Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Simple Things

Let's get real about Sundays. It's a day to sleep in but not too much or you won't be able to sleep that night, leaving you tired for the Monday workday and it's a day to relax but not too much or you'll get the Sunday night jitters about forgetting to do something for the next day. So basically it's a day of balance where you have to be productive but not too productive or it negates the day of rest.

My Sundays usually start with a mid-day brunch, whether that's with friends or with my cat, breakfast and coffee are a must. Single Lady pancakes are my favorite solo brunch food since it's perfectly portioned and doesn't make a mess. If I could find a Single Lady waffle recipe, that would be a thing (note to self: invent a Single Lady waffle recipe. Make bank.). And there is always coffee. Coffee and brunch are consumed while watching ridiculous Sunday morning television like Say Yes to the Dress or movie reruns that I've seen a thousand times. It makes it easier to get up and get going if I'm not overly invested in a show. Because let's be real: the last two Sundays I've spent re-watching seasons 1 and 2 of Downton Abbey. For reals.

Jalapeno and corn pancakes. Amazing!
The relevant part of this post comes when it's time to do the grocery shopping and food prep. Tracy Shutterbean seems to have this process locked down and I'm inspired by her dedication to meal prep for her upcoming week. I go so far as to make my dinners and brainstorm lunches beyond the typical salad. Last week's lunch was the spicy chili (which is wildly popular on this blog apparently, thanks for reading!) and I've used chili and soup before as a salad substitute. I know it sounds simple but I do take into consideration what I have going on that week. Am I getting dinner with a friend? Is work providing me dinner some nights (yes)? I don't want to waste food or over-stock my fridge so sometimes I'll make two dishes and sometimes I'll make three depending on how bland my life is at the time.

This week, I thawed some leftover beef stew to pair with rice and bought some chicken to cook up a stir fry with some vegetables I already had leftover from the chili. That's the other planning part, determining what I have in the fridge that is going to go bad. Historically speaking, I'm terrible at cooking rice. Everyone told me to just get a rice cooker but I was resistant because it was another gadget that would take up space in my kitchen. Then I learned how to make fish curry and even my friend's Indian mom told me to get a rice cooker. So I did. And it's amazingly simple and always makes a mess but it's a great way to multi-task meal prep. While the rice cooked all on its own at one end of the counter, I prepared the stir fry. Stir fry is not going to take very long so I waited a bit to start cooking to give the rice a head start. I still ended up waiting for the rice but oh well.

Allow chicken to marinade for 10-15 minutes
Chicken tenders are cut into bite-sized portions and left to marinade in Soy Vay's teriyaki sauce. It's a favorite of mine and works great with chicken and salmon. Plus it's a clever name. While the chicken was marinading, I chopped up some carrots and bell peppers (I guarantee there was raw chicken transferred to the vegetables but I decided everything was getting cooked anyways). Carrots and chicken will take longer to cook so I tossed them in the  pan first. The marinade from the chicken also gets into the vegetables for extra flavoring.

So colorful!
Before adding the peppers, I steamed some frozen edamame in the microwave. I looked everywhere for the edamame without the shells but couldn't find it or I would have added it directly to the pan. As it were, I cooked the edamame and then shelled it into the stir fry at the end (which took awhile btw). The peppers and edamame are added once the chicken is almost cooked, essentially after you have browned it for a few minutes. I let the whole thing simmer while I waited for the rice to cook. Once everything was done, I spooned a scoop of rice into a bowl and added the vegetables. Voila! Easy dinner plus extra rice for the already existing left-overs. This could easily be lunch or dinner.

But for lunch this week, we're talking salad. For Galentine's Day, my friend Lisa brought over a salad that was ridiculously delicious and equally simple. There was no dressing required as the fixings were flavorful enough. It's simply spinach, chopped pears, dried cranberries, feta cheese (or bleu cheese) and pecans. Or at least that's what I ended up making. I bought a box of spinach (they were out of bags) and just mixed all the ingredients together to have a ready-made tupperware of salad that I could portion out for lunch.

The Lisa Salad
One hour of prep work later and I am set for the week. When I'm motivated and somewhat ambitious, I also bake on Sundays but recently there has been less baking and more cooking. However, Joy the Baker's pecan scones might bring me around next weekend! Here's to planning ahead!


  1. TJoes on Memorial Dr. has frozen, shelled edamame. I think I'd better get some actually, because that recipe sounds amazing. And if you toast the pecans it adds crunch!

  2. Thanks Lisa! More crunch is always appreciated :)