Last week a friend at work was asking me about my dinners — she had checked out my blog and came away with the impression that dinners were fancy and must’ve taken a long time to cook. But my big secret is I try to find things that take little to no time to prep during the week — fancy dinners are perfect for Sundays when I have some extra time to chop and stir. What I try to do is mad food prep, though. I’ve taken it to an extreme this week, because I’ll be away at a conference for a bit, and will miss my grocery shopping/veggie chopping time for next week.
Usually at times like that, the whole week falls to hell, food-wise. When left to last minute choices, I choose pizza. So much pizza. A whole week of nothing planned equals way too much pizza. So I’m trying to plan for close to two weeks right now. It’s a mix of things I can prep ahead of time and stuff that takes no more time to cook than it does to chop a pepper. Here’s what I’m thinking:
Sunday: With time to actually cook, I’m trying Chili-Fried Butternut Squash Tacos with Mango-Pineapple Salsa. We’re also grilling shrimp to have with it. When I got home from the store this afternoon, I made the salsa and the sour cream sauce, and it’s waiting in the fridge right now while I move on to cooking for the rest of the week.
Monday: This salad (Pomegranate, Pear, and Avocado Salad) sounds crazy fast to make, so I’m not prepping anything ahead of time. We’ll grill some salmon to have with it.
Tuesday: A reprisal of a lovely recipe from a few weeks back that I wanted again (plus we had the rest of the ricotta from the first time — I don’t have a lot of uses for ricotta: Zucchini Involtini with Tomato Sauce. This one is getting made ahead of time — I can chop and cook the zucchini while I’m chopping other veggies, mix the filling, and put it all together when the zucchini cools. I added a bit of spicy turkey sausage to the tomato sauce for kicks. It’s in a casserole dish in the fridge now, waiting to be cooked on Tuesday night.
Wednesday: Trying to ease my pizza appetite without too much damage: Mini pizzas on portobello mushrooms. Fill mushroom caps with pizza sauce, toppings, and cheese, and then bake until the cheese is melted and the mushroom is cooked through — about 10 – 15 minutes.
Thursday: Venison fajita salad. We’ll basically saute venison steak, sliced bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms, then give it some fajita-type seasoning (our usual suspects include cumin, garlic, cayenne, ancho chile powder, salt…) and mix it in with some torn romaine lettuce. Guacamole (we buy the individual serving packs at Costco and keep them in the freezer) mixed in, along with an olive oil and lime juice dressing.
And to prep for next week:
- We have some leftover Pork Ragu from New Year’s Day in the freezer — it was amazing, and I don’t want it to get forgotten in the back depths of our freezer, Plus it’s already made! We’ll cook some fat egg noodles to have with it, and maybe frozen peas.
- In the pressure cooker right now is some Italian Chicken Soup. Once it’s done, I’ll cool it and then freeze it for next week.
- No prep required for this one: Pan-Seared Cod with White Wine Tomato Basil Sauce and roasted veggies. Everything I need is in my freezer, my tomato bowl, or my pantry. Easy peasy.
- And of course, more portobello mushroom pizzas on standby if needed.
There it is. My plan to stay away from the ‘We-don’t-have-a-plan-so-let’s-just-eat-takeout-all-week’ abyss. Wish me luck!