What I Made – Week 14

The most visually impressive meal of the week is these blackberry almond sweet rolls. I recommend straining the blackberry filling after cooking it down to keep out the seeds. It’s an extra step but makes the outcome much less crunchy!
Even though it looks like green peppers in this shrimp quinoa pilau, that’s just the color the purple peppers turned when cooked!
A quick no-recipe meal made from leftover roast chicken, purple peppers cooked with seasoning, and a fresh tomato-onion-cilantro salsa is wonderful for a hot summer evening.
Cheesesteak stuffed peppers are a very fast meal – just layer a slice of cheese, some deli roast beef slices (and I added sautéed onions) and top with another slice of cheese, and bake 20 minutes. I used about a half pound of deli meat here.

This zucchini oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe was a new one for me. The oats help absorb some extra moisture from the zucchini, but it’s still definitely soft, even if the edges looked crispy. Next time I would refrigerate it per the directions instead of a quick dip in my freezer!

I STILL have some zucchini to use up, as well as lots of watermelon and cantaloupe to eat, but the cucumbers are slowly becoming dill pickles as we speak!

What I Made – Week 12

I tried a new recipe for these blueberry lemon scones, substituting regular milk for the plant-based and was sure I was going to regret it. The dough was so soft I dumped it in a puddle on my baking sheet for the chilling step! But somehow it baked up perfectly, and the crunchy sugar topping was a definite must. Consider adding more sugar to the dough if you don’t have any for sprinkling.
Salmon with wilted chard and a tarragon vinaigrette is a true 30 minute meal with flavor that tastes like it’s much more complex. Four salmon filets will leave leftovers for the next day, but we always eat one bunch of chard in a single meal.
These pitas are stuffed with more veggies than you might realize – oven roasted sun gold tomatoes, cucumbers in the tzatziki yogurt sauce, and zucchini in the turkey meatballs! Don’t skimp on the herbs in the meatballs, they give great flavor.
This colorful salad is just beets, avocado, and a puréed onion dressing, but is a nice light way to enjoy beets in the summer.
This dish looks veggie-free, but it hides 3 sliced and then caramelized onions! This is Adas Polo or lentil rice with chicken from the Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat cookbook. I didn’t have raisins or dates, so I used craisins. Samin would also be disappointed that my dish turned out unseasoned. She says to salt the rice cooking liquid until it’s “uncomfortable” and I thought I was probably just short of that but that it would be close enough. I was wrong and should know better than to not trust her instructions…
The recipe for these wok cooked Romano beans seems too easy to be true: char beans and dried chiles, add 1/4 c water to steam until crisp tender, then toss with garlic and ginger, soy sauce and sesame oil, and top with scallions. I’m here to say it was delicious and much more flavorful than you might expect!
This zucchini chocolate orange cake is pretty much perfection (and a great way to use up zucchini). I swap chocolate chips for the pecans and concentrate the glaze and only use about a half cup of powdered sugar since the cake is plenty sweet without it.

We also ate (more!) sunchoke gnocchi with sautéed spinach and polished off the peaches and cantaloupe as delicious lunch time snacks. We still have more onions and cucumbers to use up.

What I’ve Planned – Week 11

I try to make a mix of quick, small meals we will finish in one sitting and larger meals that make plenty of leftovers and space them throughout the week. Salad on repeat gets old fast. The ingredients this week help me mix and match flavors for many different styles and tastes. Here’s what I have planned.

The peaches we got are pretty hard and will take a while to ripen. I also see a cucumber a day as snack in my future!

What I Made – Week 10

I had great lighting for all my dishes this week, even if many of them were mostly the same. (And all served in bowls?!) Not pictured are the leftover pulled pork we paired with blistered green beans, quiche with chard, loaf of zucchini bread, and some zucchini chocolate chip cookies I made this week.

I like the bright flavor of the herbs (parsley and mint here) with the earthy beets and tangy dressing of this Farro Salad with Beets, Scallions & Pistachios.
Some day I’ll remember to cook down the tomato sauce until it’s really thick so my zucchini lasagna doesn’t end up watery. Didn’t manage it this week, but I thought this vegetarian version with mushroom tomato sauce and finely chopped kale mixed in with the ricotta was a tasty change.
The flavor of the sauce for these drunken zucchini noodles is spot on, and almost makes you forget you’re having zucchini for dinner again. (Almost)
I’d never attempted this Broccoli and tofu stir fry, but newly equipped with a tofu press, I battered and fried them for a stir fry that takes some extra effort, but definitely tastes more complex than our usual basic recipe.
Sundried tomatoes really would have brightened up this Greek farro salad, but the salty cheese, spicy peppers, and tons of herbs pack lots of flavor, even if the colors are a bit dull.

We used everything this week except a couple of cucumbers, some of the parsley, and yes, still more zucchini! Even when the months seem like they all run together, that’s how you know it’s July.

What I’ve Planned – Week 9

The tomato plants in our garden seem to grow a foot every night these days. I’m glad someone is enjoying this hot humid weather! Since weeknight dinners usually involve me rushing in from a sweltering walk from the train, I do most of my ambitious cooking on Sunday, when I can stay inside in the AC all day. Slow simmering ragu, cooking a big batch of quinoa that will be repurposed into multiple meals this week, baking something that will make the whole house smell delicious just as we’re saying goodbye to the weekend and facing down the workweek ahead – it’s a different form of meal prepping.

Here’s the planned lineup this week:

  • Elk ragu with carrots and garlic scapes (inspired by this incredible lamb ragu recipe from the Six Seasons cookbook – everything from this cookbook is a hit but this recipe is among my favorites)
  • Poke salad to use some of this week’s spring onions and finish off last week’s lettuce
  • Quinoa chicken bowls with marinated kale
  • Fish taco salad on thinly sliced Savoy cabbage
  • A July 4 cookout with smoked chicken, green beans, and roasted potatoes
  • Pasta with fava beans and garlic scapes (adapted from this Food Network recipe)

I’ll probably also make a blueberry buckle and maybe (hopefully) will find a way to use all those zucchini!