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There Are No Revelations (But Lots of Great Recipes) In This No-Frills Week of Dinners

From leftovers to tried-and-true favorites and failed experiments.
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Clearly, two weeks of groceries is about all that our small apartment fridge can handle! And yes, I eat an absurd number of eggs...

Clearly, two weeks of groceries is about all that our small apartment fridge can handle! And yes, I eat an absurd number of eggs...

Here's something you should know up-front: This week of dinners won't give you any major ah-ha moments. There are no budgeting revelations (I spent $97 on two weeks of groceries; not remarkably high or low for Jonah and me), time-saving options, or life hacks, but just a no-frills depiction of what I made for dinner and dessert over an average week. In the past, I've broken down my grocery shopping and meal planning strategies, fridge and pantry staples, and how I maintain a healthy diet, but this week I'm sharing everything I ate for dinner (unstyled, and not always in flattering light) for those who are as unapologetically nosey as I am:


Jonah and I had a blank fridge to start with on Sunday, so after a big grocery shop (we're now going to Trader Joe's once every two weeks at most to minimize outings), we made two time-tested favorites. We doubled the recipes for miso-honey chicken and Gjelina's Brussel sprouts with bacon (which is closer to candy than to a vegetable side—it's delicious!). As a base, I took loose inspiration from a long-ago screen-shotted Story of Eden Grinshpan's for dill, dates, and onion rice: I chopped and sautéed a whole onion in olive oil, and added it along with a cup of chopped dill and a cup of sliced almonds to Jasmine rice. For dessert, I made Ashley Kane's Banana Bread cookies, which we ate for dinner most evenings.


It's impossible not to hear my mom's gleeful refrain of "leeefftovers" anytime we heat them up—and I'm a fan too! As much as I love cooking, it can also be nice to get an hour back in the evening. This week was an anomaly in the fact that we only ate leftovers one night (everything else went too quick, or were eaten as lunch the next day). 


These summer rolls are a simpler version of some of my favorites from Sarah Britton's cookbook Natural Nourished, also here! The original recipe is fairly chopping-intensive (though no-cook). For ours, we took the slightly lazier route and filled them with pre-chopped shredded broccoli-carrot slaw from Trader Joe's, and an avocado then dipped them in her delicious almond butter sauce. (Note: This dinner literally takes five minutes to make—so we return to it often.) Added some sweet potatoes roasted simply with salt and olive oil on the side!

Yes, I am wearing Taylor Swift 'Reputation' tour merch - thank you for noticing!

Yes, I am wearing Taylor Swift 'Reputation' tour merch - thank you for noticing!

I'd been craving panzanella pretty much since my friend served it at a pre-COVID dinner party, so I toasted up some croutons from a stale loaf of bread (in olive oil, in a sauté pan), cut tomatoes, and added a super simple peach-balsamic vinaigrette, some shredded rotisserie chicken, and basil. It tasted *a lot* better than this photo looks! 


The previous week, someone on Instagram DMed me to tell me they'd made the fennel pasta I recommended here—and it reminded me it's been far too long since I've made it. Added some baby cauliflower, sautéed in olive oil (but not too long, since I love it crispy!), which they're now selling at Trader Joe's.


I had to laugh looking at this photo: The brownest food, a plate of yogurt (?), and a KenKen puzzle. Clearly, our cooking inspiration petered out by Friday when Jonah and I roasted sweet potatoes, then cooked them in maple syrup and served them over some yogurt thinned out by lime (delicious), and served them alongside a huge bowl of sautéed mushrooms and scallions. Not pictured: Me standing up mid-meal to sauté a whole bunch of spinach with lemon to add some color and a brightness to balance out the earthy flavors!


In retrospect, a roasted chicken is the last thing I should have made on Saturday since it was over 100 degrees (and we don't have A/C!) but I had a Claire Saffitz recipe clipped from 2018 and decided this would be the night. It was delicious, but I'm pretty sure our apartment is still cooling down from Saturday...


We rescued some frozen chicken breast from the back of the freezer to make schnitzel, with a (very) simple salad with lemon vinaigrette, á la Ina Garten! Added a second batch of Gjelina's Brussels sprouts because they are just that good.

P.S. Looking for breakfast and lunch? Here's what I've been enjoying for lunch. For breakfast, it's still an absurd number of eggs with spinach.

All of my plates are Year & Day, and my cutlery is either IKEA (the silver forks) or vintage (the gold forks). Glasses are Food52, and the porcelain cups are from Vietnam. 

I'd love to hear! Did you like this post? Is a week of no-frills dinner a total snooze? Do you just want the highlights, or more posts showing a week of meals like this one? Do you have any go-to weeknight recipes I should try? Let me know!

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