New Series: Weekly Suppers: 20 – 24 April

This post is the first in a new series called Weekly Suppers that will give you a glimpse of what finds its way onto our plates Monday through Friday.

Along the way my hope is it will provide the motivation for you to integrate meal planning, and ultimately more cooking at home, into your own healthy lifestyles. At the very least, you get to nose around in a dietitian’s kitchen, and can come away with some recipe inspiration!

So why only Monday through Friday? Whether you have a family of four, are a household of two, or cater only to your own culinary whims, weeknights are for low-stress, minimum-fuss meals that focus on optimal nutrition and balance. Weekends are our time to be relaxed and experiment in the kitchen. It’s also a time when one or both of us may be traveling for work, or there are social engagements on the calendar. Leaving these evenings “open” more or less seems to be easiest. I’m guessing it’s the same for many of you, too.

And because I want to share feedback of the meals, not only the plan, I’ll post what we ate the week prior. This way I can tell you if it was a winner or a dud, and let you in on my prep tips, substitutions, suggestions to improve it, etc.

Solid? Only one way to find out… bon appetit!

Prosciutto-wrapped asparagus zucchini lemon pasta_HGN

Weekly Suppers: 20 – 24 April

Monday: A twist on an Indian favorite saag paneer with a mix of kale and collard green leaves using this recipe (no spinach on hand). I omitted the yogurt in favor of pan-fried paneer cheese* home-made earlier this year and stashed in the freezer. A blend of finely chopped cauliflower “rice” and leftover steamed Basmati rice (also from the freezer!) dressed up with fresh mint, chives and lemon juice on the side. Pret-ty killer.

*Paneer can be purchased at Indian and Asian markets, often Mediterranean as well, and even some larger supermarkets; otherwise, stick with the yogurt in the linked recipe.

Tuesday: Pasta mixture of whole grain spaghetti + regular linguine + zucchini ribbons tossed with lemon oil,* topped with crispy prosciutto-wrapped asparagus spears, lemon zest and fresh chives. Optional garnish of chopped purple chive blossom, if you’re feeling pretty. Twist it up next time with a fresh herb oil in lieu of the lemon.

*We always have a bottle of homemade lemon oil on hand because it’s so darn good (from Giada De Laurentiis’s Everyday Pasta), but you can easily substitute plain extra virgin olive oil and fresh-squeezed lemon juice.

Wednesday: We love stuffed cabbage rolls. Requiring much attention and time, however, it’s not a weeknight-friendly meal. And so “unstuffed cabbage rolls” were born. For two servings I sauteed about 1/2 cup finely chopped carrot (grated would work, too), 1/4 cup finely chopped onion, and 1/2 of a large garlic clove until soft, then tossed in 2 Tbsp raisins and a couple small wedges of green cabbage left over from roasting earlier in the week. One-half to 3/4 cup leftover cooked brown rice was stirred through, and finally a quick deglazing of the pan with a splash of white wine before adjusting seasoning and plating. A spicy Italian chicken sausage* par-boiled then split in half and quickly pan-seared rested on top with homemade marinara sauce to finish. Awesome weeknight hack!

*Traditionally cabbage rolls feature ground beef. Substituting browned up lean mince would be an easy enough swap. Stir cooked meat through the veg-rice mix before plating and top with marinara as I did with the sausage.

Thursday: Mandarin sake-steamed cod (using frozen cod portions) with a roasties mix of white sweet potato wedges, turnip chunks and red bell pepper. Extra citrus segments and scallions to serve. Simple, perfectly cooked fish, very flavorful. Next time will try with steamed bok choy and stir-fried mushrooms. Brown rice, too.

Friday: Personal-sized* besan/chickpea flour socca flatbread topped with smoky braised collard greens.** Resting on top of those, my fried egg+: one whole egg plus one egg white. A squidge of lemon juice was all it needed as a delicious final touch. Fresh-squeezed orange or lime juice, or a dash of red wine or herb vinegar, would be a nice alternative to the lemon.

*This is a recipe I’m working on, but Food52 has a good base. Even though it was a solo meal, I made a full batch (1-cup besan) and made four “personal-sized” flatbreads in my tiny 4″ cast iron skillet. Ate one, froze three.

**Another recipe in progress. Root to Stalk Cooking by Tara Duggan offers one similar. My version uses dried guajillo and/or chiles de arbol (or other dried chillies I have on hand), and has a little white wine added in with the water for extra flavor.

As you can see, many of our meals are a fair mix of fresh ingredients and those from the freezer. I’m a big fan of the “cook once, eat twice” (thrice!) mentality, often utilizing the weekends for large batch-cooking, or simply cooking extra during the week to refrigerate or freeze for lunches or suppers later on. Makes life simpler, and meal times more enjoyable!

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So what do you think? I would love for you to share your feedback in the comments section below. Thanks!

Cheers, Heather

Tell me… What’s on your menu this week? Tweet your meals to me (@HGoeschRDN), or share a photo and tag me on Instagram (@hagoesch) with the hashtag #suppertonight!

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p.s. I love hearing from you! Check back if you ask a question, because I’ll answer it here.

And if you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing. Thanks!

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Eat Well Edibles From the Author Weekly Suppers

7 comments

    • Heather Goesch, MPH, RDN, LDN says:

      For being a slammed week, it managed to be pretty decent food-wise. Though, the freezer did a lot of the heavy lifting. Thanks for your comment and suggestion! I’d definitely like to get a photo for most, if not all, of the meals as your plan features, but sometimes it’s too late and the light is terrible… or I’m too hungry! How do you do it?

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