Category Archives: what’s for dinner

What’s for Dinner Wednesday

We are currently snowed in, which is giving me a lot of time to think about FOOD.  Here’s a quick peek at this week’s menu:

MONDAY:  Turkey Sausage and Mushroom Ragu  (LOVE this recipe!!!)
TUESDAY:  leftovers (work in PDX)
WEDNESDAY:  Poached Salmon, Broccolini sauteed with garlic and chili flake, Winter Wheat Berry Salad (*I will sub sweet potato/cranberries for the carrots/raisins in this recipe)
THURSDAY:  Trader Joe’s Curry in a Hurry (work in PDX)
FRIDAY:  Celebrating my husband’s birthday with dinner at Henni’s Kitchen

That’s what’s for dinner around here.  You should head over to A Collection of Passions to check out my friend Kacie’s monthly (!) meal planning posts… so inspiring.


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What’s For Dinner???

Is it really time to plan out the week???  Yikes.  Here we go…

Firstly, if you haven’t discovered Trader Joe’s Curry Sauces, you’re in for a treat (if you don’t live near a Trader Joe’s, I’m really REALLY sorry).  It’s the easiest weeknight meal ever, which I will get to below.  Secondly, as the weather has turned, I have busted out my America’s Test Kitchen, Slow Cooker Revolution book.  No, I’m not endorsed by them (I WISH), but it is my go-to during the winter months when I am working, so grab yourself a copy if you want to follow along (sidebar: No, you do not have to follow every complicated step offered in the book, just use it as a guide, people!).

Here’s my plan for this week (11/7-11/11), feel free to follow along or steal whatever works for you, again, this is mostly a way to keep myself accountable (and to avoid ordering take-out Thai food every single night of the week).

MONDAY: Pad See Ew (recipe HERE.  I buy most of my ingredients at the Lily Market in Portland).
TUESDAY:  Easy Trader Joe’s Chicken Curry & Jasmine Rice  (Directions below)
WEDNESDAY:  Chicken Vesuvio (ATK Slow Cooker Revolution, pg 83) and P-Dub’s Roasted Asparagus
THURSDAY:  Tuna Melts & Tomato Bisque (TJ’s stopped carrying my go-to bisque…sigh….I will be canning THIS soon).
FRIDAY:   Off to Bend to celebrate our friend’s wedding.  Congrats Jeff & Tina!!!!


Trader Joe’s Easy Curry in a Hurry
2 large frozen chicken breasts
1 cup baby carrots, cut in half
12 ounces baby potatoes (any variety), cut in half
1 cup frozen peas, rinsed
1 jar (11 oz) Trader Joe’s Yellow Curry Sauce (whatever jarred sauce you have available will work)
chopped green onion, cilantro, peanuts, and Sriracha for garnish
jasmine rice

Directions:  Empty jar of curry sauce into the slow cooker, with potatoes and carrots.  Add frozen chicken breasts, turning over once or twice to coat in the sauce.  Cook on low for up to 8 hours (ideally, you would cook them for 4-6 hours, but who works for 4 hours?!  If you DO cook them for a shorter period, nuke the potatoes in the microwave for a couple minutes before adding to cooker, as they will still be tough after only 4 hours).  When chicken is done, cut into bite sized pieces, stir in peas, and let them warm through.  Serve over rice with your choice of garnish.  **If you find that you are short on sauce or that it is too spicy, cut it with a little coconut milk or chicken broth.




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Photo Credit: Gina's Skinny Recipes

So, I’ve been a total slacker on my WFD posts.  I won’t bore you with excuses (although I have many…and they’re all totally legitimate… mostly totally legitimate), but now that I’m back to work, it’s time to get organized in the kitchen.  My friend, Kacie, is a rockstar about posting her meal plans.  She is my inspiration, as she posts her plans for the entire MONTH.  That’s right.  Although I can’t quite wrap my brain around that at this point, I will say that meal planning is key when trying to control your budget…not to mention your waistline.  It is nice to come home after a long day at work and know that dinner is planned.  Although not everyone is a fan of leftovers, it really helps to “recycle” meals during the work week.  So, in the vein of staying focused and accountable, here is my plan for the week of October 16-20:

Sunday:  BLT’s and TJ’s Organic Tomato Bisque (driving home from Bend)
Monday: Kacie’s Tuna Noodle Casserole with salad
Tuesday: leftovers (this is a work night for me)
Wednesday:  Slow Cooker Santa Fe Chicken
Thursday:  Tacos, using the Wednesday leftovers (work night)
Friday:  date night!


