Thursday, March 31, 2011

sing for your supper

The title of the cookbook on top of the pile pretty much sums it up: when Matt gets home from work it's time for dinner.  In order to be prepared for his growling stomach I do some list making nearly every Friday.  I start out by flipping through my recipe binder, recipe box, and any cookbooks I plan on using during the next week.  Some of my favorites are Time for DinnerMake Ahead: Food Made Fast, and Everday Italian.
I reference this handy guide that I tore out of an old issue of Real Simple to decide on one or two pasta dishes each week.  I'm fond of brown butter and sage combinations and, lucky for me, Matt isn't a big fan of sage so I get to eat it all.  
This week it was cheese ravioli with butternut squash sauce (not from the guide) on Monday night, and I have plans to make a giant batch of gravy (that's tomato sauce to those of you who aren't married to an Italian living in the Cranston-Johnston region) using my mother-in-law's recipe.  I made enough for four pounds of pasta, so I'll store it in the freezer in separate plastic containers for use in the coming weeks.
My recipe box is filled with clippings from magazines, cards from Whole Foods and other stores, and scribbled notes on scraps of paper.     
After I select my recipes I pencil them onto this notepad (referenced here as well), mixing up the meals so we have a variety throughout the week.  This week is a bad example, but usually we have different types of main dishes Sunday through Thursday (pork, beef, chicken, pasta, fish, or vegetarian) and Friday ends up being leftover night.  I leave Saturdays blank because inevitably something will come up during the week and one of the meals will get bumped.  Another thing I left off of this week's menu is the place to find the recipe - typically I'll write 'binder' or 'TFD' (Time for Dinner) next to the meal, as well as sides like mashed potatoes and green beans.  Then I write out my grocery list using the recipes as a guide.  Any other helpful hints?  I'm always looking for ways to streamline the process that is getting dinner on the table!

1 comment:

  1. Def going to check out that Time for Dinner book...My new fav thing is roasted veggies - you can usually use anything you have in the fridge, and they are FANTASTIC and usually last 2 nights, since you can make a lot at a time. Chop all veggies to bite size (ex: sweet potatoes, carrots, bag of frozen brussel sprouts) in large casserole dish. Cover thoroughly with olive oil, season with salt, pepper, and rosemary. Bake at 425 for 45 minutes, stir, bake for another 20 if needed. Veggies get nice and soft, golden brown, and go far! Sweet onions, broccoli, and cauliflower also work really well! If you use frozen veggies (so easy and fast), you don't even need to defrost, and they come out perfect! You'd never know it wasn't fresh.


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