Week 5: Seattle-themed eating

Cruciferous crunch from Trader Joe's

Cruciferous crunch from Trader Joe’s

On the week leading up to the Super Bowl, we decided to celebrate the spotlight on our city with a Seattle-themed week of food.

We had all sort of delicious items and Seattle week turned into more of a salmon week, which was ok for us too.

My favorite dish of the week were the salmon tacos that I put together on my own, based on a lot of flavors from the quinoa dish a few weeks ago. We used Tom Douglas (a Seattle legend)’s fish rub and grilled the salmon, adding some orange and lime juice and zest as the fish was resting. I added some cilantro and lime to some sour cream and added that with some steamed ‘cruciferous crunch’ veggies from Trader Joe’s: kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and green and red cabbage.

Citrus-y salmon tacos with cilantro

Citrus-y salmon tacos with cilantro

We steamed these veggies later in the week and they turned out really well. I plan on steaming some shredded Brussels spouts this week. It would be a first for me. Weird, right?

As I mentioned, it sort of turned into salmon week. We had smoked salmon pasta the following day, with shallots and peas in a light cream sauce.

Smoked salmon pasta in a light cream sauce

Smoked salmon pasta in a light cream sauce

The last salmon dish of the week was a delicious chop salad from Juno that I plan on making again. This salad included baby arugula, cous cous, tomatoes, salmon lox, parmesan cheese, pumpkin seeds, black currants, dried sweet corn, pesto buttermilk dressing. It’ll be perfect in the summer, eaten out on the patio with either lox or grilled salmon and a crisp glass of Efeste’s Riesling. Yes, please.

Juno's chop salad

Juno’s chop salad

To bring it back to Seattle week, I had the fun opportunity to enjoy one of Seattle’s newest and hottest restaurants: Din Tai Fung. There was a bit of a wait, but it was worth it. Everything we ordered at the dumpling house was fantastic and while we felt like we ate for hours, the bill was reasonable and we weren’t too full. We had soup dumplings, chicken fried noodles, the pork chop fried rice (hands down my favorite), sauteed green beans with garlic, and the rice and pork shao mai. Man, was it good. And re-writing it here makes me crave it even more. I visited Din Tai Fung with some girlfriends and I’m eager to take Brandon. I know he’d love it!

Din Tai Fung

The Din Tai Fung spread. So delicious!

We capped off Seattle Week with a visit to Molly Moon’s. Seattle/Salmon week was a huge success. Up next week? “Winner, winner chicken dinner” in honor of the Superbowl. Our second favorite team won, so we’ll celebrate them. Besides, that way it’s the perfect set up with Seattle Week!

Week 4: Cilantro

Cilantro shrimp and quinoa

Cilantro shrimp and quinoa

As I mentioned, last week was amazingly busy. So busy in fact, that I had to pick an ingredient out of thin air and meal plan and grocery shop on the fly. I made it through just fine and decided on cilantro for last week’s theme, and some of our favorite recipes.

We started with a turkey taco salad. It’s one of our favorites and it included: pinto beans, olives, tomatoes, avocado,cheese and of course, cilantro. We combine salsa and fat-free sour cream to dress the salad and love it. If you haven’t tried mixing these two together, try it!

I also turned to Pinterest (of course) for some other recipes. I took a few ideas and landed on a hybrid dish. I made a batch of quinoa, with water, salt, pepper and 1 tsp of olive oil, and sauteed some shrimp, both just as I normally do. As a finishing touch (and to incorporate cilantro into the dish) I added lime juice, some lime zest, and lots of cilantro to both the shrimp and the quinoa. We enjoyed my favorite kale salad with the lime-cilantro goodies.

We also enjoyed a favorite of ours: a variation on Cooking Light’s hominy chili. I’m a bit of a spice wuss and this chili has just enough spice for me. We added cheese, sour cream and of course cilantro! And, a special treat for you: our chicken and hominy chili recipe.

Delicious... Hominy chicken chili

Delicious… Hominy chicken chili

Hominy chili with beans (from Cooking Light

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 (15.5-ounce) cans hominy, drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can red beans, drained
  • 2 (12.5-ounce) cans of cooked white breast chicken
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added stewed tomatoes, undrained and chopped
  • A few dallops of fat-free sour cream
  • A few pinches Mexican cheese
  • Half a bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add garlic; sauté until fragrant.
  3. Stir in chili powder, cumin, beans, chicken and tomatoes; bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes.
  5. Serve and top each serving with sour cream, cheese and cilantro.
  6. And enjoy!

Week 3: Orange-colored foods

Roasted veggies, before

Roasted veggies, before

Theme eating continued this past week with orange-colored foods.

