Thursday, September 10, 2020

Slow Cooker Chili and 145+ Days of Dinner

The last time I shared our family meals, we were just five weeks into quarantine and I was FEELING it. We are now going on pandemic month six and while we ventured out a few times this summer to socially distant staycations and a few outside get togethers with friends, we've largely continued staying home. And while we definitely bumped up ordering out this summer, I've also been largely cooking three meals a day at home. So I've got lots of dinners to share!  

With back to school in full swing this week, I've been on the hunt for new dinners that are delicious but not time consuming. And while the concept of chili is nothing new, this slow cooker version is super yummy and is the perfect addition to your fall dinner rotation. 

Slow Cooker Chili 
(slightly adapted from Gimme Some Oven)

- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb ground beef + 1 lb Italian sausage (or 2 lbs ground beef)
- 1 medium red onion, peeled and diced
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce, chopped
- 2 (15 ounce) cans dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained 
- 2 (15 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
- 1 (15 ounce) can light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained 
- 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chiles 
- 1 cup beer 
- 2 tbsps chili powder
- 1 tbsp ground cumin 
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar 
- 1/2 tsp black pepper 

1. Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the ground beef, onion and garlic and cook for about 7-10 minutes or until the beef is completely browned, crumbling the beef with a spoon as it cooks. Drain and discard the excess grease. Transfer mixture into the bottom of the slow cooker. 

2. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Taste and season with additional salt or pepper as you like. 

Top with all your faves! 

*          *          *

Day 1 (M) - Easy Grilled Chicken; grilled veggies skillet potatoes 
Day 2 (T) - Crispy Sheet Pan Gnocchi and Veggies; Salmon; sourdough skillet bread with herbs 
Day 3 (W) - grilled filet mignon; roasted cauliflower; leftover potatoes 
Day 4 (Th) - the Mr.'s burgers; salad; hash browns 
Day 5 (F) - dinner out -- Moreland's Tavern 
Day 6 (Sat) - grilled salmon; jasmine rice; roasted green beans 
Day 7 (Sun) - dinner out -- Mintwood Place 

Day 8 (M) - Grilled Flash-Marinated Hanger Steak; roasted sweet potatoes; salad 
Day 9 (T) - sourdough pizza; Broccoli Caesear Salad 
Day 10 (W) - Lamb Meatballs with Feta and Lemon; polenta; grilled veggies 
Day 11 (Th) - All American Chili
Day 12 (F) - charcuterie board 
Day 13 (Sat) - dinner out -- Muchas Gracias 
Day 14 (Sun) - burgers; Brioche Buns; salad; curly fries 

Day 16 (T) - Cam B-Day Dinner! Smoked Salmon Pizza; epic homemade Llamacorn Cake 
Day 18 (Th) - Grilled Balsamic-and-Garlic Flank Steak; salad; potatoes
Day 19 (F) - Seared Salmon with Balsamic-Blistered Tomatoes; rice; green beans 
Day 20 (Sat) - dinner out -- Little Coco's (we order from here A LOT)

Day 22 (M) - grilled sausages; sweet potatoes; corn
Day 24 (W) - Loaded Turkey Taco Bowls 
Day 25 (Th) - Grilled Flash-Marinated Hanger Steak; cauliflower gnocchi; salad 
Day 26 (F) - sourdough pizza 
Day 27 (Sat) - dinner out -- Kaz Sushi 
Day 28 (Sun) - dinner out 

Day 30 (T) - Best Chicken Enchiladas; brown rice 
Day 31 (W) - grilled steaks; baked potatoes; brussels sprouts 
Day 32 (Th) - Lamb Meatballs with Feta and Lemon; brown rice; green beans 
Day 33 (F) - dinner out -- DCity Smokehouse 
Day 35 (Sun) - dinner out -- Perry's 

Day 36 (M) - Skillet Chicken Parmesean; mixed green salad; veggie spirals 
Day 37 (T) - grilled strip steak; roasted veggies
Day 39 (Th) - dinner out -- Lebanese Taverna 
Day 40 (F) - All American Chili
Day 41 (Sat) - dinner out 
Day 42 (Sun) - Healthy Beef and Broccoli 

Day 43 (M) - burgers; sweet potato fries; salad 
Day 44 (T) - Easy Pork Carnitas 
Day 46 (Th) - Piri Piri Meatballs 
Day 47 (F) - dinner out -- Little Coco's
Day 48 (Sat) - dinner out -- Meiwah 

Day 50 (M) - Harissa Lamb Pizza; Proscuitto Pizza 
Day 55 (Sat) - dinner out -- Sababa 
Day 56 (Sun) - The Mr.'s burgers; Summer Veggie Pasta Salad (mash up of Easy Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing)

Day 57 (M) - dinner out -- Moreland's Tavern
Day 58 (T) - Instant Pot Balsamic Pork Tenderloin; sweet potato; green beans 
Day 59 (W) - Lemon Garlic Greek Chicken; cauliflower gnocchi; roasted squash 
Day 61 (F) - sourdough pizza; salad 
Day 62 (Sat) - My B-Day! dinner out -- The Dabney 
Day 63 (Sun) - dinner out -- Little Coco's

