A Savvy Weekly Menu: End of Winter, with Naan

I am sooooooo ready for winter to be over. I’d like to make a deal with the weather: April starts in just over a week. By the time we get to April 1, can we just agree that spring will be here? That it will be sunny and warm, that the ground will start to show signs of green, that the birds will return?

In the meantime, we’ll bundle up with another round of comfort food.  Deal? Deal.

A Savvy Week: End of Winter, with Naan | Savvy Eats

Photos used with permission from Cookie + Kate, Simply Delicious and Local Kitchen.

A Savvy Weekly Menu: End of Winter, with Naan

Monday: Curried cauliflower soup (from Cookie + Kate) with naan (from The Foodess)
Tuesday: Butter chicken curry (from Simply Delicious) with leftover naan
Wednesday: Meyer lemon and rosemary mac and cheese (from Local Kitchen) with a side salad
Thursday: Vegan quinoa corn chowder, plus savory scones with caramelized onions and prosciutto
Friday:  Healthier chicken and waffles

On Sunday:

Use three of the onions and some olive oil to make some caramelized onions.  You will have extras – add them to lunchtime salads and pasta dishes, or freeze the extra in airtight freezer-safe containers.

Prep the naan dough, but instead of letting it rise for 1 to 2 hours, cover the bowl with plastic wrap (leaving a small space open) and refrigerate overnight.

Grate the cheese for the mac & cheese. Refrigerate in an airtight container until Tuesday.

On Monday:

Take the naan dough out of the refrigerator to come to room temperature. Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces and cover with a damp towel to rest for 10 minutes.

Make the cauliflower soup. While the soup cooks, heat the cast iron pan and cook the naan. Refrigerate the leftover naan for tomorrow

New cook and prep time: 1 hour.

 

On Tuesday:

In the morning before work, put the chicken in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate until evening.

Make the chicken curry. While the chicken cooks, cover 1 cup of white jasmine rice with 1 /1/2 cups of water. Season with salt, cover the pot and bring to a boil. Uncover and reduce the heat so that the rice simmers, until all the water is absorbed.

Towards the end of the cooking time, warm the leftover naan in a 350F oven for 3-5 minutes, or just until warmed through.

New cook and prep time: 1 hour.

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A Savvy Week: Cilantro and Spice

Coming up with a Savvy Weekly Menu isn’t just about getting multiple uses out of your main ingredients. It is easy to roast a chicken one day, and turn the leftover chicken into tacos the next. And I’m all for that kind of cooking efficiency.  But it isn’t that alone that makes for a great Savvy Weekly Menu – let’s put our flavoring agents on double-duty, too…or even triple- or quadruple-duty!  Here, smoky peppers and chiles makes an appearance in four very different dishes, and cilantro takes the stage in three of them

January 2014 Savvy Menu

Enchilada photo by How Sweet It Is.

A Savvy Week: Cilantro and Spice

Monday: Cilantro lime chicken burrito bowls with guacamole.
Tuesday: Chipotle sweet potato and brown rice egg skillet (from Naturally Ella).
Wednesday: Vegan quinoa corn chowder.
Thursday:
Lightened-up beef enchiladas (from How Sweet It Is) with corn salad.
Friday:  Baked panko fish sticks with lemon caper mayonnaise (from Love and Olive Oil) with a side salad.

On Monday:

Start marinating the chicken.  While it rests, cover 1 1/2 cups of brown rice with 3 cups of stock or water in a medium saucepan.  Cover and bring to a boil, then remove the lid and simmer until most of the stock is absorbed.  Measure out 1/2 cup of the rice and refrigerate until Wednesday.  

While the chicken is marinating and the rice is cooking, make some guacamole.

Grill the chicken. Serve over the cooked rice with guacamole, shredded cheese and pinto beans.

New cook and prep time: 1 hour.

 

On Tuesday:

Make the corn chowder, just as it says in the recipe.

New cook and prep time: 40 minutes.

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A Savvy Week: Thanksgiving 2013

Alternate title: How to prep Thanksgiving dinner so that you can serve an elaborate Thanksgiving meal and still get a long break in the middle of the day.

I am so READY for Thanksgiving. I’ve made my menu, using my own handy flowchart, and my grocery list is ready to go. Plus, Heather is coming to spend a very Savvy Thanksgiving with Dan and I! And, um, I may have gone a little overboard with my menu. I mean, three vegetable side dishes for three people?  We might have some leftovers. But that’s okay! I love this holiday because it means I get to cook for people I love, and having lots of leftovers is an awesome bonus. If I’m going to spend so much time cooking, I might as well get a few meals out of it, right?

