Since it’s Sunday night for me, I’ve already made this first meal. It’s one of our absolute favorites and is actually one that Big Mister chose for us to make for Valentine’s Day a few years ago. We loved it so much, I make it probably once a month. We also have made it for Valentine’s Day at least one other time because it is that good. I usually have the main ingredients in stock and just buy the fresh herbs the day I cook it. I may plant some fresh herbs while I’m here since I couldn’t find fresh oregano today and had to use some that was bottled. It came out alright, but, like underwear, fresh is always best.
It’s Lamb Chops made with a Greek Wet Rub from Cooking Light paired with Pine Nut and Lemon Orzo. I’ll sometimes make a salad to go with it made with mixed greens, prosciutto (sometimes sautéed, sometimes not) and goat cheese with a red wine vinegar dressing (about 1/4C red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and drizzle enough olive oil to emulsify, which is around 2Tbs.) For Valentine’s Day, we made this Grill Tuna with White Bean and Charred Onion salad (also Cooking Light) to go with it (SOOO GOOD!) and one year we made Fried Calamari with Peperoncini Mayonnaise (from Epicurious and quite honestly THE BEST calamari we’ve ever had. EVER.). All of these recipes are super easy and the outcome is phenomenal.
Many times I alter recipes the more often I make them. I would say this is one of the only exceptions. If you do make this, I highly encourage you to use the pine nuts with the orzo and do not substitute a different nut. Depending on where you live, they may be a little pricey, but oh so worth it! If you live in New Mexico, you can actually go out at this time of year and pick them fresh from the trees. We used to do that all the time when we were growing up. My mom tells me that the first time they took me piñon picking, they set me under a tree by myself and let me fill up my own bucket. When they came back to check on me, they were highly amused to see that I had my bucket very nearly filled to the brim with deer turds. I honestly don’t know if I had sampled my harvest prior to their arrival, but if I had, it would explain so very much.
|NOT pinon. But still tasty.|
ANYwho…I will make some more lamb chops Monday night to go with the leftover orzo. Sometimes we’ll eat a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket with the leftover orzo, but lamb chops are very good and are actually fairly inexpensive here.
For Tuesday (and for leftovers on Wednesday), I’m going to make Quick Chicken and Chorizo Paella from Epicurious. This is another one of our favorites and another that I make probably once a month. I bought a paella pan when we visited Spain a few years ago and encourage you to get one if you can. Paella is great one-pan, complete meal with so many variations to try. If you don’t have a paella pan, just use a large pan which will work just fine. This is a recipe I made for Lyteyz and her husband when we had a couple’s night. They loved it so much, it’s now part of their normal rotation, as well!
To cut cooking time, I’ll use a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket. If I have saffron, I’ll use it. If not, it’s not a big deal.
If you live near a Wegman’s grocery store, they have a really good spicy chorizo and, like a healthy marriage, a really good spicy chorizo is the key to success! If you can, get one that has been imported from Spain- it’s REALLY WORTH IT. A chorizo- not husband. Although, those Spanish men…whoooo! *fanning self*
GETTING BACK ON TRACK HERE….I do not use oil to sauté the chorizo since it has plenty of fat in it already. Actually, depending on the chorizo, sometimes I’m able to remove the majority of the fat globules prior to cooking to lower the fat and calories of this meal. And, yes, I know that this paragraph may have a whole different meaning because of that previous paragraph. BUT GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF THE GUTTER!
For Thursday (and possibly leftovers Friday) I’m making another favorite from Cooking Light. It’s their Greek Pasta Salad and it’s one that I always have all of the ingredients on hand. While the pasta is cooking, I get the vegetables ready. This whole meal takes around 20 minutes to make. Sooooo good and soooo easy!!
I usually use Ken’s Light Caeser dressing (not the creamy one) but I’m trying a different Aussie one down here. Hopefully it’ll be as good as we are used to! Also, I use frozen, tailless shrimp instead of fresh to cut down cooking time. I’ll drain the pasta over the shrimp to both cool the pasta and defrost the shrimp. I actually don’t use the sundried tomatoes since I didn’t have them on hand the first time I made it and I liked the outcome. I also use green, pimento stuffed olives rather than kalamata simply because My Mister prefers the green ones. I’ve tried the recipe with the kalamata and must admit I prefer the green ones in this recipe.
WARNING: Because of the onion, shrimp, and feta, your breath WILL BE RANK. So, if you want the full course and not just a nibble of the chorizo, make sure your mister eats some, too.
The wildcard meal is for Saturday. It's actually from Picardy Third who is in Hungary (and who, after reading her blog I just realized is a friend of mine from our church in Virginia. HI KARA!) who shared this link in the comments the other day. It's called Lesco and looks really good! I'm going to pair it with Jasmine rice (because I like Jasmine better than regular white rice) and some Australian sausage (I'M BEING SERIOUS HERE! Dirty birdies!) since I couldn't find Hungarian. If we end up eating out Saturday, I'll make it Sunday, instead.
And that, my friends, is my plan for my dairy free week. Let me know if you try these recipes! And, please do pass on any dairy free recipes you enjoy, as well!