After spending 8 hours at work the last thing I want to do when I come home is spend an hour or more in the kitchen cooking dinner (takes away from my wine drinking time. Don't cha'ya know). To remedy this problem I cook up a bunch of items ahead of time on the weekend. Since I batch all this together it takes about an hour tops.
Some people like to cook whole meals but to tell you the truth that seems a little limiting to me. Call me flighty (you know you want to) but I just can't commit to any one thing at any one time. (pretty ADD, huh)
Here's my weekend list of things that I cook that saves me from slitting my wrists at the end of the day. These are staples only. I won't even mention the tofu. Most people don't like it. JR can't get over the texture. The Boy loves it breaded and fried. Go figure! I'll eat it any way I can get it.
Eggplant: I love this stuff so when it is on sale the Boys are forced to eat it at least once that week. The problem with eggplant is that if you were to just chop it up and cook it you'll end up with a bitter mushy mess. It needs to be salted and drained for about an hour. Too much time for a week night dinner.
My solution 1: salt, rinse & drain it, place in a ziptop bag with a couple of pieces of paper towel and store in the icebox.
My solution 2: salt, rinse & drain it, bread it like I would chicken, tofu or fish, fry until brown in olive or vegetable oil, cool & drain on a baking rack over a piece of paper towel. Store in the icebox in a ziptop bag.
Recipe 1: There is nothing that goes better with eggplant than pasta. Eggplant Parmesan, the eggplant recipe I post the other day (cuz damn it was even better warmed up the next day) and any of a other dozen recipes.
Potatoes: I bake several, in which I mean at least 6, on the weekend.
My solution 1: there is really only one. Bake these puppies, let them cool then stick them in the icebox. Don't wrap them up; just put them in the produce crisper.
Recipe 1.: OMG! too many to list. One of our favorites is to cut them into home fries, baste them with pesto, and broil until hot and bubbling. And that's just pesto try olive oil and Southwest seasonings, creole, curry, you name it. (rolls eyes and heads for the kitchen)
Recipe 2: No brainer here. Twice baked. Duh!
Recipe 3: Scoop out the insides, warm up with milk, butter and sour cream. Mash. Please don't throw those skins away. Stuff them with just about anything.
Recipe 4: potato salad. Enuf said.
Rice: I cook up about 3 cups of rice per weekend. That's 3 cups of rice to 6 cups water. Makes like a billion cups of rice.
My solution 1: cool then stuff in a ziptop bag. Scoop out the amount you want into a saucepan. Add a couple of tablespoons of water. Heat up on the stove.
Recipes 1: The possibilities are endless. Add 3 beaten eggs, some frozen thawed and squeezed dry vegetables, and a cup of rice top with cheese (or not) and bake 20 minutes at 375 degrees. Top with salsa, sour cream, avocado (my mouth is watering right now).
Recipes 2: Do all of the above but stir in a couple of teaspoons of curry. Or Dijon mustard. Or Italian spices topped with roasted tomatoes. (to roast tomatoes= line cookie sheet with foil, spray with vegetable spray or grease with oil, spread out 1 can of tomatoes, bake at 350 for about 20 minutes).
Pasta: I cook up a couple of pounds (different types, doesn't really matter which) until it is not quite al dente.
My solution 1: Drain. Put back into pot. Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to coat. When totally cool place in ziptop bag and place in the icebox.
Recipe 1: See eggplant
Recipe 2: See Monday's post.
The rhythm of the make ahead dance goes like this:
- preheat oven to 400 degrees
- start eggplant draining
- coat potatoes in vegetable oil put in oven
- boil pasta
- boil rice
- make a batch of scones put in oven with potatoes
- everything should be done around the same time, follow directions above to store.
- Voila! Your done!
- Go play!