So here we go.  An awesome Thanksgiving menu, perfect for 5-8 people (or, ehrm, 3…), and how to cook ahead so that you can relax and enjoy the day. You even get a 2 1/2 hour break in the middle of the day to sit down with your guests, a glass of wine, and some snacks!

Savvy Thanksgiving

 

Turkey photo from Tim Morris/Bon Appetit.

A Savvy Week: Thanksgiving 2013

To Drink: Double batch of Rosy cheek in the morning, wine with dinner.
While I’m Cooking: Mexican hot chocolate roasted pecans. And Savory pumpkin dip (from Gimme Some Oven).
Main: Roast heritage turkey with bacon-herb and cider gravy (from Bon Appetit)
Stuffing: Spicy chorizo cornbread sage dressing (from Boulder Locavore).
Make-Ahead Side: Ginger-glazed carrots.
Make Day-Of Side: Pan-roasted Brussels sprouts with pecans and Romano cheese.
Another Make-Ahead Side, Because I Like to Overcook for Thanksgiving: Mashed root vegetables with bacon vinaigrette (from Bon Appetit).
The Potatoes: Caramelized onion mashed potatoes (from Daily Garnish). Because, caramelized onions.
The Bread: Pumpkin yeast bread (from King Arthur Flour).
The Gravy: Turkey gravy using this tutorial from How Sweet It Is, but using apple cider instead of water.
The Cranberries: Mom’s wineberry salad.
The Dessert:  Caramel apple & pumpkin pie (from Zoe Bakes).

On Sunday:

Make the Mexican hot chocolate roasted pecans. Allow them to cool completely before storing in an airtight jar.  Try not to eat them all before Thursday!

While the pecans cook, caramelize the onions for the mashed potatoes. Cover and refrigerate, once they are cooled.

On Monday:

Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat. Using tongs or a slotted spatula, transfer the cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, and carefully pour the bacon fat into a glass jar.

Make the bacon, dijon and herb butter for the turkey. Cover and refrigerate the extra bacon and the bacon fat separately.

On Tuesday:

Make the wineberry salad. While you are waiting for the Jell-o to soft set, beat the whipping cream with a little sugar (between a teaspoon and a tablespoon) until it forms whipped cream, which you can fold in to the wineberry salad. The cranberries can be refrigerated, covered, until Thursday!

Butter and season the turkey as instructed.  Cover and refrigerate.

Prepare the pie dough. This is my favorite recipe.

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A Savvy Week: Sausage and Black Beans

I love this week’s menu.  Like, I think it may be one of my all-time favorites. It might be all the cheese, since I am a Wisconsin girl at heart.  Or maybe it is the fact that I got to use some crazy-delicious Italian sausage from Sarah at Autumn’s Harvest to make the lasagna and sandwiches.  Or maybe it is because it features recipes from two of my favorite bloggers: Lauren, who I’ve hung out with on several occasions and love, and Kiersten, whose blog I started reading a few months ago.  Now, I never miss one of her posts.  Maybe I love her recipes, writing and photography so much because we were both Wisconsin Badgers at the same time, and never knew it until recently? Whatever it is, this menu is 100% awesome, filled with hearty lasagna, a quinoa-chicken skillet, tortilla pie, and meatloaf sandwiches…all comfort food that is perfect for autumn!

Sausage BlackBeans jpg

Photos from me, Kiersten at Oh My Veggies, and Lauren at Healthy. Delicious.

A Savvy Week: Sausage and Black Beans

Monday: Veggie-Packed Lasagna Bolognese with Pan-Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Tuesday: Smothered Chicken and Quinoa Skillet (from Healthy Delicious) with side salad
Wednesday: Meatloaf Sandwiches with Pickled Onions and Aioli and Carrot-Cranberry Salad (from SparkRecipes)
Thursday:
Tortilla Pie with Black Beans and Zucchini (from Oh My Veggies) with side salad

On Sunday:

Make the bolognese.  It takes a few hours, but you will have enough for the lasagna + extra to freeze for later.  Allow the extra sauce to cool completely before packing it into freezer-safe containers with about 1/2″ air space on top (to allow for expansion as the sauce freezes), label the containers, and stick them in the freezer.

