Weekly Menu August 25

“If my life had a flavor, it would be coffee.”

I found this quote on Pinterest the other day, and it perfectly describes how I’m feeling on this cool Monday morning! Getting up early for the gym was a struggle, and the crisp air foreshadowing fall didn’t make it any better (summer, I already want you back!).

So, coffee helped. And so did this list from Joy the Baker: 11 Little Ways to Get Through This Monday. I especially love this: “…an after work situation is a lovely carrot to dangle in front of your face.” With that idea in mind, I’m looking forward to yoga, and then steak and a glass of wine this evening!

Plus, I just discovered what I’m going to do with all of the bananas in my freezer this week.

Kung Pao Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Weekly Menu August 25

Monday: Grilled Steak with Summer Nectarine Salad

Tuesday: Thai Chicken Quinoa Bowl

Wednesday: Kung Pao Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Thursday: Chipotle Cheddar Turkey Burgers with fresh corn

Friday: Susie’s French Chicken with Goat Cheese & Arugula Pasta Salad

Asian Quinoa Salad

Peter Pan, where are you when I need you?

I’m over the whole grown-up thing today. You know those weeks where you have to do the not-so-fun adult tasks like standing in line at the DMV? Yeah, it’s been one of those. And clearly, I’m still struggling with the fact that I missed my chance to move to Neverland.

I mean, it has felt like a Friday since Monday! I am so ready for the weekend and some warm weather. Colorado has really been messing around with this whole let’s-make-it-feel-like-winter-again phase. But now it’s May and the sun is out – and it’s time to fire up the BBQ! This Asian Quinoa Salad recipe is the perfect complement to these grilled Chicken Teriyaki Kabobs.

The Asian Quinoa Salad is light and fresh, with a slight kick to it. It’s a great dinner side dish, and the leftovers are even better the next day! I was so excited to be able to bring this to work for lunch. The vegetable add-ins are totally up to you. Carrots, bell peppers and edamame are my go-to, but I’ve thrown in broccoli slaw or sugar snap peas too.

Asian Quinoa Salad

Asian Quinoa Salad

Serves four

Adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth (I think this gives it more flavor than water!)
  • 1 cup shelled and cooked edamame
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrots, chopped

For the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup lite soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Add quinoa and broth to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Let it boil for a minute or two, then reduce the heat to a simmer for about 15 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. Then, turn off the heat, season with salt and pepper, and let it sit for a few minutes.

While the quinoa is cooking, chop the vegetables and make the sauce.

The sauce is super easy – just whisk everything together in a small bowl, adding more seasoning to taste. It seems a little oily at first, but covers the salad well.

Once the quinoa is done, pour the chopped veggies and sauce into the pan and stir to combine. Serve immediately!

 

Spicy Turkey Lettuce Wraps

Put down the tortilla. Back away from the taco shell. See that slice of bread? Oh no you don’t.

I’ve seen the lettuce wrap light.

I know, I know. I promise I’m not telling you to actually stop eating all of those tasty carbs. But, I am hoping you’ll give lettuce wraps a try for dinner! As someone who eats an English muffin every. single. morning. without fail, it’s a nice break to go a little lighter for dinner and pile my meat, veggies and sauce into giant lettuce leaves.

I used to think lettuce wraps were just a delicious restaurant appetizer (I’m looking at you, PF Changs). But, lately I’ve been stuffing lettuce with all sorts of tasty ingredients, like taco meat, cheese, tomatoes and guacamole. And it works! It’s still a filling dinner, you can just have more of it 🙂

Plus, it makes you feel better about eating a slice of this after.

Lettuce Wraps

Since discovering the wonderful world of lettuce wraps, I’ve tested many different recipes! After eating my new creations, Ryan and I always determine whether or not that recipe is a “keeper.” This one definitely made the cut!

Spicy Turkey Lettuce Wraps

Spicy Turkey Lettuce Wraps

Via Our Best Bites

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot and broccoli slaw
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped cashews
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 ½ tablespoon brown sugar
  • Sriracha sauce to taste
  • 16 lettuce leaves (or cabbage leaves)

Instructions:

Cook the ground turkey in a large skillet on medium-high heat. While it’s cooking, mix in the garlic and ginger and stir.

Chop the bell pepper, cilantro, cashews and jalapeno and set aside. Combine the lime juice, soy sauce, brown sugar and Sriracha in a bowl.

When the turkey is done, turn the heat to low and mix the bell pepper, carrot and broccoli slaw, cilantro, cashews and jalapeno into the skillet. Pour the sauce over that and stir it all together.

Serve with the lettuce wraps. Enjoy!

Beef Stew with Merlot

joy3

Today, I choose joy.

Don’t you wish it was always this easy? To choose joy and love and happiness and live in that frosting-covered kitchen haven forever?

Of course my idea of bliss includes mounds of whipped sugar. That’s a given. But, sometimes it isn’t quite so simple, and we have to be more conscious in choosing positivity. There are days when we just need a little more reminding, a nudge toward happiness.

Well, here it is!

Go to yoga. Walk to the coffee shop instead of drive. Send a for-no-reason card or package. Call your family. Drink tea. Reread an old book. Laugh. Create. Add the sprinkles.

And, of course, cook. Make your favorite recipe for dinner, or try a new one. Drink a glass of merlot while preparing the hearty beef stew below. It is so good, and surprisingly easy.

P.S. I’ve also found that making these sugar cookies helps a lot.

beef stew

Beef Stew with Merlot

Via EatLiveRun, Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb lean beef stew meat, cubed
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1-2 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 cup Merlot
  • 3 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp herbed sea salt
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Fresh minced parsley, for serving

Directions:

Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. When hot, add the beef, and sprinkle with flour, salt and pepper, tossing well. Brown the meat for a few minutes (it doesn’t need to be completely cooked through), then set aside on a plate.

Turn down the heat to medium and drizzle a little more oil in the pot. Add the onion and sauté for 4-6 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add the diced carrot, celery, rosemary and garlic and continue sautéing for 5 more minutes.

Add the beef back into the pot. Pour in the merlot and the beef broth. Stir well and increase heat to a boil. Then, reduce heat and cover pot. Let the stew simmer for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

After 2 hours, add the diced potatoes. You may need to add a little more beef broth at this point if the stew seems too thick. Continue simmering for about 30 more minutes – until potatoes are tender.

Season stew with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with fresh minced parsley on top!