Kitchen Confidential

As my summer winds to a close and hectic, long school days loom on the horizon, I’ve been thinking about putting together weekly menus with easy, new-to-me recipes–Molly is my inspiration!  I already own several Martha Stewart and other more traditional cookbooks, but the recipes are labor intensive and too fancy-schmancy for our everyday use.  Today I trundled off to the library and came home with virtually every cookbook my local branch had to offer.  (I judiciously left Blue Ribbon Casseroles and Mastering Microwave Cooking on the shelf.)

Armed and dangerous!

I work at a non-traditional private high school school that runs from 8:30-4:50pm.  I usually get home after 6:30, and after a day in the trenches the last thing I want to do is think about cooking a meal.

My goal for September is to prepare four fresh meals each week–Monday through Thursday–and leave the weekends for eating out or leftovers.  Honestly, I’ll even settle for three home cooked meals each week and one night of soup and sandwiches or breakfast for dinner.  Sunday night preparation will probably work best for me.  I will assemble meals and refrigerate or freeze them until they are needed.  If I can make it through September, I’ll up the ante and try this again in October.

Right now my repertoire may be limited to tacos, fajitas, tomato sauce, Shepherd’s pie, turkey chili, and baked chicken (hence the reason we eat out three or four nights a week), but these cookbooks will hopefully offer up a few more standbys to add to my arsenal.  I’m on the lookout for simple recipes* that don’t require exotic ingredients and/or several hours of prep and cooking.

Closeup of cookbooks

*I am a neophobe and have the palate of a 7-year-old.  I just recently started using pepper on select foods.  We eat arresting quantities of chicken and turkey during the year but have been known to throw burgers on the grill every once in a while.  No seafood, pork**, or tofu for me.

**Personally, I don’t consider bacon a pork product and relish it!

15 Comments

  • At 2010.08.19 07:50, bermudaonion (Kathy) said:

    Good luck! You could always do a salad and baked potato one night.

    • At 2010.08.19 09:11, Steph said:

      Maybe you could start slow and do batch cooking on the weekend that you can eat over the course of several days during the week? Over 7 days, I tend to only have about 4 new meals in the rotation as I find it’s more budget effective to eat leftovers than to prepare unique meals each night.

      As the weather gets colder, soups and stews are always a great option! I have several soup recipes on my site that you might find palatable… or not! 😉
      .-= Steph´s last blog ..“The Virgin Suicides” by Jeffrey Eugenides =-.

      • At 2010.08.19 11:30, Ti said:

        I find it easier to cook large batches of protein on the weekend, and then use it throughout the week in different things. So a large cooked roast could be eaten as a roast one night, shredded in burritos another night, etc.

        BUT., with the allergies I have now what worked for me before doesn’t quite work now. Cooking large batches or tofu and fish is not that appealing 🙂

        Good luck with your endeavors!! We used to have a place here where you could schedule a time to come in and build meals to be cooked later. It was called Dream Kitchen or something like that. The menu’s changed each week and all you did was show up with a basket to carry the meals home.
        .-= Ti´s last blog ..Review- Strangers at the Feast =-.

        • At 2010.08.19 19:09, nat @book, line, and sinker said:

          i think that’s a perfect idea! steph also reminded me to use leftovers or upcycle meats into the next day’s dishes. i’m feeling motivated despite the fact that i’m not a huge fan of the kitchen. 🙂

        • At 2010.08.19 11:31, Ti said:

          I have a bunch of typos in my other comment, just ignore them! I was trying to type quickly before leaving for a meeting.
          .-= Ti´s last blog ..Review- Strangers at the Feast =-.

          • At 2010.08.19 15:53, A Southern Cousin said:

            Good luck with this! I hate cooking (I know, an insult to our Italian heritage), and have designated every Monday as pasta night, Wednesday as soup and sandwich night, and Friday as pizza night. Tuesdays and Thursdays are up for grabs. . . Chicken or fish or leftovers. Brinner is thrown into the rotation once per month. Mangia! Mangia!

            • At 2010.08.19 19:10, nat @book, line, and sinker said:

              well, you and i are the anomalies in our group of cousins–the rest of them love cooking. if i come up with any good recipes, i’ll send them your way.

              ps. hope riley got my birthday card and has a great year. xoxoxoxo

            • At 2010.08.19 20:37, Jenners said:

              Oh my. .. you cook and eat just like us!!! And I’m a big fan of breakfast for dinner (specifically cereal). It is a real shame that my child is growing up with me being his main food provider. It is a sin really. the kid doesn’t know what good cooking tastes like. What a shock when he gets out of the house and eats well-cooked food!
              .-= Jenners´s last blog ..Review- Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin =-.

              • At 2010.08.20 07:06, bibliophilebythesea said:

                You will be my hero if you can do this. Meal prep for the week (for me and the hub) is the last thing I want to be doing on Sunday –my weekends are too precious.

                I really need to do something though as I could eat cereal every evening, but the hub likes his meat!
                .-= bibliophilebythesea´s last blog ..Waiting on Wednesday The Home for Broken Hearts =-.

                • At 2010.08.20 09:00, Dishy said:

                  Some super easy suggestions:

                  BLTs – it’s what for dinner. Particularly since you live in JERSEY (read: fresh tomato heaven)

                  If it’s not too scary to you, try making quiche. It is SO EASY and you wouldn’t have to put anything in it you don’t like.

                  Baked potatoes – top them w/ all the good stuff. You can bake ahead or even nuke them when necessary. Top w/ leftover turkey chili – yum yum.

                  Try new salads this fall. Spinach w/ red onion, bacon and cheese w/ a sweet raspberry or balsamic vinaigrette. Add a loaf of bread and you’re set.
                  .-= Dishy´s last blog ..Big Foot That You =-.

                  • At 2010.08.20 15:50, Kerry said:

                    Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the Cook-Ahead cooking – I’ve been trying to cook ahead more often because I find myself in the same boat as you when I roll home at 6:30 or so.
                    .-= Kerry´s last blog ..Recommended Blog Reading =-.

                    • At 2010.08.22 09:27, Meal Plan Mom (Brenda) said:

                      Just discovered your blog last week and have really enjoyed exploring! How timely this post is! You should try freezer cooking (or also called Once-A-Month Cooking–which you don’t really have to do once a month). It has been my saviour for years! BTW, I think the librarians at my library must think I’m nuts…I’ve checked and rechecked so many of their cookbooks they probably think I really need a lot of help!
                      .-= Meal Plan Mom (Brenda)´s last blog ..Guest Post Bento Lunch Making 101 =-.

                      • At 2010.08.22 19:08, Natalie said:

                        I actually spent today (7am-3pm) preparing meals and stocking my freezer with 24 meal portions. I whipped up chicken soup, turkey chili, sheperd’s pie, chicken empanadas, chicken enchilladas, and beef stew. everything is in the freezer stored in dinner-sized portions and ready to heat and eat.

                        • At 2010.08.22 13:51, Beth F said:

                          See if your library has Marion Burro’s Keep It Simple or Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home — both use fresh ingredients and have fast, weekday recipes. I love the Silver Palate cookbooks, but they are what you are looking for.
                          .-= Beth F´s last blog ..Weekend Cooking- Fast- Fresh &amp Green by Susie Middleton =-.

                          • At 2010.08.22 18:22, nat @book, line, and sinker said:

                            the silver plate was waaaay to fancy and so was oprah’s magazine cookbook, to my surprise. i don’t have time for recipes with 15+ ingredients and 20+ steps.

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