I’m all pleased with myself because even though I was sick this week, we still cooked all of the meals that I had planned and only went out for dinner once. Success. Now I’m feeling a lot better. This morning I even remembered a trick that Ina Garten describes in one of her cookbooks–the only one that I own, unfortunately, called Barefoot Contessa at Home. There are some amazing recipes in there, not least of which is the best chocolate cake recipe I’ve ever made.
Anyway, Ina suggests dividing your grocery list into departments (ie: “produce,” “meats,” “refrigerator,” etc.). I realized that this would save us a serious amount of time, since I usually have the list divided by recipe, which results in a lot of backtracking and reading the list about ten million times. So:
Dinner 1: cabbage, potato, and bacon casserole. I might even assemble this one on Wednesday morning before I go to campus, so that I can just throw it in the oven when I get home. We’re going to a concert that night, so we won’t have time to cook.
Dinner 2: one-pot beef stroganoff with green salad. I’ve never made one of these one-pot pasta meals before, but this one looks like it would be hard to mess up.
Dinner 3: one-pan coconut shrimp noodle bowls. I didn’t actually realize that these were another one-pot dish until I clicked through on someone’s Pinterest photo. They look amazing, especially since we haven’t had time to make any of our epic authentic Thai dinners lately.
Dinner 4: carrot and brie pasta with green salad. I love brie, I love walnuts, and I love carrots. This dish reminds me of the pasta with roasted winter squash and ricotta salata that I like to make sometimes. Sometimes I feel like it’s a shame to waste brie in a cooked dish, but with a cheaper, less pungent brie I think this will be great.
Dinner 5: red wine risotto with roasted green beans. The green beans are there just because we have a bunch left over from last week. This risotto comes from a recipe that my great aunt used to make for risotto al barolo. However, her recipe came from an old copy either of the Times entertainment section or some cooking magazine that she subscribed to. Her recipe included ground beef, prosciutto, beef broth, rosemary, and sage, rendering it vastly superior to the recipe I linked to above. Although the original calls for some extremely expensive ingredients, this dish is actually fantastic with pretty much anything you can find at the store. We use bacon, dried sage, and the cheapest red wine, and we even leave out prosciutto entirely, for example.
Just fry a couple strips of bacon first, remove them, then saute shallots and beef in the grease, then add the rice to toast, and then alternately add wine and beef broth. When the rice is almost finished, add the herbs to taste, and when it is finished add the grated or ground cheese. You should salt as you go, and add as much wine as you prefer; I like mine to taste very strongly of red wine, so I add at least half a bottle. Serve with a fresh piece of rosemary and a glass of wine! I know that seems like a half-assed recipe, but I’m serious: You can’t mess this up. It is always great.
For lunch this week, I’m actually eating almond butter and jelly sandwiches with Cheez-It and carrot sticks. I’ve been wanting the packed lunches of my childhood–maybe that’s what happens when you’re stressed out!