It’s a big week here at the Knecht house. My youngest turns 12! As a tradition, he gets to pick dinner for his special day. What will he pick this year?
If I had to guess, I would bet on any one of these meals. The birthday boy likes spicy, decadent foods, making mac and cheese with chorizo a great choice. He also loves cheesy burritos, especially if it’s topped with guacamole and lots of salsa, so maybe vegetarian freezer burritos?
Nacho burgers would surely delight this tween since burgers are never a bad idea, especially when combined with nachos, another favorite. He loves salmon, so salmon cakes with spicy mayo may be the winner. Thai food is requested often and he happily eats ground chicken—maybe chicken larb lettuce wraps? The only obvious answer I know is true is chocolate cake.
Even if special birthday meals aren’t part of your week, I hope these dinner ideas bring you joy and sharing a dish, made with your own hands, delights you and those you love.
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Vegetarian Freezer Burrito
Burritos stuffed with rice, sautéed peppers, and a mix of beans, tomatillos, and salsa is like a party inside your mouth. I love that I can make these ahead of time for freezing, whenever my schedule allows it, and then I quickly reheat them for dinner. The birthday boy is crazy for guacamole, so I'll be making some of that too.
Longer, warmer spring days means that we can use the grill once again. These epic knife-and-fork burgers are seasoned with taco seasoning and layered between in a bun with avocado, tortilla chips, and pico de gallo. Genius!
Chorizo Mac and Cheese
Mac and cheese is a staple at our house and for this special occasion we're adding Mexican chorizo to amp up the wow factor. This also takes it from being a side dish to the main course. Serve with this Mexican green bean salad.
Fresh Salmon Cakes with Spicy Mayo
Shred freshly cooked salmon and mix it with seasoned breadcrumbs, eggs, and Worcestershire sauce. Shape the mixture into patties and pan fry them until golden brown and impressive looking. The spicy mayo and a generous squeeze of lemon juice really helps cut through the richness.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
Chicken Larb Lettuce Wraps (Larb Gai)
This light meal is a take on a Laotian dish made with ground chicken, chilis, fish sauce, and herbs. Pop it onto a butter lettuce leaf with rice for the perfect bite or two. It’s quick, easy, and packed with flavor, while still leaving room for dessert.
Chocolate Layer Cake
We're lighting candles on this two-layer chocolate cake with a silky chocolate buttercream. I like to bake and cool the cakes the day before and then I'll make the frosting and decorate the cake the day of.