America’s Next Top Family Dinner

January 6th, 2014 · 66 Comments · Dinner, Organizing, Strategizing, Planning

I just did a run-down of last year’s New Year’s Resolutions and — shocker — I barely batted 200. Still don’t drink enough water, still eat too many “incidental” French Fries off the girls’ plates, haven’t gotten any better at forcing myself to call friends instead of text them, never read The Hobbit, which was going to earn me big fun Mom points with Phoebe, which at the time was her favorite book. (I did, however, manage to see the movie — part 2 — last week, so I might just have to put that in the W column.)

It seems that the only thing I manage to accomplish every year, without even resolving to do it, is finding new healthy, one-size-fits-all recipes for the dinner rotation. In 2013, there was the ever-popular Burrito Bowl. There was the Indonesian Chicken Salad. (Which has the added bonus of being just luxurious enough for entertaining.) There was that Mongolian Tofu Stir-fry that falls into the category of Kids Won’t Touch, But I Don’t Care, It’s Just Too Good to Banish.

So the question is: Where should my 2014 Healthy Family Dinner experimenting begin? I’ve been eyeballing that Slow-Roasted Salmon with Citrus, Fennel, and Chiles in the current issue of Bon App, and I’ve been flipping (and flipping) through my go-to Feel Virtuous cookbooks shown above, but I want you guys to weigh in. I mean, it’s January after all and I know I’m not the only one attempting to lighten things up for a little while. So what’s on the menu for your family this month? What’s your favorite go-to easy family dinner that you know will be loved in the DALS house (and in the DALS community)? What’s America’s Next Top Family Dinner? Please swap thoughts in the comment field below and then…let’s all get cooking.

And since it’s not fair to just ask for your help without returning the favor, I thought I’d just share this week’s menu plan with you. I haven’t been in the habit of writing out the week in my Dinner Diary for a while, but for some reason, I’m anticipating post-vacation re-entry to be harder than usual this year (thanks to single-digit temps up here in the Northeast) and simply making a dinner road map for the week already makes me feel a little more in control. Which, of course, is all one big farce.

Anyway, the line-up:

Monday: Andy I and have plans in the city, so we won’t be home for dinner. I have leftover turkey bolognese (page 98 Dinner: A Love Story)  in the freezer, so the sitter will thaw that for the girls. (Abby will have it over pasta; Phoebe, pasta-hater still, will have it sloppy-joe style on a bun.) I’ll toss some bagged arugula with feta and a homemade vinaigrette before I leave. That will be their veg.

Tuesday: On our Sunday Shop, we bought a head of cabbage and all the ingredients for a Post-Vacation Guilt Eraser, aka Asian Cabbage Salad with Shrimp or Chicken. (We’ll use shrimp, Trader Joe’s wild frozen shrimp if we don’t have time to pick up fresh.) I’ll try to make the vinaigrette before I take off for the day. (Reminder to NY-area readers: I’m speaking at Asphalt Green at noon on Tuesday!)

Wednesday: We also bought one of Maya Kaimal’s simmer sauces, so I’ll do that with chicken and rice. What I’d really like to do is make it with tofu, but the girls disdain towards bean curd in any form remains as steadfast as it was in 2013.

Thursday: I’ve been craving Anna’s Sausage-Kale-Bean Stew. We might be out of kale by then (there was only one bunch left at the market), but I have some frozen spinach I can use, too. Will try to pick up some kind of crusty bread for the crucial sopping.

Friday Not sure yet. Usually we go out, but since we are out on Monday — and trying to bunker down a bit after all the holiday cavorting — we’ll probably stay in. We have leftover short ribs from entertaining this past weekend, but I’ll probably want that as a fall-back plan next week. In other words, I’ll leave this night in the play-it-by-ear category.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Photo credits: Salmon top right, Ditte Isager; Short Ribs bottom right, Christopher Testani.

 

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66 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Meghan // Jan 6, 2014 at 10:20 am

    For a reliable everyone-will-eat-something weeknight salad…we do what we call a “Cosmos” salad (taken from a restuarant of the same name).
    Romaine
    Roasted Potato Wedges
    Carmelized Onions (red is best, but white/yellow works)
    Flank Steak Sauteed
    Cherry Tomatos
    Ranch Dressing

    Parents eat it all, 4 year old eats everything but the onions, 2 year old eats the steak (working on adding potatoes…) You can make it as healthy or not as you want by regulating the amount of dressing & various toppings.

