Archive for the ‘What’s For Dinner’ Category

What’s For Dinner? Volume 12

Friday, April 26th, 2013

It’s What’s for Dinner! I’m hoping resurrecting this feature will encourage me to cook more. I like cooking. It’s better for me and my family than the pizza/fast food/frozen stuff cycle we’ve been on while E’s schedule was totally crazy. Even if I’m not making intentionally diet-friendly recipes there are definitely more vegetables in these than in a #2 from McDonalds (large size, with a Diet Coke). So here’s what we’ve been eating for the past week:

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Dragon Noodles – Budget Bytes (A++++ Will make again (and again and again and another million more times.) It’s too spicy for the kids so I have to make them something else but it is totally worth it.)
Pesto Shrimp Skewers and Malt Vinegar Oven Fries – SkinnyTaste and BabyBabyLemon (my fries were delicious but not photogenic)
Korean Beef – Lizzy Writes (I added sriracha, so of course it was delicious)
Baked Hummus and Spinach Dip and Homemade Whole Wheat Pitas – Naturally Ella and Budget Bytes (E had work so I was just feeding myself and the kids, so hummus was a perfect choice)

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Cheeseburger Quesadillas – Skinny Taste (she made hers with buffalo meat, but I used my delicious grass-fed cow)
Greek Salad with Beef Kebabs – ripped out of Rachael Ray’s magazine (salad was delicious, kebabs were a little meh but BOTH kids ate a ton of meat and cucumbers)
Summer Vegetables with Sausage and Potatoes – Skinny Taste (yummy)
Crockpot Beef and Pepper Tacos  – I made this one up! See below for the recipe…

crockpot beef and pepper tacos

Crockpot Beef and Pepper Tacos
Serves at least 4, with leftovers

1 Beef roast, 2-3 lbs
Bell peppers, various colors, sliced
1 onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped (or more, to taste)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 T chili powder
1 T garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 T salt
1 tsp paprika
Black pepper
Red pepper flakes, to taste
2 cups beef broth or stock

Mix the spices together in a small bowl and rub them all over the roast. Put the roast in the crockpot and surround it with the peppers, onion, jalapeno and garlic. And 2 cups beef broth (more or less, depending on the size of your crockpot – it should come up about half way on the roast) and then put the lid on. Cook on low for 5-6 hours or until the beef is fall-apart tender. Shred it up and put it on a plate for serving. Put the cooked beef and peppers in tortillas with lettuce, pico de gallo, and avocado. I put hot sauce on mine too, since it was good but a little boring – I love spicy! Caroline liked it though, so mild was definitely a good choice.

crockpot beef and pepper tacos

I made the pico de gallo too. I win at dinner this week.

So, have you tried any really great recipes recently?

Easy Addictive Radish Dip

Friday, February 15th, 2013

Today I present a recipe for super easy, super delicious radish dip. I ate an entire batch of it over the past two days which means a) I will smell like garlic for a week and b) I ate an entire block of cream cheese by myself. I’m not even sorry.

easy radish dip

My sister made this dip when she came to visit a zillion years ago. I was confused, because who uses radishes for anything?? They’re like the acid wash jeans of vegetables – they’re always AROUND and sometimes they’re trendy and maybe other people use them for stuff but for most people? No. Just no. Who knew they were actually delicious and spicy and perfect for a crunchy snack? Also, they’re perfect in this dip, which might be the easiest thing you ever eat way, way too much of in one sitting.

Easy Radish Dip

1 block cream cheese (regular or light)
6-7 medium sized radishes
4 cloves of garlic, peeled

Put everything in a food processor, blend until radishes and garlic are minced. Eat with crackers, carrots or more radishes cut into slices.

Add more garlic if you like things super garlicky. Add more radishes to make it a tiny bit healthier (less cream cheese per bite). Double it if you’re making it for a party. Enjoy!

A Paleo Update and Grain-Free Cranberry Orange Scones

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012
paleo grain free cranberry orange scones

You can skip all my rambling and scroll to the bottom for the recipe

I am really terrible at sticking to things I start. Hobbies, fitness plans, housekeeping schedules, photo-a-day-for-a-month projects have all fallen by the wayside after I declared they were totally my new favorite thing and THIS TIME would be different. I don’t even stick to big things like houses for very long – the one we’re in now is the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere in my whole life.

But I got a legitimate email question asking if I was still doing paleo/primal and how I liked it so I thought I would answer, even if the answer is a little bit meh.

I AM still trying to eat a mostly paleo diet. I don’t eat any bread or grains or legumes any more and don’t miss them much. I switched to using coconut oil for all my cooking and love it. I eat a lot of vegetable substitutes for things – eggplant or spaghetti squash instead of noodles, kale chips instead of chips – and eat tons of fruit. I still think this is something I can do long term, but it hasn’t been a miracle diet for me.

