Anatomy of a Weeknight: Post-Holiday Edition

The Scene: Wednesday, the first school/workday back from winter break
The Scene, pt 2: Always the longest, most exhausting day of the year
The Characters: Family DALS

5:30 Walk in door. Girls already home, one of them doing homework at kitchen table instead of cloistered in her bedroom, which brings me unspeakable joy. (Literally unspeakable — if I express this out loud in front of her, it might not happen again.)
5:45 Look in fridge to figure out dinner. After a week in Austin* stuffing our faces with brisket and carnitas, I want to get back to our weekday vegetarian routine.
5:46 Abby announces she was starving and just finished a pile of Trader Joe’s potstickers. “I’ll just have a salad before soccer,” she says. Sh*t. Who is driving to soccer?
6:00 Texting confirms I am driving to soccer.
6:10 Slice mushrooms, kale, shallots, garlic. Slice avocado, chop radishes. Set it all up on cutting board for Andy…a beautiful mise en place if I do say so myself.
6:15 Chuck some yogurt, cilantro, and miscellany into mini food processor and whirl into a sauce. Take a few avocado slices, add to two handfuls bagged lettuce, throw on some grape tomatoes, a little of that yogurt dressing.
6:25 Sit down with Abby for salad.
6:40 Leave for soccer.
7:00 Andy walks in to his own private Food Network studio! Sautés the vegetables, stuffs them in tortillas and calls it dinner. Also heats up a can of organic baked beans to round out the meal, saving me a little of everything for post-practice. Eats with Phoebe.
9:30 Home. Made it.

*Austin vacation highlight reel up next.

Kale and Mushroom Tacos with Yogurt Sauce
As usual, once I type out the instructions for this recipe it seems waaayyyy more complicated than it actually is. This is partly because of the yogurt sauce, which involves a mini food processor, and which is a lot to ask of a weeknight cook. You can just hand-whisk the sauce (the flavors won’t be quite as mingled, but whatever) but I encourage you to make it in the food processor without measuring, which makes the whole thing feel like much less of an undertaking. Just keep whirling and tasting, whirling and tasting. Trust me. Trust yourself!

olive oil, about 6-8 tablespoons
2 shallots, sliced thin (could also do about 3 tablespoons chopped onions)
1 pound cremini mushrooms cleaned and thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, halved
1 bunch curly kale, stems trimmed and chopped (about 7 cups)

Yogurt Sauce
1/3 cup plain yogurt (I used Greek 2%)
large handful cilantro (you do not have to chop it)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 scallions, white and light green parts only, chopped roughly
juice from half a lime
pinch of sugar

8 corn tortillas
1 avocado, sliced
3 tablespoons chopped jicama or three radishes, sliced super thin
Optional toppings: lime wedges, scallions, hot sauce

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, a little more olive oil, and cook until mushrooms are cooked and shriveled, about 6 minutes. Remove to a medium mixing bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar.

Add a little more oil and cook garlic, cut-side down about one minute, to infuse the oil, then remove. Add kale and cook until it has wilted, about 4 minutes. (You might have to do this in batches.) Remove kale to the mushroom bowl and toss with remaining red wine vinegar.

In a small food processor whirl together yogurt, cilantro, olive oil, scallions, lime juice, sugar, 2 tablespoons water, adding more water as needed until it reaches drizzly consistency. 

Cook tortillas on gas burners or in a cast iron skillet. Stuff them with filling and a few slices of avocado as they come off the burner, and place on a platter. When all eight are cooked, stuffed, and plated, scatter jicama or radishes. Serve with yogurt sauce and desired toppings. 

Related: More in the Anatomy of a Weeknight Dinner series.

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We’ve been eating way too much meat lately. Perfect timing for this post. Made these tacos for lunch today. Delicious! Happy New year to the DALS family.


I laughed out loud at your reaction to seeing your daughter do her homework at the table. This is so relatable. I’ve had so many conversations with my 14 year-old daughter about “doing your homework in the dining room as opposed to that cave you call a bedroom.” I finally had to just let it go. Glad it’s not just me. The dinner looks pretty good too!

Betsy Kellerman

This looks yummy. I would add the sautéed garlic to the dressing in the blender.


I have a 16 year old daughter and very much relate to 5:30. Like I actually completely understand and feel that when it happens I stand there all open mouthed, obvious, awkward and whatnot, like there is an alien in my house or something (maybe a Snapchat alien). lol. kids.


We are in the thick of basketball season, which means one parent/kid are at a 6pm game, while the other parent/kid are at an 8pm game. My solution 50% of the time for this is your DALS chili. I make it on Sunday and put in the fridge. Then on game day I put it in the crockpot to warm up and sit, and people help themselves as needed. Anything leftover by the end of that evening gets frozen and saves my life another day.