Monday, March 19, 2012

Meal Planning

...Do you partake?

We certainly do. I think it's one way for me to maintain some sort of sanity each week. That and our maid. Yep. We officially have one. Best. Investment. Ever. Our house is so small that it's hardly an investment and more of a judgement pass because, the million dollar question seems to be- "Really? Y'all need a maid for your house?" Well... no, but it certainly makes life easier (and we still do our laundry and dishes and we keep things tidy), but Vanessa makes my baseboards sparkle and now I can work on  Marrily &  relax on the Sundays where STH is working...OR... we can take an mini adventure on our weekends together and not feel guilty because the bathroom floor is covered in hair or because dust accumulated all over the bookcases. Thank you, Vanessa!

I digress...back to meal planning. This took the two of us emailing or texting "what do you wanna eat tonight?"~ "I dunno, what do you want tonight?" "umm..chicken?" ...234 times during the week for me finally squash all that nonsense. We occasionally have weeks where we don't plan and we end up with take-out or chick-fil-a or pizza and I end up getting mad because it was not so healthy. Now on Sundays we at least try to sit down to look at e-mealz or Pinterest to plan out our week. Boy does it help! Especially when ingredients coordinate. We're pretty picky eaters, so being healthy is not so natural for us, but we really try! I'll share this week's gameplan and y'all can let me know if this is a good thing for me to share or not. Comments are welcome!

Monday: Shrimp Scampi with cucumber + tomato balsamic salad
(actually, leftover from Saturday--this one is somewhat time consuming as I've learned to make it from scratch, so the sauce is a challenge) It's also AHMAZING, so it's definitely worth it to cook on the weekend.
 served best with my alltime favorite warm weather wine (chilled, of course):

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 stick butter use 1/2 stick to get started and add more if needed, smooth's the flavor
1 lemon 2 would be safer 
1 bottle wine 1 cup for cooking, the rest for drinking
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp dried basil, oregeno
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 pack hollandaise only use a little at first 1/8 package  and add more if needed  mix with very little wine
1-2 cloves of garlic, pressed or chopped finely
Fresh Parmesean

Pampered Chef garlic press + the citrus squeezer + a good grader are awesome supplies to have on hand!

What I do is take about an 1/8 of a package of hollandaise sauce and mix it with about a cup of white, med dry, chardonnay is good...make sure the powder dissolves. Add to a sauce pan with about a half stick of butter and juice from at least one lemon, add some olive oil (tablespoon). Add in your herbs, garlic, and about a 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper and season with a little salt. Adjust with butter if it's too bitey. If it needs more bite go with a little wine or lemon. Let it cook for at least 10 mins on the lowest low so that the red pepper has time to infuse and the alcohol cooks out of the wine. Constantly keep it stirring and moving. Then check for the spicey heat, and remember that you cant take it out! If it needs a little more body or if it needs to be thicker, which it most likley will, you can add more hollandaise but remember to dissolve it in a littttle bit of wine first. If it needs a hint of sweetness put a pinch of sugar in, not more. You want it to thicken up, so after stirring it for a bit, head it up to boil then bring the heat back down to a simmer. Add more wine/hollandaise mix if you think it needs to be thicker. Heat it up again if then lower it if it needs to thicken up. Keep stirring. You have to just work at the sauce to get it to a good consistancy.

     Add the shrimp on a hot pan with a little olive oil or butter maybe 2 mins on each side, until they are white almost all the way to the middle on the first side and flip. Don't over cook or they will be chewy but by all means don't under cook them either. For two people you may need around 1/2 to 2/3 lb of shrimp, 1/2 would probably be good though. I like to add a tiny bit of cajun seasoning for an extra kick!

    Angel hair pasta is best, follow those directions. Remember to salt the water once it boils before you add in the pasta.

