[Ed. note: I'm been swamped, so it's a good thing I have a Ninja around. I highly recommend the lentil stew- it was PMM's absolute favorite. She ate 3 servings of leftovers for lunch today, so you know the Ninja did something right].
Mom was super busy this week with work and ended up catching PMM’s cold, so lucky for her The Ninja offered to take over chef duties - and to compose the weekly menu (sorry, I forgot to take pictures so this seems like a boring week). In deciding what to cook, the plan was to make some easy favorites, one new lentil curry from the “660 Curries”, and The Ninja’s speciality – Tom Yum Gai.
During PMM’s nap on Sunday, The Ninja took advantage of the free time to get a jump start on the menu. The lentils for Monday night were completely prepared and put in the fridge, and likewise the ground chicken was cooked with seasoning for Taco Tuesday.
Week of March 11:
Sunday: Wild caught salmon w/lemon and rosemary, broccoli, and couscous
Monday: Five-lentil stew
Tuesday: Chicken tacos
Wednesday: Pasta with turkey meatballs, marinara sauce, and salad
Friday: Tom Yum Gai
Saturday: Corned beef with cabbage
Sunday was grocery shopping, so it was a perfect day to pick up some fresh salmon. As fresh salmon has such great flavor, we just added a few sprigs of rosemary and lemon while grilling. Add a few simple sides of steamed broccoli and 5-minute couscous with just a bit of olive oil and you’ve got a complete tasty meal.
Monday was super easy as the five-lentil stew was made on Sunday and only needed reheating. As cooking time was 45 minutes, I’d recommend this approach for a quick weekday meal. The recipe called for ¼ cup each of black and green (skin-on and skinned) lentils, yellow split peas, and yellow pigeon peas. But, because most of these weren’t available at my grocery store, I used red lentils, green lentils, and green split peas instead. After rinsing the dried legumes, boil in 3 cups of water and add 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp ground turmeric, 3 chopped Thai or Serrano chilies, and 2 inches of fresh ginger – simmer and stir occasionally for 30 minutes.
Pull out the ginger and puree half of the stew. The recipe called for pureeing the whole stew, but the consistency would have been better if not all legumes were pureed. Also, I threw in a handful of spinach because it added some vegetable to the stew without affecting the flavor (although it did make it a beautiful puke-green color – whoops).
Last step is to heat some spices. Melt 2 Tbsp ghee or butter at medium-high heat in a skillet and add 2 tsp cumin seeds. Toast about 5 to 10 seconds and remove from heat. Then add 2 bay leaves and ½ tsp cayenne and stir before pouring mixture into stew. Stir in and serve, topping with cilantro if desired. PMM particularly loved some Greek yogurt stirred into this stew.
Taco Tuesday! Nothing difficult to this meal, just some ground chicken breast cooked with taco seasoning, then add your favorite toppings. Our typical taco bar features chopped up onion, bell peppers, and cilantro, Greek yogurt (we use this instead of sour cream), shredded cheese, spinach, lime, and salsa or hot sauce. PMM enjoyed her meal with some orange.
Wednesday was another super easy, quick meal. We just made some pasta and added our favorite sauce and Trader Joe’s turkey meatballs. We typically round out the meal with a salad and some fresh fruit.
Thursday was a Mom-less night as she was traveling for work. The Ninja made one of his favorites, hamburgers. Just to try and add some vegetable to the meal, we chop up a handful or two of spinach and mix it into the ground beef before making patties. Serve up with some fresh fruit to make PMM hapy.
Friday featured one of The Ninja’s specialties, Tom Yum Gai. Super easy, super tasty soup. Boil 1 quart chicken stock with 2 stalks of lemongrass cut into 3-inch pieces and 6-10 kaffir lime leaves (or a good squirt of lime juice). Bring to a boil, then add 1 pound chicken breast cut into strips, ½ Tbsp red curry paste, ½ Tbsp crushed red pepper (or less if you don’t like spicy), ½ Tbsp fish sauce, 1 bunch of chopped green onions, and 1-2 Tbsp of chopped cilantro. Simmer for 5-10 minutes (longer if you have time), then remove the lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves and serve over softened rice noodles with cilantro garnish. This is the best chicken soup for when you are sick – the spicy helps drain your sinuses and the simple flavors are easy on the stomach.
Happy St. Patrick’s Saturday! Despite usually trying to avoid having red meat twice in one week, we couldn’t resist having corned beef and cabbage for our favorite Irish day.