At the beginning when I was being really careful and strict I lost 8 pounds very quickly. But as soon as I let things slide even a little I gained a few back and got frustrated. The idea of NEVER EVER EVER eating bread again depressed me.When I go to a birthday party and I’m faced with a table full of cupcakes – even if the cupcakes aren’t that GOOD – my brain convinces me I must have them because only a crazy person would pass up CUPCAKES. I don’t want to give up dairy completely (which is why I was calling my diet almost-paleo but more like primal) but I have a hard time not eating an entire block of cheese. I keep telling myself things that are OK in moderation – red wine, dark chocolate – are OK on a daily basis when obviously that’s a poor choice.

Basically, this is another thing I’ve started and not been very good at. I realize that is my fault and not the fault of the diet. I’ve also decided this IS something I DO want to stick to, so I’m trying again. I do feel better when I’m eating a high protein, moderate fat diet. I like not feeling bloated. I like not craving soda and sweets and having energy after 3 pm. I’ve found a lot of really delicious recipes (PaleOMG, NomNomPaleo and Civilized Caveman are three of my favorite sites) and I enjoy how easy it is to throw some meat in the crockpot and be done. Plus: BACON! I even talked my friend Alena into trying this with me and now we’re working to motivate each other.

So! Here’s my first attempt combining something I love (baking) with something I WANT to love (paleo).

I haven’t had a lot of luck with paleo baking so far – coconut flour is not a very good substitute for real flour. Stuff made with coconut flour tends to be very egg-y with just token amounts of flour to make it a “muffin” or a “pancake” instead of an omelet. But when I found a recipe for almond flour scones I thought I’d give it a shot and was thrilled with the results. Even my husband ate these and was surprised to hear they were part of my “crazy, stupid diet”. They take less than 20 minutes start to finish and are easy enough to make at 7 am when you can’t stand the thought of scrambled eggs AGAIN.

paleo grain free cranberry orange scones

Grain-Free Cranberry Orange Scones
(inspired by these from Civilized Caveman)

Makes 8 scones

2 cups almond flour or meal
1/3 cup shredded (unsweetened) coconut
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Pinch of salt
1 egg
2 T honey
Zest of 1 orange
1 T fresh orange juice
1 tsp almond extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix all the wet ingredients in a small bowl until the egg is fully scrambled. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until combined (I used a spatula, but you could use a mixer). Turn it out onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Form the dough (it will be sticky) into a rectangle about 1/2 an inch thick. Cut into four equal-ish rectangles, then cut each smaller rectangle diagonally to make triangles. Space them about 1 inch apart and bake for about 10 minutes until edges are browned. Let them cool down before you eat them or they’ll fall apart. Delicious with butter or coconut butter.

(Notes: I couldn’t find unsweetened dried cranberries so I cheated and bought some sweetened with organic cane juice from Stop & Shop. I bet you can get them at someplace fancy like Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. If you aren’t on a paleo/primal diet and don’t want to track down unsweetened coconut flakes, use the regular kind from the baking aisle and use a little less honey. You can make your own almond meal by grinding up almonds finely in a food processor.)

What’s For Dinner: Primal/Paleo Edition

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

I’m going to talk about this paleo/primal thing for a minute. Feel free to skip to food pictures.

Short update: I love it. I eat so many eggs I’m afraid I might turn into a chicken. I’ve lost 5 pounds, eat real butter and real cream, and am shocked at how little I miss most of my old diet.

Long update, in bullet point form because I keep thinking of things to add:

1. I am not technically following a Paleo diet because I still eat cheese. It’s closer to the Primal Blueprint diet, but I’m not sure I’m even doing that correctly. I don’t actually care very much about whether or not a caveman would have eaten it – I care whether or not it’s going to give me a migraine or make me feel like I’m dying (both things that happen now if I eat the wrong stuff). Being sort of lax with the rules mean I’m not getting all that magical fat-melting the interwebs seemed to promise, but it also means I don’t want to jump off a bridge.

2. Once I got through a few days carb/added sugar/Diet Coke-free my cravings for said things dropped off the map almost entirely. It’s like all the willpower I’ve lacked my entire life just SHOWED UP. Oh hey, Willpower, nice to see you. I could have used you back when my pregnancy cravings had me eating McDonald’s fries twice a day but whatever. I’m really glad the desire is gone because I am NOT making the whole family stick to my diet. Caroline basically does it on her own – she’d rather have eggs for breakfast than cereal – but Evan would starve without carbs. Thanks to my new willpower when I bought the kids special treat donuts after the Fresh Beat Band concert, I managed to bring one home, look at it for a while, then leave it for E to eat. I NEVER could have done that before.

3. I’ve thrown out all the rules about breakfast, lunch and dinner. Steak at 10 am, eggs and bacon for dinner, and eating any time I feel hungry is the new plan. Since I can’t count on easy, instant food I also do a lot more cooking (and dishes) and eat a lot more leftovers. Also, eggs. All the time.