    This is hitting our table tonight.

  • 2 Nancy // Jan 6, 2014 at 10:21 am

    Love the Mongolian tofu stir fry. We usually add a bag of TJ’s Asian stir fry veggies and serve with brown rice. Kid won’t eat tofu, but will eat the veg and rice. The following is not “light” fare, but it’s my new mac n cheese recipe. Love that the pasta is not cooked before it goes in the oven: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/04/dining/041wrex.html

  • 3 Jennifer // Jan 6, 2014 at 10:23 am

    Beans and greens. Over rice or farro, or with pasta, or in a soup. Kale, collards, and chickpeas with chermoula; a salad of endive and escarole dipped in Tuscan-style cranberry beans, slow cooked in the oven. With Greek seasonings (feta!) or with Indian spices.

  • 4 Sarah @ Belle on Heels // Jan 6, 2014 at 10:35 am

    Mmm….that Mongolian tofu recipe was what finally got my husband to try (and love) tofu. So good.

    We’re pretty into Budget Bytes’ dal nirvana (with her homemade naan recipe), salsa chicken casserole, and taco pizza recipes. Those have become go-tos for us.

    We’re also borderline obsessed with the Amateur Gourmet’s roasted shrimp and broccoli recipe that made the rounds a few months back…

    And our current favorite…Cheeky Kitchen’s roasted steak and asparagus salad. We leave out the cheese (except for some grated Parm at the end) and this time of year, we sub Brussels sprouts for the asparagus. It’s good warm, but it’s INSANE when it’s cold.

  • 5 Kara // Jan 6, 2014 at 10:50 am

    One of my favorite healthy weeknight dinners: Melissa Clark’s roasted shrimp and broccoli. I usually make some whole-wheat couscous to round it out. It’s on our menu this week, along with the DALS California turkey burgers and spicy potato wedges!

  • 6 AnneL // Jan 6, 2014 at 10:56 am

    Pan roasted pork tenderloin (sprinkled with some spice rub first if I have time or inclination), baked sweet potato fries, roasted or steamed broccoli sriracha mayo for dipping for pork or fries for the adults and teenager – plain for the 11 year old picky eater.

  • 7 melissa // Jan 6, 2014 at 10:56 am

    After reading Mark Bittman’s column on New Years Day, I made fresh white beans and stuck them in the fridge. Ended up using them last night after being at a track meet for 8 hours! Didn’t think I had an ounce of energy to cook, but in 10 minutes, made the most delicious dinner for the family. Sauteed sausage, threw in the beans, chopped kale, halved grape tomatoes, fresh rosemary and garlic, white wine, topped with parmigiano and olive oil. Wow – So easy so fast and so delicious. Enjoy your stew on Thursday!

  • 8 Awads // Jan 6, 2014 at 11:00 am

    I cooked 3 DALS recipes over the past 3 days, and each one leant itself to a second meal (chicken in creamy tomato sauce, pork and purple cabbage in pomegranate/wine/broth, and meatballs)! i don’t think I have to cook again until Thursday, and then it’s sausage/broccoli/orechetti. Easy-peasy week :-)

  • 9 Amanda // Jan 6, 2014 at 11:01 am

    Our healthy forcing-us-to-fall-back-into-the-routine meal is a basic vegetable soup using homemade marinara as the base. Sometimes a runny cheese on the side with crusty bread accompanies this soup, but only when my husband ends up buying the ingredients.

  • 10 Scheherazade // Jan 6, 2014 at 11:05 am

    That slow-roasted salmon looks great. I just sat down to plan for the week and that is definitely making the list! Other than that, thinking an easy ratatouille and something involving kale and white beans.

  • 11 Jesse // Jan 6, 2014 at 11:17 am

    very curious about those simmer sauces. i’m always looking for short cuts like those. our dinner plan this week looks like this:
    monday: organic beef tacos with bok choy (son will eat meet, taco shell like chips and hopefully some fruit)
    tuesday: spicy chicken sausages, lentils and green beans
    wednesday: pesto totellini(tjs!) with more organic beef and some sort of sauce (?)
    thursday: indian chickpeas, roasted tofu, naan (all trader joes! seeing a theme?)
    friday: ?

    oh and for fun: http://semiweeklyeats.blogspot.com/2014/01/out-to-dinner.html

  • 12 Traci // Jan 6, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Mmmm, mmmm, and mmmmmmmm! I have a BBQ quinoa hodgepodge delight that I make–it involves andouille chicken sausage, sweet corn, lots of cilantro, red peppers, jalapenos, and garbanzo beans. So filling and flavorful that it has been coming around a lot in my kitchen lately.

