Monday, October 5, 2015

Italian Drunken "Noodles" + 30 Days of Dinner

I generally try to share my most "family friendly" recipe of the month as the featured dinner. And, for my kids, that is almost always some form of pasta and meat. Despite the fact that we had to have yet another chat about not behaving like animals at the dinner table, and further affirmation that you do indeed have to eat your vegetables with no promise of dessert in sight, this meal was a winner. I served the kids' over papperdelle pasta and mine over ribbons of butternut squash "noodles."

We've been jam-packed with back-to-school activities and programs, so I've tried to cook larger portions of meals for leftovers. And there have been plenty of dinners eaten out as well. Hey, you do what you can. I'm also no longer in the middle of a Whole30 or Whole60, so while these meals are significantly Paleo and clean, you might need to adjust them a bit if you are looking for perfect compliance.

Italian Drunken "Noodles" 
(slightly adapted from The Cozy Apron)

- olive oil
- 4 Italian sausage links, casings removed (I used mild so it was more kid friendly)
- 1 large onion, quartered and sliced thinly
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
- 1 red bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced
- 1 orange bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
- 1/2 cup white wine (substitute chicken stock if in Whole30)
- 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
- 2 tbs flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, julienned, divided use

- 1 large butternut squash
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbs minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp red pepper
- juice from 1/2 lemon

1. Place a large, heavy-bottom pot over medium-high heat. Add about 2 tbs of olive oil, and, once the oil is hot, crumble sausage into the pot in small chunks. Allow sausage to brown for a few moments on each side and then remove into a small bowl.
2. Add onion into the pan with sausage drippings and caramelize for 5 minutes. Once the onion is golden, add the salt, Italian seasoning, and cracked black pepper. Stir to combine, and then add sliced peppers.
3. Saute peppers and onions for about 2 minutes. Add garlic and then white wine. Allow mixture to almost reduce completely. Then add in diced tomatoes with juice, and return the sausage back to the pot. Gently fold the mixture to combine and allow it to simmer for 3-4 minutes.
4. Turn heat off, drizzle in a few tablespoons of olive oil, and add in chopped parsley and about half of the basil. Stir and keep warm while you prepare the "noodles."

1. Spiralize butternut squash using the ribbon blade -- this will give you nice wide, flat "noodles" similar to papperdelle pasta.
2. In a large skillet, warm olive oil. Add "noodles" and stir well. Add salt, minced garlic, and red pepper flakes. Combine well.
3. Turn stove to low and cover noodles. Let them steam for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Add lemon juice and mix well. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Toss equal parts "noodles" with sauce. Garnish with remaining basil and parmesan cheese (omit cheese if Whole30).

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30 Days of Dinner

Day 1 (Sun) -- Paleo burgers, sweet potato fries

Day 2 (M) -- Italian Baked Eggs (sans cheese and bread) with green salad.
Day 3 (T) -- Back Pocket Bolognese (over spaghetti squash -- this is the best, easiest to follow "recipe") and a green salad.
Day 4 (W) -- Honey Glazed Salmon with Caramelized Figs, asparagus, Easy Roasted Sweet Potatoes.
Day 5 (Th) -- Roasted Sausages + Peppers with Onion, cauliflower rice.
Day 6 (F) -- dinner out at WholeFoods salad bar.
Day 7 (Sat) -- dinner out at BBQ.
Day 8 (Sun) -- Lemon Chicken with Red Onion (sans sugar), roasted carrots.

Day 9 (M) -- leftovers.
Day 10 (T) -- Sweet Potato Chili and spaghetti squash.
Day 11 (W) -- Flank Steak with Chimichurri (deeelish!), roasted potatoes.
Day 12 (Th) -- leftovers.
Day 13 (F) -- dinner out at WholeFoods salad bar.
Day 14 (Sat) -- dinner out at steakhouse for Joel's birthday!
Day 15 (Sun) -- One Pan Tuscan Porkchops (kind of bland, probably won't make again) with zoodles (probably my least favorite veggie "noodle" too).

Day 16 (M) -- Balsamic Roast Beef (fabulous! the kids loved this) with Green Beans and Beets with Balsamic Reduction
Day 17 (T) -- Butternut Squash Quiche with green salad (kids had pizza)
Day 18 (W) -- leftovers.
Day 19 (Th) -- dinner out at Nando's after Back to School Night! almost like a date.
Day 20 (F) -- dinner out at Bobby's Burger Palace for Joel's actual birthday. Definitely not Paleo.
Day 21 (Sat) -- dinner out at a friend's barbecue.
Day 22 (Sun) -- Italian Baked Eggs (sans cheese and bread) over spaghetti squash, cauliflower/carrot/butternut squash puree (I've been making a lot of these "mashups" roughly following this recipe, but adding what we've got in the 'fridge that works. I don't have an immersion blender, so I use an old fashioned hand potato masher. It does the trick).

Day 23 (M) -- Italian Drunken "Noodles"
Day 24 (T) -- Grilled Honey Lime Chicken and Twice-baked potato skins (I basically followed this recipe, but used regular baking potatoes and no nuts, syrup, or kale. I needed to wrap the potato halves in foil after the first 45 minutes and continue cooking them for another 30 minutes).
Day 25 (W) -- leftovers.
Day 26 (Th) -- dinner out at Comet Ping Pong (everyone just needed a pizza night!)
Day 28 (F) -- dinner out at the District Chophouse (a family favorite we've taken the kids since they were in utero and where they now eat steaks the size of their heads).
Day 29 (Sat) -- Sesame-Ginger Pork Meatballs and Carrot Noodles 
Day 30 (Sun) -- Fabulous Flank Steak (no brown sugar), Citrus Caramelized Brussels Sprouts (instead of making the pomegranate molasses, I subbed in 1/2 pomegranate vinegar and 1/2 maple syrup -- it was deeelish), and roasted potatoes.

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