This week’s Night of the Week Plan highlights its essential loose-tight, go with the flow nature. We have packed evenings this week – Monday is the only night we’re both home all evening, and Dave even has a meeting over Skype before dinner! We’re relying heavily on non-recipes this week and drawing on the pantry to make simple meals.
MONDAY – Asian Night: Grilled Chicken Salad
A no-recipe night. I marinated two chicken breasts that had been in the freezer with a combo of soy sauce, olive oil, a little rice wine vinegar, chili-garlic paste (yes, you need some), and dijon mustard, and then Dave grilled them on our Smokey Joe tiny barbecue grill.
While the chicken cooked, I made a quick dressing, tore up some kale and mixed greens, and fried very thin strips of onions. I topped the salads with sliced chicken, fried onions, soy nuts, and green onion. All in all, our active prep time was about 20 minutes.
A word on salad dressings: you can of course follow a recipe (this was my starting point tonight), but a simple vinaigrette just involves oil, acid, something sweet, like honey, and salt and pepper.
TUESDAY – Mediterranean Night: Lemony Kale + Spicy Chickpeas
I’m on my own while Dave has an evening event, so I’m going very simple and exactly to my taste. After I get home from working out, I’ll do a quick, 10 minute or less saute of kale with lemon juice and olive oil. In a separate pan, I’ll toast some dry harissa seasoning, add oil, and then warm chickpeas, finally serving both over a bed of couscous.
My starting point when I want a very simple meal is to cook a vegetable, protein, and a starch. Having only two of the three feels less complete, and somewhat unsatisfying, so I often rely on quick-cooking starch options like couscous (5 minutes start to finish) or Asian noodles like soba or udon.
WEDNESDAY – Mexican Night: Tortilla Bake
On Tuesday morning, Dave’s going to make some sort of tortilla-lasagna. We’ll look up a starting point recipe in the morning, but we have many of the ingredients for this kind of a dish on hand and can get the others at the small market around the corner, so we can leave the details to the day-of. The plan is to bake it off Tuesday morning and reheat individually Wednesday night, when I have some theatre commitments.
THURSDAY – American Classics Night: Turkey Meatloaf and Wild Rice
We’ll luckily be together on Thursday night, but we have an evening engagement. So we need something we both like, but that is fast to pull together after work. My tiny turkey meatloafs from last week will come out of the freezer in the morning, and we’ll pop some wild rice into the rice cooker as soon as Dave gets home.
Rice cookers are a gift from the universe. I think mine cost $20 at Target some six years ago, an investment that I’m sure has worked out to pennies per use. We use ours to make rice, lentils, quinoa, and barley, and while maybe that’s not the “correct” way to do it, I don’t care and no one can stop me because I love my rice cooker and it’s amazing.
FRIDAY – Wild Card: Leftovers
I’m pretty sure we’ll have some leftovers by Friday, which makes for such a nice, low-key way to ease into the weekend. I notice in theatre it’s often tougher to sell a Friday night show than a Saturday night, likely because people are so zonked from their work week.
SATURDAY/SUNDAY – Elaborate/Friend Nights
These are TBD right now, which feels right because we have so few commitments this weekend (huzzah!). We’ve definitely got our eyes on the NOPI cookbook…