4. I sometimes get this weird burning in my nose, like I accidentally inhaled water. I have NO idea if my new diet is to blame but it happens 3-4 times a day and it’s something that has never happened to me before (unless I really did get water up my nose). Dr. Google seems to think it’s an unrelated sinus infection, but I swear I’m not sick and haven’t been for a while. It might be my face rebelling against my diet (although my skin and hair seems to like it.)

5. My exercise schedule has been pretty sad (or non-existent) since E’s schedule changed back in August. I stopped running and haven’t been going to Stroller Strides. Now that I’ve seen a little success with the diet change I’m more motivated to see if I can amp it up with some workouts. I think it would make a big difference in my shape/jeans size.

6. I’m going to stick with it. It’s not so much that it’s some sort of magical cure-all weight-loss miracle plan, but just that I like it. I like drinking my coffee with real cream and I like putting steak on top of my lunch salad and I like eating eggs – all things I WASN’T doing before because I thought I needed to eat low fat to lose (or even maintain) my weight. This is better.

7. Still no plans to turn this into a blog about paleo/primal stuff, but if you want to talk about it I’m more than happy to on email or Facebook. Thank you to people who emailed me suggestions and recipes and blogs to follow – it’s been SUPER helpful!

8. Who can tell me where to get coconut flour? Don’t say Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods – we don’t have those.

So, to answer the title question, here’s what’s for dinner (complete with a lot of Google-fu to find the recipes):


1. Thai-Inspired Scallop Soup – The Primal Blueprint Cookbook (I KNOW I found this recipe online somewhere but can’t re-find it. It was totally amazing, so I might remake it and blog it)
2. Turkish Eggs – Primal Blueprint Quick & Easy Meals (basic recipe can also be found here)
3. Smoked Salmon, Egg and Asparagus Roll-ups – Primal Blueprint Quick & Easy Meals (just what it sounds/looks like)
4. Bison Chili – The Primal Blueprint Cookbook (just basic chili, no beans)

5. Artichoke & Green Olive Dip – Primal Blueprint Quick & Easy Meals (almost the same as this one)
6. Nut Crackers – The Primal Blueprint Cookbook (This one IS online – recipe #2 here.)
7. Deep Dish Pizza Casserole – A Girl Worth Saving
8. Meat sauce over roasted eggplant – I made spaghetti for everyone else and just threw some eggplant in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. It was better than noodles.

9. Coconut Almond Coleslaw – The Primal Blueprint Cookbook (I was most meh about this one)
10. Bacon & Mushroom Dip – Primal Blueprint Quick & Easy Meals (online here)
11. Zucchini Carbonara – Primal Blueprint Quick & Easy Meals (someone blogged it here)
12. Chicken & Artichokes With Garlic Sauce – Primal Blueprint Quick & Easy Meals (REALLY good, really easy, I’ve made it twice. There’s a version online here, but I used anchovies instead of fish sauce.)

I’ve also eaten a lot of broccoli made with this recipe I found on the Girl’s Gone Child blog and successfully replaced rice with grated cauliflower in both fried rice and jambalaya. Plus eggs. Did I mention eggs yet?

(Links in this post are not sponsored or affiliate links, just stuff I’ve read or bought on my own.)

P.S. ALSO, I made Jalapeno Popper Quiche last night (minus the crust) and it was SO FREAKING GOOD I didn’t even take time to eat a picture before E and I ate it all.

Berry Almond Baked Oatmeal

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

I’d never had baked oatmeal before I saw this recipe on Pinterest a few weeks ago. I decided it would be a quick and easy brunchy-type dish for my first local blogger get together and something my family would eat. In typical Suzanne fashion I only had half the ingredients on hand so I improvised and created my own Berry Almond Baked Oatmeal.

berry almond baked oatmeal

Berry Almond Baked Oatmeal
Serves 8

2 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup slices almonds
2 cups raspberries
1 cup coconut flakes
2 cups milk
1 large egg, beaten
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 ripe banana peeled and sliced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a baking dish (7×11, 9×13, whatever you’ve got – just watch baking times if it’s bigger) with non-stick spray. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients, the almonds, half the raspberries and half the coconut. In another bowl, mix the milk, egg, butter and vanilla.

Spread the oats, etc out in the baking dish. Top with the other half of the raspberries and coconut, then put the banana slices on top. Pour your milk mixture evenly over the oats and let it sink down. Bake 40 minutes or until slightly brown around the edges.

berry almond baked oatmeal

Delicious! And it’s super easy to add/subtract ingredients for other ones if coconut or almonds aren’t your cup of tea. One of the benefits of a baked oatmeal casserole is you can cut and serve rather than eating it with a spoon. The kids think they’re getting cake. Shhhhh…don’t tell!