Sunday, July 27, 2014

This Week's Recipes

I will admit.. I am not always successful. For example, this week, I got stuck at work and we ate leftovers.. and then I realized - when my weeks are insane, I am not going to come home, chop up veggies and then thread them onto shish kabobs. This led to me not even using the shish kabob meat I made and marinated because I get weird about chicken and how many days it's been since I bought it, etc. I can't help it. I've got poultry problems.

Meatball Nirvana was amazing as always, and the new marinade was REALLY good on chicken and browned up really nicely on the grill. 

This week I'm making tuna salad for some lunches, I've cut up red bell peppers, and mixed them in baggies with baby carrots and celery. I've premade bacon (For easy cleanup, put three sheets of foil for extra coverage, space them out over the baking sheet, pre-oil with a spray of PAM or whatever you use to avoid sticking, 400 degrees for roughly 20-25 minutes). We prefer our bacon crispy so sometimes we end up at 30 minutes but I start checking it around 20-25 and sometimes rotate the pans from top to bottom, etc). The benefit is that I can pre-make bacon for the week (we eat a lot of bacon. a lot.) and there's no hot grease flying around my kitchen with a toddler AND my stovetop is free to do other things. I can chop veggies. I can prep tuna salad, because my oven is doing all the work. Score! 

Tonight - Pasta with delicious,delicious meat sauce (which is pretty similar to this, sans mushrooms.)

Monday - Filet mignon is back on the menu, with these amazing brussels sprouts

Tuesday - Ironically, I'm trying another chicken kabob... Tuesdays generally aren't insane and it's earlier in the week so I'm hopeful. 

Wednesday - Salmon with caesar salad. (I'll probably do my fallback salmon recipe which isn't written down anywhere. Pat the salmon dry, add a little butter to the pan over medium heat, sprinkle your spice rub of choice liberally over the salmon - and plunk that baby in and listen to the sizzle).

Thursday - Kung Pao chicken makes a triumphant return at the request of the hubby so it must have been pretty good ;) 

Friday - Leftovers! 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Week 2

Recap of last week's recipes:

- Kung Pao chicken was marinated for days instead of the suggested 30 mins in the recipe - and my husband said it was amazing. I thought it was good but as a non-kung pao eating girl normally, I could have taken it or left it. For make at home Chinese that didnt take me long day of? Sold! Word of warning: That recipe only fed two of us and my husband ate 60% of it and still wanted more! I'd double that recipe if I were feeding two or more!

- Unbelievable chicken was AMAZINGLY good. I'm not a big fan of the fact that sugar is an ingredient in it so it won't make the regular rotation but it really was unbelievably good.

This week:

- Steak is back on the menu with some grilled asparagus. Tips on the green: Get the fattest ones you can find. Sheet pan. Drizzle olive oil. Salt. Pepper. Toss it all together. 8 minutes at 400 degrees. That's it. The key to good, crispy, asparagus. Don't buy those pencil thin ones and then blast them for 15 minutes. It's gross. 

- I'm attempting a new one with Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs. Chicken's already marinating. I tweaked it a little and left the pineapple juice in. We'll see how it goes.

- Another newbie up on the menu with this marinade. Not actually the one I meant to make but I was really tired after a weekend of Potty Training bootcamp so the chicken's in it and I bet it will be delicious.

Tonight, I made the best meatball recipe ever. Friends, meet Meatball Nirvana. I use half ground beef, half sweet italian sausage. You'll be glad you did. These are freaking amazing. 

Leftovers are of course also on the menu. Didn't get to chop up veggies or fruits today after a crazy weekend so that's on the calendar for tomorrow. Good luck this week! 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

A week of recipes!

Meals for this week

Here's what I've prepped this week (these recipes are not mine, just ones that I'm trying out. Bolded means they're a favorite, regular fond means I'm testing them out this week and I'll keep you posted!)

