Monday Night Cooking Challenge

Good afternoon, my friends!

Matt and I have put ourselves up to a challenge: make a new-to-us and at least healthy-ish dinner every Monday night. We’ll alternate weeks, and whoever is in charge will find the recipe, get the ingredients, make it, and clean up after. When it’s their off week, they get to relax and enjoy! We have been getting in a bit of a cooking rut lately, making the same stuff all the time, and feel the need to snap out of it. Anyone else want to join in for the challenge?

Matt was up first this week, and he used some inspiration from our farmers’ market: some local lamb steaks!


They caught our eye when we were shopping around on Saturday morning at the market and decided to give them a shot. He marinated them briefly in some lemon juice, mustard, garlic, salt, pepper, and a little bit of oil, then tossed them onto our grill pan. Can’t wait until the day we have a backyard and a real grill… if only so that our whole apartment doesn’t smell like cooking meat for a week straight after we make something like this. (Bacon is the worst offender, sadly…)

Aaaanyway. To go with the steak, he went meat and potatoes style – we had some roasted rosemary/garlic potatoes and some simply boiled asparagus.


It ended up being a delicious meal! He gets bonus points for the presentation with the rosemary sprig, too. Well done, Matt! I’m brainstorming ideas for what I should make on Monday… any suggestions for quick and delicious dinners?

As for last night, I stuck with an old favorite: a variation of my Almond Encrusted Tilapia.


To simplify the process, I used ground flaxseed and salt to dredge the fish, then just toasted the slivered almonds in the pan while the fish cooked.


Served with some leftover asparagus and roasted broccoli, on top of some plain brown rice (90 second microwave style, obvi).


YUM. This combo never fails. Toasted almonds + fish = so, so good.

While making/with dinner, we also enjoyed some Vintage Ridge wine – delish. Disregard the photobombers. ;)


And now, to continue the day’s work! I’m fighting an ongoing losing battle with my email inbox. Anyone else?

Have a wonderful aftenoon, everyone!


  1. 1

    I’m always looking for new dinner recipes to try so I look forward to seeing what else you make. Some of my favorites are carrot soup, broccoli quiche and sweet potato shepherd’s pie.

  2. 2

    Here is a new recipe I tried this week. We really liked it.
    Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls
    1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef or turkey
    1 T olive oil
    1 large onion chopped
    1 clove garlic minced
    1 small cabbage chopped (I just used a 14 oz bag of shredded cabbage)
    1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
    1 8 oz can tomato sauce
    1/2 c . water
    3/4 t ground black pepper
    1 t sea salt
    Brown meat and onion over medium heat until beef is no longer pink and onion is tender. Add garlic and cook another minute. Add the cabbage, tomatoes, tomato sauce, pepper and salt. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer to 20-30 minutes or until cabbage is tender. Serves 6-8. I served ours in a bowl over a serving of mashed potatoes. Would be a good topping over a sweet potato or baked potato. It will make a lot for just you and Matt but you could freeze portions for later. Hope you give it a try.

  3. 4

    My boyfriend and I have definitely been in a cooking rut lately. Our problem is that once we get home from work, neither one of us really feels like spending time chopping or sautéing, even though we always enjoy a home-cooked meal more than take-out. Simple, healthy recipes are just what we need.

  4. 6
    Chris Anne Spehar says

    One of my fav’s is stuffed peppers (I like red). I stuff w/turkey hamburger sauteed w/spinach & garlic & quinoa w/a garlicky tomato sauce. I serve on a bed of pureed cauliflower. (Red peppers are usually so big, that a half if good for me). I’ve served to several friends/neighbors and they have loved it!

  5. 8

    Still debating whether or not to try fish again! It’s been nearly three years!!! The ground almond crust sounds amazing!

  6. 9

    That’s a neat idea. We’ve been doing that too but in restaurants. We stole the idea from Parks n Rec lol. I like your idea of cooking something new and healthy at home better though. Gonna suggest it!

  7. 10

    I am so in for this challenge! My BF and I have been in a food rut too — it’s hard to cook after a full day of work, workouts, etc. Thanks for the inspiration!

  8. 11

    We make your almond encrusted tilapia all the time! Love it!! I love the challenge, the husband does not cook but he could help come up with ideas and help prep!

  9. 12

    This is a super cute idea! :) I may talk it over with the boyfriend, although he would probably just do Taco night or Chipotle night on his turns.

    One of my favorite healthy meals that I make is Veggie Ricotta Pasta. Its so so so good! And it requires to open a bottle of wine, which means you got a bottle open for the week! :) Its also got your serving of Vitamin A in one serving size and a good amount of Vitamin C, Calcium and Iron. Wine, Pasta, nutritional = my favorite meal ever.

  10. 14

    Here’s a recipe I’ll be trying next week: Baked Pesto Chicken Parmesan. It has 4 ingredients + 5 minutes of prep + 30 minutes of baking. What’s not to like about the 4 ingredients: chicken thighs, pesto, your favorite marinara sauce, and fresh mozzarella. It can’t be anything but tasty, right?

  11. 16

    The photobomb pic made me LOL! Work has been crazyyyy this week. So I understand the feeling of being behind. The goal is to leave work tomorrow night feeling like I got it all accomplished though… 24 hours to go!

  12. 17

    LOVE the photobomb :)

  13. 18

    Anne, I love a simple pork and apples dish. I made this dish this past summer, simple, gorgeous and healthy!

  14. 20

    Almond crusted tilapia sounds incredible! Noted for next week… ;)

  15. 21

    Yummm…that tilapia looks so tasty!

  16. 22

    That’s an adorably photo-bombed pic!

  17. 23

    Yes, Matt blends in really well with the background. Zara…she’s just hanging out, eyeing the wine.

  18. 24

    That’s such a fun idea!! I hate making the same meal twice, so that’s a good challenge to make sure you don’t do that… plus, it’s nice to have a night off! This week my go-to meal has been baked kale, topped with chopped sweet potatoes, scrambled eggs with cheese and avocado. So random, but full of super foods.. and easy since you can make a big batch of kale and sweet potatoes at the beginning of the week!

  19. 26

    What a fun challenge! I tend to get in a cooking rut too which is unfortunate since I have piles of cookbooks sitting in the kitchen. I need to start digging them out.

  20. 27

    Both look very tasty! And love the photo bombers!

  21. 28

    Ha! I love the photobomb by Matt + Cat :)

  22. 29

    I don’t have any recipes but lately we’re loving using our crockpot! It’s wonderful to come home to the smell of dinner and NO ONE has to cook! LOVE the photo bomb picture!

  23. 30

    I feel the same way about wanting an outside grill! I love my grill pan…but the house just smells like food for days :(


  1. […] my friends! Remember how I said Matt and I were starting a Monday night cooking challenge for ourselves? Well, we’re on week 2 now and so far, so good! Here’s the deal, if you missed […]

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