Fall has certainly arrived! And while I’m ready for warming, comfort food I’m not ready for heavy, meat-tastic calorie bombs. I’m trying to keep us healthy, lose some weight myself, and train for this vile 10k in November. So I’m kicking off the rainy, cool fall season with some lighter comfort food options, including lots of seafood, brothy soups, and vegan chilis.
Has fall started in your region? What’s on your menu?
Friday – cold and rainy
- Vadavan mussels – I adapted this recipe a bit. Notes below.
- Sauteed garlicky spinach
- French bread
First of all, what the heck is vadavan? According to Bon Appetit or some such publication, vadavan was all the rage a couple of years ago with chefs. But true to my style, I’m always behind so I’m just discovering it now. It’s a curry powder, but from France. So it’s a little more mellow than a madras curry powder. I buy it on amazon.
Anyway, I use this instead of regular curry powder, but of course you can just use the regular stuff. Also, I use 1 full cup of coconut milk and don’t add any water. The mussels release so much liquid it’s just too watery if you add the water the recipe calls for. And finally, 3 leeks is A LOT. If you have big leeks, just one is plenty.
Put on a modern French cafe mix, open a bottle of medium-bodied French white (we had a lightly oaked Chardonnay from Burgandy) and you’d got a comforting, interesting, and relatively healthy Friday night!
Saturday – still rainy
- Kids cook – Italian wedding soup
Making tiny meatballs on a rainy weekend is the perfect kids’ activity. It keeps them busy, you can make them ahead so you can do it any time of day they’re getting riled up. But I just couldn’t bring myself to put those meatballs in a heavy red sauce dinner when I’m trying to eat healthier and I theoretically have my big, long run early the next morning. Enter Italian wedding soup – the perfect antidote to a wet, soggy weekend.
Sunday – Joaquin? still rainy!
- Chicken Picatta – here’s a recipe that’s close to how I make it, but I use less butter and I add wine to the sauce.
- Creamy Polenta
- Broccoli Rabe
Monday – You guessed it, probably still rainy
Tuesday – quick and easy
- Roasted fish topped with pesto
- Roasted potatoes (leftover, in the freezer)
- Frozen broccoli
Tuesdays are always particularly busy for all of us, so we typically pull something from the freezer or make something REALLY quick and easy. In the summer I make tons of sauces and things with the herbs and veggies I get from the market or my patio. Then I freeze it in ice cube trays so I always have something fresh to top a plain piece of fish or chicken on a weeknight.
Wednesday – out
By Wednesday, I’m done. It’s another busy day and I just can’t cook anymore. By hump day, we just need someone else to cook for us.
Thursday – Mom’s night out
I always, always, always have chicken tenders, pizza, and plenty of leftovers in the freezer. Let’s face it, no one wants to cook something from scratch every night. Dad’s in charge tonight so they’re going shopping in the freezer!
- Chicken tenders
- Sweet potato fries
- Green beans