  • 13 catherine // Jan 6, 2014 at 11:55 am

    our family’s go to is Chana Masala. the kids love the white fluffy naan and I try my best to skip that part and load up on the curried spinach side. http://kaleeats.blogspot.ca/2012/09/chana-masala-with-curried-spinach.html. Another family friendly is Cauliflower Farroto. Kids love the chewy grain. http://kaleeats.blogspot.ca/2013/03/cauliflower-farrotto.html#more

  • 14 Amy // Jan 6, 2014 at 11:58 am

    I made your short ribs this weekend too! They were so good, and made for some pretty yummy left overs for Sunday night dinner too. We are starting the BA Food Lovers’ Cleanse this week. Doing mostly breakfasts and dinners. I made a batch of this for weekday lunches and it turned out really good. http://farmhousedelivery.com/blog/roasted-squash-farro-salad-with-feta/
    I added a few extra herbs (chopped mint and basil), a small handful of chopped walnuts, and a little extra lemon juice to the dressing. Yum!

  • 15 Carlinne @Cook with 2 Chicks // Jan 6, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    A rice bowl is so versatile. Stir cooked rice into a pan of caramelized onions (leave some rice plain for those whose world is rocked, in a bad way, by any of the ingredients) pan seared pork tenderloin (leftover or not) cut into bite size pieces. Roast broccoli and/or bell peppers and add to the rice bowl, if desired. Serve with a side green salad. Change the rice, protein and veggie for a never ending variety!
    Love the Cosmos salad idea.

  • 16 MFree // Jan 6, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    My fall back is typically strata..breakfast for dinner is always a winner and it’s endlessly changeable. I’m also partial to smitten kitchen’s one pan farro with tomatoes.

  • 17 Kat // Jan 6, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    One of my new year’s resolutions is to cook from one of Yotam Ottolenghi’s books every week. It would be so cool if you did some recipes from Plenty!

  • 18 Molly // Jan 6, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    Mon: baked honey mustard chip theighs with corn and baked potato
    Tues: roasted cod with red pepper sauce from real simple jan. issue
    Wed: black bean burrito from same issue
    Thurs: spaghetti carbonara
    Fri: Up in the air, but it is my ground beef night (in any form). I am thinking meat loaf…..

  • 19 Beth Nesbit // Jan 6, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    We really need to try the mongolian tofu stir-fry. So far our week looks like this:
    Mon: chicken asada soft tacos with fresh tomato and corn salsa and rice.
    Tues: homemade ricotta with sauteed onions and cherry tomatoes over quinoa
    Wed: 3 bean soup (beans bought at farmer’s market on Sunday) with veggies
    Thurs: something with pork…
    Fri: hopefully home-made pizza night

  • 20 Diane // Jan 6, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    I like to get the arugula pack from the store, and throw a bunch in a bowl; add olive oil, lemon peel, juice from the entire lemon; and then add farfalle. Top with parmesan. Easy, light, and from Everyday Food. It’s a favorite when I want to eat light but still want to enjoy the meal. I can’t think farther than tonight, so I’ll have to stop there.

  • 21 A Life From Scratch // Jan 6, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    Yippee for weekly meal plans!

    http://a-life-from-scratch.com/meal-planning/

    I searched my blog for awhile to come up with that ONE perfect DALS recipe .The criteria had to encompass relatively quick made with minimal, fresh, ingredients….easy to ‘break down’ for picky eaters, if needed…etc. After a lot of soul searching I think I found it:

    http://a-life-from-scratch.com/the-perfect-50-degree-meal/

    We make it with Trader Joes naan bread (love!) and here is how we break it down:

    Husband: Sausage plain, dips the naan in the veggies and breadcrumbs.

    Logan (7): Naan, plain. Italian sausage, plain.

    Beckett (1): Sausage plain, veggies plain, naan plain but eventually all gets mixed up and of course, all over the floor :)

    Myself: Everything piled up on top of the naan.

    Oh – and I can make chicken sausage for myself and regular for the guys, perfection!

    Happy 2014 to your family!

