A Week of Dinners: August 20

I’m back with another line up of weeknight-friendly dinners! Last week was my birthday week, so we went out to eat that night, which was quite special (more below).

Besides that evening, I tried to keep our meals on the interesting but still super easy side. I also try to vary the cuisine – so if we have “Italian” one night, maybe we’ll have something “Asian” the next. My use of quotes is entirely necessary there as I don’t claim any of my meals to be particularly authentic (ain’t nobody got time for ingredients that you’ll only use once every three months, right?).

In terms of actually planning our meals in advance, I don’t put too much time into it. We do our big grocery store haul on Sunday mornings and I usually write up our meal plan on Mondays – how’s that for planning ahead? Ha! In truth, I like the flexibility of being able to shop for what looks good and planning meals around that. I’m actually doing OK with not wasting food with this approach, so hey – if it works, right?

And now, onto last week’s meals:

Monday

Garlic shrimp with veggie rice

Donnie isn’t the biggest fan of shrimp in general, but he told me the first time I made this dish that he really liked it, so I think that’s saying something. Also, there’s bacon in it.

I just fried up a few slices of bacon, then quickly cooked the shrimp in its grease (always use your bacon grease, friends) with garlic. Then removed the shrimp, sauteed a ton of veggies (zucchini, bell pepper, onion, mushrooms) with a white rice/cauliflower rice combo, then mixed it all together.

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Tuesday

Grilled chicken with cheese and avocado, and Trader Joe’s kale and broccoli slaw kit.

A very simple meal of grilled chicken, on which I melted a slice of grassfed cheddar and topped with avocado. This kale and broccoli slaw kit is one of our favorite prepared salads at TJ’s – if you like broccoli salad, I think you’ll like this slaw.

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Wednesday

My birthday! Donnie took me out to a restaurant in our neighborhood that we’ve been meaning to try, Urban Grub. The weather was miraculously mild (not the 90°+ and humid that we’ve been having all month) so we sat on their gorgeous patio and it was perfect.

I had an elderflower/strawberry mocktail, and we split the lobster flatbread. I decided to go whole hog on the lobster and had the lobster cannelloni for my entree. They also gave us a basket of popovers and the best mini biscuits (have I mentioned that I love the South?) and our server gave me a biscuit with a candle so I’d have something to blow out for my birthday. Followed by chocolate cake at home, consumed after we had changed into PJ’s. Perfect birthday for a pregnant lady who has lost the ability to stay up past 9:30pm.

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Thursday

Grilled chicken fajita quinoa bowls

I used leftover grilled chicken for this, which I added to a bowl with fajita veggies (peppers, onions, and zucchini sauteed with chili powder, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, s+p), my favorite queso, tomatillo salsa, sour cream, and avocado, on top of quinoa. The quinoa is under there somewhere, I promise.

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Friday

Homemade cheese pizza

The usual. You know the drill.

Saturday

We ordered burgers from a great grass-fed beef burger joint in town, Farm Burger

Apparently I couldn’t control my hunger by the time our food arrived so I have no photo evidence of this meal, but I ate a cheeseburger with jalapenos and a side of fries. It was real good, I can tell you that much.

Sunday

Shawarma chicken pitas with cauliflower tabbouleh and cucumber salad

This was an awesome shortcut meal. The chicken was pre-marinated from Trader Joe’s (it’s a new item, so I highly recommend you go out and buy some so they continue stocking it!), and the cauliflower tabbouleh is in their prepared salads section. I made a simple tzatziki with Greek yogurt, cucumber and spices and a quick cucumber salad with peppers seasoned with oil/vinegar.

This took no time, very little prep, and was SO good.

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And that’s a wrap on last week!

Anything good on your plate lately?

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Weekly Meals

For as much as I love to cook, I have never been great at meal planning. Or meal prepping.

Occasionally, I’ll spend 10 minutes chopping a bunch of vegetables to snack on throughout the week, but that’s pretty much the extent of it. And if I’m being honest, it really doesn’t happen all that often.

Given this new season of life that my little family is about to enter into, I figure it’s time to change my fly-by-the-seat of my pants ways and start holding myself accountable to the groceries sitting in my fridge and not let them go to waste. Food waste, man – it’s the worst, isn’t it?

I also realize that my days of having all the time in the world to prep and cook dinner are limited. Lately I’ve been experimenting with quick-cooking dinners that involve prepping fewer ingredients and dirtying fewer dishes. I’ve been at it for a few weeks, and I honestly don’t think the variety of our meals nor satiety they provide have suffered.

That being said, here’s last week’s dinners. Most of these dinners are fairly healthy (at least from the nutrient standpoint, if not totally low-cal. I AM pregnant after all), and can be prepped, cooked and on your plate in 30 minutes or less. I hope these give you some ideas for your own week!

Monday

BBQ chicken drumsticks with prepared slaw salad

No real recipe needed – I seasoned some drumsticks and we threw them on the grill, basting every few minutes with bbq sauce. Served with Tahini, Pepita & Apricot Slaw kit from Trader Joe’s.

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Tuesday

Beef and broccoli with (cauliflower) rice

I thinly sliced a semi-thawed ButcherBox sirloin steak against the grain, then let it defrost the rest of the way in the fridge (<– this is a great way to get super thin slices of meat that stay tender when cooked). I then sauteed it loosely using Just a Taste’s Easy Beef and Broccoli recipe. Served over a mix of regular white rice and cauliflower rice.