Day 65 (T) - Slow Cooker Barbacoa
Day 66 (W) - pan seared salmon; sushi rice; broccoli 
Day 67 (Th) - Grilled Flash-Marinated Hanger Steak; brown rice; green beans 
Day 68 (F) - dinner out     
Day 69 (Sat) - dinner out 
Day 70 (Sun) - dinner out -- DCity Smokehouse 

Day 71 (M) - pesto pasta; chicken sausage; salad 
Day 72 (T) - Lemon-Garlic Roasted Chicken; couscous; green beans 
Day 75 (F) - sourdough pizza; salad 
Day 76 (Sat) - dinner out -- Q by Peter Chang 
Day 77 (Sun) - dinner out -- Five Guys 

Day 78 (M) - Chicken Teriyaki; sushi rice; steamed broccoli 
Day 79 (T) - Mojo Meatballs; grilled veggies; tostones 
Day 80 (W) - pan seared salmon; orzo with veggies and feta; green beans 
Day 81 (Th) - Lamb Bolognese; caesar salad 
Day 82 (F) - dinner out 
Day 83 (Sat) - grilled burgers 
Day 84 (Sun) - dinner out -- Lebanese Taverna 

Day 85 (M) - pesto pasta; grilled sausages; caesar salad 
Day 86 (T) - sourdough pizza; salad 
Day 87 (W) - Korean Beef Bowl 
Day 88 (Th) - dinner out -- Perry's 
Day 89 (F) - Grilled Balsamic Chicken; roasted broccoli; sweet potatoes with pesto 
Day 90 (Sat) - dinner out -- Zenebach 
Day 91 (Sun) - dinner out -- Joe's Stone Crab 

Day 92 (M) - pasta with leftover grilled chicken; grilled vegetables 
Day 93 (T) - burgers; salad; sweet potato fries 
Day 94 (W) - sourdough pizza; salad 
Day 95 (Th) - dinner out -- Nando's 
Day 96 (F) - dinner out 

(we went to my in laws in New Jersey for a few weeks, so there were a bunch of dinners there that I didn't cook) 

Day 97 (Sat) - shrimp scampi 

Day 99 (M) - sourdough pizza 
Day 100 (T) - grilled burgers 
Day 101 (W) - grilled salmon and sushi rice 
Day 102 (Th) - blue crabs + oysters -- Barbera Seafood Market
Day 103 (F) - grilled chicken; caesar salad 
Day 104 (Sat) - Lamb Bolognese 
Day 105 (Sun) - grilled chicken; tuna; sushi rice

Day 106 (M) - Easy Pork Carnitas 
Day 107 (T) - grilled steak; twice baked potatoes 
Day 108 (W) - rotisserie chicken; couscous; salad  
Day 109 (Th) - burgers; fries; salad 
Day 110 (F) - dinner out 
Day 111 (Sat) - Pesto Meatballs 
Day 112 (Sun) - chicken soup and grilled cheese 

Day 114 (T) - dinner out -- Tony's Baltimore Grill 

(Back home!)

Day 115 (W) - pesto pasta; grilled Italian chicken; green beans
Day 116 (Th) - Grilled Halibut with Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette; couscous; roasted broccoli and tomatoes 
Day 117 (F) - burgers; salad 
Day 118 (Sat) - dinner out -- Old Ebbitt Grill 
Day 119 (Sun) - dinner out -- Blackwall Hitch

Day 122 (W) - dinner out -- Little Coco's
Day 123 (Th) - grilled Italian chicken; salad 
Day 125 (Sat) - dinner out -- Duke's Counter 
Day 126 (Sun) - dinner out -- Moreland's Tavern 

Day 127 (M) - grilled filet mignon 
Day 128 (T) - Matzo Ball Soup
Day 129 (W) - dinner out - Pi Pizza 
Day 132 (Sat) - dinner out -- Little Coco's
Day 133 (Sun) - dinner out -- Le Diplomate 

Day 134 (M) - Slow Cooker Chili 
Day 135 (T) - Grilled King Salmon with Meyer Lemon Relish; cauliflower gnocchi; green beans 
Day 136 (W) - Sunbasket Greek Meatballs with Tomato-Cucumber Salad 
Day 137 (Th) - Sunbasket Catalan Chicken with Green Romesco and Spanish Green Beans 
Day 138 (F) - Maryland crab dinner on the Eastern Shore 
Day 139 (Sat) - steak dinner on the Eastern Shore 

Day 141 (M) - dinner out -- Meiwah 
Day 142 (T) - Back Pocket Bolognese 
Day 143 (W) - grilled sausages; baked potato 
Day 144 (Th) - dinner out -- Little Coco's
Day 145 (F) - dinner out in NJ -- Angelo's 
Day 146 (Sat) - grilled BBQ chicken 
Day 147 (Sun) - the Mr.'s burgers 

    Wednesday, April 15, 2020

    Matzo Ball Soup and 80+ Days of Dinner

    To say that a lot has changed since I posted last would be an understatement. We're going on our fifth week self-isolating at our house and I've been cooking like a maniac (both because everyone is now home for every meal and because it's a great outlet for me). And I've apparently taken up baking. It started out with Cam wanting to bake more cakes and then I hopped aboard the sourdough train when I was able to scoop some starter from Chef Johanna Hellrigl who has generously given out an insane amount of starter to folks quarantined in DC. I'm still working on making an actual loaf of sourdough bread, but I've been crushing the discard recipes!