  • 22 Ashley // Jan 6, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    I make no promises that this will cure quinoa-phobia, but if not, it will come very close. My quinoa-skeptical boyfriend can vouch for it.

    http://www.halfbakedharvest.com/creamy-caprese-quinoa-bake/

    I’ve made this multiple times on weeknights this year. It’s also delicious when heated up the next day. During farmer’s market season, I bought local basil, tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella to make it taste just that much better. Since it does have heavy cream, I’m not sure that it’s super healthy, but it packs some protein and vegetables.

  • 23 twoblueshoes // Jan 6, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    We have been LIVING on salad these last few weeks (hello from the southern hemisphere, where it is HOT!), and the stand-out winners for us so far are the soba noodle eggplant and mango salad from Plenty (probably no mango in winter, though, sorry…) and basically anything ever created by Hetty McKinnon (http://www.arthurstreetkitchen.com/). Her book is unavailable at the moment, but there’s a couple of total winner recipes of hers out there in cyberspace… the char-grilled broccoli with chickpeas is fantastic (http://thedesignfiles.net/2013/12/tasty-tuesday-char-grilled-broccoli-with-chickpeas-almonds-lemon-and-chilli/), as is the za’atar roasted carrots with kale (http://thedesignfiles.net/2013/12/tasty-tuesday-zaatar-roasted-carrots-with-kale-freekeh-and-blood-orange-maple-dressing/). Oh. My. God. Seriously amazing salads. Even my not-quite-three-year-old agrees!

  • 24 Anna // Jan 6, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    Hi Jenny!
    Here’s my plan this week:
    1. Black Bean and Quinoa Enchiladas
    2. Crockpot Salisbury Steak with roasted Brussels sprouts and potatoes
    3. Pesto Flounder with roasted tomatoes and potatoes
    4. Crockpot chicken teriyaki with broccoli
    5. Spinach and Mushroom Pizza

  • 25 Emily T // Jan 6, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    Guess who got DALS for Christmas?!

    Mon: Chili (my old recipe, but with turkey)
    Tue: Vanessa’s chicken (I made it last week and still have lots of marsacapone (sp?)) from DALS
    Wed: Fetuccini with shredded brussel sprouts from DALS
    Thurs: Quesadillas with salsa and guacamole inspired by your girls’ love of salsa
    Fri: Marcella’s bolognese from your directions

    THANKS JENNY AND ANDY for all the wonderful ideas and inspiration! Last night we all sat at the table together (OK one kid ate mostly rice) but I felt like we were really having our DALS moment.

  • 26 Dana // Jan 6, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    We did try the bon apetite slow roasted salmon and it was great. Highly recommended!

    Our menu for this week:
    Monday and Tuesday: slow braised leg of lamb in lemony broth with peas/carrots/cilantro pesto and basmati rice that I cooked Sunday night
    Wednesday: homesick texan’s mexican chorizo made with ground veal plus baked potatoe fries from DALS and a salad
    Thursday: chicken curry with veggies plus rice
    Friday: still up for debate

  • 27 Ada-Marie // Jan 6, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    I just made two Wintery hits:

    1. Giada’s beef and cannellini bean minestrone (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/beef-and-cannellini-bean-minestrone-recipe/index.html). I added ditalini while simmering. It was delish!

    2. Basically mac&cheese with broccoli and ham using mini penne, sharp white cheddar and Parm with Dijon and nutmeg. Kids devoured!!

  • 28 Steph // Jan 6, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    With all this cold weather, I’m loving my crock pot right now and my 2 favorites are:
    1) potato soup: http://www.mamalovesfood.com/2009/06/baked-potato-soup-slow-cooker-style.html
    2) ham & beans: http://www.plainchicken.com/2012/01/slow-cooker-ham-white-beans.html

    Easy and lots of yummy leftovers for lunch!

  • 29 Steph // Jan 6, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    I know I just posted a comment but I also really love these oven-baked chicken tacos: http://eatathomecooks.com/2013/08/oven-baked-chicken-tacos-our-newest-family-favorite.html

  • 30 Joanna // Jan 6, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    I have a fabulous recipe for an imitation of PF Changs chicken lettuce wraps. They are pretty much wonderful and are filling & light at the same time. Also, made in the slow cooker which is a win.

  • 31 Melissa // Jan 6, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    I live in Australia where it is ostensibly summer so my warm weather meals feel a little bit out of place here.

    I try and go meat-free (fish excepted) for weeknight dinners during January and find this lightens things up a bit – although it means a lot of pasta as these are the veg meals my husband will embrace.

