Friday, October 28, 2011

Just call me Ratatouille

I like to plan. A lot. Too much, even. So when I optimistically prepare a weekly menu, usually only about half to 1/3 of the things actually get made. That's why this week, when I was able to make everything on the weekly menu I thought I would share!

I decided that when I usually make menu's I have too many complicated recipes. This leads to the problem of time and energy. If I'm low on energy I scratch the complex dinner, and well, if I'm short on time... it's pasta for dinner and I don't even bother to throw a second glance at the menu. This time I think I had the right combination of easy and hard recipes in both energy and time demands. (Granted, this is tailored to what I consider easy and what I consider hard).

20-30 minutes:
Orange Pork: I fry pork cubes in some sesame oil and then add soy sauce, orange juice, brown sugar, ginger, and garlic. YUM!
Rice Noodles
Green beans

1 Hour:
Turkey Lasagna (1/2 lb of ground turkey)
Green Peppers
French Bread (I actually forgot the french bread but the lasagna was so filling it didn't matter!)

15 minutes:
Turkey Burgers on Ciabatta Bread (remaining 1/2lb of ground turkey)
Potato Chips
Carrot Sticks

30 minutes prep (3.5 hours on 'high' setting on the crock pot)
Beef stew - in the crock pot -- so easy!

30-40 minutes:
Homemade Pizza
Celery sticks

While I was chopping and preparing everything for the beef stew last night I also chopped some extra potatoes and boiled them along with 2 eggs and made some potato salad! Added bonus? It only took an additional 10 minutes!! woohoo.

Recently I've been buying meats in bulk. Pork chops, pork tenderloin, and chicken breast can all be found in my freezer. When I buy a big bulk of chicken breast, for example, I'll trim off all the fat on each breast, slice it thin (that's how we like to eat it) and baggie 2 portions. That way when it comes time for dinner I just grab a baggie, pop it in the microwave for a minute of defrosting and it's ready to cook. It's become so nice to just know that we can cook up some chicken or pork at any minute's notice. It's really made a difference in making dinners... and snacks.

Any kitchen tricks you use all the time that you couldn't imagine not living without?