    Most of these Days of Dinner are from before we started staying home, but the last four weeks are Quarantine Meals! So the recipe I'm sharing this time is straight comfort food. It's a lot of directions, but honestly, not at all difficult. So don't get overwhelmed. I usually balk at any recipe that calls for a whole chicken, but there's really not a way to screw this one up. And it's so worth it.

    I highly recommend splitting the work over two days. First make the chicken stock. Refrigerate it and then you can skim the schmaltz (chicken fat) the next day to use in making the matzo balls. If you have enough stock pots, make an extra batch of stock because it freezes well and you can save the schmaltz in the refrigerator for the matzo balls when you're ready.

    Matzo Ball Soup 
    (slightly adapted from Bon Appetit)

    Chicken stock
    - 1, 4-5 lb chicken, cut into 8 pieces
    - 1 lb chicken wings, necks, and/or backs
    - 2 large yellow onions, unpeeled, quartered
    - 6 celery stalks, cut into 1" pieces
    - 4 large carrots, peeled, cut into 1" pieces
    - 1 large parsnip, peeled, cut into 1" pieces
    - 1 large shallot, quartered
    - 1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
    - 6 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
    - 1 tbsp black peppercorns

    Matzo ball mixture
    - 3 large eggs, beaten to blend
    - 3/4 cup matzo meal
    - 1/4 cup schmaltz (chicken fat), melted
    - 3 tbsp club soda
    - 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt

    - 2 small carrots, peeled, sliced 1/4" thick on a diagonal
    - Kosher salt
    - 2 tbsp coarsley chopped fresh dill
    - coarsley ground fresh black pepper

    Chicken Stock
    1. Bring all ingredients and 12 cups cold water to a boil in a very large (at least 12-qt.) stockpot. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until chicken breasts are cooked through, about 20 minutes.

    2. Transfer breasts to a plate (remaining chicken parts are strictly for stock). Let breasts cool slightly, then remove meat and return bones to stock. Shred meat. Let cool, tightly wrap, and chill.

    3. Continue to simmer stock until reduced by one-third, about 2 hours. Strain chicken stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a large saucepan (or airtight container, if not using right away); discard solids. You should have about 8 cups.

    You can refrigerate stock for up to two days. If you're keeping it for longer, freeze it, including the shredded chicken breast.

    Matzo Balls
    Mix eggs, matzo meal, schmaltz, club soda, ands alt in a medium bowl (mixture will resemble wet sand; it will firm up as it rests). Cover and chill at least 2 hours. You can refrigerate it for up to a day.

    1. Bring chicken stock to a boil in a large saucepan. Add carrots; season with salt. Reduce heat and simmer until carrots are tender, 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat, add reserved breast meat (if you didn't freeze stock and already add), and cover. Set soup aside.

    2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Scoop out 2-tablespoonful portions matzo ball mixture and, using wet hands, gently roll into balls.

    3. Add matzo balls to water and reduce heat so water is at a gentle simmer (too much bouncing around will break them up). Cover pot and cook matzo balls until cooked through and starting to sink, 20-25 minutes.

    4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer matzo balls to bowls. Ladle soup over, top with dill, and season with pepper.

    *          *          *

    Day 1 (W) - brinner -- egg tacos + salad
    Day 2 (Th) - Bruschetta Grilled Chicken; farro
    Day 3 (F) - Backpocket Bolognese
    Day 4 (Sat) - dinner out
    Day 5 (Sun) - dinner out

    Day 6 (M) - NY strip steak; green beans; salad
    Day 7 (T) - Greek Lamb Burgers; cauliflower gnocchi
    Day 8 (W) - leftovers
    Day 9 (Th) - Matzo Ball Soup
    Day 10 (F) - dinner out
    Day 11 (Sat) - dinner out
    Day 12 (Sun) - Superbowl! ordered in

    Day 13 (M) - Garlic Lover's Crockpot Beef Stew
    Day 14 (T) - Greek Chicken Kabobs; pesto cauliflower gnocchi; roasted broccoli
    Day 15 (W) - Sushi Rice with Miso-Caramel Glazed Salmon (a new family fave)
    Day 16 (Th) - leftovers
    Day 17 (F) - dinner out
    Day 18 (Sat) - dinner out
    Day 19 (Sun) - Grilled Steak Tacos with Cilantro Chimichurri Sauce

