Weeknight cooking doesn’t have to be boring, pre-packaged, or microwaved. Yes, you’re tired from a long day of work, but with a little advanced planning a satisfying and fresh dinner can come together in minutes.
What’s the trick? Organization. The less time you have to cook during the week, the more organized you need to be. I suggest planning out a week’s worth of meals in one sitting. I make a chart that includes each day of the week and then fill in what I will be eating for each day. I then pull together any recipes that I’ll be using and go day-by-day to compile a grocery list.
Posted in Dinner, How-To, Mexican, Seafood, Uncategorized
Tagged advanced planning, Cooking Tips, Fajitas, Food, grocery list, grocery lists, grocery shopping, meal preparation, Mexican, Quick and Easy, Recipe, shrimp, Weeknight Meal
I’ve long been intrigued by quinoa. It’s got a great story. Cultivated high in the Andes of South America over 5,000 years ago, quinoa is a whole grain that is a complete protein with all eight essential amino acids. It cooks quickly, which, combined with its nutritional benefits, have resulted in me keeping a bag of it as a staple in my pantry. The only problem: I’m not head-over-heels in love with quinoa’s taste. I find it a little bland.
Before you cry slander, hear me out. I’ve given it a fair shake. I’ve made quinoa pilaf and added the distinctive spiral-like grains to salads and soups. Yet when I stand in front of my kitchen cabinet, I’ll reach for time-consuming brown rice, chewy Farro, or bulgur wheat ahead of quinoa every day of the week. Or I did until I came up with this recipe for quinoa burgers.
Last weekend a client asked me to make a non-alcoholic drink for a party. I did a little research and stumbled across this recipe for a non-alcoholic spritzer on theKitchn website. It was everything you would want in a drink: full of flavor, refreshing, and interesting enough to not miss the alcohol.
The flavor of the drink , which is primarily composed of sparkling water, comes from a simple syrup infused with orange, lemon, and rosemary. It’s yummy stuff and stored in a mason jar in my fridge, it didn’t last long. Before the week was out, I found myself in need of making another batch.
Posted in Beverage/Drinks, Uncategorized
Tagged Food, ginger, infusion, Lemon, mason jar, mint juleps, Recipe, rosemary, simple syrup, sweet tea
Beans are a pantry staple in my house. Economical and a good source of protein, it makes sense to keep them around in canned and dried form. Canned beans in particular are good in an emergency when the pantry is bare and people are hungry. Heated with a few seasonings one can serve them atop rice, throw them into a salad, or blend them into a quick dip. Canned beans compared to dried beans are a time-saver, but they are also more expensive and often contain a high amount of sodium. I justify the higher price based upon convenience and I cut the sodium by always rinsing canned beans under water before serving. This simple step can reduce the sodium count by up to 50% and makes me feel better about taking the shortcut.
While my cupboard has always contained both dried and canned beans, until recently I only kept black-eyed peas in dried form. I grew up eating black-eyed peas once a year on New Year’s day. Paired with braised collard beans, I doused the black-eyed peas (served in the dish known as hoppin john) with hot pepper vinegar and superstitiously ate everything in order to bring wealth in the new year. The collards symbolized greenbacks while the black-eyed peas were eaten to fill your pockets with coins. Dried black-eyed peas and collards cooked for hours before serving and while leftovers might fill the fridge for a day or two more, black-eyed peas wouldn’t grace my table again for another year. And then I learned about Southern (or Mississippi) caviar and added canned black-eyed peas to my shelves.
Posted in Appetizer, Beans, Side Dish, Uncategorized, Vegetarian
Tagged Appetizer, banana peppers, black-eyed peas, dip, Food, mississippi caviar, peas and collards, pita chips, Recipe, Southern, Vegetarian
I typically advocate a jump right-in approach to cooking. After all, more often than not, it’s a lack of confidence on the part of the cook that gets them in trouble. The nervous back and forth between the dish on the stove, rapidly charring before them in a most undesirable way, to the recipe, where they search for answers. When should I remove it from the skillet? Is this golden brown? Has it been exactly 3 minutes? Is it normal for it to be smoking this much?
Most people would benefit from relying on their own instincts a bit more. Despite our personal cooking skills, most of us know what burnt looks like and most problems in the kitchen are easily solved with a little commonsense. With that being said, there are some things that need a bit of prior knowledge on the part of the cook in order to be approached with confidence. Mussels are one of these things.
Posted in Dinner, French, How-To, Seafood
Tagged Food, French, How-to, mussels, Recipe, shallots, tomatoes, white wine
With sizzle and steam this fragrant recipe yields a side dish of intense flavor in minutes. You briefly sauté ginger, garlic, and shallots before you add the long beans (or green beans) to the wok or skillet. Add the sliced green onions and toss everything together just long enough for the long beans to sear in spots before you add chicken broth, soy sauce and a pinch of sugar to the wok. Cover the dish and let it steam until the beans are crisp tender before serving as an accompaniment to your favorite Asian meal.
Posted in Asian, Side Dish, Vegetarian
Tagged asian flavors, Food, garlic, ginger, Green Beans, long beans, Recipe, side dish, stir-fry
Stir-frying requires a bit more from the cook than your average culinary technique. It demands organization and a hefty amount of prep work. Dinner happens in a flash with lots of sizzle and steam. The aftermath, lots of prep bowls, mere minutes ago filled with a little bit of this and some of that, need a bit more attention.
My husband cringes when it’s Asian night in our home. The dishwasher of our partnership, he dutifully cleans up after every meal, and I, in gratitude, try to clean as much as I can as I go. On Asian night however, it’s all saved for the end. My bowls of ingredients, carefully lined up in the order in which they will go into the dish, are quickly emptied into a blistering wok and then stacked haphazardly by the sink as the house fills with the aroma of ginger, garlic, and soy.
Posted in Asian, Dinner, Vegetarian
Tagged Baked tofu, dinner, dirty dishes, firm tofu, Food, ginger garlic, International, Pad Thai, Recipe, Rice Stick Noodles, Tamarind, Vegetarian