish- have all ingredients prepped and ready, including the egg/sesame oil mixture. You can easily overcook or burn each step if you’re not ready with prepped ingredients. Trust me.
Cobb Salad (copied from earlier post!)
This has been a staple in our home for over 10 years. When the kids were little I began by making a deconstructed Cobb salad for them- basically putting chopped up hard-boiled egg, bacon, avocado, tomatoes and chicken right on their high chair tray. As they got older I’d make little piles on their plates (no foods touching each other, of course) and finally graduated into tossing all the components together with the lettuce and dressing and they gobbled it right up. I always left the crumbled goat or blue cheese on the side for anyone that wanted it. I tried to always stick to a rule that when we were eating tossed salads, stir fry, or other foods that had many ingredients all mixed up, that they could pick out one ingredient but had to eat the rest. I do believe this helped them to eat or at least try new foods when they would have otherwise turned their nose up to it. This trick might have ended up with food being thrown from a high chair or booster but for the most part it was a successful rule!
For this salad, I try to prep some of these ingredients on the weekend, in the morning or at least in the afternoon so that putting it all together in the evening is a piece of cake. You’ll need the following components:
Chopped romaine lettuce, sliced hard boiled egg, chopped tomato, crumbled bacon, diced rotisserie chicken, sliced avocado, and crumbled goat or blue cheese. Toss in a large bowl with the dressing below or a store-bought vinaigrette.
2 tablespoons vinegar (apple cider, champagne, red wine or balsamic)
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of sugar or drizzle of maple syrup or honey
¼ teaspoon salt and a pinch of ground pepper
½ tablespoon mayonnaise
¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
Shake ingredients in jar or plastic container with tight fitting lid.