    Day 20 (M) - Spaghetti and Drop Meatballs with Tomato Sauce
    Day 21 (T) - Cheesy Stuffed Peppers
    Day 22 (W) - Halibut with Spicy Sausage, Tomatoes, and Rosemary
    Day 23 (Th) - Balsamic Grilled Chicken
    Day 24 (F) - grilled salmon; carrots; brown rice
    Day 25 (Sat) - brinner -- eggs and TJ scallion cakes
    Day 26 (Sun) - dinner out

    Day 27 (M) - dinner out
    Day 28 (T) - Backpocket Bolognese
    Day 29 (W) - All American Chili
    Day 30 (Th) - dinner out
    Day 31 (F) - dinner out in Nebraska for my nephew's wedding
    Day 32 (Sat) - dinner out in Nebraska for my nephew's wedding
    Day 33 (Sun) - dinner out

    Day 34 (M) - Easy Steak Fajitas; roasted cauliflower; brown rice
    Day 35 (T) - Chicken Enchilada Skillet
    Day 36 (W) - Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork
    Day 37 (Th) - grilled Sabatino's sausages
    Day 38 (F) - Gail Simmons' Greek Style Lamb Meatballs over Orzo from Bring it Home
    Day 39 (Sat) - dinner out
    Day 40 (Sun) - dinner out

    Day 41 (M) - Matzo Ball Soup
    Day 42 (T) - Weeknight 20 Minute Spicy Udon Noodles
    Day 43 (W) - Sushi Rice with Miso-Caramel Glazed Salmon
    Day 44 (Th) - Slow Cooker Meatballs in Tomato Sauce; cauliflower gnocchi
    Day 45 (F) - Greek Marinated Flank Steak; sweet potato fries; salad
    Day 46 (Sat) - DIY pizzas with store-bought dough
    Day 47 (Sun) - California Chicken, Veggie, Avocado, and Brown Rice Bowls

    Day 48 (M) - Gail Simmons' Greek Style Lamb Meatballs over Orzo from Bring it Home (I'd made a double batch and frozen one!)
    Day 49 (T) - grilled Sabatino's sausages; Crispy Sheet Pan Gnocchi and Veggies
    Day 50 (W) - Costco chicken skewers (these were not good); cauliflower gnocchi; salad
    Day 51 (Th) - leftovers
    Day 52 (F) - out
    Day 53 (Sat)* - Flank Steak Tacos
    Day 54 (Sun) - leftovers

    Day 55 (M) - take out from our fave neighborhood spot Moreland's Tavern -- in addition to running a regular take out during quarantine, you can also pick up beer + cocktails and participate in their new general store boxes. We are trying to order at least once/week from local restaurants to help support them through this difficult time. And we routinely grab a growler or two from Moreland's even if we are ordering food from another spot.
    Day 56 (T) - Chicken Pasta; salad
    Day 57 (W) - Grilled Flash-Marinated Skirt Steak; grilled vegetables; orzo
    Day 58 (Th) - Chipotle Pulled Pork Tacos; TJs Mexican corn; brown rice
    Day 59 (F) - Matzo Ball Soup (I told you we've been eating it a lot!)
    Day 60 (Sat) - take out from Tiger Fork, including cocktails!
    Day 61 (Sun) - All American Chili

    Day 62 (M) - take out from Little Coco's, who is also doing groceries and a special Sunday Supper during quarantine.
    Day 63 (T) - Extra-Juicy Turkey Burgers (DELISH); roasted broccoli; leftover grains
    Day 64 (W) - Spring Break Thanksgiving because why the hell not: I usually make just a turkey breast for Thanksgiving but used this as a low-stakes opportunity to do a full bird. I thought this Dry-Brined Roast Turkey was amazing and I still had one frozen container of Caramelized Onion and Bacon Gravy left from actual Thanksgiving to serve with it. I also made a yummy Easy Green Bean Casserole and Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes (I didn't make them ahead, but you could). And we served up boxed stuffing, canned cranberries, store-bought cornbread, and store-bought apple pie for dessert.
    Day 65 (Th) - DIY pizzas with store-bought dough
    Day 66 (F) - take out from Gravitas (amazing)
    Day 67 (Sat) - Instant Ramen Fried Rice; 12-Minute Chicken and Broccoli
    Day 68 (Sun) - Mr. Not-So-SAHM made his famous burgers and taught Kane how to make them too;  salad; tater tots

    Day 70 (M) - Pasta with Sausage, Basil and Mustard; Shockingly Easy No-Knead Focaccia
    Day 71 (T) - Easy Grilled Chicken; grilled zucchini and squash; brown rice
    Day 72 (W) - Cold Roast Salmon with Lemony Yogurt Sauce; green beans; farro
    Day 73 (Th) - grilled New York strip steak; roasted cauliflower
    Day 74 (F) - grilled sausages; waffle fries; Sauteed Shredded Brussels Sprouts 
    Day 75 (Sat) - take out from Blue Jacket, including cocktails. The Neighborhood Restaurant Group is also running a pantry and prepared meals delivery.
    Day 76 (Sun) - Trader Joe's Pollo Asada; Mexican corn; rice

