Dinners for the Week Ahead
Hi everyone! I definitely need an easy meal plan this week. We’re trying to resume to a normal routine over here after an emotional past week. Homework, emails and work piled up after we paused life for a few days. After a drive to A&M to say goodbye to our sweet dog Thursday, we took some time off and went out to our farm in Fayetteville. It was so soothing and peaceful to be in a quiet setting. I’m thinking of you all and the hard thing you might be going through right now. And really, aren’t we all collectively going through something hard together? Hello pandemic! Try to find the blessing or silver lining in that hard thing. I know, for us, we feel extremely grateful for the past decade with our loyal and sweet companion by our side, grateful for the care he received from the vets at A&M and so thankful to have each other to laugh and cry with. Here’s to a good week ahead. Let’s all share some love with the people in our lives we care about, whether that’s a phone call, an extra long hug, a good laugh or a home cooked meal.
This afternoon, I hosted a sweet group of National Charity League high schoolers for a Zoom cooking class. We made a creamy tomato soup that I can’t wait to have for dinner. Here’s the recipe since the tomato soup on my site is a dairy-free Whole30 version. Tonight we’re going whole hog cream-based soup and grilled cheese. We also made a batch of cranberry oatmeal energy bites to have for snacks this week.
Creamy Tomato Soup Serves 4-6
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 shallots, thinly sliced
2 carrots, sliced
3 garlic cloves, smashed and roughly chopped
2 28-ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes (preferably organic)
2 tablespoons sugar, or less to taste (I use organic cane sugar)
Black pepper, freshly ground
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 ½ cups chicken or vegetable stock
8 basil leaves, cut in a chiffonade
1/2 cup half and half (optional)
In a large pan, warm the olive oil until shimmery. Add the shallot and sauté over medium heat until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Add the carrot and garlic and stir.
Add the tomatoes and their juices, sugar, pepper and salt. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Turn to a simmer and cover for 15 minutes.
Use an immersion blender or Vitamix to puree the soup, being careful not to burn yourself from the steam. Add the herbs after soup is mostly pureed and then add the basil and hit the soup a couple more times with the immersion blender.
Stir in the cream, taste the soup and add more salt if necessary.
Finish with a sprinkling of Maldon sea salt.
Egg roll bowls for dinner. This is a quick vegetarian stir fry packed with flavor. I’ll make some steamed edamame for kids to nosh on while I’m cooking. Once everything is chopped and ready, this comes together very fast.
Grilled chicken Caesar salad. If you’re making this for younger kids who won’t want chicken mixed up with salad, serve them grilled chicken, Caesar salad on the side and some steamed broccoli. The recipe on my site doesn’t include the chicken, so here’s a good basic chicken breast recipe to use (except use boneless chicken, easier to eat over salad greens). If you prefer, you can top your salad with simple roasted salmon instead. Squeeze some fresh lemon over everything on your plate and add a sprinkling of Maldon sea salt. The recipe that’s linked above is for Caesar salad with romaine, but I also love the dressing tossed with shredded kale.
Instant Pot butter chicken (and it’s keto to boot!). Serve with basmati rice or steamed cauliflower rice. For a side, try roasted okra. Instead of za’atar, sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon each of coriander, cumin and a little turmeric. Add some cracked pepper and roast away.
I want something super easy for dinner tonight. If you haven’t ever seen my post on “cheater” Trader Joe’s dinners, check it out. I’m thinking pan-fried cauliflower gnocchi form TJ’s with sun-dried tomato pesto (or just crack open a jar of Rao’s!).