    Monday: Farfalle with peas, asparagus, mint and ricotta

    Tuesday: Grilled barramundi with this lemony aubergine & potato side & leftover steamed asparagus and snap peas from Monday night.(http://www.rivercottage.net/recipes/roasted-aubergine-and-potatoes-/)

    Wednesday: expecting more aubergine & some basil in my CSA box, so will make a tomatoey-eggplant-basil-y pasta thing with wholewheat penne

    Thursday: Use chard from CSA in some sort of pasta dish (probably with preserved lemon, some caramelised onion and spelt spaghetti)

    Friday: Fish tacos and a slaw

  • 32 Jane // Jan 6, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    I sat down in front of Downton Abbey last night with a stack of cookbooks and files and came up with this http://www.marthastewart.com/313336/baked-chicken-with-onions-potatoes-garli
    from Everyday Food (RIP) for tonight’s dinner which I submit as imminently DALS-ian because it was so streamlined and customizable. I picked up a whole chicken and potatoes while my daughter was in her fiddle lesson, an hour later it was making my kitchen smell good and I had thrown the rest of the chicken in a pot with the dregs of the crisper drawer for stock. While it was cooking I had time for a glass of wine with my husband homework wrangling. When it was time to eat the kids skipped the roasted garlic and onion but ate the chicken and potatoes. Success!

  • 33 Alison // Jan 6, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    Imagine my delight when tonight my hubby made pork fried rice based on a recipe he found on this website! So, that was tonight AND it was yummy.
    Tues: chicken fajita/soft taco kind of thing
    Wed: TJ’s panko crusted tilapia ( we are addicted) topped with avocado salsa, salad, baked sweet potato wedges
    Thurs: vegan lasagna using Quorn grounds (great stuff) and homemade cashew cheese. I will be making this one up as I go along but hopes are high, as I had to give up dairy last summer
    Fri: black bean soup, homemade breadsticks
    Sat: OUT!

  • 34 Liza in Ann Arbor // Jan 6, 2014 at 10:20 pm

    My entire week was fashioned from your cookbook: butternut squash soup, kale salad, turkey chili and starter curry. You’re who I turn to when I don’t feel like searching for a new recipe. There are so many winners in DALS.

  • 35 Lisa // Jan 6, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    Love the following: http://food52.com/recipes/8531-spiced-salmon-over-coconut-lentils

    My 2-year old will take only a bite of the lentils but can’t get enough salmon; my 4-year old will protest the salmon but will have two bowls of lentils – win/win.

  • 36 Karen // Jan 6, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    We made the Charred Corn Salad from “For the Love of Salad” by Jeanelle Mitchell more times than I am able to count this past summer, and it is easy to throw in whatever protein is on the grill, or just add some black beans. http://www.shutterbean.com/2011/charred-corn-salad/

  • 37 natalie // Jan 6, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    My week (cooking for husband and I)
    M: Husband makes Skillet Mushroom Pasta (with added broccoli and sausage) from the Cook’s Illustrated Skillet Cookbook. We make this probably every other week, and it’s always good, fast, easy. You gotta love when pasta, sauce, meat, and veg cook together in one skillet.

    T: Sauteed shrimp and roasted broccoli. An old standby for quick healthy dinner. The broccoli is the barefoot contessa recipe. The shrimp is no recipe in particular, just flavored with butter and whatever spices.

    W: We get home laaaaate, so dinner is Cassoulet in the Crock Pot, from the Slow Cooker Revolution cookbook.

    Th: Either cassoulet leftovers, or Chicken Taco Salad. The key is chipotle ranch dressing – mix some minced chipotle, some of the adobo sauce, and some lime juice with ranch dressing to taste.

    F: Whichever option we didn’t use Thursday.

    Sa: Some sort of Thai curry with pork, either red or massaman, depending on whether I have time to go to the store for red curry paste.

    Su: FINALLY OUT TO EAT

  • 38 Terita // Jan 6, 2014 at 11:14 pm

    This lemony soup! http://kidcaneat.blogspot.com/2013/11/lemony-chickpea-soup-with-parsley-and.html

    It started as a throw-together meal, and I’ve made it a million times since. My partner and I and our 2-year old son all love it.

  • 39 Mary @ flavorrd // Jan 7, 2014 at 12:34 am

    I can’t stop cooking these kidney bean tostadas, which I consider very DALSian: http://flavorrd.com/2014/01/kidney-bean-tostadas/

    Also on my list, your Sunday minestrone!