    Day 77 (M) - Turkey Meatballs; cauliflower gnocchi; roasted vegetables
    Day 78 (T) - DIY pizzas with store-bought dough; salad
    Day 79 (W) - Passover (not kosher): Matzo Ball Soup; Tangy Braised Short Ribs; Apples with Honey and Crushed Walnuts; Garlicky, Buttered Carrots; store-bought Potatoes Gratin; ice cream sundaes.
    Day 80 (Th) - Chicken Shawarma with Yogurt Sauce; couscous; leftover carrots
    Day 81 (F) - All American Chili; Buttery Sourdough Sandwich Biscuits
    Day 82 (Sat) - take out from Chiko (SO good)
    Day 83 (Sun) - take out from All Purpose -- just needed a take out double-header this week!

    *self-isolation begins!

    Wednesday, January 22, 2020

    Beef Ragu over Cauliflower Gnocchi + 140(ish) Days of Dinner

    This is the first year in a long time that we haven't done an official January Whole30. I really liked the macro coutning and intermittent fasting program I was doing throughout last summer, but had just really fallen off through the fall and holidays. So I decided to go back to that. We briefly attempted a dry January at least, but quickly adjusted that to dry weekdays and I've been holding to that.

    Nevertheless, many of the recipes I cook are still fairly clean (free of dairy products, legumes, and grains), but I add some of those in as sides now. You'll see lots of dinners out and lots of repeats and I knew in my head that we eat broccoli a lot, but OMG we eat broccoli A LOT. It's easy, tasty, and everyone always eats a ton of it. So ....

    For the top recipe, I'm sharing one of our favorite cold-day dishes. Although this Beef Ragu takes some time to cook, the hands on time is so minimal that I can still get it done on a weekday -- I just have to remember to put it in the oven or slow cooker earlier in the day. I serve mine over Trader Joe's cauliflower gnocchi and the kids often have theirs over pasta or polenta. Some extra roasted veggies on the side and you are set!

    Beef Ragu over Cauliflower Gnocchi 
    (slightly adapted from Simply Delicious)

    - 2 lb chuck roast
    - 2 red onions, peeled and roughly chopped
    - 1, 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes
    - 1 tbsp tomato paste
    - 2 tsp sugar (or sub honey)
    - 6 garlic cloves peeled, left whole
    - 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
    - 5 sprigs fresh thyme
    - 2 bay leaves
    - 2 tbsp soy sauce
    - 1 cup red wine
    - 2 cups beef stock
    - salt and pepper to taste

    - frozen Cauliflower Gnocchi
    - parmesean cheese and parsley for serving (optional)

    1. Preheat oven to 325F. Place beef, onions, tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, garlic, herbs, and soy sauce into a dutch oven. Lightly mix. Add wine and stock and cover.

    2. Place in oven and cook for 4 - 5 hours until meat is tender and pulls apart easily. Shred meat with two forks. Then turn oven up to 425F and return ragu to oven to cook for another 20 minutes. If you're roasting veggies for a side dish, I put these in the oven now as well.

    3. Cook cauliflower gnocchi. Spoon ragu over gnocchi, top with parmesean cheese and parsley before serving.

    *          *          *

    Day 1 (M) - Back-Pocket Bolognese
    Day 2 (T) - Loaded Turkey Taco Bowls
    Day 3 (W) - Skirt Steak with Chimichurri Sauce; brown rice; roasted cauliflower
    Day 4 (Th) - All American Chili
    Day 5 (F) - dinner out
    Day 6 (Sat) - Whole30 Baked Salmon with Creamy Avocado Sauce; Israeli couscous; roasted corn with cotija cheese
    Day 7 (Sun) - Grilled Paleo Basil and Cracked Pepper Sausages (I can't get these through Instacart at Costco anymore and it's making me bananas -- everyone loves them!)

    Day 8 (M) - Baked Salmon Cakes; roasted veggies; black beans
    Day 9 (T) - Shredded Crockpot BBQ Pork
    Day 10 (W) - dinner out
    Day 11 (Th) - leftovers
    Day 12 (F) - One Pot Cheesy Taco Skillet
    Day 13 (Sat) - dinner out
    Day 14 (Sun) - Ground Chicken Tacos with Chipotle Crema; brown rice; Mexican street corn

    Day 15 (M) - Stiry Fry Tofu; veggies; brown rice
    Day 16 (T) - grilled New York strip steak; cauliflower gnocchi; roasted broccoli
    Day 17 (W) - dinner out
    Day 18 (Th) - Freezer-to-Slow Cooker Chicken Chili
    Day 19 (F) - Thanksgiving Turkey Meatballs
    Day 20 (Sat) - Trader Joe's falafel; carrot spirals; couscous; pita
    Day 21 (Sun) - Teriyaki Salmon; jasmine rice; roasted broccoli

