Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Week Ahead... 4/29/2013

Menu for the Week of April 29th

Monday:  Curried Spinach and Chickpeas with rice (sweet potato for me)
  • prep quinoa gratin
Tuesday:  quinoa gratin
  • prep Sloppy Joes
Wednesday:  Sloppy Joes, raw veggies
  • prep beets
Thursday:  Beet Salad

Friday:  Kale Salad over quinoa

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Mister Rogers and Broccoli Apple Slaw

Between Boston and West, Texas there have been a lot of prayers lifted to those in need. There have been a lot of positive things said on social media, many accredited to Mister Rogers.  The quote I've seen the most is, "When I was a boy and would see scary things on the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'" I find it interesting that, even after his death, Mister Rogers can help children and adults alike deal with our feelings. I'm glad to part of the Mister Rogers generation.


This recipe was inspired by a kohlrabi-apple slaw in Nourishing Meals. My grocery store did not have kohlrabi, so I used broccoli. I've changed the flavor profile of the dressing to accommodate the broccoli and dried cranberries.

Broccoli Apple Slaw
This holds for a few days in the refrigerator.
  • 2 crowns broccoli, cut into small pieces (I do this ahead of time)
  • 2 apples, cut into small pieces (I like Fiji)
  • ~1/4 c dried cranberries
Dressing (can be made ahead of time)
  • 6 oz plain yogurt (any type - I use goat)
  • 1 tbsp honey (or agave if vegan)
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp orange juice
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  1. In a small bowl, mix together all of the dressing ingredients. Set aside.
  2. Place broccoli, apples, and dried cranberries in a bowl.
  3. Pour dressing over slaw and stir. It's best if you let it sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.

This recipe has been shared on Diet, Dessert and Dogs' Wellness Weekend, Vegetarian Mamma's Gluten Free Fridays, Allergy Free Alaska's Whole Food Fridays, and The Daily Dietribe's 5-Ingredient Mondays.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Week Ahead... 4/14/2013

What an amazing weekend! We had lovely weather and got a lot accomplished.

We were home tonight instead of at my mom's for dinner. The pork chops were amazing; my husband declared them company-worthy!

Menu for the Week of April 14th

Sunday: Dijon and Honey Pork Chops, kale with dates
  • prep salad
Monday: Make-ahead Layered Salad
  • soak quinoa
Tuesday: Halloumi Quinoa
  • cut potatoes
Wednesday: Cranberry Orange Chicken, Roasted Potatoes, and pan-roasted brocolli (I typically make this with roasted green beans but the store was out of them.)
  • "rice" the cauliflower
  • prep the dressing
Thursday: Thai-Inspired Mango & Avocado Salad with Cilantro "Rice", from the May/June 2013 Simply Gluten Free Magazine

Friday and Saturday: trip!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Happy Half Blog-Birthday and Make-ahead Layered Salad

I made my first Engineering Dinner post 6 months ago today! There have been 43 posts since then and over 5,000 page views. True to the blog name, I've shared mostly dinners but there have been two desserts and a smoothie. And, like most bloggers, my most popular post has been a dessert.

My uncle has always brought his Farmer's Salad to family dinners. It's delicious, but I never knew how easy it was until this past Christmas when I made it myself. You layer all these ingredients together the night before and let them meld into a fantastically flavored salad. I've made it for several get-togethers since then and recently realized that there's no reason why this has to be reserved for special events. What's better than a salad that you just have to toss when you get home?

So my description thus far may have cued a memory of a mayonnaise-y salad you've had in your past. Yes, there's mayonnaise in this, and yes, it's a fair amount. If you dislike mayonnaise all I can offer is that I've served this to several professed mayonnaise haters (my husband included) and they've all enjoyed the salad. I think that mayonnaise selection is key here. In my experience, the Spectrum Organics brand Olive Oil mayo is the key to enjoyment for non-mayo eaters.

Straying from tradition, I have engineered the flavors a little bit for this version, and the possibilities for other flavor options are endless. It's also a great way to use leftovers, as I did with the chicken! It will keep for lunch the next day, but not much further.

