In which the world of culinary hedonism is explored with a cup and a half of curiosity, a heaping tablespoon of passion and a dash of clumsiness.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Post 111 ~ Prepping ahead for a busy week

If you've been with me, loyal readers, these past six years, then you know that sitting down at the end of a day to a home-cooked meal and a glass of wine is one of my greatest joys. And although my schedule has gotten busier, it's still an aspect of my life that I've worked to maintain.

Don't get me wrong - some nights, there's nothing quite like take-out in your pajamas. Or a Lean Cuisine when you're in a rush.

But for the most part, I really enjoy eating something that I've prepared. But how to keep that habit going when you know you're facing a non-stop week?

Watching my mom prepare dinners for my grandmother and for my dad to take to work has shown me that sometimes, it takes just a little more time to prep a couple meals at one time. So I've started doing just that.

On Mondays, I don't have classes, so in-between other tasks like class prep, laundry and errands, I spent a little time in the kitchen to prep lunches and dinners for the week - all in all, I'd say about 45 minutes in the afternoon and 30 minutes in the evening. Here's what I did, and here's what you'll need:

~ 1 small bag radishes
~ 1 large zucchini
~ 1 large carrot
~ 2 peppers (red and yellow)
~ 1 small onion
~ 3 cloves garlic
~ 3 tomatoes
~ brussels sprouts (for later)

~ 2 pork chops
~ 2 small chicken breasts (or one large one, halved)

~ Italian herbs (ratatouille)
~ Garlic salt (1 chop)
~ Rosemary (1 chop)
~ Coarse dijon mustard (1 chop)
~ Italian bread crumbs and parm (chicken)

And EVOO and butter and salt, of course.

First, I chopped up a bunch of veggies. Some went into a pot with onion and garlic for ratatouille, and others went into baggies with a little water to keep them crisp to take to work with hummus or dressing and a piece of fruit and a granola bar. I made short order of that job with a big chef's knife and a cutting board.

Once the ratatouille was sitting and resting and the veggies were stored in the crisper, I got the large chicken breast and two pork chops out of the freezer to thaw, then I busied myself with the rest of my day.

That evening, I heated some EVOO in a pan, and placed the pork chops in to start browning. One one chop, I placed a sprig of rosemary and garlic salt, and on the other, a teaspoon of coarse dijon mustard. While they were cooking, I shredded the brussels sprouts (which I suppose I could have done earlier that day when I was prepping veggies) and steamed them right in a storage container, draining the water out and adding a bit of butter.

When the pork chops were finished, I transferred them to containers. I cut the chicken breast in half, and breaded it with Italian bread crumbs mixed with parmesan (my old standby) and set them to sizzle in the same pan I had just cooked the pork in (I didn't feel the need to rinse it - it just added extra flavor!).

While the chicken was cooking, I placed the rosemary chop in the container with a hearty serving of ratatouille, and the dijon chop in the container with the brussels sprouts. I could have easily subbed another veggie for a serving of ratatouille, but I was really craving this dish and decided to have it a few times this week.

Once the chicken was done, I placed one half on a plate with our favorite Proven├žal concoction and the other in a container with another good scoop. The remaining ratatouille went into a ziplock bag and was laid flat in the freezer for fast thawing later this semester when I need a quick side.

One meal went on a plate, three meals went in containers. I stacked them in my fridge, and after late classes on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, I had ready-made dinners that could be microwaved and ready to enjoy in two minutes flat.

With, of course, a nice glass of wine.

Yours in the love of good food, good wine, and good, fast convenience,

The blogger is not an experienced chef. She takes no responsibility for the quality of the meals prepared while following her advice. Use your own judgment regarding cooking times and proper food handling.

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