    Day 23 (M) - dinner out
    Day 23 (T) - Crockpot Korean Beef - served ours as buddha bowls with brown rice as quick-pickled carrots and radishes
    Day 24 (W) - The Mr.'s birthday dinner! Panko Chicken Parmesean; caesar salad; pasta; and Frozen Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie!
    Day 25 (Th) - leftovers
    Day 26 (F) - flank steak with Chimichurri; roasted potatoes; roasted cauliflower
    Day 27 (Sat) - dinner out
    Day 28 (Sun) - dinner out

    Day 29 (M) - dinner out
    Day 30 (T) - Stiry Fry Tofu; veggies; quinoa
    Day 31 (W) - dinner out
    Day 32 (Th) - Make Ahead Freezer Chicken Fajitas; brown rice
    Day 33 (F) - polenta with Trader Joe's Bolognese
    Day 34 (Sat) - dinner party at our house catered by the awesome Sara's Savories -- Red Wine + Herb Braised Short Ribs; Maple Dijon Herb Seared Salmon; Garlic and Lemon Sauteed Spinach; Roasted Potatoes with Olive Oil and Thyme. I made a Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie which was fab!
    Day 35 (Sun) - dinner out

    Day 36 (M) - Chicken Enchiladas (I didn't freeze these because that seemed to cause lots of issues for people)
    Day 37 (T) - Big Batch Meatballs but used this Red Sauce
    Day 38 (W) - dinner out
    Day 39 (Th) - ginger and garlic stir fried rotisserie chicken and veggies; brown rice
    Day 40 (F) - Kane's birthday dinner! Had his favorite Chicaog Giordano's pizza delivered; caesar salad; I made Chocolate Cheesecake
    Day 41 (Sat) - leftovers
    Day 42 (Sun) - leftovers

    Day 43 (M) - dinner out
    Day 44 (T) - Tofu Tacos with Black Beans
    Day 45 (W) - out
    Day 46 (Th) - Freezer-to-Slow Cooker Chicken Chili
    Day 47 (F) - out
    Day 48 (Sat) - Cast-Iron Pizza with Fennel and Sausage (OMG SO GOOD)
    Day 49 (Sun) - Soba Noodle and Steak Salad with Ginger-Lime Dressing

    Day 50 (M) - Grilled Paleo Basil and Cracked Pepper Sausages; salad
    Day 51 (T) - One Pot Cheesy Taco Skillet
    Day 52 (W) - dinner out
    Day 53 (Th) - BBQ Cranberry Chicken
    Day 54 (F) - dinner out
    Day 55 (Sat) - dinner out
    Day 56 (Sun) - our neighbor kindly made us this delicious Chaia Mexican Veggie Soup

    Day 57 (M) - Teriyaki Salmon; rice; roasted broccoli
    Day 58 (T) - Lemon Pepper Chicken; couscous; green beans
    Day 59 (W) - Cast-Iron Pizza with Fennel and Sausage; salad
    Day 60 (Th) - All American Chili; salad
    Day 61 (F) - dinner out
    Day 62 (Sat) - dinner out
    Day 63 (Sun) - dinner out

    Day 64 (M) - leftovers
    Day 65 (T) - Back-Pocket Bolognese; gnocchi
    Day 66 (W) - brinner
    Day 67 (Th) - Big Batch Meatballs but used this Red Sauce
    Day 68 (F) - dinner out
    Day 69 (Sat) - dinner out
    Day 70 (Sun) - dinner out

    Day 71 (M) - Thai Chicken Curry -- again from our nice neighbor!
    Day 72 (T) - White Bean, Sage, and Sausage Soup
    Day 73 (W) - Instant Pot Shredded Chicken Mexican Style
    Day 74 (Th) - brinner
    Day 75 (F) - Back-Pocket Bolognese; salad
    Day 76 (Sat) - dinner out
    Day 77 (Sun) - dinner out

    Day 78 (M) - Nourishing Paleo Chicken Soup
    Day 79 (T) - All American Chili; salad
    Day 80 (W) - dinner out
    Day 81 (Th) - Chicken and Polenta with Broccoli
    Day 82 (F) - Thai Beef Drunken Noodles
    Day 83 (Sat) - dinner out
    Day 84 (Sun) - dinner out

    Day 85 (M) - dinner out
    Day 86 (T) - Instant Pot BBQ Beer Pulled Chicken Tacos
    Day 87 (W) - dinner out
    Day 88 (Th) - Thanksgiving!! I put out shrimp cocktail and a monster party board for apps. I made Maple Bourbon Glazed Turkey Breast; Caramelized Onion and Bacon Gravy; Brussels Sprouts with Pistachios and Lime; Crispy-Topped Mashed Potatoes; Grapefruit Apricot Cranberry Relish with Rosemary; Brown-Sugar Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows; Cornbread Stuffing with Sausage and Corn Nuts; and boxed stuffing for the Mr. My mom made my favorite Brownie Pecan Pie and my in-laws brought additional pies and rolls.
    Day 89 (F) - dinner out
    Day 90 (Sat) - dinner out
    Day 91 (Sun) - Sweet-and-Saucy Pork Chops; couscous; broccoli

