It might sound a little weird, but I find it interesting to see how people eat day-to-day. I'm "that girl" who will peer into your grocery cart, ask you about your lunch, and of course, read a number of blogs whose authors describe each of her meals and snacks. Do you have a take-out habit? Do you cook once or twice a week and eat leftovers the rest of the days? Do you have a scheduled "pasta night" or "pizza night"? Do you stick to the same handful of recipes, or do you never repeat a meal? For some reason, I feel as if this information gives me insight into one's overall life.
Obviously, J and I don't blog about every meal we eat, but I often find myself wishing retrospectively that I had documented a meal after preparing and consuming it. Just in case you too find strange pleasure in food voyeurism (isn't that the definition of a food blog?) I'd like to offer you a glimpse into our normal eating habits. I simply recorded our dinners from five consecutive days-- enjoy!
Day One: Spaghetti Squash with Kale and Chickpeas
Inspired by this recipe, found on TasteSpotting
While J was off learning the art of making challah, I was at home tending to the very arduous process of baking a spaghetti squash for that night's dinner. After fully cooked, I simply combined it with wilted kale, garlic, chickpeas, crushed red pepper, and for good measure, 2 cups of one of the best store bought tomato sauces I've ever had.
The Silver Palate's Fra Diavolo
Topped with some shaved Parmesan, it was a delicious, spicy, healthy start to the new week (makes four very hefty servings).
Squash, Kale, and Chickpeas
Day Two: Smoked Salmon, Roasted Pepper, and Portobello Sandwiches
Another straight-from-TasteSpotting recipe, found here
We (and our slightly sick kitty) had a trip to the vet scheduled after work, so wanted a super quick dinner option. J prepared the sandwiches by sauteing big portobello slices and whipping up a sweet wasabi mayo (mayo, wasabi paste, soy sauce and honey), then combining these with smoked salmon and (bottled) roasted red peppers on toasted bread. It might sound like a strange combination, but it was to die for. Two sides of sauteed spinach with garlic and roasted broccoli rounded out the meal.
Smoked Salmon Sandwiches
Day Three: Balsamic Dijon Crusted Pork Chops with Confetti Couscous
I typically buy pork chops in a four-pack and either freeze two of them or plan two pork-filled meals. This week, I chose the latter option. I simply coated two chops with salt, pepper, and dijon mustard, and cooked them stovetop. After flipping, I gave them each a topping of aged balsamic, which partially boiled off to create a crust with the mustard. Additionally, I used this recipe as a base to create a similar dish made with Hodgson Mill's Whole Wheat Couscous (we should practically be Hodgson Mill's ambassadors). Couscous cooks up in about ten minutes (including water-boiling-time), making it a good choice for quick weeknight meals. Mixed with various chopped, cooked vegetables and a drizzle of that aged balsamic, it made a perfect healthy match for the juicy chop.
Pork Chops and Confetti Couscous
Day Four: Pork and Shrimp Fried Rice
After preparing Day Three's meal, I used the couscous pot to cook a cup of brown rice in preparation for Day Four's dinner. Brown rice takes about forty-five minutes to fully cook, so when I'm in a rush, it's simply not an option. Prepare it ahead of time, and you're good to go! J was off to California for a conference (perhaps I didn't pick the most typical week to document our meals!), so my boyfriend came over for dinner instead. A notoriously picky eater, I snuck a good serving or two of mixed vegetables into his body by rolling them into a great, healthy fried rice. The remaining pork chops were cooked with a quarter pound of shrimp, bok choy, carrots, broccoli and edamame, all of which was then combined with the rice, two eggs, and a soy sauce and sesame oil based sauce.
Fried Rice (my serving, atop a pile of fresh spinach)
Day Five: Vegetable Calzone
On my own for Day Five, I basically examined the contents of my fridge and freezer to see what I could throw together. Using leftover whole wheat pizza dough (previously frozen; then thawed overnight in the fridge), I stuffed it with sauteed vegetables, whipped cottage cheese (an excellent substitute for ricotta), and leftover pasta sauce. Baked for 15 minutes at 375F; in the meantime, I pan-fried an egg over-easy and slipped it on top of the calzone for its last few minutes in the oven. Half of the calzone, the egg (piercing the yolk to allow drippage over the crust), and a simple side salad gave me a solid dinner in less than thirty minutes, while using up lots of random fridge and freezer items.
And there you have it-- a "week" of dinners, straight from our kitchen. They are all very typical of our day-to-day dinners- quick, easy, heavy on the vegetables and whole grains, and light on the meat. Almost all of our meals also produce great leftovers, perfect for lunches the next day (no need to eat a simple sandwich or spend $10 at Au Bon Pain...). We rely heavily on TasteSpotting for inspiration and recipes, but hopefully by sharing here, we're joining the movement in our own way to promote healthy, easy, home-cooked meals.