Assemble the lasagna, cover it tightly with the foil, and wait to bake it until tomorrow.  Let the pan come to room temperature, or close to it, before sticking it in the hot oven, especially if the pan is glass – you don’t want it to crack!

LasagnaBolognese2.jpg

On Monday:

Bake the lasagna. Again, let the pan rest on the counter for 15-20 minutes to come up to room temperature before baking.

While the lasagna bakes, make the brussels sprouts and shred the carrots for the salad (if you are using whole carrots rather than pre-shredded).

New cook and prep time: 45 minutes.

ChickenQuinoaSkillet

On Tuesday:

Make the smothered chicken and quinoa skillet.  While it is under the broiler, mix the meatloaf ingredients together, and slide the meatloaf into the oven to cook while you eat dinner.  You can also make the pickled onions for the meatloaf sandwiches now, or do it in the morning.

Serve with a side salad.

You can also put the carrot salad together tonight, if you want to save time in the morning!

New cook and prep time: 50 minutes, plus some inactive cook time while tomorrow’s meatloaf cooks.

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A Savvy Week: Canning Week!

I’ve been all wrapped up in canning projects.  Many nights, I can’t fit more than a single pot on my stovetop, nor can I abandon the bubbling canning pot to go grill outside.  So I’ve been on a mission to find simple, quick meals that I can make in between filling jars and simmering salsa.  Here’s the plan:

CanningWeek jpg

A Savvy Week: Canning Week!

Monday: Quinoa salad with Tibetan herb dressing (from Healthy Delicious) with sausage. Side of sliced cucumber.
Tuesday: Pesto pizza quesadillas with a side salad
Wednesday: Raw pad Thai (from What’s Cooking Good Looking)
Thursday:
The best grilled cheese sandwich with massaged kale salad (Eating Well)

On Sunday:

Grill the sausages.  You can do this on the grill outside, while you’re having a family cookout.  Or, throw the sausages on an electric grill, such as a Foreman grill, or cook them on a grill pan.  Set the cooked sausages aside, and when they are cool enough to handle, slice them into bite-sized pieces.  Cover and refrigerate until tomorrow.

On Monday:

Make the quinoa salad.  To save on stovetop space, boil the beans first, then set them aside and use the same pot to cook the quinoa. When you toss the quinoa with the beans, tomatoes and half the dressing, add the sliced sausage as well.

While the quinoa cooks, slice 2 cucumbers. Serve the cucumbers, dressed simply with a little oil and vinegar, hummus or the quinoa salad dressing, on the side.

Total prep and cooking time: 20 minutes

On Tuesday:

Set aside a bit of the basil for tomorrow’s raw pad Thai. Use the rest to make your favorite pesto recipe (such as this one from Simply Recipes) and make the pesto pizza quesadillas. Serve with a side salad.

Total prep and cooking time: 20 minutes

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A Savvy Week: Zucchini + Bacon

This week, let’s just skip all the prep work. Cooking ahead is convenient and all, but let’s stick with some simpler recipes. Eating Savvy isn’t just about prepping ahead- it includes making the most of your ingredients and simplifying your grocery list, too! We probably all have a ton of zucchini and summer squash taking over our kitchens, so here are four unique dinners to use some of it up.

A Savvy Week: Zucchini + Bacon

Monday: Grilled bacon salad with arugula and balsamic (from Smitten Kitchen) with crusty bread.
Tuesday: Zucchini summer skillet with poached eggs and garlic butter baguettes (from How Sweet It Is)
Wednesday: Zucchini ribbons in vegan pesto alfredo sauce (from Food Loves Writing)
Thursday: 
Farro pesto salad 
Friday: Flank steak with garlic butter sauce (from Baked Bree) with herb-grilled potato wedges

On Sunday:

Wash the arugula for the bacon salad. You can store it directly in the salad spinner in the refrigerator, or wrap it in a paper towel and refrigerate it in an unsealed plastic bag.

On Monday:

Grill the bacon, and compile the salad. Serve with a bit of the baguette.

Total prep and cooking time: 20 minutes

On Tuesday:

Make the summer skillet and toast the rest of the baguette. Done in half an hour!

Total prep and cooking time: 30 minutes

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A Savvy Week: Chicken and Millet

There have been two themes running through my dinner menus lately: simple, light entrees that are full of whole grains, and grilled dishes. This menu gets us out at the grill on Monday and Friday.  Make sure to pour a glass of your favorite beverage to sip while you grill!

