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  1. Sunday, February 26, 2023

    Week 764 Weekly Menu

    Happy new week! Let’s get to the menu, shall we? (Oh, and I finally got the White Chicken Chili recipe published…it’s one of our new favorite go-tos!)

    Week 764 weekly dinner menu from This Week for Dinner




    • Indian food night (using whatever Maya Kaimal stuff I have in the cupboard)


    • Leftovers



    • Takeout night


    • Smoked pork butt

    Your turn! Share your weekly menu in the comments below. Have a great week!

  2. Thursday, February 23, 2023

    White Chicken Chili

    My parents live near a Barons Market and they carry fantastic soups. Walk anywhere within a quarter mile of any Barons and people on the street will stop to tell you how good the Barons soups are, especially the clam chowder. (I am only exaggerating a little bit here.) One of our favorites is the white chicken chili and, since we don’t have immediate access to a Barons or unlimited funds, I decided I needed to figure out how to make it. I did some research on their soup as well as several recipes and settled on a winner from Taste of Home, with a few modifications.

    side view of a white bowl and spoon with white chicken chili and cilantro

    I love this recipe. It is easy to throw together (hardly any chopping or dishes!) and it tastes awesome with toppings like sour cream, cilantro, lime and avocado. You could probably even throw some tortilla strips on there and be soup-er happy! (sorrynotsorry) Bonus, the soup is creamy and still gluten free. The mashed beans give it a cozy, chowder-like texture and the chicken cooks nice and tender.

    top view of white chicken chili in a white bowl

    This is one of our family’s favorite dinners now. Apologies for the sub-par photography…my “real” camera’s battery was dead and I had to get a picture of the last available bowl in daylight before anyone ate it. The only reason, in fact, that I haven’t posted the recipe before now is because I could never get a photo in daylight because it always gets eaten up!

    White Chicken Chili
    White Chicken Chili Author: Jane Maynard This soup offers a little kick of heat, which can be easily adjusted as per the ingredients below
    • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed (last time I used up to 2 pounds and soup came out great)
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced (or pushed through a garlic press)
    • 32 ounces chicken broth
    • 1 4-ounce can chopped green chiles (mild, medium or hot depending on your preference)
    • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
    • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
    • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (add up to 1-1/2 teaspoons if you want it spicier)
    • 3 14-ounce cans great northern white beans, drained
    • ¾ cup fresh chopped cilantro (measurement does not need to be precise, just a nice big handful) + extra for garnish
    • 1 lime
    • Optional toppings: Shredded cheese, sour cream, fresh lime, fresh cilantro, avocado, thinly sliced radish
    1. In a large pot, cook chicken and onion over medium heat until lightly browned.
    2. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.
    3. Stir in the chicken broth, chiles, cumin, oregano and cayenne; bring to a boil then reduce heat to low.
    4. Mash 1 can of the white beans with a potato masher or pastry blender until quite smooth. Add mashed and whole beans to the pot. Simmer for 20-30 minutes.
    5. Serve as is or with optional toppings listed above!

  3. Monday, February 20, 2023

    Week 763 Weekly Menu

    Hello everyone! Let’s just get down to business, shall we?

    week 763 weekly dinner menu from this week for dinner


    • Smoked ribs (Nate got the giant brontosaurus beef ribs…an experiment I think will go well!)





    • Leftovers


    • Takeout night


    Your turn! Share your weekly plan in the comments below and have a great week! 

  4. Thursday, February 16, 2023

    One-Skillet Brown Butter Gnocchi with Butternut Squash

    vertical photo of brown butter gnocchi with butternut squash and spinach

    This winter has been kind of insane. From our family in New England experiencing colder-than-the-North-Pole temperatures to rain deluges in California, I think we’re all just holding on for dear life (as well as ski poles). While extreme weather is no bueno, I do love winter and colder weather. Especially when it comes to cooking. And what is one of the coziest foods out there? Butternut squash. Truly one of my favorite vegetables, I’ll take it in any form and, if it’s on a menu, I’m ordering it. 

    cubed butternut squash with sliced onion and a garlic clove on a wood cutting board

    Case in point: I once had a butternut squash dish at a restaurant in San Francisco that was simply prepared in brown butter. The squash was divine and one I will never forget. As I was thinking of ways to use squash other than soup, that dish came to mind and it seemed like the perfect springboard for gnocchi. Gnocchi just goes with the richness of brown butter and squash. 

    brown butter gnocchi with butternut squash and spinach in skillet with spatula

    This brown butter gnocchi would make for a delicious side dish or a full vegetarian meal. The best part is you only need one skillet to cook the entire thing. It really is quick and easy to prepare – you’ll have dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes. Bonus: your house will smell like heaven!

