$25 / 25-Minute Dinner for 2

I can’t believe it is the middle of April and we have snow.

holy. cow.

Ok, maybe it’s just a dusting, but still.  What the heck?!  It is APRIL.  I walked out of my front door yesterday morning {yes, Lincoln Park}, wore boots w/ zero traction {yes, slip & slide the E-N-T-I-R-E way to the bus} grasping my cup o’ joe {and CBH’s arm}, while gritting my teeth not to spill it on my winter work coat - which I was already less than thrilled to pull back out of my closet.  Yes, I had that sucker dry cleaned in hopes of putting it away for the season…

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Maybe this snow has really thrown me for a loop, but I have been feeling a little overwhelmed lately.  There is so much I want to do/to plan and I already feel like my spring/summer weeks are starting to get booked with long weekends away, concerts, wedding events, etc.  I am trying to not plan so far ahead with fun activities, but I almost feel like I have to because finding a weekend where “oh my goodness, my calendar is empty! yea!” barely exists.

Ok, I love busy weekends and I love planning things, so I certainly don’t mind having lots of fun things to look forward to.

With busy weekends, weekdays are just as busy – attempting to keep the condo clean, meals delicious, laundry not piling up, heart rate active a handful of times a week, and still have enough time to catch up on our DVR, time to FaceTime with family and friends, a “hang on let me catch my breath” evening where CBH and I can sit on our rooftop with a glass of wine as we watch the lights go down in the city, and an impromptu outing or two, time flies by.

Here is a recipe for a quick weeknight dinner, costing, YES, under $25.00 for 2 servings. {This recipe came together rather quickly when I had pasta in my cupboard, spinach that I wanted to use, and frozen pine nuts.  I picked up a fresh piece of salmon on my way home from work, and voila, #DinnerIsServed}.

Whole Wheat Pasta w/ Sautéed Spinach, Pine Nuts & Salmon

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{love that pink color.  season just with kosher salt, pepper & a drizzle of olive oil}

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{spinach – remember that this wilts down A LOT.  always add in an extra handful – you can never have enough sautéed spinach}

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{spinach, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, kosher salt and pepper.  BOOM.}

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{*whole wheat pasta – I am not biased to either, but when I don’t want to consume a lot of pasta – yes, I watch my carbs – I opt for whole wheat pasta.  I feel like it is more filling than regular pasta. therefore, I don’t eat quite as much}

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Whole Wheat Pasta w/ Sautéed Spinach, Pine Nuts & Salmon
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 package whole wheat pasta {pick any shape you like}
  • 1 large package of fresh spinach, washed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 1 lb. fresh salmon
  • kosher salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sprinkling of parmesan cheese, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375*F.
  2. Bring a large stock pot ¾ of the way full with water to a boil – season generously with salt.
  3. Cover baking sheet with tin foil (simple clean up!). Lightly spray with cooking spray. Set aside. Place salmon on top. Season salmon with a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
  4. Heat medium skillet on stovetop with a tablespoon of olive oil. Add salmon, skin side up to skillet and let sear for 1½ minutes on this side, then flip over and let sear for another 1½ minutes. Transfer to lined baking sheet, skin side down. Bake for 15-20 minutes until salmon is cooked through. (Baking time may vary depending on the thickness of your salmon.) Wipe out medium skillet.
  5. While the salmon is baking, and after stock pot of salty water is boiling, toss in dried pasta.
  6. In medium skillet, add spinach and a drizzle of olive oil. Let wilt down, tossing occasionally. About half way through wilting, add pine nuts and garlic, and a pinch of kosher salt and pepper.
  7. Once pasta is cooked al dente, drain immediately. Toss back into stock pot and add a drizzle of olive oil. Spin to lightly coat.
  8. *If you plan on having left overs, don’t mix the spinach and salmon with the pasta. Keep things separate and serve separately.
  9. Plate your pasta, topped with spinach mixture and piece of salmon.