  • Sunday - Filet Mignon on the cast iron skillet, steamed broccoli, baby peas, and Caesar salad. For this one, I preheat the oven to 450 degrees and warm the skillet up to high or one notch below (electric stovetop, sorry!) and while it's coming up to sizzling - pat the steaks dry on both sides, rub with olive oil, and apply kosher salt and ground pepper liberally to both sides.  As we're medium rare folks in this casa, we get some thick filets (3-4") and brown them for 2-3 minutes on each side. Grab a potholder and transfer the entire pan into the oven. I generally do this for about 4-5 minutes. When it's been that long, pull them out, remove the steaks from the skillet to a plate, and cover them with tinfoil for five minutes to let the juices redistribute and the steaks rest. Trust me, worth it. For our Caesar salads, I take one heart of romaine, chop it up, add a dash of salt and pepper and some grated Parmesan, and toss it all together with this amazing Caesar dressing. Yep, it's bottled. No, it's not healthy. It's Caesar dressing, not a rice cake. Own it or leave it.

So, I am a big fan of marinade. Big. Huge. Think Beatle-mania but for marinating things. I've got a toddler, and a serious lack of free time. A win is shaving my legs two or three times a week - I don't have time to mess around - especially during the week. So, I prep things on Sunday. I cut up veggies for bagged veggies during the week (celery, bell peppers, baby carrots, etc.), sometimes I make tuna salad to bring to work 1-2 days a week for lunch, sometimes I hardboil eggs - generally, I do things that I can do at the same time. Today, I cooked bacon in the oven, hardboiled eggs on the stove, and mixed up three marinades at the same time. Yes, I'm freaking amazing but no, that's not why. It's all in the name of making my life easier during the week. So, when I'm referencing a marinade in one of these recipes - I probably made it Sunday, and likely marinated the meat longer than they recommended in the name of making my life easier. Back to the game plan.

  • Monday - I'm making Unbelievable Chicken. It's a new one in my repartee but it's a riff on one that I've made before and really enjoyed - this one. I don't use dry mustard. I pull out the bottle of French's and use that instead. It works and I don't have to run to the store for a spice that I don't have. I've ever swapped out plain white vinegar for the apple cider when I didn't have it. I've used bottled lemon juice. See where I'm going here? Ina Garten would be horrified - but it gets the food on the table and it's been GOOD. Yes, I've already made the marinade and the chicken is hanging out in it in my fridge as I type. Bonus - I make 2x the marinade and save some for next time = less prep for me. I also put in 4 chicken breasts or more so I've got leftovers.

  • Tuesday - Tuesday is a newbie! I'm excited to try Kung Pao Chicken at home. Listen, I love chicken. Love it. Don't get tired of it, but the Mr. does - and therefore I'm spicing it up in the kitchen. Nuff said. I'll keep you posted. Again, the marinade is already in the fridge, kickin' with the chicken. (Sorry.) I've even got everything for the sauce ready and pre-mixed in the fridge. It's a lot of the same ingredients as the marinade so my house is only destroyed once (well, at least for that...)

  • Wednesday - It's FAJITA TIME! I take my Mexican food seriously - and after being betrayed by marinades before - I've committed to this one. We're pretty serious. I've used this with chicken, beef skirt steak - it's amazing with both. I'm not a huge fan of jalapenos in my fajitas, so I just cut up a few bell peppers (red and green) and a sweet onion into strips. Split the marinade into baggies with the chicken and the veggies I separate them because... ew.) and let them hang out in the fridge.

  • Thursday - Salmon for Aaron, and chicken leftovers for this salmon hater. I'll probably chop up a few peppers, squash, zucchini and toss it together with a little olive oil, garlic salt and pepper and maybe bust out a frozen vegetable steamer package. Again, I'm down for simple. This one's one of my favorite salmon recipes - bonus? You may have already cut up a lemon, some bell peppers, and an onion for the earlier recipes. Score. Foil packet = no cleanup. Eeeexcellent.

  • Friday - Leftovers for both of us - fajita salad? Likely. Fajita bowl? Sure. I've made the food - we're eating it.

It may seem strange that we're rocking leftovers two days in a row but there's a few really simple reasons. #1 - I do grocery shopping on Sundays. By Friday - I wouldn't want to eat any uncooked meat hanging out in my fridge. In fact, I may even switch that Salmon for Aaron to a different day because seriously, who wants stinky salmon in the fridge? But #2 - I've made the food - we're eating it. Most importantly, my schedule can shift around, and I'm prepared to shift with it with some meal prep. Usually there's another simple night in there - a kielbasa and some veggies, or something relatively simple. Roast chicken. Something in the slow cooker. It balances out my steak night and makes my life... well, you know..