Wednesday, January 18, 2017

3 Meals In The Life - Weekly Meal Prep

Today I wanted to share a bit of the methodology I use for weekly meal planning. Since one of my many 2017 goals (I don't do resolutions) revolves around limiting food waste, I thought such a post would be particularly relevant, especially if you too are looking to conserve while eating nutritiously and efficiently. 

Alton Brown's Easy Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic and Yotam Ottolenghi's
Cucumber & Poppy Seed Salad, Photo: NK

Now don't misunderstand, I know full well that In the midst of all life's responsibilities, meal planning can seem daunting. 

One easy way to demystify it with an eye towards lessening food waste is to start with one recipe idea and then think about the ingredients you'll have leftover, and then what other meals they complement.  After a while, you'll get in the habit of knowing how to group your meals. For instance, I know whenever it's Taco night (my husband's fave), a grain bowl with scallions and protein won't be far behind. 

For a more regular look into our daily meals, follow us on Instagram.

Salmon Barley Bowl (with Poppy Seeds!), Photo: NK

1. On weekdays, choose simpler recipes (most here on Neurotic Kitchen take well under 45 minutes), especially those that can be quickly warmed in the microwave or even served at room temperature. Note: This week, we made an easy version of Chicken With Forty Cloves of Garlic which still takes an hour and a half to cook, but the prep time is very short so you can pop it in the oven as soon as you get home from work. Alternately, it's a great Sunday dinner. 

2. Wash, prep and chop all your veggies early in the week; you'll have them at the ready for even quicker assembly. The end result is much less prep time. If you've planned it so that your veggies are part of several different meals, you'll also have less waste.

3. Make large batches of grains and other staples to add to packed lunches, salads, or bulk up kids' meals

Meals (for 2-3)
Shrimp Tacos (optionally Marinated)
(Click above for the Recipes!)

Shrimp Tacos, Photo: NK 

Shopping List

Veggies & Starch 
1 Bunch Scallions (for Tacos and Salmon Barley Bowl)

5 Persian Cucumbers (or small Cucumbers) (for Salmon Bowl & Chicken + Cucumber and Poppy Seed Salad)

2 Avocados (for Salmon Bowl and Tacos) 

Tortillas (for Tacos)

Mild Red Chilies (for Tacos and Cucumber Poppy Seed Salad)

Barley (For Salmon Bowl, to bulk up lunch salads, and as a base for extra kids' meals)

Cilantro (For Tacos, For Cucumber Poppy Seed Salad)

Salsa/Store-bought Pico de Gallo (and optional Tortilla Chips for Salsa & Chip snack)

Poppy Seeds (For Cucumber Poppy Seed Salad and Salmon Bowl) 

Pre-Peeled Garlic (optional, as you could buy whole and peel Garlic) but it will save you time!

Thyme (for the Chicken) Note: Thyme keeps about 7 days, here's another idea for it.

5 Ounces Smoked Salmon 

Whole Chicken cut up (bone in and skin on)

1 Pound Shrimp 

Optional Extras:

Washed and ready to eat Salad Mix. I use this to make to work lunches - just and add whatever extra Veggies, Grains or Proteins we have leftover from dinner! 

And there you have it. I hope you enjoyed a little look into our weekly recipe planning. Here's to more recipes and easy and elegant meal ideas for 2017. Happy cooking! 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Easy Elegance - Spaghettini al Limone

There are several Lemon-driven recipes here on Neurotic Kitchen (find them HERE, HERE and HERE) and the reason for that is simple: I love the stuff. Today's incredibly simple but elegant meal will delight your palate and is a worthy choice for dinner parties, date nights, or any time you want to treat yourself. 

As a bonus, its low-cost ingredients will keep you within your New Year's budget, but the austerity stops there; a sinful amount of Butter makes this not all that diet-friendly, but, incredibly, the finished dish manages to feel so light and refreshing that it is perfect for a first course to get your tastebuds ready for more. Once the Pasta is cooked, this dish comes together in just 5 minutes, so with your mis en place ready to go, you can make it with guests on hand and only be gone from the party very briefly.
Spaghettini al Limone, Photo: NK 

Spaghettini al Limone
Serves 6 as a light appetizer, 4 as a heartier appetizer
Very lightly adapted from Maria Batali

6 Tablespoons Salted Butter 
Pound Spaghettini or other thin long pasta
2 Tablespoons Salt 
1/4 Cup Lemon Zest (from about 4 lemons)
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1/2 Cup Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese 
3 Tablespoons finely chopped Chives 
Extra Salt and Ground Pepper 


Boil a large pot of water with 2 Tablespoons of Salt in it. 

Meanwhile, in a very large saute pan, add the Butter and Lemon Zest and heat over moderate heat, stirring. 

Once water is boiling, add the Pasta and cook until just al dente. Reserve 1/4 cup Pasta Water and drain the pasta. 

Add drained Pasta to the saute pan. Toss Lemon Juice onto it. Toss to coat with Lemon Zest and Butter Mixture and loosen with a tablespoon or two of pasta water, tossing continuously over medium heat for about a minute until thickened. 

Turn off flame and sprinkle on Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese. Taste for Salt and add more if needed. Season liberally with Black Pepper. Divide Pasta among plates and sprinkle with chopped Chives. Serve with extra Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese.