Sunday, January 9, 2011
Easy does it!
To organize, simplify and streamline your cooking duties.
While you are at it, think of everyone's favorite recipes. Identify the basic ingredients you need to have around and stock up.
Cooking can be daunting and frustrating. Get a plan for one week's worth of meals that can change if inspiration and energy are high. On the weekend, cook a more elaborate meal and save leftovers.
My secret? A bit of preparation after I bring home groceries.
I cut and separate meats and fish in serving sizes before freezing.
I buy wonderful breads and rolls, and freeze.
I cook big batches of meat sauce, bbq's, chicken breasts, roasts on weekends. Leftovers are labeled and available to add to pasta, rice, casseroles, or for sandwiches at the last moment.
Here they are, my easy-does-it meals, all healthy and delicious, and with addition of fruit, and crusty bread, a filling meal. With a few variations, this plan takes the frustration out of planning meals.
1. Main Meal Salads---greens and leftover meats marinated in salad dressing before the greens are added. Add something different every time you serve this as a main meal, nuts, dried fruit, chunks of cheeses.
2. Minestrone-put together in no time with canned beans, cabbage, tomatoes and a bit of pesto sauce you made ahead.
3. Pasta and...I put the water on for the pasta before I even know what to serve with it. I may add broccoli florets to the water at the last minute. I saute' crushed garlic and crushed red peppers with olive oil before I add the cooked pasta and veggies. Serve with lots of cheese on top.
4. Shrimp and veggies baked in a cream sauce while rice is cooking. Half a glass of wine with half a can of Cream of Celery will make a great sauce for your seafood. Bake for 30' at 350F.
5. Casserole-My all time favorite is pork chops and potatoes. In a shallow, oven proof pan, saute the pork chops. Layer cut potatoes that have been salted and oiled. Sprinkle some cheese on top of the whole thing. Add 3/4 cup of water. Cover and bake for 30' at 400F. Remove the foil and bake for another ten minutes to color the potatoes.
You need a basic plan that works for you, for your schedule, for your tastes. If every meal is a big production, I guarantee you will fall apart and give up.
Have meats and chees and tuna for sandwiches when nobody wants to deal with dishes.