What We're Cooking for Dinner This Week
If you were to look at the past several months of our meal plans, you would see that we got into a dinner rut — cooking a variation on the same thing week after week. The positive side to that kind of repetition is that the cooking became second nature and we got very efficient, but ultimately we were burnt out. We were tired of tacos, and the kids couldn't stomach another chicken dish. It was boring.
Zach kicked off a meal planning refresh with a few (very rare) last-minute dinner plans that mostly included the grill, and many included fish. It was so, so good. There was fallout with that kind of diversity, however. Most of our kids did not like the kind of adventure we were craving. So, I had to dial it back a bit this week and throw in a few different, but kid-approved dishes to make everyone happy.
So, here's where we ended up.
Sunday: Pasta with roasted summer vegetables and basil
The pasta is a kid-pleaser, for sure, and it's quick and easy. The roasted vegetables make me feel better, and since they are "summer" vegetables, I felt a little less terrible about turning on the oven on an 80-degree-plus day. A little extra cheese and pepper give this dish some added flavor. Overall, it was a success. You can find the recipe here.
Monday: Chicken Tikka Masala
This one is for Jack. His favorite dishes are ramen and tikka masala — the boy loves big flavors, and he is usually my biggest complainer when I make "another chicken dish." Similar to the oven roasting on Sunday, it felt a little odd to be pulling out the slow cooker on a warm summer day, but the dish was delicious, and Jack ate the leftovers for lunch too. #worthit Our recipe came from the Williams-Sonoma Quick Slow Cooking cookbook, and you can find the online version here. (Note: the 24-hour marinade really does make a difference.)
Tuesday: Burrito Bowls
It's not tacos, but we can't seem to veer too far from the taco concept in our meal planning. This Jenny Rosenstrach-inspired dish riffs on Chipotle, and I am totally OK with that. It's as simple as it sounds, and always wins.
The kids had mac 'n cheese, and Zach and I had a highly unusual weeknight out.
Thursday: Jerk Chicken and a watermelon and cucumber salad
I clearly hit up my Martha Stewart Everyday Food cookbook for inspiration this week. I also have this version, and I frequently go back to them when I need solid recipes. They are often simple and good — perfect for a weeknight meal. This dish was all about my desire to eat summer-feeling food every day (especially after a couple nights of pasta and slow cooker.)
Friday: Moo Shu Pork
I chose this dish as a way to say sorry to my family for making them eat chicken dishes 300+ days out of the year. I don't eat red meat or pork, so we usually default to chicken. Sorry, guys. We made this one earlier in the week (switched the menu up a bit), and it was OK. Not great. The kids liked it, but I am not sure I would make it again.
Saturday: Grilled Pizza
In the summer, we like to take our Trader Joe's pizza dough out to the grill to get a nice char on it and then bring it inside to add toppings and finish it in the oven. It seems to get the best mix of grill char and melty toppings, but if we're tired or lazy, we will stick to either the grill or oven. I am currently loving my pizza with pesto and heirloom tomatoes.
So there you have it. This was our week in cooking. Some hits, a miss or two. All in all, it was a change of pace, and that was good.
Middle image: Williams-Sonoma