  • 40 Kris // Jan 7, 2014 at 8:29 am

    “Honey-Baked Curried Chicken” (pg. 85) adapted from this old and well worn book:
    http://www.amazon.com/One-Bite-Wont-Kill-You/dp/0395901464
    2 Tbs. unsalted butter
    1/4 c. honey
    1Tbs. stone ground mustard
    1 tsp. curry powder
    1 tsp salt
    3-4 chicken breasts – cut into large chunks
    3-4 servings of cooked basmati rice
    1 c. frozen peas
    Melt butter in baking pan in 325 degree oven
    Add honey, curry, salt, mustard and mix well
    Drop in chicken and coat well
    Bake uncovered for 25 minutes
    In the interim, cook your rice and heat the peas. We mix the whole deal together and eat in “rice bowl” fashion. If you like it more saucy, add a Tbs. or two more butter. If you like more veggie, add more peas!
    This has been on rotation for about 15 years in our house!

  • 41 Erin // Jan 7, 2014 at 9:50 am

    Spanish Chicken Pot Roast. Super easy and super yum!

    http://lifeandtimeserin.blogspot.com/2012/06/recipe-of-week.html

  • 42 M // Jan 7, 2014 at 10:03 am

    My meal plan this week (cooking for 4 of us, including 2 very active boys):

    Sunday: Ina Garten’s turkey meatloaf, southern style green beans, homemade mac & cheese. Meatloaf makes a huge recipe that will be used for meatloaf sandwiches all week.

    Monday: DALS chili over rice. One of our all time favorite recipes, I swear I make it once every 2 weeks in cold weather. We never get tired of it.

    Tuesday: Adults will have leftover chili, kids will have Trader Joe’s hotdogs and broccoli.

    Wednesday: Shrimp tacos

    Thursday: Chicken and Orzo soup

    Friday: Mom out of town, Dad on his own with the boys!

  • 43 Zelda // Jan 7, 2014 at 10:37 am

    Nigella’s ‘Praised Chicken’ has become a favourite at our table. It’s a simple, one-pot dish. Throw all ingredients into a big pot, and let it simmer slowly whilst you do something else for an hour or two! Come back to tender chicken and veg in a tasty broth:
    http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/my-mothers-praised-chicken-5155

  • 44 Melissa // Jan 7, 2014 at 10:51 am

    I will second Zelda re Nigella… Her Italian Tray Bake from Nigellissima has become a staple in our house and turns out deliciously perfect every time, whether for tired us on a Thursday night (typical) or for friends… We sub the traditional italian sausages for turkey italian when we remember… The lemon zest plus rosemary is beyond good. Here is a reprint: http://www.ivillage.com/italian-tray-bake/3-r-525279

  • 45 Amy // Jan 7, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    Wanted to add the link from our short-rib feast this weekend! http://www.diaryofanewlywedkitchen.com/2014/01/07/weekend-at-the-farm/
    Thank you for the recipe and all the inspiration!!

  • 46 Nicole // Jan 7, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    I, too, am trying to lighten up! I made this soup from some stuff in my fridge. I imagine you could use any veg. I was craving Asian and this hit the spot.

    2 cups Fat free Chicken broth
    1 small zucchini quartered, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
    1 handful of broccoli florets
    1 green onion sliced
    1 tsp reduced sodium soy
    5 to 7 TJ’s pot stickers (depending on how light you want to go. 7 pot stickers have 230 cal. I used pork.)

    Boil the broth add the veg, cook for a couple minutes, add the pot stickers and cook for 4 more minutes on med. The best thing is it took about 10 minutes to make.

    Your website and book are fabulous! Thanks for all the great recipes. Your chicken cutlets are a staple at our house…. sadly they are not light :(

  • 47 Amy // Jan 7, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    We started off our week thawing turkey and making DALS’ Chicken Pot Pie with Sweet Potatoes with it. This is a no-fail and easily adjustable go-to recipe! Another for us is this crunchy and satisfying lettuce wrap from January 2013′s Cooking Light: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/spicy-thai-basil-chicken-50400000125668/

  • 48 Charlotte // Jan 7, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    Last night wasn’t a light dinner but it was good – leftover crepes from the freezer filled with chopped ham baked the previous night) and grated gruyere with a dab of sauce, rolled and baked with more sauce (bechamel made with half 1% milk and half vegetable stock) with more grated gruyere) – served with salad.
    Tues – farro with mushrooms and spinach (farroto)
    Weds – broccoli crustless quiche from Keepers
    Thurs- sausage, mashed potatoes and carrots, salad
    Fri – portobello mushroom burgers with salad

