And we’re back! After a bout with the flu last week, Kevin is back in the kitchen with abandon! Because nothing brings me more joy than making lists, I usually do our weekly meal planning, but since I was visiting friends in the city on Sunday, Kevin took charge. The result was quite impressive – like this Moroccan Salmon he made here! Read on for some tips from Kevin (and me) to help make your meal planning easy and breezy.
Take stock of what you already have. Before you start planning, see what you already do have in the fridge and in the pantry. This way you’ll avoid buying double of something you already have, or later realizing halfway into a recipe that you only had a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, not a quarter cup. This will also help you use up fresh ingredients before they spoil. Lots of extra kale? Look for a soup recipe with kale to use it up!
Pick recipes with a similar theme or flavor profile. Kevin said one of the more challenging things about planning our meals was feeling like there were too many different ingredients to buy. Reduce the clutter by selecting recipes within a similar cuisine, like Italian, or a similar accompaniments, like quinoa or sweet potatoes (see here about creating your own meal template). This will also help reduce waste later in the week – if you’re making Italian Wedding Soup with basil on Monday, you can use the rest of the basil in Pesto Chicken Burgers on Thursday.
Stick to the list. You write a grocery list for a reason – use it! Keeping to your list will ensure that you’ll get in and out in no time, and won’t spend extra on unnecessary or unhealthy items, like cookie butter chocolate bites (though we are totally guilty of this).
Plan for leftovers. Double check how many servings your recipes make. If you’re cooking for 2 and the recipe makes 4 servings, bring the leftovers for lunch the next day to save yourself the time of preparing another meal. If the recipe only makes 1 or 2 servings, be sure to double your ingredients so you can make extra for the next day.
Don’t forget about breakfast! And lunch if you’re not into leftovers. There’s nothing worse than going grocery shopping on Sunday and realizing Monday morning that you’re out of cereal.
1 cup quinoa
1 carrot, peeled and diced
3/4 pound salmon filets
2 cups cilantro leaves
1 garlic clove
3 tbsp olive oil, plus more for the salmon
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1. Cook the quinoa & carrots in the same pot according to package directions.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking with foil and spray with cooking spray. Place salmon on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes, until no longer translucent in the center.
3. Meanwhile, in a food processor (or finely chop together if you don’t have one) blend together cilantro, 3 tbsp olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and spices until smooth.
4. When the salmon and quinoa are ready, plate the quinoa. Place the salmon on top of the quinoa and drizzle the cilantro sauce over top.