This week’s menu starts off with some of last week because I got home from Tahoe to an empty fridge and decided to do the grocery shopping for the remaining (two) days of that week and this one all in one swoop.
Inspired by my latest library haul (cookbooks), I made several Gwyneth recipes.
[In terms of reviews, I LOVED “It’s All Good” so much I ended up buying it for myself on Amazon Prime Day (for a stellar discount). I’ve made a handful of the recipes already and I have decided to challenge myself to cook through the entire book. It shouldn’t be too hard because the recipes all look and sound delicious, nothing is super complicated or elaborate (but still call for techniques and ingredients I may not otherwise try), and they are completely suitable for our family’s diet. I know she gets crap for her elitist diet (and way of life), but I kinda think Gwyneth is awesome. Yes, she has access to the freshest and best quality ingredients, but I don’t think we should fault her for choosing organic and local because of it. If I had acres and acres of my own land I’d grow everything too. In reading her inspiration for the cookbook and background, I can totally get behind her healthy choices. Plus, she isn’t dogmatic about things. Yes, the recipes are mainly dairy and gluten free, but there is the rare inclusion of both at times (with subs noted); and a few recipes call for soy. By contrast, Practical Paleo is not worth buying in my opinion. I photocopied the spice blends but beyond that, it’s mostly really really basic cooking stuff (I hesitate to call them recipes because they are the kinds of things I’d make on my own and wouldn’t bother posting about because they seem so common sense). The book might be good for people who are newly embarking on a journey of eating real (whole) foods, especially those who are just stepping foot in the kitchen for the first time. But a lot of the recipes are, like, meat with salt and pepper. That’s a slight exaggeration, but only slight. Some of the breakfast recipes look good but 99% of them include eggs (and not just 1 egg – like 6+ eggs!) so that’s that. What should I get from the library next?]
Ok…here are the dinners I made our family.
This bacon was for P, but I used the fat to sauté greens for myself (Kyle was in the city for work stuff and not eating at home).
I added kale and shredded brussels sprouts in rounds as they simmered down. I deglazed the pan with a splash of water once or twice too, but otherwise it was just bacon fat and salt in there (and MULTIPLE servings of kale).
I made a hippie bowl (similar to the “rice cream sundae” bowls a la Gwyneth’s book) with quinoa, kale/brussels, and salmon.
While I was taking a photo of my bowl P said “mama, please take a picture of my dinner!” Oh the cuteness! Squeal! Future foodie in the making.
He had a bowl of quinoa too. Plus heaps of fruit. And who knows what else, but a lot of it I’m sure. I keep meaning to do a “what I ate” style post for him but then I fear other moms may fall prey to the comparison thing. Still, I like getting new ideas for toddler meals so I’m considering it. He has a voracious appetite so the portions may seem surprising. Like, he can out eat me no problem, and that is saying a lot.
I specifically made extra greens to have them left over for the week’s lunches. I am still super smitten with brassica fam.
The next night I grabbed some pork belly from the freezer and put it in the crock pot.
I added frozen green beans for the last 30 minutes or so…just in time for them to heat up…then I tossed them in the extra sauce and served it all over rice.
Done and done.
Look what Kyle brought home for meeeeee…
I know the box shape by heart, so obviously I tore it open as soon as the kids were down.
See’s are just so freakin’ easy to inhale. This box lasted me 4 nights and that was me practicing MAJOR self control.
Gwyneth recipes comin’ atcha!
This was salmon with Lee’s sriracha and lime paired with the Vietnamese salad. I used Organicville sriracha instead of making my own because the yield for her recipe was an insane amount of sriracha that seemed unnecessary when I already had the bottled stuff on hand.
I was SHOCKED that P ate this salad. The dressing has a lot of fish sauce in it, as well as fresh ginger and lime juice and yet, he was totally into the broccoli and carrots and celery (dressing and all!). Mega win! I tweaked the recipe to use veggies and greens I had on hand, but I’m sure bok choy (as called for) would be great too and I plan on making it again.
P also ate the fish, which wasn’t too spicy despite the sriracha.
I love cilantro and lime.
Another day, another recipe for the Paltrow Project (PP). [That’s what I am now dubbing the mission to cook every recipe in “It’s All Good”]
Being the planner that I am, I knew I had another PP recipe slated for later that week that called for the same combo of herbs, so I made both at once with the mini food processor. Two dinners, one clean up.
First, turkey meatballs.
Without egg or breadcrumbs, I was a little nervous about how these would turn out, but they were a HUGE hit.