ChickenMilletWeek jpg

A Savvy Week: Chicken and Millet

Monday: Blackened beef with Thai chile noodles
Tuesday: Spring carrot sauté with olives, garlic and millet, with shrimp
Wednesday: Indian butter chicken with basmati rice
Thursday: Thai eggs with millet and arugula 
Friday: Grilled chicken sandwiches with lemon chive aioli  with herb-grilled potato wedges

On Monday:

Make the blackened beef with Thai chile noodles.  If you have time, let the steak come to room temperature before grilling.

Total prep and cooking time: 50 minutes

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A Savvy Week: Ramps and Asparagus

I think this is going to be the week when asparagus is more plentiful and costs less than $8/bunch at the market.  I’m already dreaming up ways I can use those little green and purple stalks in my dinners. I’m especially intrigued by the rice-less “risotto” in this menu!

Ramps Asparagus jpg

“Risotto” photo from My New Roots.

A Savvy Week: Ramps and Asparagus

Monday: Miraculous Rice-Less Risotto with Ramps and Asparagus (from My New Roots) with a side salad
Tuesday: Mirin Stout Glazed Roast Chicken with Maple Sweet Potatoes (from The Beeroness) and Rainbow Carrot Salad (from Crepes of Wrath)
Wednesday: Simple Asparagus + Ramp Soup (from The First Mess) with fresh crusty bread
Thursday:  Roasted Tomato & Pesto Omelet with a side salad

On Sunday:

Make the sauce for the “risotto.” Cover and refrigerate until tomorrow.

Total prep and cooking time: 20 minutes.

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A Savvy Week: Salads

Now that it is warm and springy outside, I’m all about adding a little lightness to our meals lately. I want to keep our meals simple and easy, too, so we can go for bike rides in the evenings and still have a healthy dinner.  Salads and half sandwiches are now lunchtime standards, and last week, I played with ways to add some creativity to our salads.

Salads.jpg

Photos from Stay for Dinner and Joy the Baker

A Savvy Week: Salads

Monday: Thai Beef Salad (from Not Without Salt)
Tuesday: Lentil and Chickpea Salad with Feta and Tahini (from Smitten Kitchen)
Wednesday: Blackened Chicken Salad (from Stay For Dinner)
Thursday:  Lemon, Olive and Parsley Quinoa Cakes (from Joy the Baker) over a spinach salad
 

On Sunday:

Wash and prep the salad greens for the Thai Beef Salad. You can store them directly in the salad spinner, since you’ll be eating them so soon.

Toast and grind the coriander and cumin seeds for the Lentil and Chickpea Salad.

Cook the quinoa for the Quinoa Cakes. Allow it to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate.

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A Savvy Week: Butternut Squash & Pizza Night

When I made beef pot pie a few weeks ago, Dan took the leftovers to work for lunch.  He came home that afternoon and proclaimed, “If I could only eat one food for the rest of my life, it would be pot pie.”  I had bookmarked a pot pie recipe from the February issue of Bon Appetit, and decided to give it a shot this week.  It seemed a little heavy on the kale, but was otherwise fantastic.

We had half a rotisserie chicken and more than half a butternut squash left after the pot pie. The chicken got tucked into sandwiches, and I turned the squash into a soup.  Much of the rest of the week was spent trying out recipes from some of my favorite food bloggers.

Squash and Pizza MenuPizza photo from How Sweet Eats.

Butternut Squash & Pizza Night

Monday: Skillet chicken pot pie with butternut squash (Bon Appetit) with a side salad.
Tuesday: Butternut squash soup with crusty bread and roasted broccoli (Simply Recipes).
Wednesday: Bean & avocado quesadillas.
Thursday: Saag paneer (Foodess) with rice and naan.
Friday: Cast iron skillet brussels sprouts bacon pizza (How Sweet Eats) with a side salad.

On Sunday:

Peel the butternut squash and cut into 1/2″ dice.  Cover and refrigerate.

Make the naan dough and roll it out.  Freeze the naan in a single layer on cookie sheets.  Once the naan is frozen, wrap the naan in aluminum foil and freeze until Thursday.

Make the pizza dough. Divide the dough into two equal pieces and form them into balls.  Rub the dough with oil and wrap each piece in its own freezer bag. Freeze for up to three months.