Dinner Ideas for The Week After Thanksgiving

I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted!

Not only I’m tired from the cooking, but I’m a bit carb over-loaded. And yet, I’m excited to continue the holiday spirit and yet chill at bit before Christmas.

After all, we still need to eat – and also think up dinner ideas.


I’ve always been really into cooking but coming up with menu ideas is challenging day after day. As my mom always said, “I’ll cook dinner if you just give me a new idea about what to make!”


Now that the “big meal” is over and we are between holidays, time- and meal-challenged, I thought I’d share a sample weekly fall menu with you all.

I’m not into complicated dinners, but do enjoy good food, and choose many that are high in protein after the carb-rich Thanksgiving.

None of these dinners are hard to make, and many can be made for any weeknight as well as for “date-night.”

Enjoy!

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I’ll be posting recipes for all of these soon, so stay-tuned.

Happy fall eating, and please share YOUR weekly menu ideas!

Sweet and Spicy Honey Chile Glazed Chicken

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A sweet and spicy honey-and-chile glazed grilled chicken dish, this one is so simple, yet delicious.

The first step in making this dish is to prepare a New Mexico red chile sauce. This is a basic chile sauce that may be used in many New Mexican dishes – over enchiladas, in posole, on eggs, in burritos, over beans.

Addition of honey makes a rich glaze that, when combined with the heat of the chile and a bit of salt from broth, makes a sauce that kicks up your typical barbequed chicken.

I make this at home, on my patio, and at camp, as it requires few ingredients and is portable, especially if you make the red chile in advance.

I like to serve this with “green” (cilantro-based) or other rice and a salad with a creamy dressing – Ranch or Green Goddess. Perfect for all seasons!

Enjoy!


Honey Red Chile Glazed Grilled Chicken

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 25 minutes
Servings 2

Ingredients

  • 1/8 cup butter may substitute oil, but it is less flavorful
  • 1/8 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/8 cup New Mexico red chile powder heat level to your liking – mild, medium, or hot
  • 1 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup honey locally sourced if you can find
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 pound chicken breasts, thighs, or legs boneless recommended if you want a very even grill/grillmarks, but not necessary

Instructions

  • Heat grill or coals to medium.
  • In medium skillet over medium low heat, melt butter or oil.
  • To skillet, add flour and cook until flour, stirring, until evenly and lightly browned. Do not burn.
  • Add red chile powder and continue cooking until lightly toasted.
  • Pour in beef broth, increase heat to medium, and stir well to incorporate liquid.
  • Cook until silky and slightly bubbly, about 10 minutes.
  • Stir in honey and salt to taste.
  • Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Reserve 1/2 of glaze in small bowl to serve alongside chicken.
  • If using chicken breasts, slice lengthwise so that breasts are about 1/2 inch in thickness. Place chicken on medium hot grill.
  • Grill 10 minutes and flip.
  • Baste with remaining 1/2 of honey red chile glaze and continue grilling, about 7-10 more minutes until tender to touch when pressing with finger or internal temperature registers 165F. Flip.
  • Baste up-side and grill 2 minutes, Flip.
  • Grill another 2 minutes just until glaze is lightly charred and remove chicken to plate.
  • Serve with reserved honey glaze mixture.

Miso Braised Spicy Eggplant & Noodles

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Spicy, creamy, rich and vegetarian, this miso braised eggplant dish is not your average eggplant dinner. What I love about this one is it is really hard to mess up! While there are steps involved, this recipe is not difficult and is perfect for a weeknight dinner or really, any occasion.


I know that many people just do not care for eggplant because of its earthy, slightly bitter flavor and because it can be spongy if not cooked thoroughly.

My son absolutely hates it, even after many rounds of yummy eggplant parmesan!

Having found this recipe in Bon Appetit recently, I had to beg to differ yet again, and this time, he actually ate it – all of it! I altered the toppings just a tad, with the addition of coconut.


Made with homemade squid ink Angel Hair pasta.

For those who don’t like eggplant for the above reasons, this recipe solves for both, ensuring the eggplant is richly flavored and also very tender, while also delivering the vegetable “main dish” heartiness that eggplant lends.


But if you STILL have doubts and don’t like eggplant, you may substitute zucchini. Zucchini doesn’t taste quite as “umami” in this recipe, but it will require a little less oil. I’ve made both versions and they are both good!


A final note: I love to change up the noodles used in this recipe – my favorites being homemade linguini or whole wheat spaghetti. I used homemade linguini in the featured photo, and it was outstanding!

Try this!


Miso Braised Spicy Eggplant and Noodles

A spicy, hearty and rich vegetarian dish adapted from Bon Appetit. This recipe adds coconut for a nutty topping and is delicious with a variety of noodles from homemade linguini to whole wheat spaghetti noodles.
Servings 2

Equipment

  • Skillet
  • Large pot
  • Small bowl

Ingredients

  • 1 one inch piece fresh ginger minced
  • 1 medium eggplant sliced 3/4 inch thick, skin intact
  • 5 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp miso paste
  • 3 tbsp Gochujang may substitute red curry paste
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 scallions sliced
  • 2 tbsp fresh coconut shavings

Instructions

  • Mix gochujang, miso, and 1½ cups warm water in a small bowl until blended. Set aside.
  • Boil pasta in salted water on high until al dente. Drain.
  • Heat 3 tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high (I do not recommend cast iron for this, as eggplant will stick heavily).
  • Add eggplant and sear, drizzling with another 1 to 2 tbsp. oil.
  • Season eggplant lightly with salt and cook, undisturbed, until golden brown for several minutes.
  • Turn eggplant over and continue to cook until most of the eggplant are golden and becoming tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  • In same pan, reduce heat to medium and add remaining 1 tbsp. oil, garlic, and ginger to skillet, stirring often until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add tomato paste, stir, and cook until slightly darkened, about 1 minute.
  • Stir in gochujang mixture, combining well, and return eggplant to skillet.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is very tender, about 6 minutes.
  • To gochujang mixture add noodles and butter, seasoning with salt as needed.
  • Cook until sauce is thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove to plate or individual bowls.
  • Scatter noodles with scallions, coconut, and peanuts.