Stylish Taste

IMG_0735{Chicken broth to be frozen and later used for soups, casseroles or potpies}

Lately, I have been spending Saturday mornings prepping food for the upcoming week so, there are always ready-made items on hand when I get home on weekday evenings and do not want to think about crafting an entire meal from scratch. Menus are also drafted and planned so dinner is never left to chance, especially after an exhausting day.

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Vegetables and fruits are purchased from the farmers market or specialty food stores, then washed and rinsed before being divided into zip-lock or freezer bags for lunches or pre-dinner crudités.  Meats are portioned and placed in wrap for stir-fries, stews or pasta dishes. The market had Cornish hens on sale, which were served for Sunday dinner with breadcrumbs {moistened with a touch of vermouth}, onions, pine nuts, celery and tarragon.

I was up early blanching four huge bunches of broccoli rabe in salted boiling water for a few minutes and then shocked the stalks in an ice bath which removes the bitter flavor before it is wrapped tightly in plastic for freezing. So later in the week when we want a tasty stir-fry all I need to do is place the broccoli rabe in the fridge to thaw with a bit of meat before going to work in the mornings and the meal is partially assembled.

IMG_3401{Sauteed beef with bay leaves, rosemary and a bit of sage from the garden}

Pre-cooking and freezing meats such as grilled chicken breasts or sautéed beef with herbs from the garden is a great way to get a jump on a weeknight meal. The sautéed beef can used to make a delicious and quick beef bourguignon or a stir-fry with bell peppers. The grilled chicken can be used for tasty subs with veggies or sliced into a healthy salad with sourdough croutons and my homemade dressing.

Most of us are under tremendous pressure from work so, I am always searching for ways to create delicious time saving meals. It makes great sense to prep and freeze dishes ahead of time to ensure that dinner is always an enjoyable meal.

Make every meal a matter of great taste!!


Making Dinner a Matter of Great Taste!!!



Lately, I have been dedicating my evenings to preparing dinner as if I were carefully orchestrating an epicurean feast. Keeping basic ingredients on hand allows me to plan each meal when drafting menus for the week. This saves time and gives a frame of reference while cooking, it also allows for variation if I change my mind during the day and decide to cook something else.

I frequent the Asian market in our area several times a month to purchase the freshest vegetables, and the most unique herbs and fruits. My pantry is filled with fingerling and red potatoes; huge bunches of onions, yams, along with brown and jasmine rice. Basil, sage tarragon and shallots are ingredients kept on hand to be used for chicken stuffing or to enhance pasta sauces. Heads of romaine and butter lettuce are for quick salads, and by adding eggs, olives; a bit of ham or chicken becomes a meal. I make my own dressings; one of the creamy styles I like is mixing a bit of mayonnaise, vinegar and sugar.  Next grate a bit of Parmesan cheese, add a bit of chopped garlic, crumbled bacon, salt, pepper and mix.

Prepping food before work is a must. By rinsing carrots and celery, then placing them in a zip-lock bag they can be used for soups and stews or chop and serve as crudities, which can be a great snack before dinner. Pre-cooking smoked hams and meats early in the morning also help save time with the evening prep.

When I am truly exhausted and want a deliciously hearty meal, I turn to soups. I made a ground beef and vegetable soup playing with leftover’s one Saturday afternoon and this tasty meal has become one of my restorative mainstays of the kitchen.  In a three-quart pot, brown and drain fat from beef. In a skillet add a tablespoon or two of canola oil, then sauté onions, celery, leeks and carrots until translucent. Add the veggies to the pot with the beef. Next take two Idaho potatoes peel and chop, then add to the skillet. You will not need additional oil; all you want to do is release the essence of the potatoes by stir-frying for a few minutes. Add the potatoes to the beef and veggie mixture, with a quart of broth and one bay leaf. Place in dried thyme and fresh rosemary, along with a bit of kosher salt and pepper. The final flavor is adding a can of crushed tomatoes. Let the soup simmer for about 30- 40 minutes, then serve.

For another quick dinner I may sauté cremini and/or white mushrooms in butter, add a bit of crème fraiche and sherry. Serve over crusty bread or toast with a side dish of asparagus or string beans.

Try these recipes, by keeping a few basic ingredients in your larder and fridge. Most of us are under tremendous pressure at work and time is a critical element when getting dinner ready each evening. By having these items available, a delicious meal can be created without a lot fuss.

Bon Appetite!!