Fast and Delicious Weeknight Meals

22 Jul

I have been MIA from the blog world lately, mostly due to how busy I’ve been between wrapping up summer school and trying to stay up on my homework and readings for class.

Summer school ended yesterday and I bid my students farewell for the next month. We celebrated our last day by playing in a kiddie pool, having a picnic, and getting a visit from the local fire department. My kids got to shoot the fire hose and climb into the truck. They all loved it!! (except for one who kept saying it was scary and cried the whole time).

Now that I have a little more free time, I thought I’d catch you up to speed on what I’ve cooked and what I’ve been up to the past week.

One of my new favorite recipes:  Tilapia with Potatoes and Lemon-Pepper Oil

Travis surpised me one night when I got home from class with a lovely meal. I usually settle for a bowl of cereal on the nights I have class because I don’t get home until almost 9, so I was ecstatic when I came home to this! It was so good and we will be making it again and again!!!

Tilapia with Potatoes and Lemon-Pepper Oil

-adapted from Food Network

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 ounces baby fingerling potatoes, halved, or small red-skinned potatoes, quartered
  • 1 bunch kale, washed and torn into pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/4 pounds tilapia fillets, patted dry
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Directions:

1. Heat 2 Tbsp. of the olive oil in a large deep skillet with a lid over medium heat. Place the potatoes in the pan cut-side down. Cook until the potatoes are slightly golden and crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the kale, season with salt and pepper, then add about 1/3 cup water. Cover and steam until the kale wilts, about 3 minutes.

2. Season the fish with salt and pepper; place on top of the greens in the pan. Cover and steam until the fish is just cooked through, about 5 more minutes.

3. Meanwhile, whisk the lemon juice in a bowl with the remaining 2 Tbsp. olive oil; season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and plenty of pepper.

4. Carefully lift the fish off the greens and transfer to rimmed plates or bowls. Distribute the greens, potatoes and pan juices around the fish. Drizzle with the lemon-pepper oil.

YUMM!! Fast, healthy, and delicious. This dish will be making frequent appearances. Thanks Travis! You are wonderful!

~~

Another meal that we’ve really been enjoying is a spicy chicken stir-fry. I made it for the first time a few weeks ago and we’ve since enjoyed it twice. It’s another super-quick, very healthy, and incredibly flavorful weeknight meal.

Spicy Orange Chicken Stir-Fry with Soba Noodles

-adapted from Epicurious

Ingredients:

  • 3.1 oz dried soba noodles* (see note below)
  • 3/4 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel
  • 1 small red onion, halved, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 tsp. dried crushed red pepper
  • 1  pound chicken cutlets, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips
  • 1/2 lb.  sugar snap peas,rinsed and strings removed
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
  • sesame seeds, for sprinkling
  • toasted sesame oil, for drizzling

Directions:

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the soba noodles. Boil noodles for 3 minutes, drain and return to pan.  *Note: my soba noodles come in a package of 3 X 3.1 oz bundles. I use one 3.1 oz bundle for this recipe.

2. Meanwhile, whisk juice, soy sauce, and cornstarch in medium bowl until cornstarch dissolves. Mix in orange peel.

3. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in large wok or nonstick skillet over high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and crushed red pepper. Stir-fry 30 seconds. (Be careful, the spice from the crushed red pepper might make you cough during this step!!)

4. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add to wok and stir-fry until onion is crisp-tender and chicken is just cooked through, about 4 minutes. Add sugar snap peas and juice mixture. Toss until sauce thickens and comes to boil and peas are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Add soba noodles to sauce and chicken mixture and toss to coat. Serve in shallow bowls drizzled sparingly with toasted sesame oil and sprinkled with sesame seeds.

This is probably one of Travis’s favorite meals that I make and I try to make it once a week or once every two weeks. If you can’t find soba noodles, brown rice would be just fine.

~~

Lastly, I made a fabulous vegan enchilada pie the other night that we DEVOURED!! I used my vegetarian enchilada recipe for the filling, but then layered it in a 9″ pie plate. It was so low-calorie that we could have easily eaten the entire dish, but I wanted to make sure there were some leftovers for Travis’s lunch the next day.

Vegan Enchilada Bake (a rough recipe)

  • One recipe Surprise Vegetarian Enchilada, omit all of the cheese and corn tortillas.
  • 3  large low carb, whole wheat tortillas (I use La Tortilla Factory Smart & Delicious)
  • 1 (12oz) jar preferred enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tsp. nutritional yeast
  • 2 tsp. sesame seeds
Layer the ingredients like so:

1/4 cup sauce on the bottom of the pie plate

1 tortilla

1/2 of the veggie/tofu mixture

1/2 cup enchilada sauce

1 tortilla

Other 1/2 of the veggie/tofu mixture

1/2 cup enchilada sauce

1 more tortilla topped with remaining enchilada sauce, cherry tomatoes, nutritional yeast, sesame seeds.

I baked the whole thing about 30 minutes until bubbly and crisp around edges, then sliced it like a pie! When I looked over at Travis to ask him how he liked it, he was holding the plate up to his mouth and shoveling in the bits of filling that he couldn’t get on is fork. I guess that answers that question…

I love all 3 of these meals for the same reasons:

1. They are easy and come together in under an hour, start to finish. As a bonus, none of them require any side dishes which means less mess and less time.

2. They are all very healthy and heavy on the veggies (a requirement around here. 😉 )

3. They taste incredible: each of these dishes is truly very flavorful.

These are my top 3 go-to weeknight meals for all these reasons and I hope you will try one or all of them in the coming week!

That’s all for now! The beach is calling my name…

-Lou

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5 Responses to “Fast and Delicious Weeknight Meals”

  1. Mom and Dad July 22, 2011 at 7:09 pm #

    Hey Lauren, it all looks so yummy, especially the fish… love that fish. Glad you are getting a break from summer school. Hope you have some personal time just to rest, workout, and cook.

    Loves, Mom and Dad

  2. Amelia @ princessandthefrosting July 23, 2011 at 3:40 am #

    Spicy orange chicken stir fry with soba noodles?!?! I want to eat this every night! Great blog 🙂

  3. Madeleines and Marathons July 25, 2011 at 1:54 pm #

    Looks fantastic. I want to make this for Mike!

    I had such a great time with you at the farmers market! We should try the Sunday one next weekend!

  4. Tracie August 2, 2011 at 7:51 am #

    Can’t wait to try the stir fry!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Slowly Finding Normalcy « Zestful Lou - September 20, 2011

    […] Tonight’s dinner is another quick and healthy favorite: Vegan Enchilada Pie […]

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