  • 49 Arlette // Jan 7, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    The last two years January has been a ‘reset’ month. This year we are doing salad for dinner every night. I change it up every night and week to week. Last week the dressing was lemon/olive oil this week it is lemon/peanut oil. I add a toasted nut (walnut and pine nuts are being alternated this week) avocado, something sweet, like raisins or roasted carrots, parsley, and any combo of radishes, mushrooms, green peppers. The key is to buy a bunch of vegetables so you have options. There is always some crumbled cheese involved. I have been keeping at least two cheeses on hand. Basically every night I mix the salad up slightly. Last night it was slivered kale with shallots, raisins, tomatoes, pine nuts, feta cheese, lettuce, dressing, parsley and avocado. Tonight it will be cucumber, mixed greens, avocado, tomatoes, goat cheese, walnuts, and the last bit of kale I have at home and our treat at the end of the week is beef and broccoli. Last week we did a stir fry and this week we are going to do steaks with roasted broccoli.

  • 50 Stacey // Jan 7, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    I love reading the comments – so many new ideas to pin!

    Mon: My daughter sick at home requested homemade mac and cheese, but older daughter who hates mac and cheese got a baked potato – it’s all just starch and cheese – right? Served with baby spinach and tomato salad.

    Tues: Slow cooker chicken tacos, served with garlicky sauteed green beans finished with balsamic vinegar.

    Wed: Paul Bertolli’s Cauliflower Soup (found on Food52) and spinach/tomato salad (yup, again – my kids like it).

    Thu: Roasted pork loin, potato wedges and Caesar salad (kids will have raw veggies instead of the salad).

    Fri: leftover night (you should never waste a good mac and cheese, right?)

    Have a great rest of the week!

  • 51 Stearns 205 // Jan 7, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    Recent popular recipes around our household:
    Bouchon roasted chicken (whole chicken to room temp, pat dry, salt and pepper until you think its too much, then a little more of each, 450 x 40min over a bed of carrots, mushrooms, onions)

    Roy Choi’s $4 spaghetti (food and wine)

    Corn Bisque with Red Bell Pepper and Rosemary (Bon App ’98)

    Had the kale/sausage stew tonight!

  • 52 a // Jan 7, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    I am southern, born and raised. I was reading the posts but have to ask – what are “southern style green beans”?

  • 53 Margit Van Schaickmargit // Jan 7, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    A meal my kids loved, and quick and easy to make: it takes a bit of prior planning, but well worth it. Thinly slice approximately 1 lb. piece of almost frozen top round steak, sauté in 2tbs. Olive oil, until browned on both sides, add a few splashes of vermouth and cook for a minute, push meat together on side is pan, add 2 cups of cooked brown rice and a cup or two of fresh or frozen peas or spinach or chard leaves. Continue cooking on medium heat until warmed through. Serve. Sprinkle with whatever herbs or spices you wish. The steak and vermouth make a very yummy sauce, so good that my kids asked for this once a week or so.

  • 54 Michelle Messina // Jan 8, 2014 at 2:14 am

    Amazing ideas everyone and thank you for all
    the links too. Always looking for new dinner ideas!
    Every weekend I ask my husband and 2 kids:
    “What do you want for dinner this week??”
    Usually 3 I do not knows
    This week my daughter said meatballs!
    Sunday – iced in the Northeast made Chinese: beef
    & broccoli, zucchini noodle veggie stir fry, pork chow
    mein and whole wheat lo mein.
    Monday – eggplant casserole for adults and
    cheese ravioli for kids and also tried Eating Well’s
    Cauliflower pizza (amazing – changed topping but
    crust was delicious
    Tues – meatball sandwiches (made leftovers
    frozen in fridge)
    Wed – fish (whatever looks good @ market later)
    Thurs – one of the above mentioned chicken dishes
    Fri – thinking shrimp tacos
    Sat – date night out – order pizza for kids

  • 55 Mommy Lisa // Jan 8, 2014 at 7:25 am

    Monday hubby asked for soup. I had some turkey sausages that needed to come out of the freezer soI sweated some onion and garlic in olive oil, since I was GASP out of rice I then added the rice contents of a Rice O Roni box and toasted it with the onions and garlic. When it was nice and toasty I added two boxes of low sodium organic chicken broth and one 15 oz can of tomato sauce. After about 20 minutes I added the sliced turkey sausages and a bag of frozen peas – when it was warm I served. Then yesterday I modified a Kelsey Nixon recipe from Cooking Channel for pulled pork – to beef because that is what I had and it worked for a dinner that could be modified for my daughters palate. :)

  • 56 Mommy Lisa // Jan 8, 2014 at 7:30 am

    Oh! I forgot that I used rosemary in there and of course some S&P to taste.