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Wednesday

Baked salmon with roasted potatoes and sauteed zucchini

I topped some wild salmon filets with salt, pepper, chili powder, and garlic powder and baked at 375 until flaky. I quartered some Trader Joe’s teeny tiny potatoes, tossed them with a little olive oil and TJ’s Everything but the Bagel seasoning and roasted for ~30 min at 425. Last, I sauteed some half moons of zucchini in the same spices as the salmon until tender.

And I totally flaked on taking a picture of it, so here’s an artistic rendering of my plate:

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Thursday

Pesto chicken with cauliflower gnocchi and zucchini

We threw some pesto chicken (packaged, again from Trader Joe’s) on the grill, and I sauteed up a package of TJ’s frozen cauliflower gnocchi with some zucchini, garlic and a sprinkle of parmesan.

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Friday

Homemade pizza with beer dough crust – we’re going strong with the pizza Friday tradition.

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Saturday

Kung Pao Chicken with rice

We went to the movies on Saturday afternoon and came home full of popcorn, but knew we needed something with a little protein. I cooked up a frozen TJ’s entree (Kung Pao Chicken), added broccoli and served it over rice. We ate a lot of sodium this day, but what can ya do.

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Sunday

Biscuit “empanadas” with sauteed broccoli

Both Donnie and I bought biscuit dough over the course of the last week (this is what happens when you spend enough time with your spouse…you pass food cravings by telepathy), so I sauteed up some ground turkey with peppers, onions, and taco spices and then stuffed that inside split biscuits with a little cheese, empanada/turnover style. Baked those until golden, and served with some sauteed broccoli on the side.

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And that’s a full week of dinners! Usually we order in or go out at least one night per week, so don’t think we cook 7 nights every week. Although, sometimes cooking is faster than takeout (Saturday’s dinner, for example), for what that’s worth.

What’s on your plate this week?

First Trimester Recap

Since I’m already well into my second trimester now, I figured I should document the first 13 or so weeks before the pregnancy brain completely erases it from my mind.

I’ll preface this by saying that I think I’ve had a relatively easy go of things during this pregnancy, for which I feel very fortunate, but there were several weeks in the first trimester that felt very exhausting.

As I mentioned in my last post, we found out that I’m pregnant on May 3 which put me at 4 weeks pregnant. I felt great at that point, and did for another two weeks or so. To the point of thinking, “this is totes kewl, I got this!”.

LOL, you guys. Once the hormones really started kicking in around week 6, it was not totes kewl. My main symptoms were nausea in the morning and crazy fatigue. Like, put my head down on my desk at 2pm because I can’t fathom staying awake any longer.

My doctor didn’t see me for my first prenatal visit until I was 9 weeks, so for a while I was relying on Dr. Google and pregnancy apps for insights. I’m sure every first-time pregnant lady finds herself in this situation, but I have to say I was surprised that I wouldn’t see the doc for such a long time! Huh, now I know.

Here’s a rundown of the rest of the first trimester:

The belly: Given that I am a short, short lady I have always anticipated that I will have a giant pregnant belly. Maybe some weird part of me is looking forward to looking like Violet Beauregard post-forbidden gum eating, but I asked Donnie to start taking pictures of me from the very beginning in hopes that I’d spy a baby bump.

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Turns out, a baby the size of an apple seed does not in fact cause you to look noticeably pregnant. HUH.

For reference, here’s a photo at the start of week 11:

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And here’s one from week 14:

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It’s not dramatic, but I can see a difference between these. I’m not crazy, right?

Morning sickness: I wouldn’t say I got away scot-free on this one, but as I mentioned I didn’t have a horrible time of it. I would feel the nausea descend on me after breakfast and it generally subsided by lunch. Considering so many women say “morning” sickness is a misnomer and should be called “all-day” sickness, I’ll count my lucky stars on this one.

And luckily, no food aversions! I love eating, that would have been so sad.

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Other symptoms: Fatigue, as I mentioned, and also headaches. Ohhh, the headaches. Headaches that were like,

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For the record, this symptom is still going strong in the 2nd trimester, but around week 8 that I had a wicked headache for a solid four days. It was brutal.

Cravings: Even though my morning sickness was pretty mild, I did develop a few strong food cravings very early on. The first was bagels. There’s something about bagels, right? To be fair, I have always loved bagels and it’s possible I’m using pregnancy as an excuse, but…I’m not about to stop. Probably not until this kid is in college. The second craving is fruit. I’m not usually a huge fruit eater, but I’m definitely eating more than usual now. Favorites include apples, mango, and nectarines.

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Apps: In part because of the long wait between the positive pregnancy test and first prenatal appointment, I have downloaded so many pregnancy apps. It’s out of control. It’s a good thing I pay for extra memory on my phone, otherwise I’d have to start deleting other (probably more critical) apps. At the moment, the Glow Nurture and Bump apps are my favorite.

I will say, however, that if you are prone to anxiety beware of the community forums on some of these apps. It’s worse than WebMD-ing your symptoms.

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And now…today marks 19 weeks! We have our midway ultrasound this Friday, which I’m looking forward to. I’ll check in again soon with a belly update!