    Day 92 (M) - Teriyaki Salmon; rice; roasted broccoli
    Day 93 (T) - Easy Chicken Gyro with Tzatziki Sauce; orzo
    Day 94 (W) - filet mignon; mashed potatoes; green beans
    Day 95 (Th) - dinner out
    Day 96 (F) - dinner out
    Day 97 (Sat) - dinner out
    Day 98 (Sun) - Loaded Turkey Taco Bowls

    Day 99 (M) - Oven Fried Chicken with Honey Mustard Glaze; green beans; quinoa pasta
    Day 100 (T) - Best General Tso's Tofu
    Day 101 (W) - 15-Minute Lemon Garlic Butter Steak with Zucchini Noodles
    Day 102 (Th) - leftovers
    Day 103 (F) - Slow-Cooker Pot Roast with Chickpea Salad
    Day 104 (Sat) - dinner out
    Day 105 (Sun) - dinner out

    Day 106 (M) - Pork Lettuce Wraps
    Day 107 (T) - dinner out
    Day 108(W) - dinner out
    Day 109 (Th) - Chicken Bolognese
    Day 110 (F) - dinner out
    Day 111 (Sat) - Oven Fried Chicken with Honey Mustard Glaze
    Day 112 (Sun) - Loaded Whole30 Sweet Potato Fries (we had ours as nachos)

    Day 113 (M) - Nourishing Paleo Chicken Soup
    Day 114 (T) - Christmas Eve cheese fondue!
    Day 115(W) - Christmas dinner! We grilled out some gorgeous filet mignon and my father-in-law made a fabulous sauce for it. I made a big party board for apps, Broccoli Caesar Salad (I LOVED this!), Twice Baked Loaded Potatoes (I used regular baking potatoes), Best Green Bean Casserole, Maple-Bacon Popovers, and Fallen Chocolate Cake for dessert.
    Day 116 (Th) - leftovers
    Day 117 (F) - Hanukkah dinner -- we always order from Wagshals - chicken matzoh ball soup, brisket, latkes, apple sauce, creamed spinach, knot rolls. And Cam made a cake for dessert!
    Day 118 (Sat) - dinner out
    Day 119 (Sun) - Nacho Beef taco bowls

    Day 120 (M) - Baked Chicken ParmeseanBroccoli Caesar Salad; pasta
    Day 121 (T) -NYE dinner out at Little Coco's
    Day 122(W) - dinner out
    Day 123 (Th) - Easy Chicken Gyro with Tzatziki Sauce
    Day 124 (F) - Salmon and Broccolini with Citrus-Chile Sauce
    Day 125 (Sat) - dinner out
    Day 126 (Sun) - dinner out

    Day 127 (M) - Slow Cooker Greek Beef Stew with Gremolata; cauliflower gnocchi
    Day 128 (T) - Trader Joe's porchetta; green beans; cauliflower gnocchi
    Day 129(W) - Chicken Pesto Stuffed Sweet Potatoes; salad
    Day 130 (Th) - Spicy Beef and Lamb Kofta; broccoli; roasted potatoes
    Day 131 (F) - dinner out
    Day 132 (Sat) - dinner out
    Day 133 (Sun) - dinner out

    Day 134 (M) - Trader Joe's cabernet pot roast; kale gnocchi; broccoli
    Day 135 (T) - Paleo Balsamic and Rosemary Chicken grilled; cauliflower gnocchi; green beans
    Day 136(W) - Paleo Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili
    Day 137 (Th) - Za'atar Fish and Chips
    Day 138 (F) - One Pot Cheesy Taco Skillet
    Day 139 (Sat) - dinner out
    Day 140 (Sun) - dinner out

    Day 141 (M) - filet mignon; roasted potatoes; salad
    Day 142 (T) - Beef Ragu over Cauliflower Gnocchi; roasted broccoli

      Friday, January 17, 2020

      Belgium + The Netherlands: Days 9 & 10 -- Amsterdam

      Well those three months flew by. I was doing so well getting our summer vacation posts out and then, well, life. I've even had all of the photos edited, but just couldn't get around to writing it up. But seeing as I'm now working on our plans for next summer, I figured it was time to get this trip wrapped up before I forget!

      I'd left our last Friday in Amsterdam purposefully open. We'd toyed with the idea of heading to Haarlem or the beach in Zandvoort for a day, but I didn't want to commit to that ahead of time. Kane was sort of chomping at the bit for some WWII history, so I looked up a guide on the fly and was able to book Al Walet for an afternoon tour (I'd wanted to book Amsterdamsel, but she was unavailable). So we did something unusual for this trip and slept in first! We had brunch at our hotel and then Al met us there.