    And, in case you’re wondering, my kids enjoyed this gnocchi recipe as much as we did. 

    brown butter gnocchi with butternut squash on a white plate

    Quick question before I hand over the recipe: Does anyone have a good brand for gluten-free gnocchi that you like? Or a recipe that is good? Please share in the comments, I’m desperate to enjoy this once again with the rest of my family. Thank you!

    One-Skillet Brown Butter Gnocchi with Butternut Squash
    Prep time
    Cook time
    Total time
    Serves 2 for dinner, 4 as a side dish
    Serves: 2
    • 2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed into ½” pieces
    • 4 tablespoons salted butter
    • 16-ounce package frozen gnocchi
    • 2 tablespoons sliced shallots
    • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
    • ¼ teaspoon dried sage
    • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • 1 clove garlic
    • 1 packed cup roughly chopped fresh spinach
    1. Prep squash and set aside, making sure squash pieces are cut uniform in size to ½” cubes.
    2. In a deep 12-inch skillet, heat butter over medium heat. Let butter cook for about 5 minutes until it is browned. Butter will bubble and foam, then bubbles will subside at about the same time that the butter is browned. Stir regularly during the cooking process to avoid scorching.
    3. Once butter is browned, add squash, cover pan and cook for 7 minutes, stirring once or twice during the cook time.
    4. While squash is cooking, slice the shallots. After squash has cooked for 7 minutes, add the frozen gnocchi, shallots, thyme, sage, pepper, salt. Push the garlic clove through a garlic press and add to the pan. Stir well, cover and cook for 7 more minutes, stirring a few times during the cook time.
    5. While everything is cooking, roughly chop the spinach and set aside.
    6. During the last minute of the cook time, remove the lid and add the fresh spinach, cooking and stirring until spinach is wilted, about 1 minute.
    7. Serve immediately. Sprinkle with fresh Parmesan cheese if desired.


  5. Saturday, February 11, 2023

    Week 762 Weekly Menu

    Hello! I’m getting a head start on my menu this weekend. This might be the first time I’ve done it on a Sunday! Also, heads up, I’m finally going to start posting on Instagram regularly, so if you’re on IG, come on over and let’s connect!

    Week 762 Weekly Dinner Menu from This Week for Dinner food blog


    • Mini Super Bowl Party (Cate and I have a school thing during real Super Bowl, so will make 7-layer dip, sweet Chex mix and watch commercial/game/half-time show highlights on Monday)


    • Valentine’s Day…Nate and I have a fun dinner with friends and my girls are going to see Titanic…so dinner will be leftovers for the kids!


    • Homemade hamburger night



    • White chicken chili (I will photograph and share the recipe soon!)


    • Takeout night


    • Leftovers

    Your turn! Share your own meal plan for the week in the comments below! Have a great week, everyone!

  6. Thursday, February 9, 2023

    Eat Well, Heal the Planet 2023 Edition!

    For years I make new year’s resolutions that linked the food we eat and/or how we cook to making positive environmental changes. And then I started working for “the man,” which has been great (I love a good 9-to-5 existence, actually…go figure) but has also put the blog (and sometimes cooking) on the back burner. But that focus on the environment had an impact on my kids (yay!) and now they are calling me out on my slacker-ness. My girls and I talked this weekend and decided we need to get back on track. 

    We took a minute to look back at our past resolutions and decided to focus on the following for 2023: 

    1. Eat less meat

    For several years our focused on eating less meat and more plant-based foods. It went pretty well! And then I just didn’t make it a priority any more. But this graphic is constantly popping up in my mind: 

    Carbon Costs of Different Diets

    This so clearly shows the impact that food products derived from pigs and cows on carbon emissions, it’s pretty mind boggling. The girls and I have decided to start focusing on those three middle columns again, which should be hard since we’ve done it before! 

