Yup, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted a meal plan. It’s just one of the things that I’ve had to loosen up on with my increasingly busy schedule. I always write them, I just don’t always post them. Pre-planned weekly meals keep me from pulling my hair out!
Happy New Year, everyone!!
*Spaghetti and Meatballs
I’ve had the red sauce** simmering since late this morning and it smells unbelievable in here! I’ll drop the meatballs in the sauce before I head out the door with the kids to work out. Then after we all get back from the gym as a family, all I need to do is toss everything with the pasta (…which I also have already cooked til very al dente, tossed with some olive oil, and stored in an airtight container in the fridge. I also reserved some pasta water to help bring it all together. This pasta method will get me in fights with my Italian friends but it allows me to have this meal already done when I’m walking in the door at dinner time with two hungry, young children.)
*Orange Glazed Salmon with Duck Fat Sweet Potatoes & Apples and Roasted Brussels Sprouts
The incomparable Suzanne Goin (whom I had the pleasure of working for many years ago) makes this dish of crispy potatoes and apples cooked in duck fat. You don’t know whether the bite you are about to put in your mouth will be of potato or apple but you know it will be incredible. I plan on trying this with sweet potatoes and I’m incredibly excited. My husband and I pan-roasted duck breasts on the Friday before Christmas and we saved the fat in a jar in the fridge. Delightful!!)
*Turkey Taco Salads
(Click the ‘Taco Salad’ link above to see how you make my baked taco salad shells. They’re amazing and so much fun!! And these will be of the turkey variety because I have lots of roasted turkey leftover…)
*New Years Eve!
-Late Champagne Lunch of Assorted Cheeses, Marcona Almonds and Bacon Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Asiago
-Late Night Dinner of Roasted Leg of Lamb, Minted Pea Custard and Gingered White Carrots
(An easy way to make glazed, ginger carrots is to use gingerale!! Just place your carrots in a saucepan with some butter, salt, and enough gingerale to almost cover them. Bring to a simmer and cover until almost tender, then remove the lid and continue to cook and reduce until you have a syrupy, delicious glaze. Finish with fresh parsley.)
*New Years Day!
-Brunch of STRONG coffee, Poached Eggs over Spinach Patties and Citrus Salad
-Traditional Good Luck Dinner of Pork Shoulder, Black Eyed Peas, Collard Greens, Stewed Tomatoes and Corn Bread
*Roasted Chicken and Root Vegetables
After several days and weeks of holiday fun it will be nice to sit down to a simple meal of roasted chicken and vegetables. I make my chicken by seasoning it liberally all over the outside and inside the cavity two days in advance (no need to get under the skin) and then refrigerating it, uncovered, until I’m ready to cook. I bring it up to room temperature sitting on top of the oven as I preheat it to 500 degrees. I roast it at 500 for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375 and continue to cook for another hour or so, depending on the size. Or I cut the oven all the way down to 225 after the initial blast of 500 if I’m out of the house for a couple hours and want to come home to a done dinner. I do the same for my turkey. It’s the best, crispy skinned and flavorful chicken you will ever eat. Guaranteed.
(**I make my tomato sauce (roughly 4 servings worth) inspired by the way I saw Giada de Laurentiis do it on a talk show once. I start by heating up in a large pot the following: 1 large can of good whole, peeled tomatoes, 1 whole carrot, broken in chunks, half a large onion, kept in tact, 1 celery stalk, broken in large chunks, a few garlic cloves, kept whole, 2 bay leaves, 1 TB brown sugar, several pinches of kosher salt, a pinch of allspice, 3-4 TB of tomato paste, the rind from a wedge of Parmigiano Reggiano (I keep some in the freezer), and some freshly dried oregano leaves OR dried sage and rosemary. I let this simmer for as long as I can and then fish out the chunks before checking the seasoning, stirring in 1 TB of butter and tossing with my pasta and grated parm.)