Friday, March 4, 2011

Weekly Meals and an Easy Weeknight Meal

Law school doesn't leave time for a lot of normalcy, and since I take night classes; it seriously interferes with my ability to eat dinner.  However, the fact that I don't get home until around 9-10 pm does not stop me from making dinner every night.  It does however require some diligent planning on my part.  Part of Sunday Brunch includes JP and I figuring out our meals for the upcoming week.  It takes us anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour depending on how noncommittal we're being that day.  I know that spending an hour planning out meals seems like a ridiculous long time, but you end up saving way more time during the week.  Remember all those nights you've stood in front of the refrigerator and pantry mumbling, "What am I going to make for dinner?"  Planning ahead eliminates this.  It also cuts down on the amount of wasted food, particularly those that go bad quickly like fruits our veggies.

When I first told my sister about this plan she flat out rejected it.  Not a, maybe I'll think about it.  Nothing.  She was like, nope.  I don't have that kind of time.  Fast forward to the present-- My sister now does the exact same thing every Sunday and wholeheartedly agrees it makes dinner faster, easier, and less stressful when you know what's supposed to be on your plate every night.  Because there are 2 busy people in my household, we try to pick meals that whoever is home first can prepare.  JP does not work on Wednesdays so we usually plan on grilling something.  Just look at your schedule and pick meals accordingly.  I promise it'll make things so much easier on your during the week.  So here's a look at mine.

The first list (on the left) is where I jot down the meal ideas and what goes in each.  After I get everything planned out I organized it into a second list according to how my grocery store is arranged...I never said I wasn't a little bit too organized.

Now you may be wondering about the other things people normally need to buy.  Like sugar, or coffee filters, or soap or anything that wouldn't normally go into week night meals.  Well, here's my solution on that.  We use the top of the chalkboard cabinet (but could use anything) and whenever we realize we need something during the week, we just add it to that list.  Then we add those items to the meal list.

Simple as that.  If you're crazy strapped for time, you really should try it.

And because that was super boring, here's a quick and easy weeknight meal that takes about 30 minutes. It'll take longer if you're a dingbat like me and forget to put the fettucini pasta on to boil until you're completely done with everything, but I'm guessing you're not a dingbat.

Salmon with a Shallot Lemon Bechamel Sauce  
(Don't be intimidated by the Bechamel part.  It's just a typical French white sauce, nothing scary.)


  • Salmon (you could also use a chicken breast if you'd like)
  • 1 shallot thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tbs flour
  • 1- 1/2 cup(s) dry white wine.
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Basil chiffonade (which basically means cut into shreds.  To do it, stack all the leaves on top of each other and then roll into a tube, make small thin cuts across the tube.)
  • Preheat your over to 350 degrees.  Sprinkle the salmon/chicken with salt/pepper.  If wanted, cover with slivers of lemons.  Bake until the skin flakes, about 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of your salmon.  Remove from the oven and tent with foil.
  • Bring your water to a boil and cook the fettucini!  Don't forget like I did.
  • While the salmon is baking, preheat a large skillet over medium high heat, add the shallots.  Cook until they begin to caramelize.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and tender.  Squeeze the juice out of the lemons and add the shells to the pan.
  • Add the flour and cook for a couple of minutes, to cook out the flour taste.
  • Ge-glaze the pan with the white wine and bring to a simmer.
  • Add the heavy cream and bring back to a slow simmer.

  • Season with salt and pepper, and simmer until reaches desired consistency, about 5 minutes.  Remove the lemon half.
  • Add basil chiffonade at the end and cook a minute more until the basil wilts into the sauce.  Do not add the basil earlier, because it burns easily and becomes bitter.
  • To serve: make a bed with the fettucini pasta, add a little of the bechamel on the pasta, gingerly place the salmon on top of the pasta, and drape more bechamel over the salmon.

Tasty, quick, and easy.
That's my kind of Monday night meal.

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