This was my stovetop yesterday afternoon. While the summer months are supposed to be less hectic than the school year, it seems that our July is jammed pack with activities. Looking ahead at the week, I realized that if we had any hope of having nutritious dinners, I was going to have to put some time into cooking on Sunday morning. Within two hours, I had menus planned and delicious morsels cooling in plastic containers.
At first, it seems daunting to attempt cooking several meals at once. However, it is actually pretty easy and takes just a bit of organization. First and foremost, get an inventory of your refrigerator and freezer. Second, actually write down what will be for dinner each night. I have a board that I keep in our kitchen where I list each night's dinner.
This week's CSA shipment included the following: spaghetti squash, cauliflower, cucumber, a white onion, carrots, potatoes, basil, lettuce and green beans. My container garden is finally yielding zucchini and tomatoes and the milkman had delivered whole milk and heavy cream. I also remembered that I had plenty of squash blossoms in my garden and my second planting of arugula was ready. My plan began to formulate.
Here is what we will be eating this week. If all goes according to plan, I will share a photo and the recipe each day.
Monday: Squash blossom quesadillas with sauteed spinach. These are absolutely delicious and very easy to put together. Nothing needs to be done in advance except to harvest the squash blossoms in the morning.
Tuesday: Nicoise Salad. I love this salad as it is light but still hearty - if that makes sense. I have tuna steaks in the freezer which I will defrost in the morning. They only have to be seared briefly on each side. I blanched the green beans and put them in a ziploc bag. They went into the refrigerator along with cooked small red potatoes and hardboiled farm eggs. All that I will have to do is assemble the salad over some fresh lettuce greens and add a garlicky vinaigrette.
Wednesday: Spaghetti Squash with Meat Sauce. I cooked the squash for about an hour and once cooled, I scraped the insides into a plastic container. I used hamburger meat and a bit of pork sausage in the meat sauce and simmered it for several hours. Chopped onion, zucchini and carrots added nutritional value.
Thursday: Cream of Cauliflower Soup with Sausage Crumbles with a simple green salad. I realize that it is summer and soup is not a very popular option, but I am not a big cauliflower eater. So if I am going to eat cauliflower...then I am having it in a luscious cream soup.
Friday: Marinated Chicken Cutlets and Caprese Salad with Basil Pesto. Hey, it is Friday - let's keep things simple. I took thin chicken cutlets and put them in a Ziploc bag along with half a bottle of Italian salad dressing. They went into the freezer and I will take them out on Friday morning. The pesto took about five minutes to make and I put it in a jar with a bit of olive oil to cover so that the air would not make the pesto turn brown.
There you have it - two hours and makings of four dinners. Once school starts, I know that I will be doing more of this...making large batches of soups, stews, meatballs, etc and freezing them for even less hectic dinners.