Election Week Dinners
This meal plan isn’t really about the election, it’s about planning a regular week of dinners at home. But I couldn’t help to think that on Tuesday night I want a comforting and easy night. I don’t talk politics on my blog or social media channels, and I’m so thankful my sweet readers and followers don’t talk about it there either. For me, food is love and joy, memories of travels, time with family and a way to celebrate or commemorate. I respect a huge pendulum of opinions, because that is what’s represented in my own family. But my mission with Smart in the Kitchen to twofold: To help you pull off family dinner during the week and teach you how to cook. To that end, here’s a week’s worth of meals.
Halloween is behind us! Yay! Even though it’s most likely going to be more mellow this year, I’ll be happy to pack it up. We had weeknight chili last night and hopefully there are leftovers for quick lunches during the week. For dinner, I’m thinking kale and white bean minestrone. With a comforting tomato base, this soup hides a boatload of veggies. All three of my kids like this, especially when I serve it with toasted crusty bread that’s been slathered in butter and Maldon sea salt.
Butternut squash ravioli with a sage brown butter sauce. I’m using store bought butternut squash ravioli from Trader Joe’s, so this is a super easy dinner. I like to sauté spinach in the same pot that I cook the brown butter sauce. Just pour out the sauce on the warm ravioli and then quickly sauté some greens. Or follow this recipe.
Lamb ragu. It’s easy to prepare, comforting and cozy. Serve over parmesan polenta, pasta or mashed potatoes. I like this with roasted brussels sprouts or broccolini on the side.
My kids have a busy afternoon of dentist appointments and sports practices. Since I’ll be running them around, I’m putting teriyaki chicken thighs in the slow cooker and serving with broccoli and rice.
Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken Thighs
- 6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2-inch piece ginger, minced on a microplaner
- 1/2 cup soy sauce or tamari (or coconut aminos to keep soy-free)
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil (toasted or regular)
- 2 teaspoons avocado oil, or other neutral oil
- 3 tablespoons mirin
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar (optional)
- Sesame seeds and green onions for garnish
- Serve with steamed rice and broccoli
In the morning: Pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. In a bowl or casserole dish, add together the garlic, ginger, soy sauce and sesame oil. Add the chicken thighs and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate all day; you can also prepare the marinade and add the chicken the night before.
SLOW COOKER: 2 hours before you want to eat dinner, add the marinated chicken, 2 tablespoons of the marinade, mirin and sugar (if using) to your slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 1 1/2-2 hours. You can also add the broccoli florets now, or just steam them later.
INSTANT POT: 15 minutes before you want to cook dinner, in the base of your IP add the chicken thighs and 2 tablespoons of the marinade, mirin and sugar (if using). You can add the broccoli florets now or steam later. Seal the lid and cook on poultry setting on high for 8 minutes. Release steam and serve.
Come and take it! I know we’ll have plenty of leftovers from the week, and my freezer is overflowing with food. When we have odds and ends of leftovers to use up, I’ll make a big green salad tossed with super simple salad dressing and then let everyone fight over their favorite leftover. I have an Instagram Live today with Happy Earth Compost to talk about composting and cutting down on waste in the kitchen. Tune in at 2:30pm central!
I have a 40th birthday cooking class tonight, so I’m feeding the kids a simple early dinner of salsa verde chicken tacos. Avocado, pico de gallo and cheese on the side.
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