We started out with a super-sized pack of butternut squash from Costco and we made our famous sausage, gnocchi, kale, squash dish and really enjoyed it. This is one of our favorite meals and it’s so great for those cold days when all you want to do is curl up on the couch with your DVR and cats. (I’m glad to know its not just me…)

Not so pretty on the eyes: Squash and tofu sausage

Not so pretty on the eyes: Squash and tofu sausage

I used a lot of the squash for the gnocchi dish, but I still had plenty left to combine with Brussels sprouts and mushrooms and some of the Trader Joe’s veggie sausage from last week. This is one of the first few times that I’ve tried to roast veggies and have been successful. I’m a good cook, but there are some things even I still need practice with.

Chicken, quinoa, avocado and oranges

Chicken, quinoa, avocado and oranges

One of the things I am really good at? Cooking quinoa. And we found a recipe (thank you, Sunset and Pinterest) for a quinoa salad with chicken, avocado and oranges. This thing looked good AND it tasted fantastic. This recipe is so good that we’re going to put it into our regular rotation and it’s your lucky day because I’m sharing our version of the recipe below.

Shrimp pasta

Shrimp pasta

Finally, we ended our week with a double dose of orange: shrimp pasta, another Pinterest find that turned out pretty good. I wasn’t a fan of how much sauce this dish had but it tasted good. Brandon had the leftovers (while I was jet-setting off to New Orleans) and said they weren’t as good the second time around. We’ll probably not make this again, but boy was it orange!

This past weekend was a blur and it’s been go, go, go ever since. I’ll try to have a N’Awlins recap soon, but in the meantime, bookmark this page and pin this recipe, it’s amazing! Oh, and we’re enjoying CILANTRO week right now. It’s tasty!

Quinoa salad with chicken, avocado and oranges (Derived from Sunset)


  • 1 1/4 cups quinoa
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3 teaspoons minced garlic, divided
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 2 teaspoons plus 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 1 container canned chicken (we use the larger cans from Costco)
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 large oranges, peeled and segmented
  • 2 ripe avocados, peeled and cubed


  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions and fluff with a fork. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool.
  2. Stir together chili powder, 2 tsp. garlic, the lime zest, 2 tsp. oil, and 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper. Add chicken and toss to coat and saute over medium heat. Since the chicken is already cooked, you just need to heat up to flavor the chicken. This should take less than five minutes
  3. Add remaining ingredients to quinoa and chicken; toss to coat.

Theme eating week 2: vegetarian!

Now that we’re back from vacation and all of the deliciousness of the holidays is behind us, it’s time to whip ourselves back into shape. How will we do this? By cutting out meat…for a week. Lucky for Brandon, “vegetarian” includes chocolate. Lucky for me, it also includes wine. It’s essentially just grape juice, right?

So, what’d we have?

Tofurkey linguine

Tofurkey linguine

Tofurkey Italian sausage linguine with diced tomatoes and steamed arugula. I bought two kinds of faux-meat  sausages and this one had sun-dried tomatoes in it. This meal is something that I make quite often, but with Italian sausage-flavored ground turkey.

I didn’t care for the flavoring or texture of the “meat” but I think it might have been better if I had cut the meat into smaller pieces.

While I’ll continue to make my tomato sauce, it’s not likely that I will be buying the Tofurkey Italian sausage ever again.

Greek faro salad with tempeh

Faro Greek salad with tempeh

Faro Greek salad with tempeh. This one is a Megan’s Island original and a favorite of ours, going back and forth between making this with quinoa and faro.

It’s good cold or warm and is great to take for lunches. We can find almost all of the ingredients at Trader Joe’s, but like to hit up the olive bar at QFC for the roasted garlic.


Mushroom risotto

Mushroom risotto

Mushroom risotto with meatless Italian sausage. I used the Trader Joe’s store brand sausage for this meal and greatly preferred this one over the Tofurkey. We thinly sliced the sausage (I learned from earlier in the week!) and sauteed it with some garlic and sliced mushrooms and then added the mushroom risotto from Trader Joe’s freezer section.This risotto is a favorite of mine. It’s so fast and so tasty. I usually like to doctor it up and this combination is definitely one I’ll try again. We paired the risotto with a spinach side salad and Brandon made some salad dressing with mango balsamic vinegar.

Sprouted tofu stir fry

Sprouted tofu stir fry

Teriyaki tofu stir fry. This is a pretty standard veggie dinner in our household, but this time I used extra-firm sprouted tofu instead of regular tofu. (See the differences here.)

We paired the stir fry with Thai vegetable gyozas from Trader Joe’s. I wasn’t that fond of them and much prefer the chicken gyoza that we normally buy.

We’ll definitely try the sprouted tofu again but will pass on the veggie gyoza.

All in all, veggie week was a great success! We’re ready to incorporate meat back into our meals and will do so in orange dishes next week! (Hear that? Week 3’s theme is orange foods!)

Have a great week!