I was meant to be meal-planning while I was in the middle of a highly caffineated haze, so rather than try to fight it, I forced How to Cook Everything on Marcus and informed him that he would be choosing our meals for the week.
I figured that giving him free rein would either turn out epically well or disentigrate into a total disaster. Luckily for both of us, he picked out delicious dishes that I probably would have never found on my own.
And, in a bit of belated vindication, Melissa Clark wrote in The NYT this week about Cherishing the Turkey, All Year Round And, as The Universe (and I!) would have it, she included a recipe for Turkey Ragu, which I have been searching for high and low.
Sometimes you just have to spread the love.
Sunday – Roasted Vegetable Tray with Ina Garten’s Herb-Roasted Onions
For Mother’s Day with Marcus’ side of the family, we were tasked with bringing an appetizer to the Italian-themed potluck dinner that had been planned. Since I usually like to bring something that I am in the mood to eat/is healthy/isn’t particularly time-consuming, roasted veggies were a PERFECT choice.
We had never roasted onions before (yes, do this) and with Ina’s recipe I used all of the ingredients that she included, but I looked at the specific proportions/measurements as guidelines.
Since we were in the mood, we paired the tray with a round of our favorite Lemon Aioli, which never disappoints.
Just remember, the only key to a beautiful vegetable tray is LOTS of color.
Monday – Curried Rice Noodles with Vegetables from How to Cook Everything
Every time I cook with rice noodles, I am reminded of why I rarely cook with rice noodles. They’re hard work, kittens! I realized this around the time where I dumped the cooked noodles into the wok and it dawned on me that the only way to get them to separate properly was NOT going to involve my wooden spoon, but rather, chopsticks.
Yes, this means I need to invest in a pile of wooden chopsticks that are exclusively dedicated to cooking.
As for the actual mechanics of getting this dish onto the table? The prep for this meal was busy, but extremely straightforward. We took Bittman’s suggestion (he has many) and added sliced mushrooms to the mix. More is more. You know.
Tuesday – Chicken Cutlets Roasted with Tomatoes from How to Cook Everything
This was a super-fast dinner to prep, and it allowed Marcus to do what he does best – mince things until they’re basically a pulp. Which is exactly what happened to the parsley that got tossed into the rub for the meat.
I think that I would have loved this more the first go-round, had I not been feeling heat exhausted. But the second go-round? Was perfectly serviceable.
Our Modifications: We used skinless turkey thighs instead of chicken cutlets. It was another opportunity to move some meat out of the freezer and in the case of this recipe, it didn’t really seem like the actual cut of meat was the point.
If/when I make this dish again, we’ll probably use chicken breasts instead (for a lighter flavor) and cut back on the cumin that gets rubbed onto the meat itself. 1/2 T for the tomato mixture was perfect but for the meat, it was just a little bit too much.
Wednesday – Cilantro-Jalapeno Burgers with Fixins
This week, I practically forced red meat on Marcus.
Let me make this perfectly clear: I love red meat. I think it’s absolutely delicious. But for whatever reason, we just end up eating poultry more.
When we were at the grocery store, I made the decision to do a riff on Marcus’ favorite burger at The Bulldog N.E., The Green Marvel.
For the burger itself, we used our newly-minted Cilantro-Jalapeno Burger. We caramelized some onions and a yellow bell pepper (it went under the base of the burger) and actioned some Guacamole to top it with.
Let’s just say that this arrangement was fail-safed to the max.
I don’t want to say that this is my favorite meal that we’ve ever made, because MANY good things have come out of our kitchen.
But HOLY GOD this was good.
What’s your favorite kind of burger?
What kind of meat (or protein for vegetarians!) makes the most appearances on your dinner table?