Weekly Suppers: 4 – 8 May

This post is part of a series giving you a glimpse into what finds its way onto our plates Monday through Friday. I hope it not only provides recipe inspiration, but also motivation for you to integrate meal planning and more home-cooking into your own healthy lifestyles.

Monday: “Sloppy” barbecue lentils with (the best) roasted asparagus over white stone-ground grits. I made a few changes to the barbecue sauce: swapped a puree of canned whole tomatoes for the marinara + decreased the maple syrup by half — I’m more of a tangy vs. sweet sauce girl. I also opted for French black lentils (also called du Puy), because: a) they take less time to cook; b) they hold their shape and don’t turn to mush like regular lentils; and c) I prefer their earthier, cleaner flavor.

As for the grits, if you can get your hands on the stone-ground white variety, you’re in for a treat. The good stuffThey’re so incredibly flavorful as is that I don’t need to add anything other than the requisite water and a tiny pinch of salt. A few dashes of white pepper usually finds its way in there, too.

This may not look pretty, but it was a highlight!

BBQ lentils + grits_HGN Tuesday: Happy Cinco de Mayo! Grilled up tequila-orange juice-honey marinated shrimp, strips of poblano, corn kernels and papaya chunks (all from the freezer) to nestle into homemade “sourdough” wheat tortillas* with fresh onion shoots on top, and a radish cilantro green salad alongside. Oh, and some ancho chilli powder over everything for good measure.

*Living only hours from the Mexican border in Texas years back made me a tortilla snob. I’ll admit it. Ninety-nine percent of the time when we have tacos, homemade corn tortillas are the vehicle. Sadly masa is on the Latin market replenishment list. I have loads of cast-off leaven from my Tartine rye, so tortillas made from that and whole wheat pastry flour it was. They’re pleasantly sour and have that great “chew” you come to expect from high quality flour tortillas. Good quality store-bought wheat/white or corn tortillas would be just fine.

Wednesday: Hand-cut “zoodles” — all about those knife skills! — with marinara left over from last week’s Qarabaghli biz-Zalza + smoked turkey wing and thigh meat (a Thanksgiving 2014 treat rescued from the freezer) + grits croutons (a la this Food Republic recipe)! Another winner.

Turkey zoodles + grits croutons_HGN

ThursdaySpring lamb stew with green peas, fresh asparagus, mushrooms and wheat berries. A few tweaks to save loads of time (though, the recipe as is written is fairly hands-off): used cooked slices of lamb roast from the freezer. No fennel on hand and it’s crazy expensive at the market, so I added fresh chopped asparagus and mushrooms — ingredients that go very well with both lamb and peas! I also used wheat berries* in place of the farro, subbed Ouzo** for the white wine, and a mixture of fresh parsley and chives stood in for the tarragon I did not have. There are not enough good words to employ here!

*These are still left from the big batch cooked last week! Though, at this point I’m working on the frozen stash; they wouldn’t be good anymore refrigerated. [On that note, have you seen the IsMyFoodSafe app? Very helpful if you frequently find yourself asking that question.]

Additionally, since my lamb and wheat berries were fully cooked, I began the recipe at the second paragraph, and eliminated the need to use the oven. I let the liquid and veg simmer for about 10 or 15 minutes. The wheat berries went in for about five minutes to revive, and then added the lamb (thawed) for another three or so minutes before killing the heat, tasting for seasoning, and serving.

**An anise-flavored liqueur (apparently I’m on a kick with it). The real reason for replacing the white wine is because I didn’t have tarragon, which has a mild anise/black licorice flavor. So, the swap seemed logical. If you have tarragon, feel free to stick with the wine; or double the anise-y dose and hit it with Ouzo (or Pernod). Alternatively, you could sub some of the fronds from your fresh fennel for the tarragon.

Spring lamb stew_HGN

Friday: I rarely make grilled cheese, but Joanna’s with spicy balsamic roasted veg* looked so good, it had to happen. I prepared two tartines** with melty goat Gouda on thick slices of my Tartine sour rye. A warm, fresh-made tomato rosemary sauce for dipping, for kicks.

Excellent flavor combos, perfectly melted cheese, golden and crispy bread… but it reiterated why I don’t make grilled cheese, or melty cheese tartines: I get very little enjoyment from them. (Strange for someone whose childhood adventures were fueled with thousands of grilled cheese sandwiches. Maybe I maxed my life’s quota?)

Don’t let me deter you if you still appreciate grilled cheese — this is a delicious recipe! I’d just rather have the flavors and ingredients prepared differently.

*My melange of roasties included chubby slices of white mushrooms and yellow beet, halved Brussels sprouts and a bit of red onion. I added chopped steamed collards to the finished pan and tossed to coat in the chilli-balsamic-y flavor.

**Otherwise known as an open-face sandwich. I brushed one side of each bread slice with extra virgin olive oil, piled on the veg, and carefully transferred into a hot cast iron pan. Placed the cheese slices over the veg, and covered the pan with a lid to help the cheese melt. For a quick cheat, you could toast the bread slices, assemble everything on a foil-lined baking tray, and pop it under the broiler until the cheese is oozy and gooey.

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Cheers, Heather

Tell me… What’s on your menu this week? Tweet 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.

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    • Heather Goesch, MPH, RDN, LDN says:

      They are a fun change from the usual routine, which ultimately, I find, helps people incorporate more veg into their diets. I keep it old-school by hand-cutting with a sharp knife, or will occasionally brave the scary julienne hand peeler (not my favorite tool). For those inclined to let a helpful gadget cut the time and effort in half to make nicer, more uniform “noodles”, there are plenty of options in all prices ranges. Kohl’s and Target both have pretty basic options, otherwise check out Williams-Sonoma, Sur la Table, and other cooking shops in your area! Thanks for commenting!

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