  • 57 JackieD // Jan 8, 2014 at 8:31 am

    Our menu this week:

    -garlicky shrimp in wine with roasted broccoli and bread (for sopping up juices)
    -bistro chicken (bacon and mushrooms)
    roasted vegetable soup with parmesan toasts
    -chana masala
    -roasted veggie/cheese frittata with american fries (wrapped up leftover wedges with a little cheese in tortillas for breakfasts this week too)

  • 58 Jesseca @ One Sweet Appetite // Jan 8, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    That salmon in the picture looks DELICIOUS. Knowing that it is slow roasted with fennel and citrus makes my mouth water. What a great recipe idea!

  • 59 sarah // Jan 8, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    Maya!!! We’re obsessed. Indian take out has come to a screeching halt at our house because her curries are so good. I love that we can feel healthy having a simple veg on the side (like steamed broccoli) instead of several heavy dishes. And I love that her website has a bunch of other recipes and ideas for the sauces. Like using them to make soup, marinades, etc. So smart!

  • 60 Tess @ Tips on Healthy Living // Jan 8, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    I love how you plan out your meals throughout the week– it must save you a lot of headache, and “I’m hungrys” during the week. What sort of desserts would you recommend for someone with a sweet tooth (and a waist line to watch)?

  • 61 Laura // Jan 8, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    I love “dragon noodles” – 4 oz cooked udon tossed with 1 scrambled egg and a mixture of 1 TBSP each of sriracha, brown sugar and soy sauce, plus a half-spoonful of peanut butter. Top with cilantro. Make a second batch minus the sriracha for kids.

    Also great – sauté diced mushrooms, red onions and chicken sausage in a little olive oil, then top with a big bunch of fresh spinach, crack a few eggs on top and cover the pan for 3-4 minutes or until egg is cooked to your liking. It’s fast and phenomenal!

  • 62 Rebecca // Jan 11, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    Question: the leftover short ribs, I assume you froze them? Would you keep something in the fridge for over a week & serve it without freezing? Just checking, because I am pretty steadfast about throwing ‘old’ food away

  • 63 Molly // Jan 14, 2014 at 10:15 am

    I’ve gotta say, I made the salmon this past weekend and I was underwhelmed. Perhaps it was my use of sockeye instead of another, fattier type of salmon. Things were a bit dry – even with the oily citrus mixture. I’d really like to know how it turns out for you if you end up making it. Definitely not time consuming though!

    This time of year always makes me want comfort food: stews and soups and pastas. I have little to offer in the waistline department. Perhaps I’ll go brothy and consider making Pho from Smitten Kitchen or something on the lighter side like that.

  • 64 Jess // Jan 15, 2014 at 12:01 am

    This is the clear winner at our house this season:
    http://www.marthastewart.com/1018662/skillet-chicken-apricots-and-capers
    After the first time, I have left out the apricots, which we like better. My kids think olives are child abuse, but they’ve never even batted an eye at the capers (it may help that I use tri-color Israeli couscous, but they have seen them go in, too). No need to transfer to the oven, so it’s a skillet meal, and since the meat finishes in the liquid, skinless is fine, though I would not recommend boneless.
    It comes together fast , and if you throw some sweet potatoes into the toaster oven to bake as soon as you walk in the door, you’re ready to eat in under an hour. Bonus: add some cranberry sauce and this meal tastes very much like Thanksgiving dinner.
    Fast enough for a weeknight, fancy enough for guests.

  • 65 Shana // Jan 16, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    I made the slow roasted salmon last week. Though my 2 year old wouldn’t touch the fennel salad, my husband and I had no problem picking up the slack. If you haven’t already, you should make it. Its delicious.

  • 66 Amanda // Feb 6, 2014 at 11:49 am

    The burrito bowl is our usual go-to healthy meal, but I think for 2014 we’re going to start making that bowl a baked sweet potato. The other night we had the most simple of meals: a roasted sweet potato topped with cumin and cayenne-spiked black beans. You’d have thought we were eating the most decadent meal of our lives. I like to bake them to the point where they practically turn into mashed potatoes at the press of a fork. Yum!

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