Buffalo Flank Steak

Bubba!  Can you believe it!  2nd Masters Championship in 3 years.  How sweet was it when his child waddled towards him and he scooped him up, all teary eyed.  I just love how emotional these players get {as I sit on my couch all choked up}.  It just is such a patriotic and emotion celebration.  I can’t even imagine the type of party they had last night after the event!  And Jordan Spieth!  What a cutie.  At only the age of 20, he certainly put up quite a show!  He should be very proud.

OK,  MONDAY.  I can’t get over this weather.  Has anyone changed their closets over yet?  I am starting to think, after 6 1/2 years of living here, that changing closets over just isn’t done in this city.  One day it’s 70*F and everyone is in short sleeve t-shirts and flip flops, having cocktails outside and the next day we are covered in fog with a chill in the air, prepping us for a frost the next morning.  I don’t get it.  Global warming?  Global shift?  Global – what is this?!? We are being taught to be prepared for the unexpected.  To be adaptive.

Well, I certainly hope spring comes back.  We all enjoyed her presence while she was here, briefly!

Now, back to the topic at hand – Have you ever had a meal that while you were taking each bite, you were saying inside you head “I don’t want this dish to end”.  Well, last night’s meal was one of those dinners.  Every bite was a “yum.  Let me savor this. I only have X-amount left”.  It was so simple, yet so delicious, I will certainly be keeping this recipe in my back pocket.  Here is a recipe you must try.

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Marinated Buffalo Flank Steak

ingredients

  • 1 lb. buffalo flank steak
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tbl. red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dijon mustard
  • 3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • kosher salt

Toss all ingredients, except kosher salt and flank steak in a gallon size zip lock.  Shake zip lock to combine all ingredients.  Add flank steak to zip lock to submerge in marinade.  Let sit in fridge for at least 8 hours {up to over night} to marinade.

When ready to cook – bring steak out and let stand to room temperature.  Remove steak from marinade.  Light blot off access marinade and pour remaining marinade into a small saucepan.  Heat grill {or grill pan} to medium-high heat.  Brush grates lightly with olive oil.  Sprinkle flank steak with kosher salt and pepper.  Once grill is hot, grill flank steak on both sides until internal temperature reads 140*F and let rest for 5 minutes.  {Each side roughly grills for 2 1/2 minutes – 5 minutes total.}  While flank steak is cooking, bring remaining marinade to a boil in small saucepan.  Let boil and thicken, slightly.  Once flank steak is sliced and plated, drizzle marinade reduction on top and serve.

xo.jlw

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{grill pan}

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{wusthof chef’s knife – one of my favorite kitchen tools}

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{yum. look at that garlic}

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{home goods placemats. pottery barn napkins. crate and barrel plates. pier 1 water glasses}

{trader joes mushroom risotto – so quick and simple, yet so good}

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{pottery barn lanterns. (old) mariposa wine holder.}

Looking for a great wine pairing?  We paired our dinner with Ghost Pines Cabernet Sauvignon.  Paired perfectly.

Buffalo Flank Steak
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. buffalo flank steak
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tbl. red wine vinegar
  • 1½ tsp. dijon mustard
  • ¾ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • kosher salt
Instructions
  1. Toss all ingredients, except kosher salt and flank steak in a gallon size zip lock. Shake zip lock to combine all ingredients.
  2. Add flank steak to zip lock to submerge in marinade. Let sit in fridge for at least 8 hours {up to over night} to marinade.
  3. When ready to cook – bring steak out and let stand to room temperature.
  4. Remove steak from marinade. Light blot off access marinade and pour remaining marinade into a small saucepan.
  5. Heat grill {or grill pan} to medium-high heat.
  6. Brush grates lightly with olive oil.
  7. Sprinkle flank steak with kosher salt and pepper.
  8. Once grill is hot, grill flank steak on both sides until internal temperature reads 140*F and let rest for 5 minutes. {Each side roughly grills for 2½ minutes – 5 minutes total.}
  9. While flank steak is cooking, bring remaining marinade to a boil in small saucepan. Let boil and thicken, slightly.
  10. Once flank steak is sliced and plated, drizzle marinade reduction on top and serve.