Holiday break is over… time to get organized again.

I’m sitting here on my last morning of still-in-a-hoodie-at-9:30-a.m.-vacation mode, trying to make a food plan so when I head back to work tomorrow we don’t immediately crumble into eating cheese and crackers for every meal.  It’s a short week to plan for, which helps immensely, and I have a stack of new recipes and cookbooks (yay Christmas!) so there’s plenty of inspiration…

Julie and Julia, by Julie Powell, is one of my favorite books.  I love her other writing too — but there’s something about the idea of working your way, with some kind of singular focus, through an amazing and challenging cookbook that speaks to my linear brain. (It’s the book where she decides to cook her way through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking).  I could never do it with that book — the aspics are enough to send me running away — but I do love the idea of getting to know a particular cookbook so well by committing to do it all.

I currently have 61 cookbooks on my shelf near the kitchen, as well as eight magazine file boxes bursting with cooking magazines.  Most of the time, I cook something I can do from my brain, or I pull a recipe from a website — so a lot of those treasures on those shelves remain undiscovered.  I got a couple new cookbooks for Christmas, and as I read through them, I thought that I’d really like to taste everything in them.

So I’m trying it.  My lovely friend Ann got me The Pioneer Woman Cooks Dinnertime, and it’s a great mix of quick recipes, and slow-braise-perfect-for-snowy-Sunday-afternoon-recipes, and healthy stuff, and slightly indulgent stuff.  And if I’m ever going to get to know all the recipes in any of my books, I need to start holding myself responsible for doing more than just flipping through the pages on those snowy Sundays.  My plan is to keep track (by writing in the index — I tend to write in my cookbooks anyway) of the recipes I use, and be intentional about trying them all.  No time limit — and I’ll still mix in other recipes from other places — but if this goes well, I’m hoping to try it with another book after.

Because otherwise I should probably just stop buying cookbooks.  And that would be too sad to bear.

And so the plan this week, with a few featured recipes from my featured cookbook (whose author also has many of her recipes on Pinterest, so linking to them whenever I can will be kind of easy):

Tuesday:  Pan-seared cod with white wine tomato basil sauce (a Pinterest find), oven-roasted potatoes and oven-roasted broccoli (from my brain — basically coat with olive oil, salt and pepper and maybe some other spices, like crushed red pepper, and roast at about 425 degrees on a sheet pan for 10 – 15 minutes (broccoli) and 30 – 40 minutes for the potatoes).

Wednesday:  Sesame Chicken Salad (from the cookbook!) — it sounds delicious and also very simple, which I’ll need after my first day back.  And it has oranges, which will help with leaving for work in the dark and also returning home in the dark.  The oranges will be my sunshine!

Thursday: Hamburger Soup (cookbook!).  In the description, she talks about making it on a day when it’s “ding-dang cold.”  And I just checked the weather.  And it seems like it will be appropriate.

Friday:  Homemade pizza.  Because I survived a 3-day work week!  I make my crust with the recipe that came with our stand mixer (I only use about 2-plus-a-tiny-bit cups of flour, and I sometimes do half white and half whole wheat flour, but I follow the rest of the recipe pretty closely) with sauce and cheese and whatever might work for a pizza topping that’s laying around.

Saturday:  Beef with Snow Peas (and other veggies too) from the cookbook.

I’ve already tried two things from this cookbook (Greek Yogurt pancakes and a Buffalo Chicken Salad), so after this week, I’ll be well on my way, right?  Just hoping to discover a few new go-to recipes. Here we go!


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