Sunday Strategist: Week of May 13
Here, another week’s worth of fast, healthy, and tasty menus. It’s not the love of cooking that deters so many of us from the kitchen each night; it’s actually deciding what to cook from the millions of options bombarding us from so many different places. Here, we’ve done the planning for you. Not just menus, but healthy menus that are fast – on the table in less than 45 minutes.
The June issue has just hit newsstands, and it’s a real beauty—full of fresh, fast, summer-rific recipes. I’ve chosen some of my favorites that take advantage of all the goodies showing up now at farmers’ markets. Here’s a week’s worth of healthy, delicious, quick meals.
Monday: For all you moms out there, I hope yesterday was the best Mother’s Day ever! I have a feeling many of you are the primary cooks in the house, so let’s make this Meatless Monday a super-easy meal so that it almost feels like (another) night off. Penne with Herbs, Tomatoes, and Peas is the ticket. I simply adore this dish, where loads of cherry tomatoes are barely warmed and then tossed with pasta, herbs, and cheese. Add some nice bread (try ciabatta—tomorrow night’s meal uses it) or a simple side salad, and you’ve got dinner in 20 minutes. Oh, and a crisp white wine wouldn’t hurt, either. This time of year, I’m all about vinho verde—inexpensive, zippy, and delicious.
Tuesday: For some reason, I typically shy away from sandwich night—I guess I feel that sandwiches aren’t good enough for dinner. Or, put another way, they often seem lame. But our Sautéed Greens, Smoked Turkey, and Provolone Panini, ready in only 15 minutes, has turned me around. It’s a crunchy, tasty handful that’s full of earthy kale. (There’s a reason kale is so trendy, by the way; it’s simply tastes good.) To balance the heartiness of the sandwich, serve with crisp, cool Cucumber Salad, which comes together in only 10 minutes, or maybe even faster if you use a mandoline or food processer for slicing. Pick up the biggest green bell pepper you can find; you’ll use the rest in Friday’s dinner. The remainder of the red bell and much of the parsley will go in tomorrow’s meal.
Wednesday: An Israeli salad mingles with Southern ingredients in chef Hugh Acheson’s Southern Fattoush, a clever, herbaceous dish of black-eyed peas, cukes, tomato, and toasted pita. Though we have it as a side dish, honestly, I’d help myself to a larger portion and call it dinner (in 24 minutes!). If you’d rather keep it a side, serve alongside grilled lamb chops or grilled chicken. This is fine, fresh eating!
Thursday: Now is the point in the week where my husband and two boys demand something truly meaty. Bring on Grilled Pork Chops with Nectarines! If nectarines aren’t your thing, try apricots or plums, which would be equally delicious. And serve with Bacon-Herb Salad for more meaty hits. It’s a great meal that’s ready in about a half-hour. (If you’re making the bonus dessert, and the nectarines are aplenty, grab extras.)
Friday: Time for a Southern fish “fry,” y’all! Toast the end of the workweek with our Sweet Tea Mint Juleps; you can have it ready to serve in only 25 minutes if you serve over ice and skip the chilling step. The main event is Cornmeal-Dusted Catfish with Quinoa Sauté, an impressive 20-minute dish that’s nearly a full meal. If you find nice, fat tomatoes at your market, make an instant side dish by slicing them and sprinkling with salt and pepper; if it’s too early for beefsteak tomatoes in your area, just toss halved cherry or grape tomatoes with salt and pepper.
Dessert bonus: Well, this dessert does take some pre-planning, and it breaks our time limit rules. But holy cow is it good! Peach Cobbler Ice Cream with Bourbon-Caramel Sauce is wildly delicious and super-easy to make. You don’t even need an ice-cream maker! One bite, and you’ll swoon: Peaches (or nectarines if you can’t find good peaches), peach schnapps, and bits of baked pie dough are loaded into every bite, and a whiskey-soaked drizzle is the finishing touch. Your eyes will roll back in your head when you taste this. Trust.
Monday: Penne with Herbs, Tomatoes, and PeasTuesday: Sautéed Greens, Smoked Turkey, and Provolone Panini and Cucumber SaladWednesday: Southern Fattoush with grilled chicken or grilled lamb chopsThursday: Grilled Pork Chops with Nectarines with Bacon-Herb SaladFriday: Sweet Tea Mint Juleps and Cornmeal-Dusted Catfish with Quinoa SautéDessert Bonus: Peach Cobbler Ice Cream with Bourbon-Caramel Sauce