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Ok peeps….here’s what’s going on in the kitchen this week.  It’s a busy one, so the goal is: fresh and simple.

Monday: Whole Wheat Penne Pasta w/ Organic Pesto, Cherry Tomatoes, and Grilled Salmon
Tues/Wed: Slow Cooked Tortilla Soup and Southwest Salad
Thursday: Grilled “Caprese” Sandwiches and Tomato Bisque

Something about spring makes me crave pesto.  I’m not sure what that’s about, but I go through obscene amounts of basil every May.  In addition to growing my own (still waiting for it to get warm out there), I like to hit up Trader Joe’s for their basil plants and ginormous organic packages.  Following the ratios from 101 Cookbooks, I make extra to keep in the fridge for later in the week.   Confession:  I do not chop it by hand (like an Italian grandmother should), I use the food processor–which takes approximately 8 seconds.  I also toast the pine nuts and garlic before throwing them in.

Whole Wheat Penne Pasta with Organic Pesto, Cherry Tomatoes, and Grilled Salmon

Source:  Basil Recipe
List:  6 oz basil, 3/4 cup parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup pine nuts, cherry tomatoes, salmon fillets, olive oil, 1 package whole wheat penne

Heat up the grill and start the pasta water.  Process the pesto ingredients.  Cook penne according to directions and toss with pesto (use reserved pasta water to loosen up the sauce).  Meanwhile, pat the salmon fillets dry with a paper towel, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Grill over med-high heat for 2-3 minutes per side.  Chunk up the salmon and toss it in the pasta.
TIP:  don’t buy pre-shredded parmesan–get a slab o’ cheese and grate as you need it!  So good.

Tortilla Soup and Southwest Salad
Source:  soup: ATK Slow Cooker Revolution, pg 11, salad: NOSH
List:  3 tomatoes, 1 onion, 2 jalapeno peppers, garlic, chipotle in adobo sauce, tomato paste, 8 cups chicken broth, cilantro, 1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, tortilla chips, avocado, cheese, sour cream

This is something that I make after working a 14 hour day, when I don’t want to think about cooking.  I am using the term “Caprese” lightly, as I’ll be subbing Extra Sharp White Cheddar for fresh Mozzarella in the sandwiches (I’m too tired to go to the store).  I keep TJ’s Organic Tomato Bisque on hand for these types of emergencies, it is d-to the-licious.
Grilled “Caprese” Sandwiches and Tomato Bisque
Smear the left-over pesto on your bread slices, layer with cheese and tomato, then grill.  Serve with a bowl of Tomato Bisque.  Next, pour yourself a big old glass of wine, it’s almost Friday!


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Firstly, thanks to all my Facebook peeps for commenting on last week’s post!  I loved hearing your dinnertime plans.  Keep ’em coming!!!

After many discussions, I’ve decided to change my strategery.  Some of my friends work outside of the home, others are stay at home moms, but what they ALL request is this:  a quick and easy weekly meal plan WITH a shopping list.  Because most of you hard working moms only have one day to shop, I’ve compiled lists, so you can do your shopping on the weekend.  (I’m trying to create printable lists, but blogger makes it tough…grrrr.  I need tech support!)

The pantry:  I’ve included ALL items on the list(s) because I don’t know what YOU need.  Read through the recipes and shopping lists to determine what you need to grab at the store this weekend.  Obviously, there are probably a lot of things that you already have in the pantry.

Recipe Sources:  I’ll try to find most of the recipes online, or share my own with you.  However, there are two books that are always my go-to’s:  ATK’s Family Cookbook and ATK’s Slow Cooker Revolution (a GREAT book, especially when you work all day and just want dinner to be done when you get home).  I will reference these a lot.  So go get ’em.

