We are back from a successful spring break/college tour exercise and as you would expect, my house is a disastrous mess (college son left in charge of dogs and cats). There is a veritable Mount Denali of laundry to be done, spring plants arrived while we were gone and need planting, and, with work starting back up tomorrow, I've got A LOT to do today. All of those have-to-do's compete with my want-to-do's: hanging out with family and knitting.
The chore that takes up the most time for me is menu planning. I love to cook, but I've got one child who is Pescetarian (I had to look it up too, when she announced this was what she was four years ago, no meat, only fish), one who is an avowed red meat eater, and a husband whose tastes are rather whimsical. In other words, I really can't win here. So I try to offer a balanced diet of what can be cooked after getting home from work at night and ignore those who are critical of what I think are my outstanding efforts given all of the constraints. Seriously, planning for all of this is a chore, but if I do, Hubs does the grocery shopping. I consider it reclaimed knitting time.
I thought I would share this week's meals, for those of you looking for a short cut of your own on this chore for the week. I've devoted an hour to picking out some weight conscious recipes (we over-ate on spring break, it was amazing. Hen of the Wood.) that are reasonably quick or can be prepped ahead of time. I hope having these handy will help you get in more knitting time today!
Tonight, Sunday, we're having Parmesan Chicken Breasts. I'll upscale the recipe a little bit by using Panko Bread Crumbs and just a little mist of Olive Oil on the chicken breasts to help the crumbs stick and promote a little browning. We like authentic Greek Salads — the version without lettuce. I'll use this recipe and also serve some steamed Broccoli on the side.
Monday night we are having an old favorite, from a Gwyneth Paltrow cookbook. You can love her or hate her, and her idea of what's in the typical pantry is insanely crazy, but we love her recipes. I'm not typically a fan of canned tuna, but her Brown Rice Pasta with Tuna and Capers is a huge hit in our house, and with a simple side salad, it's a meal all on its own. You can leave out the anchovies if you think you don't like them, but consider trying it out and not telling anyone. They'll never know and they add a lot of flavor! I'm adding a simple Watermelon with Feta Cheese and Mint salad as a side dish. It's too early for watermelon to taste summer ripe, but I think I can fake it with the hint of mint in this recipe.
Tuesday: We're having Sandwiches with Beet Hummus and Greens. They will make the vegetarian crew happy. The meat eaters may end up at Five Guys, but that's their problem! These Lemon Pepper Vegetables are great too. I'm going to steam mine and add seasonings, and serve them on the side.
Wednesday is the last night I'll be cooking this week, as I've got a combination of work commitments that will get me off the hook for the rest of the week. The New York Times recipes are reliably good and usually pretty interesting. I'm going to try their Braised Lamb with Egg and Lemon. It appeals to me because it's best if made the night before, so I can cook it Tuesday evening while, um, knitting, and have it ready to go for dinner on Wednesday. I'll probably braise some carrots and parsnips in the pot when I reheat it and serve it with a side salad.