We spent the last week in Palm Springs for a quick warm weather getaway. I had every intention of doing cooking while we were there, but instead, we made some simple meals, got take-out from our favorite places, and spent a lot of time around the pool with family and dear friends. Priorities.
We got home yesterday and settled back in, giving the kitties lots of snuggles and doing the mounds of laundry that always accompany homecoming. Does anyone else wash ALL the clothes, even the clean ones? They just never feel clean when they come out of the suitcase. Maybe I’m just a little crazy.
In any case, I spent about 1 1/2 hours in the kitchen during nap time this afternoon to be ready for the week ahead, for us and for you (all this was done in that time, except for the pancakes, which I made in the morning). If you’re new here, you can start with this general post on meal planning and bulk cooking. Or, see last week’s post for other ideas.
To help you ease into Monday with a full heart, here’s a poem for you. In our kitchen hangs a painting, painted for us by a local artist, Sharon Kingston, someone we have come to admire and adore. When Sharon creates a piece, she often paints with a poem in mind, bringing that poem to life in the landscape of her art. This poem, Cups Full of Light, inspired the painting that hangs in our kitchen, and it often plays in my head while I’m cooking.
Cups Full of Light
You always arrive bringing light,
Carried in chipped pitchers,
And dented buckets,
That you slosh it out like soapy water
Washing down the mud and debris
Of my most weary and worried days.
Yes, there are some,
Some who will come bringing
boxes of shadows,
Into my oblivious arms,
Which can be with time,
A different kind of gift
But you (my friend)
Arrive bringing dawn.
You open the windows,
Repair the screen door,
Pour out and share
Cups full of light,
You let me drink it all down,
Wiping my thirsty soul,
With the back of a grateful hand.
This Week’s Meal Prep List
roasted red peppers
roasted shiitake mushrooms (yes, I made them last week, and I'll probably make them next week)
two bunches of kale, washed and cut
red and green cabbage, shredded
cooked brown rice
pot of black beans
sweet potatoes, cubed and roasted
chicken thighs braised with poblano peppers and tomatoes (use this recipe for the chicken method)
spicy green sauce (use this recipe for zhug and make as spicy-or not- as you like)
roasted tomato salsa (use this recipe)
simple lemon and olive oil salad dressing (use this recipe as a guide, using all lemon juice, and maybe a splash of maple syrup)
toasted pumpkin seeds
Stack of whole grain pancakes (use this recipe and store in Ziploc bag in freezer, separated by pieces of parchment paper)
- Sauté some thinly sliced onions in olive oil and combine with the roasted red peppers, mushrooms and sweet potatoes to make a quick sweet potato hash. Top with a poached or fried egg.
- Warm a couple of fresh corn tortillas. Scramble two eggs with some of the roasted red peppers and mushrooms. Fill the tortillas with eggs and top with green sauce and toasted pumpkin seeds. Sliced avocado and fresh cilantro optional. You could also tuck a little shredded cabbage in there.
- Warm some black beans in a skillet with some of the roasted red peppers. Crack two eggs into the skillet and simmer until eggs are cooked as desired. Top with green sauce, toasted pumpkin seeds and fresh cilantro. A little cheese is good here, too.
- Make fried rice. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add a big spoonful of brown rice and whatever vegetables you like. Break an egg (or two) onto the rice and quickly scramble it, cooking until done. Serve with any desired condiments. Theo really likes this one for breakfast.
- Warm a pancake in the toaster or toaster oven and serve with favorite toppings. (Or do like Theo, and eat it frozen. I’m not sure why he likes it that way, but he does.)
- Make a salad from the kale and shredded cabbage tossed with the lemon and olive oil dressing. Add a scoop of brown rice, crumbled feta or goat cheese, one of the boiled eggs and handful of the toasted pumpkin seeds.
- Warm some of the brown rice in a bowl. Nestle in some kale (salted and massaged until silky) and top with a soft-boiled egg. Garnish with roasted red peppers, toasted pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of the green sauce.
- Saute kale in extra virgin olive oil with thin slices of garlic. Drape sautéed kale over a thick slice of toasted whole grain bread (preferably, a sourdough). Top with slices of boiled egg and garnish with green sauce and toasted pumpkin seeds.
- As a sturdy on-the-go lunch alternative, take a teff wrap (or your other favorite wrap) and smear with your favorite mayonnaise. Fill with kale and cabbage that have been tossed in a little of the lemon and olive oil dressing. Add cooked sweet potatoes, sliced boiled eggs, sliced avocado and crumbled goat cheese or feta. Wrap tightly and cut in half.
- Take a scoop of brown rice and toss with some of the sweet potatoes and a handful of shredded cabbage. Add shredded carrot, chopped dates, walnuts or pecans and cubed avocado. Toss with lemon and olive oil dressing. This is a great make-ahead lunch to take to work, as it will keep well.
- Use the braised chicken and poblanos as a stuffing for enchiladas, using the roasted tomato salsa as the enchilada sauce. Garnish with fresh avocado, cilantro and toasted pumpkin seeds. Serve with a salad made from the shredded cabbage tossed in the lemon and olive oil dressings.
- Serve the braised chicken and poblanos over creamy polenta. Serve with a salad of massaged kale tossed with thinly sliced fennel and radishes, shaved parmesan and the lemon and olive oil dressing.
- Make black bean burgers with the cooked rice and black beans*. Serve in a lettuce wrap (large leaves of lettuce) with the roasted tomato salsa, a dollop of full-fat Greek yogurt and a drizzle of green sauce. Warm the sweet potatoes to serve on the side.
- Make an easy version of chile relljenos. Roast whole poblano peppers in a very hot oven until blackened and blistered. Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. After about 15 minutes, remove the skin. Place a slit in each of the peppers and remove the seeds, keeping the peppers whole. Make a mixture of equal parts brown rice, beans and chicken mixture and stuff into the poblanos. Cover with your favorite melting cheese (like Beecher’s cheddar) and put back in a 400 degree oven until cheese is melted and bubbly and peppers are hot through. Top as desired, with roasted tomato salsa, green sauce, toasted pumpkin seeds, fresh cilantro, full-fat Greek yogurt and/or sliced avocado.
- Make a black bean soup with the leftover black beans. Top with all the condiments and small cubes of the roasted sweet potatoes. For me, soup is all about the toppings.
Are you following along with the meal prep and planning? What are you making? I’d love to hear!
*For a basic recipe, combine 1/2 cup cooked rice with 1/2 cup black beans. Add 1 egg and any additional herbs or spices desired (cumin and coriander are great, as is dried oregano, also fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro and basil). If you have time, you can also saute a little onion and carrot and add to the mixture. Heat a saute pan over medium heat and add extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil. Scoop 1/3 of the mixture and place in the pan, flattening it into a patty. Cook on both sides until well-browned and cooked all the way through, about 8 minutes total.