Thursday Things I Love: FOOD

I’ve really enjoyed the menu I put together for this week. It’s been healthful, fun to make, and even better to eat. I’ve been cooking mostly out of The Smitten Kitchen cookbook which I highly recommend you grab yourself a copy of asap. It’s full of delicious recipes that your family is sure to enjoy. I’ve included some photos of the things I’ve made out of the SK cookbook, but I won’t be able to link to any of those recipes. Everything that I made from Pinterest, however, I’ll link up for you to Pin and enjoy later!

Take a bite, I mean, take a look!

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Vegan Sticky Sesame Cauliflower “Wings” with Black Bean and Pineapple Rice

Ok, I was super skeptical of the cauliflower wings, mostly because I feel like a lot of these recipes that try to make cauliflower taste like mash potatoes or chocolate cake or whatever are just the worst. Buuuut. The picture on Pinterest won me over and WOW, let me tell you, was this a great recipe! It does take some work to dip each bite in the batter, but following the instructions pays off big time.

I paired it with my favorite rice recipe from one of the best cookbooks I’ver ever owned – Supermarket Vegan. Even if you aren’t vegan, this cookbook is fabulous for those who are looking for tasty but inexpensive ways to get more veggies into your diet. 

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I made Emmentaler grilled cheese on Rye bread from the SK cookbook and paired it with this recipe for Vegan Slow Cooker Butternut Squash soup. This soup was fantastic! I followed the directions except for one thing: I pre-cooked the squash. I received new knives for Christmas (yay!) and they are so crazy sharp. I may or may not have been having a difficult time adjusting to how sharp they are and the idea of trying to peel my butternut squash with said knives seemed like a perfect way to loose a finger. So I baked them in their shells for 45 minutes and then just scooped out the squash and added it to the crock pot when they were done. No fingers lost.

Also, grilled cheese on Rye bread blew my mind. So good. And the red onion reduction that SK paired with the Emmentaler cheese was a stroke of genius. I had two sandwiches and didn’t regret it one bit. Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

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I made this Spicy Kale and Quinoa Salad for my lunches this week. I prepped and cooked all the ingredients on Monday morning and stored them separately in the fridge, tossing individual portions together every day at lunchtime. Easy. Good for me. Delicious. One note: I didn’t realize it until I started to make it that this site is no-oil which I don’t agree with from a culinary or health point of view (your body cannot absorb nutrients from your salad without the fat as a “carrier”). So I added oil to my dressing. You do what you want with that information.

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Cranberry bars from SK. The perfect blend of tangy and sweet!

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Avocado Tartine from SK. This recipe was so easy and so delicious that I plan on adding this to my regular rotation. I’m telling you guys, get this cookbook!

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Last week on Instagram, I asked those of you with little ones to share your best tips and tricks for staying organized. One of my friends told me she makes a big pot of soup and a roasted chicken at the beginning of every week and I thought that was so smart. Our local Aldi had these lovely whole chickens on sale for a great price so I picked one up and made a traditional Roast Chicken for our Sunday evening meal.

I loved the simplicity of this meal. Again, this was an easy recipe to make with basic ingredients. I cooked it in my cast iron skillet because that makes everything better. My family raved over the meal, and I was happy to have some leftovers to turn into other things for Mike and the boys’ lunches the following few days.

I paired the meal with one of my favorite side dishes for them/main dish for me: homemade mac and cheese. I don’t really follow a recipe anymore. I make your basic roux, cook a box of good pasta, add some veggies to the cooking pasta towards the end, and blend it all together with one-three cheeses. I baked it in the oven for about 15 minutes just to give the top that special crispy cheese quality that we all know and love. Processed with VSCO with m5 presetfile_001

Winter is such a great time for comfort foods, but it’s always a balancing act for me to deliver meals that are comforting to my sometimes-meat-eating family and this non-meat eater who cooks all the meals. It works well to treat meat as a side dish, not the main course. I once read that a helpful way to get more veggies and whole grains into your diet is to look at meat as a condiment – you add it sparingly to your meals – instead of allowing it to take center stage each and every night. Of course, as a vegetarian who still cooks meat for her family, I like this approach. You do you.

This week I had a lot of fun trying new recipes, and it was so helpful to plan out my lunches instead of just counting on leftovers to get me through. Good thing, because with this meal plan, leftovers were few and far between. 😉

Ok, your turn! What mealtime inspiration do you have for me?

Oh, and in other cooking related news. I’ve been watching Chef’s Table on Netflix and feeling all sorts of inspired! What a beautifully done show. Have you seen it?

One thought on “Thursday Things I Love: FOOD

  1. Love all the meal ideas! We have always been weekly meal planners. If we don’t do it, we just find ourselves eating expensive, unhealthy foods way too often.

    Two of our newest challenges are trying to get in at least one vegan meal per week and making two ultra quick (15 min or less) meals since I teach GED classes two nights a week. Anything healthy that can be done in the crock pot or made ahead is a winner.

    Tuesday I made this enchilada casserole for us to eat Wednesday night. We’ve stuck to the recipe before, but this time I added corn, used whole wheat tortillas and used queso fresco instead of goat cheese because it sounded better at the time. It’s delicious and I’m excited for leftovers at lunchtime!

    http://kiwiandbean.com/make-ahead-enchilada-casserole/

    Please keep sharing meal ideas! i always love to see what other people are making 🙂

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