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Monday, August 1, 2011

Make-ahead Mondays (Simple Summer Suppers, Part 5 of 10)

I've been hearing "too hot to cook" with fair frequency the past few weeks.

I've seen lots of great solutions: 
  • Entirely cold-prep items, like entree salads
  • Minimal cooking, such as just grilling or pan-grilling the protein and serving cold sides
  • My personal favorite solutions have involved my grill-pan and my microwave.

Last Monday I hit on a novel (to me) solution, which I got to repeat tonight. I am lucky to have my parents watch my 16 month old daughter twice a week. Last week & this week, they've been at our house on Monday. As luck would have it, I was able to get off work early both days. My parents were able to stay while I did the motherload of prep work for the week's meals.


There it is, folks, a big chunk of what we'll be eating all week. (And LOTS of whole milk for the munchkin. And, yes, that is a Yuengling Light up there ... right next to the leftover Chrystal Light margarita mix ... behind the Boto Box Chardonnay. Okay, okay - and that's Hersey's Dark Syrup behind the milk!)

Tonight's steps:
  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Marinate 2 bone-in pork chops in Newman's Own Lite Lime Salad Dressing.
  3. Chop 3 small zucchinis, 4 small yellow squash, 1 red pepper, 1 sweet onion.
  4. Toss those veggies in a large metal bowl with EVOO, S&P; spread on two foil-lined cookie sheets.
  5. Snap ends off a bunch asparagus; toss in saved bowl; line up next to other veggies (don't mix in).
  6. Stick both sheets in oven; remove asparagus to a plate after 15-20 minutes & cover with foil; leave other veggies in 15-20 minutes longer.
  7. Meanwhile - whip up a half-batch of the magic BBQ sauce (see "Nothing to Brag About" - May 16th)
  8. Pour over 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a small, shallow pan. Cover with foil.
The menus:
  • Monday - grilled pork chops, roasted asparagus, whole wheat couscous with cilantro (leftovers)
  • Tuesday - BBQ baked chicken breasts, roasted veggies, microwave-steamed corn on the cob
  • Wednesday - Chicken sausage with sweet Italian peppers on whole wheat buns; leftover roasted veggies.
  • Thursday & Friday - TBD - there's some tilapia and shrimp in the freezer, some frozen stuffed peppers, a frozen pasta dish. There's pasta & sauce in the pantry. There's salad galore in the crisper.
Can you tell I like to stock up, in addition to making ahead?
Room for improvement --- what would be even cooler, is if I didn't have to even turn the oven on the rest of the week. Maybe I'll make that the goal for next week. Not only would it keep my kitchen cooler, but it would be good for the planet!

Monday late afternoons don't work for you? Can you  find a make-ahead moment (or 2)?

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