Another win for the Paltrow Project since they were a hit with the toddler as well as the adults.
Gwyneth would be proud since I made my own tomato sauce too with the tomatoes from “the farm”.
I had no idea what I was doing, but figured herbs, salt, and a dash of sugar were the simplest way to go.
And then I let it simmer simmer simmer away until it reduced and turned into a nice flavorful sauce.
I did the meatballs in two batches and ended up sharing far more than I wanted to with my little guy. He also ate a bunch of rice (it’s our family’s carb of choice) but was a no go on the tomatoes.
FYI, I used dark turkey meat (thighs) for this, because they have more flavor and lean turkey is often too dry. I found the meatballs totally flavorful and perfect and wouldn’t change a thing.
On Tuesday I made this potato salad swapping in sweet potatoes for the yukon golds and adding broccoli just because.
Cold (make ahead) dishes are key for Tuesdays when we have soccer until late. I accidentally overcooked the potatoes so they ended up like a mash as opposed to a chunkier potato salad (which is what I was going for), but oh well. Still tasted good.
Don’t forget the cilantro!
Kyle had his with pork sausage, while P and I shared applegate hot dogs.
Does mine look like a (sad?) face? I ended up sharing my hot dog with P so he had 2.5 and I just ate a few more servings of the sweet potato dish instead. I didn’t really care.
Paltrow Project recipes above and below… I know what you’re thinking. It’s something along the lines of, geez, that cookbook must be amazing for her to cook 6 recipes from it in one week!? To which I would say, YES! You hit the nail on the head. Nothing is super revolutionary about the above quinoa, but it’s just different enough from a more boring version I would make on my own that makes it special.
The recipe I used from the book was actually for risotto (with peas and greens), but we had just had rice with her meatballs recipe a couple days prior so I thought I’d do quinoa instead.
I served the perfect herb chicken with it (which was super quick and easy since I’d already chopped the herbs in the food processor back when I was making the meatballs). A little lemon juice and zest and olive oil and boom.
Our family is now at the double baking dish amount of food for dinner and my daughter isn’t even eating solids yet…I am amazed and floored by this and have a feeling the two ovens in our kitchen will be very necessary as these bottomless pits approach their teenage years.
P liked the chicken as long as there weren’t any major chunks of rosemary. He ate a whole one straight from the garden a while back and it kinda made him iffy on rosemary. I use it in cooking all the time though, so I know he likes the flavor. Whole branches? Not so much.
He didn’t like the quinoa at all though, which I kinda knew would be the case. I saved him plain quinoa which he happily ate instead after trying a few bites of the one with peas and greens. I think it was the green onions that put him off.
The next night was supposed to be a Mexican salad bowl but I didn’t have time to prep the individual components (nap fails and such) so I pulled salmon from the freezer to pan fry instead.
All I did was cook it in olive oil and coconut aminos for a quick sear on high heat. Then flipped it, turned it to medium/low, and let it cook for a few more minutes until it was barely cooked in the center. Kyle came home later, so I waited to do his until just before he ate (which is why you only see the filets for P and I above).
I had mine with asparagus and leftover quinoa, Kyle had his with quinoa no asparagus, and P had his with plain quinoa.
Kyle said it was like something he’d order at a restaurant.
In other words, it was really really good. Costco salmon, I tell ya what – don’t knock it til you try it. Also, coconut aminos. Quickly becoming a staple in our pantry now that I know it’s safe for P.
Friday was a kinda off day for me and I struggled to keep it together. Luckily I have good friends who boost me up and I salvaged my mood with a quickie afternoon play date. It also kept me from making bad food decisions. Instead of a less healthful and more $$ route, I pulled this salad together with stuff we had on hand.
It wasn’t the planned meal, but I wasn’t in the mood to make the planned meal, and this was a great backup.
You know how I looooooove Brianna’s poppyseed dressing after all.
Perfectly portioned for two.
P had the melon and avo portion of the meal but seems to be over shrimp for the time being. I can’t fault him for being moody with his food or getting in ruts and then ODing because that’s kinda my MO. And I can’t blame him for being stuck with my genes.
Finally the weekend! After a fun brunch with our friends and a late lunch, neither Kyle nor I wanted something too heavy or elaborate for dinner. Enter kale. I’d say my diet at this point in time is 30% kale, 30% chocolate, and 40% “other”.
I massaged the kale down to half it’s size then doused it in Caesar dressing.
Then rounded it out with diced chicken (which P had too) and nooch (for me). Kyle’s portion had parmesan because he does dairy.
Phew! That was a LONG ONE!!!!