My goal is to do a meal planner a couple times per month, so let me know what you think.  *Recurring ingredients are highlighted* 

SUNDAY: Curried Quinoa with Chicken and Peas

Source: The $5 Mom’s One Dish Dinners
List: 1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
red onion, garlic
15 oz can diced tomato
curry powder
chili powder
chicken broth (2 cups)
quinoa (1 cup)
12 oz bag frozen peas

*TIP:  freeze leftover chicken broth in a freezer bag

MONDAY and TUESDAY:  Loaded Baked Potato Soup with green salad

Source: ATK Slow Cooker Revolution, pg 30
List: 3 lbs Russet Potatoes
Chicken Broth (4 cups)
yellow onion
heavy cream (1/2 cup)
bacon (TJ’s Fully Cooked, Uncured)
cheddar cheese
green onions
salad fixings

WEDNESDAY:  Southwestern BLTA’s and Mixed Green Salad

Source:  NOSH
List: bacon
sour cream, mayo
chipotle peppers in adobo
garlic, chili powder
salad fixings

southwestern dressing recipe (for sandwich):

1/3 cup Sour Cream
1/3 cup Mayo
2 Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce, seeds removed
Half of a lime, squeezed
1 large garlic clove, crushed
1/4 teaspoon Chili Powder
Salt to taste
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth.  Assemble your sandwich, using bacon, lettuce, tomato, and avocado (use the back of a spoon to slightly mash the avocado into the bread), use the SW dressing on your other slice of toasted bread.
*TIP:  freeze leftover chipotle peppers (in groups of two) in freezer bags

THURSDAY:  Baja Fish Tacos and Black Beans
This is the quick and dirty version for a work night.
Frozen Beer Battered Halibut Fillets (TJ’s)
La Tortilla Factory Handmade Corn Tortillas
Southwestern Dressing (left over from BLT’s)
diced tomato
cotija or feta cheese
black beans

Simmer beans (in their liquid) for about 20 minutes,  with a handful of cilantro stems (leaves removed), a clove of crushed garlic, salt and pepper.  Remove cilantro stems before serving.
Tacos:  Bake halibut, then cut into chunks.  Build tacos with preferred ingredients.

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Inspired by The Pleated Poppy’s  What I Wore Wednesday postings,  I’ve decided to start my own tradition, answering the dreaded “what’s for dinner?” question.   Lately I find myself making the same things for dinner, over and over again.  Boooooooring.  It’s high time to change things up.  So, allow me to kick this off with a statement of intention:

  • Purpose: To create more accountability with my weekly meal planning.
  • Intention: To share ideas with friends and family.
  • Disclaimer:  This is NOT about food porn, nor is it intended to showcase a collection of gourmet recipes.  It is about daily life in the kitchen–the good, the bad, and the ugly.
  • If it is appearing in this post, it is something that I would definitely make again!

Figuring out what to make for dinner each night is daunting, even more so after a long day at work.  I would love for this to evolve into a collaborative effort, so please comment or reply to me with your tips and ideas!

Here’s a reflection of our dinner table last week:


Meal: Moroccan Chicken Stew, Spinach Salad
Stew Recipe:  ATK Slow Cooker Revolution, pg 47
Prep:  Easy (perfect for a work day)


Meal:  Homemade Pizza, Caesar Salad, Mayerdale Merlot
Pizza Recipe: NOSH
Prep:  The dough needs about 1.5 hrs to rise, after that it goes quickly


Meal:  Stir-Fried Shrimp and Snow Peas w/ Coconut Curry Sauce over Jasmine Rice
Recipe: ATK Healthy Family Cookbook, pg 335
Prep: Easy


Meal:  Pho Bo
Recipe:  A combo of many (I’ll post later), including this one from Steamy Kitchen.
Prep:  I simmered the broth in the slow cooker all night, and threw the rest of it together when I came home from work.  With the broth done, it was manageable on a weeknight.

Obviously I’m missing a day or two because we either went out to dinner or went to someone else’s house…or all of the above.  I should probably also apologize for my lack of photography skills,  as I was  starving when most of these were taken (and the photog of the family was already chowing down).

I showed you mine…now you show me yours!

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