Monday, August 27, 2012

Weeknight Dinners

I do tend to fall on the butter and sugar sword a lot, but honestly, true be told... I don't have a huge sweet tooth. (Shhh) I prefer a salty pretzel with warm mustard to cheesecake any day of the week. That being said I do love myself a good slice of toasted banana bread or big o'l ice cream cone. Usually my husband and I try to eat well and weeknight dinners can be tough. Lately we have been trying to eat less meat and more flavorful veggie dishes. These two fresh, fast and easy dinners are courtesy of my husband and his talents of turning something simple into a delight...kinda like the new Fiona Apple album that I can't get out of my earballs. 
Fixings for a lovely Gazpacho sans the bread. Lots of fresh tomato, peppers and cucumbers give this chilled soup texture. 
We toasted some padron peppers and added  sliced avocado to make it a bit more of a meal. Added a little bit of sriracha as no meal is complete without. 
When the weather is hot the last thing we want to do is be in the kitchen. This mango shrimp lettuce wrap is easy to prep and can be a portable lunch if you use larger lettuce leaves and roll them kind of like a spring roll. The real kicker is the date, citrus, and red pepper dipping sauce. 
This magic sauce is sweet and spicy and we used it all week as a salad dressing. Who knew that blended dried dates could make such a light and flavorful dressing. Matt, you can keep cooking any day of the week.  Just so we listen to Fiona Apple at dinner. Enjoy!

Weeknight Dinners

Gazpacho from The 3 Day Cleanse 

1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1/2 orange pepper , seeded and diced(more if you want it a bit thicker)
1/2 yellow pepper, seeded, and diced
3 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 to 2 tablespoon white wine vinegar, to taste. You could also use Sherry vinegar
1-2 cloves of garlic
2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 to 1/4 of avocados peeled and sliced or diced for garnish
toasted padron peppers (optional for garnish) 
black pepper to taste

Place 1/2 cup of cucumber and 1/2 cup of bell pepper in a bowl. Placed the remaining ingredients except the avocado and padron peppers (if using) in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Add the diced cucumber and and diced bell pepper and stir in to combine. Garnish with the avocado and the pan toasted pardon peppers. You can also drizzle a little olive oil or add some dots of sriracha to the top of the chilled soup. Enjoy!

Mango Lettuce Wraps from The 3 Day Cleanse

You can play around with whatever you may want to add to these wraps. We added shrimp and it was very tasty. Makes 2 servings

8 large romaine lettuce leaves
1/2 ripe mango, pitted and sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1/2 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup sprouts / we used sunflower sprouts but you could also use alfalfa
sea salt to taste
1 tablespoon fresh mint, rough chopped
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, rough chopped
1/4 up raw or roasted cashews, chopped 
Grilled shrimp 1-2 to each wrap, pending size of the lettuce leaf
Chives to tie the wrap together / garnish

Removed the thick lighter green bottom of the romaine leaf. Lay the leaf on your work surface and add 2 slices of the mango, bell pepper and avocado lengthwise. If you are using the shrimp place on piece on each leaf. 

Top with a small amount of sprouts, a sprinkle of mint and cilantro, and a small pinch of salt. Roll the lettuce leaf tightly and if you want tie with a chive. Continue with the remaining leaves. Serve with the Sweet Lime Dipping Sauce.

Sweet Lime Dipping Sauce from The 3 Day Cleanse
Makes a good amount. Save in the fridge and use as a dressing for salads.

1/2 cup pitted dates. We used dried dates and it worked just fine.
1/2 cup fresh lime juice  (about 1 and 1/2 limes if they are juicy)
2-4 teaspoons of agave nectar, pending how sweet you want it
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of water
Pinch of red pepper flakes

Blend until smooth. Enjoy!

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