Make-ahead Layered Salad
Serves 4+
All measurements are approximate and some depend on the diameter of your bowl.
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, cut and washed
  • 1/2 lb spinach, torn into bite-sized amounts
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/2 c frozen peas (do not defrost)
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked and chopped (omit if vegan, or substitute another protein)
  • ~1/3 c cooked chicken, chopped (omit if vegan, or substitute another protein)
  • ~1/4 c craisins
  • ~3/4 c cheese, shredded (I used goat gouda, but any kind will work)
  • ~1/2 c mayo (vegannaise or another substitute is acceptable)
  • ~1/4 c mustard (I used a stone ground dijon, but honey mustard would be excellent)
  1. Place lettuce and spinach in the bottom of a large bowl. (I used my large mixing bowl.) You may need to press down gently to compress them.
  2. Sprinkle celery over lettuce layer.
  3. Sprinkle peas over celery.
  4. Sprinkle bacon and chicken over peas, if using.
  5. Sprinkle craisins over meat.
  6. Sprinkle cheese over craisins. You want to cover the surface with cheese.
  7. Mix the mayo and mustard together in a bowl. Spread over cheese to completely cover all the way to the bowl. It's critical that this mixture covers everything to seal out air and moisture. Cover bowl and place in fridge overnight.
  8. Next day: I like to pull it out of the fridge about 30 minutes before I plan to serve it. Toss completely and serve.
Lettuce, spinach, celery, and peas
Added meats and craisins
Seal out moisture and air... seal in flavor!
This recipe has been shared on Diet, Dessert and Dogs' Wellness Weekend, Vegetarian Mamma's Gluten Free Fridays, and Allergy Free Alaska's Whole Food Fridays.

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Week Ahead... 4/8/2013

Menu for the Week of April 8th

Monday: layered salad with bacon and chicken
  • prep veggies
Tuesday: hot dogs, baked beans, and raw veggies
  • prep broccoli
Wednesday: roasted squash, broccoli apple slaw

Thursday: Beet Salad

Friday: out

Saturday: pizza with this crust, strawberry chia fluff for dessert!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Swimming, Magical Music, and Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Cauliflower

I know this is a bizarre title but it's what I'm thinking about. Please excuse the lack of segues.


As an update to last week's post, I have joined the YMCA! On Wednesday morning I got up at 5AM and was in the pool swimming laps at 5:30AM. It felt great! I'm planning on doing it again tomorrow morning.


Does anyone remember the song from the 80s called "We Belong"? It was performed by Pat Benatar, but written by one of my favorite groups, Lowen and Navarro. I bought their Broken Moon album after hearing them on NPR. I went to see them in concert a few times and purchased a few more albums. When my son was a few months old Lowen and Navarro's music became magical for our family as it would calm our fussy infant and get him to fall asleep. All of you former or currently sleep-deprived parents out there can certainly agree that this would be magical! My son continued to fall asleep to Lowen and Navarro until last year when he discovered Adele and Robbie Schaeffer, of Eddie From Ohio. His favorite music to fall asleep to now is Robbie Schaeffer's La La Love, which is an awesome song for a good cause, an organization called One Voice.

Getting back to Lowen and Navarro, they have some absolutely beautiful songs. One of my favorites is Crossing Over, from their album Pendulum. My favorite album is Live Radio, which is acoustic versions of some of their songs. Unfortunately, Eric Lowen passed away last year from ALS, but Dan Navarro is still performing. Their final album, Learning to Fall, is particularly poignant.


This recipe is something I threw together because my grocery store was lacking most of the veggies I was looking for, such as squash, parsnips, and turnips. So, I decided to try cauliflower because I'm starting to like it now that I know it's good roasted. It was a hit, even with the almost-3-year-old. And, it was easy! Who doesn't like that?

Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Cauliflower
The cauliflower can be cut and washed the night before. The sweet potato can be peeled, cut, and stored in water until ready to use.

  • 2-3 sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2"-3/4" cubes
  • cauliflower, 1/2 head, cut into florets
  • salt and pepper
  • nutmeg
  1. Cook sweet potatoes and cauliflower together. I pressure cook them for 4 minutes with 1/2 cup of water. Boiling or steaming would also work. Depending on your cooking method, you may need to drain cooking water.
  2. Mash them and season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste. They will be somewhat lumpy.

This recipe has been shared on Diet, Dessert and Dogs' Wellness Weekend, Vegetarian Mamma's Gluten Free Fridays, Allergy Free Alaska's Whole Food Fridays, and The Daily Dietribe's 5-Ingredient Mondays.