    2. Reduce (or eliminate!) one-time use items like plastic and paper towels

    This one is tough. I will say that our previous efforts have not been for nothing…we definitely use less paper towels and plastic products than we did before and I think we’re still pretty good about it. But I’ll admit I’ve gotten lazy over the last few years. It’s time to be more disciplined once again! Like remembering reusable bags in the back of the car for grocery shopping (thanks, COVID-19, for breaking that good habit). Only using paper towels for grease clean ups. Eating out less. Resisting the urge to pull out the plastic wrap. 

    Eat Well, Heal the Planet 2023 Resolution from This Week for Dinner

    So here we go! Back on the wagon again!

    If you have made similar resolutions, please share! If you want to join along in the journey with us, please do! If you have any tips or favorite products that have helped with either of the above, please put them down in the comments! Here’s to one small change at a time making a difference. 

  7. Wednesday, February 1, 2023

    Sixteen years of seasons

    Hello! It’s been a while. I succumbed to “December,” the month of birthdays, holidays, merriment and just not enough time. Then January came and with it an immediate business trip, trying to get back into a normal routine and so many sick days. Dinner has been ad hoc through these weeks, a mix of pantry cooking, Hello Fresh meals here and there, takeout and sometimes (if we’re lucky) actual meal planning. Now I am ready to post again, connect with you all, and cook some food, whether it’s planned ahead or not.

    Acacia tree | Copyright 2023 This Week for DinnerThis is my acacia tree, planted after I visited Malawi with ONE and Heifer International. While in Malawi the acacia trees were in bloom all over the country. I came home and planted one almost immediately. It is very happy in Carlsbad, growing like a monster and making a big old mess of the backyard. But every time it blooms, as it is doing now, it makes my heart so happy. Here is one of the blooms for you. Enjoy.

    Fun fact: today marks 16 years for this little corner of the Internet! I started This Week for Dinner simply as a way to share basic weekly dinner plans with my brother, who was in college at the time. Since then I have had the opportunity to connect with countless magical humans, both here in the comments and in person. It has been fulfilling in ways that were both predictable and not and I am grateful every day.

    At some point along the way a (truly wonderful, wow-am-I-lucky-!) literary agent reached out to me about writing a cookbook. Which turned into a book about the women who influenced my cooking and my life. Which turned into a book about how the food in our life at any given time so often reflects the different seasons we are going through. Andi-the-magical-agent is still waiting for my book proposal – the season of writing has yet to arrive. But I have been thinking about this theme of seasons all week as my blog hits yet another milestone.

    When I started the blog, our oldest Cate was two years old. A few months later I became pregnant with Anna (yes, my blog is older than two of my children!), at which time morning sickness arrived in a monstrous way and, for a few months, I posted fake menus to keep my brand new blog going. Two-year-old Cate is now 18 and starting to receive college acceptance letters. Anna is 15 and Owen is 11. The season of being an elementary school mom is almost over. The season of having part of my heart go out into the world to embark on independence is about to to begin. 

    My current short-term season is one where I find my work life once again in an uncertain place. I’ve been here before, many times. I am actually not as freaked out as I would have predicted in the face of this uncertainty, thanks to the combination of an incredibly supportive husband and professional network, as well as the gift of time to mentally prepare for potential change. During this season, cooking dinner has been a welcome activity. And it’s been interesting – normally a lack of weekly planning causes me stress. But lately that lack of planning has brought much needed flexibility of mind for me. I’ve been going with the flow culinarily and I am actually cooking more than in other past stressful times. 

    Which brings me back to theme of food and seasons of life. My blog has been a literal documentation for me of the various seasons we have gone through. I can see the food we ate through all these years and how it reflects where we were at different point in our lives. Sixteen years ago I was still finding my own footing as a cook. Then I grew more confident. Then I became quite good at cooking and writing recipes (Bragadocious alert! IYKYK), and there were years where I wrote on here 3-5 times a week as well as regularly for other publications(!!!!). Over the past few years, as I’ve gone back to full-time work in Corporate America, I find myself posting just once a week. I’m sure the blog, like my life, will continue to evolve, bringing new and unexpected opportunities and ways to connect.

    No matter how long you’ve been around This Week for Dinner, thank you for being here. I am so grateful that even with the advent of powerful social media networks pretty much killing blogging that I can keep this little-blog-that-could going. I refuse to let it die! I will post menus until the Internet blows up! And, believe it or not, I actually have a few recipes I owe you, all photographed and everything. See? I am still cooking.

    Happy Sweet Sixteen, This Week for Dinner