      Al was armed with maps and tons of historical knowledge. He gave us an overview of the war first and then we set out for a tour of the bulk of the city. We did a trail through the Amsterdam City Archives (a really neat destination in and of itself), Thorbecke Square, Rembrandt Square, Dutch National Opera and Ballet over the Amstel river, the Portuguese Synagogue, through the flea market to the Spinoza Monument.

      We rounded out our walk by heading across the Skinny Bridge (where lovers leave locks) and ending in the Flower Market. All the while Al was able to give us a great perspective of the city during WWII. He also knew a ton about architecture, water management, and just pretty much any and all random subjects. Kane would have liked a little more WWII-focused tour, I think, but it was a great way to get the lay of land (and we probably should have done it towards the front of our stay there).

      After taking photos all day on our tour, I intentionally left my camera at the hotel when we went back out for dinner. We were getting a chance to makeup our planned visit to Indonesian Restaurant Blauw. We had a little bit of a tense ride there as Joel tried to manuever moving money around (remember, my wallet was stolen the day before and we'd canceled all our joint credit cards!) to make sure we could actually pay for dinner. After a frantic search for an ATM, we were set. We knew we wanted to try all the Rijsftaffel (read up on the cuisine here) they offered, so we just let the waitress pick a wide variety for us. I thought everything was amazing and it was such a fun way to try so many different flavors.

      After dinner, we were all totally stuffed. So we decided to take the long walk back to our hotel. We were basically at the top of Vondelpark, the largest park in Amsterdam, so we decided to walk down through that towards our hotel. It was one of the best decisions we made in Amsterdam. Right away we walked into a kids playground that was adjacent to a beer garden (Vondel Tuin). So Joel grabbed us some cold brews and the kids got to get their after dinner energy out. The park was buzzing on Friday night -- full of families and younger groups. We walked along the edge of a lake that had enormous mansions on the other side, all lit up with Friday night parties. I had to know where we were, and after a quick google search, discovered that we were looking at the back of one of the most affluent neighborhoods of the city -- Willemspark. It was really spectacular. We wandered our way through beer gardens and groups of kids partying until we made it back to our favorite ice cream stop by our hotel. Such a great end to a busy day!

      No rest for the weary, though. We were up bright and early the next morning to meet our guide for our Eating Europe Food Tour! If there is one thing this crew will get up early for, it's more eating.

      We met our group and very energetic guide Marjolein at Cafe de Spiegel for the traditional sort-of-pancake-like and totally delicious poffertjes. We got an overview of where we'd be going for the day and got to know the group a bit. Then we headed out for the rest of our tour.

      In what will forever be known as the Amsterdam Pickled Herring Incident, our adventurous eaters followed through on their promise to at least try everything. Kane was particularly excited to check out the Seafood Bar Shop because he loves seafood. Against all our better judgments he took a bite of pickled herring and I knew it was instantly a mistake -- he is a die-hard foodie but also has an incredilby sensitive sense of smell and trigger-happy tummy with certain things. He didn't even get his mouth closed and I knew everything was coming back up. Joel pretty surreptiously scooted him outside and he yakked off to the side like a champ. Then everyone came outside to enjoy oysters and I tried to scoot the vomit away without anyone noticing -- seemed to do the trick. Cami went back in for several humorous photo ops with the leftover herring.

      Kane seemed to have rallied by the time we got to Patisserie Holtkamp and tried out a bunch of yummy sweets. Then we ate outside at Bar Bitterbal, which was delicious, before moving on to Glandorf & Thijs for a wine tasting. Marjolein kindly left the adults to try wine and took our kids on a little adventure to pick up some charcuterie (critically, the kids remembered where the meat and cheese shops were becuse we looped back there later!)

      After biterbals, we all hopped on a super cute canal boat for a tour around the city while drinking the wine and cheese we brought on board -- a perfect end to the tour!

      But given that we are Greens, everyone was still hungry after the canal ride. So we went back in search of cheese and charcuterie (and more wine!) from the handful of shops the kids had visited earlier -- Slagerij De Leeuw for charcuterie and Kaashuis Tromp for cheese and bread. We set up a picnic in Amstelveld Square and the kids eyed up the locals playing a game of soccer. Kane tried repeatedly to work himself into the mix, but reported that the kids were not very welcoming. So then both of our kids, again being Greens, plotted revenge until the locals took off.

      We walked back to our hotel and happened upon the cutest neighborhood playspace -- De Leidse Dwarstuin. The kids got to play a bit longer before and we all followed the rules.

      As he'd been doing the entire trip, Kane tried to hop/walk over all the pedestrian protecting pillars back to the hotel. And continued to give me a heart attack as bikes and cars zoomed by him. It was time to go home. We had dinner at the hotel bar that night, took one last stroll around Amsterdam the next morning, and then we were off! Such an amazing trip. I included my other Amsterdam recs below as I did with the other cities. On to the next one!

      Other things on my list!

      Activities + Sights:
      - Jewish Heritage Tour with Larae Malooly

      Food + Bars:
      Foodhallen (annoyed that we didn't get here!)