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February can feel like one of the longer months in Seattle, where I live. The weather is often wet and cold, and we’re all starting to itch for signs of spring.
This week, I’m trying to combat some of those winter blues with as many fresh but substantial salads and colorful ingredients I can get my hands on – essentially, trying to trick my senses into thinking perhaps warmer weather is truly on the way.
Our two-year old son is increasingly interested in helping out in the kitchen and while I love the idea of this, the reality of getting a weeknight dinner on the table with a toddler helping is, for me anyway, just not happening. So I try to some cooking done on the weekend when he can “help,” and plan my meals around recipes that allow me to prepare components (or the whole meal) in advance.
This makes everyone’s life easy come mid-week. The Steak Salad and the Frittata with Potatoes and Red Peppers (below) are great candidates for this.
So enough talking, here’s what’s on tap for the week!
1 Veggie Tacos: Ready in thirty minutes or less, this vegetarian favorite is a go-to for Meatless Mondays. The recipe was originally intended to be made with summer veggies, but it translates to colder months just fine. Veggie tacos are a great way to use up roasted squash, cauliflower, or any other leftover veggies you might have in the fridge.
I love serving these tacos with homemade guacamole and sour cream.
2 Pasta with Sausage, Tomatoes, and Roasted Peppers: This is one of our family’s go-to recipes in the colder months: simple, satisfying comfort food. It’s colorful and filling and our kiddo likes it just as much as we do, so it’s a win/win. If the mid-winter tomatoes at the store don’t look appealing, a handful of cherry tomatoes or a few canned whole tomatoes (mashed with a spoon) will do the job nicely.
Serve with a very simple arugula or spinach salad dressed with oil, vinegar and flaky salt.
3 Steak Salad: We don’t cook a lot of red meat in our house, so when we do it needs to be simple and straightforward. Here, the steak is cooked in a cast-iron skillet right on the stovetop, and from start to finish this salad can be tackled in thirty minutes (you can even cook off the steak on Sunday to make this a particularly quick mid-week dinner solution).
This salad is really a meal on its own, but a crusty baguette or slice of warm focaccia and butter will probably be welcome if you’ve got a particularly hungry crew.
4 Zucchini Noodle Chicken Pesto Bowl: I love this recipe because it reminds me of summer, yet it relies on ingredients easily found in the grocery store. It’s on the lighter side, comes together quickly, and is super kid-friendly (while I’m not necessarily one of those moms who is always trying to sneak vegetables into food, I do love that our son thinks this is pasta and will eat a sizeable serving).
Serve with your favorite dinner roll or baguette and butter.
5 Frittata with Potatoes , Red Peppers, and Spinach: I love a good ‘Breakfast For Dinner’ night, and Friday is the perfect time for it. Most of the active cooking here is in sautéing the vegetables, then the egg mixture is added and the frittata finishes cooking in the oven in less than ten minutes.
Just enough time to pour a glass of wine and toss some mixed greens with your favorite dressing. If you’d like to add a little more color on the table, this Cardamom Citrus Fruit Salad is always a winner. Leftovers of both the frittata and the salad can double as breakfast the next morning!