This week’s meal plan taught me quite a lot about how I like to work in the kitchen. Even though I’ve been doing this menu plan for a couple of weeks now, it was this week when I finally saw what a life and money saver it could be. It has also made me realize that it is okay to give myself a day where we will just eat leftovers. It does not mean that I have failed as a wife or cook.
Almost all of the meals were prepared by using several of the pantry staples I love keeping around: noodles, rice, frozen mixed vegetables- and plenty of spices. In fact, I have found that you could be out of veggies, but you should never ever allow yourself to be without a fully stocked spice cabinet (or rack, depending on your usage of these things).
The Quick Beef Stew was actually just opening that cabinet, throwing what I thought worked with some beef slices, some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and cooked everything together. We ended up loving every bite of it.
The fish was also executed in a similar way, since I did not feel like going through the classic route of mustard and lemon sauce and baking the fillets. By just adding a spice rub and pan-frying, we got a great new alternative to eating seaf00d.
But I also realized that there isn’t much creativity going into my meals yet. I still prepare things that are based in comfort and quickness, rather than experimenting with flavor profiles and different techniques. I would love to kick it up a notch, so I’m hoping that being off for the holidays will allow me some more time in the kitchen to do so.
I do love that I am trying new things that we would have never normally had at my parents’ house, like Tikka Masala. Ahmad is a huge fan of Indian food and he is slowly imparting that love onto me. I will admit that I am not making the sauces from scratch but they are time-saving. Having a jar of the Tikka Masala sauce really came in handy when I got home half an hour later than normal, and had to prepare a meal before we were due to rush to the cinema to see The Force Awakens.
I also realized that I haven’t been planning the healthiest of menus. Almost all of our side-dishes are carb based, and we only had a single salad on Saturday because we were eating at my mother’s and she had the time to make one. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, but when you are pressed for time, and keeping your eye on the stove, you can’t really get a salad together. But I am going to try, because I’ve gained some weight recently, and I need to get myself on the right track.
As with every week, there is no escaping the power of the mother. She even called me earlier this week to say that I had not been inside her house for a while and made me promise we would eat together. She prepared a lovely dish of rice with vegetables, and some chicken breasts she had bought pre-marinated. I can’t exactly tell what the flavors were but it was light and refreshing. With my grandmother being in the hospital, I am surprised mom even had time to go to the store and pick something up. I am thankful though that we got some well-needed family time.
And because this is Lebanon and there is no shortage of great restaurants to try, there always has to be one week set aside to trying new things. No matter how much I try in the kitchen, it is always a good idea to leave it up to the professionals every once in a while, and get to enjoy a good night out with the husband.