People always, always tell me about the wonder of pre-cooking meals. I’ve tried it a few times: made a couple pots of homemade soups, or got together with friends and bridesmen Adam and Zev to cook big batches of things together and then split them up and bring them home. Too often, though, I end up cooking (a) food I’m not really excited about, (b) food that takes so much preparation I only end up cooking one or two meals when I meant to cook four, or (c) food that doesn’t reheat well.
NO LONGER! Behold:
OH NO WHY IS THIS PICTURE SO SMALL. I really need a better camera. And… any technical skills. Oh well, I’ll tell you about it anyway!
This magnificent spread is joined on top by: (a) the fragrance I was wearing that day in a tiny bottle, (b) the FIVE DOLLAR box of fancy truffles that I found that day at HomeGoods (originally worth $25), and (c) the Ikea desk that I built for The Gentleman’s new computer, acquired in pieces courtesy of our friends Bob and Kris.
On to the food:
The day before, I baked four pounds of chicken breasts. Other than grocery shopping, that was the only pre-Sunday prep I performed.
One of the big tricks to doing this kind of a mega-prep is making sure that you’re not planning too many things via any one medium. You want some slow cookers, some stovetop, some oven, and some no-cook.
1) Loosely chopped chicken breast with broth, lemon juice, cumin, and a sprinkling of other spices, then shredded — Chicken tacos!
2) A white-bean, spinach, and carrot soup with lots of garlic. Confession: this was inspired by a Green Giant Digestive Health veggie steamer of which I am fond.
POTS AND PANS:
1) CookSimple Tamale Pie with quinoa-ground-turkey chili and a beautiful gluten-free cornbread on top. This was the first thing into my mouth.
2) CookSimple Cowboy Chili with ground turkey. Also gluten-free!
3) Frozen corn for the cornbread, the chicken salad (below), and leftovers to freeze for a white chicken chili next week.
1) Roasted butternut squash! I don’t know if this is going to become a soup, a chili, a side dish, or something else.
2) Hard-“boiled” eggs, eight of them, according to Alton Brown’s instructions (320-degree (F) oven for 25-30 minutes). Six of them were perfect; two were soft-boiled. That’s okay. They’re a little hard to peel, but you gotta cool them fast and then peel them totally underwater. The water seeps under the membrane and makes it easier not to end up peeling half the egg away along with the shell.
1) Sliced cucumber, sliced pineapple, and grapes, ready to eat and put into single-serve bags.
2) Chicken salad for sandwiches, made with shredded cooked chicken, greek yogurt, a tablespoon of mayo, sliced red grapes, and some corn.
The tamale pie is so far my favorite. The cornbread is nice and honey-sweet without being overwhelming, and the quinoa-based chili is a really nice touch.