Serve in a pasta bowl and top with fresh chopped tomatos and some parmesean. Basil & lemon are great for garnishes if you're serving this for guests! VIOLA! Heaven in yo mouth. You are welcome :)

That was the most intense recipe for the week. We boiled some new pasta tonight (bowties, actually, which was also used for our pasta salad lunches -see below) and heated up our leftover shrimp scampi over the stove. Then we served it with some whole wheat french bread with dipping oil. Easy peasy.
These won't be nearly as complicated:

Tuesday: Steak Stir Fry
from Martha

 Wednesday: Surf & Turf
$5 Bang Bang Shrimp (yum!) take-out from Bonefish Grill OR BBQ grilled chicken skewers and salad (not corn), haven't decided yet. Bang Bang shrimp is looking awfully yummy.

Thursday: Homemade Mexican!

Grilled Tilapia with chili lime corn + pineapple salsa + tortilla chips (or go chipless and top your fish with the salsa)

Pineappe Salsa:
(from a Pampered Chef party)
lots of prep, but SO worth it! snack on it later in the week during the work day.

2 plum tomatoes
1/2 small red onion
1 4-in. piece seedless cucumber
1/2 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves
1 jalapeño pepper
1 medium pineapple
1 lime
1/2 tsp salt

Hull and remove seeds from tomatoes using Core & More (or a melon baller or a spoon). Dice tomatoes,
onion and cucumber using Santoku Knife. Chop cilantro. Combine tomatoes, onion, cucumber and cilantro in a bowl. Cut jalapeño in half lengthwise with Utility Knife and remove seeds using Core & More.
Finely chop jalapeño using Food Chopper; add to batter bowl.
Slice top and bottom off of pineapple using Santoku Knife, creating a flat
base. Stand pineapple upright; use Pineapple Wedger to core and peel.
Set aside half of the pineapple for another use. Dice pineapple flesh.
Juice lime using Juicer to measure about 2 tbsp juice. Add pineapple, lime
juice and salt to batter bowl. Mix thoroughly until combined. 

Serve with home made tortillas if you don't have any--cut up tortillas and let them dry out some, spritz with a little cooking spray and top with some lime juice and kosher salt, bake until crisp! They're usually thicker, which is good because this salsa is chunky.

I find chopping to be kind of theraputic. Do you?
(image via pinterest)


 For lunch we aim to have leftovers, but some things (like fish or shrimp), I don't like to microwave the next day. I usually hate making my own sandwiches (nothing competes with Jersey Mikes) and I'm not a fan of lean cuisines or anything frozen. I can't stand soup if it's warm out and I can't just snack on yogurt or pretzels. Salad is OK occasionally. (I know, I'm kind of impossible.)
I whipped a healthy pasta salad up for my go-to lunch this week if I don't have anything leftover:

Lemon Poppyseed Pasta Salad:
(so this was for a Christmas party, obvi, so it was slightly more festive than usual)

bowtie pasta, cooked, chilled
then add:
2-3 handfulls of grape tomatos, halved
1 cucumber, peeled, sliced, and quartered
2 stringed mozz cheeses, chopped
lemon poppysead salad dressing
baby spinach, handful or so
grilled lemon pepper chicken, chopped = optional
carrots, red onion, olives = optional
salt, pepper

mix, fridge, serve. 

Snacks: Trail Mix, Apple  + Peanut Butter, leftover Salsa
Trail Mix = sunflower seeds, almonds, yogurt covered raisins, dark chocolate morsals, and raisins

This weekend calls for eating dinner downtown Friday and then spoiling our nephew on Saturday with whatever his heart fancies....most likely pizza or chicken fingers or something along the lines of my lunch this past Saturday :

See what happens when I don't plan?! I eat like an 8 year old. Wooops...!



The Avarice said...

I absolutely do partake, but I have to say I am not nearly that organized! Hi Meg!! I was just perusing the Link Party over at Fabulous K and I decided to visit your blog and say Hi! I live in SC and share your love for food, fashion and all things beautiful. I am a decorator and stylist who recently started doing wedding styling and have never heard of but I will check it out now! Glad to have discovered your blog, and I must say I LOVE dipping fries in my chocolate shake- I never knew there were other people out there who did that too!!