Cook once, eat for a week ideas...
- theferlyone Mar 19, 2009 04:11 PM
I'm trying to come up with ideas for a few things I can make in 2-3 hours on my day off each week so my husband and I will have options for lunch and dinner when we aren't cooking a meal together. I'm looking to do a soup, a casserole-type thing, and a sandwich filling or salad topping that will keep for at least 3 days and re-heat well if needed. I'm not necessarily looking for things with "overlapping" ingredients (i.e. - take the leftovers from this, and turn it into this)...more things that could pair well if so desired, but are different enough to not be boring. Thanks!
Figures, CHOW just did a "beans for a week" "roast chicken for a week" feature here...can't find the thread...maybe a smarter chowhound can help...basically, it was "take a pound of dried beans..." and then for the entire week, make meals from it...was a great idea! YIPPEE found the link, hope this helps you:
http://www.chow.com/stories/11543 (white beans)
http://www.chow.com/stories/11544 (roast chicken)
I'll second both of those...Sadly, I'm equally inept at finding the links. Chickpeas are particularly useful in this regard: first, serve some of them curried as a main/side, then sprinkle them to make salads or cooked greens more substantial, then hummus....etc.
I also like to start with a roast - either chicken parts nestled in vegetables, or just vegetables. The meat is good to go as is, or sliced for sandwiches, and the veggies are also good as is, then fried and salted (mmmm. sweet potato fries...), then pureed into a soup.
Last but not least, a couple of pork tenderloins will go a long way for very little effort. Season them simply when cooking, and they can add protein to any meal of the day, and are pretty manipulable flavor wise.
I made a millet and butternut squash cassrole type dish that reheated very well. I also made a cauliflower soup that reheated well- it was stored in pint size containers in the fridge.
If you roast a few chickens, you can eat one whole the night you make it, and shred up the leftovers. You can add shredded chicken to vegetable soup, use it in tacos, or make it into chicken salad with some mayo, lemon, and mustard.
Buy and dismember a small turkey or a couple of roasting chickens. Use the carcass, neck, and giblets (sans liver) for stock/soup, roast or poach some of the breast meat, make a-la-king with the rest (if you dice the raw breast meat it cooks quickly in the cream sauce and adds more flavor to the sauce), make a saucy baked dish like Chicken Marbella with the thighs and drums. (If using a turkey, roast the drums.) Roasted breast meat for salads and sandwiches, or casseroles like turkey divan.
Oh, and whenever you're using the oven, put some potatoes right on the rack at the sides. If they're not done when the main item it, turn off the heat and leave them in there to finish. As per James Beard's recommendation, I like them best when they've baked long enough for the flesh adjacent to the skin to caramelize. I have often forgotten them and left them in the turned-off oven for a day, with no ill effects. To have a crisp skin when reheating, let them come to room temp then reheat briefly in the oven.
You can completely cook rice and refrigerate for several days. For pasta, undercook a little bit, refrigerate, and when needed plunge into simmering water to finish.
One of my favorites for this is a oven-barbecue chicken. Basically, you sear a few chicken breasts, then bake them in barbecue sauce until cooked through. I use an America's Test Kitchen recipe and make the sauce from scratch (ok, ketchup). it's a good dinner, then can be chopped up and used in sandwiches, on top of boboli crusts, in a BBQ chicken salad... It usually lasts me a week.
For soups, just about anything you make will keep for a week. Depending on his tastes, something like a baked potato soup would be a hearty alternative to the seemingly ubiquitous bean soups. My husband loves French Onion soup, even without the bread and cheese on top. He could make a grilled cheese or cheese on toast under the broiler.
Although, to be perfectly honest, for soups, I usually make something, then freeze it in individual portions after the first serving or two. That way, even if we end up eating soup every day for a week, at least there are different flavors. If you've going to start making something weekly, you could even just freeze one or two portions each week until you start to build a stockpile.
Paella of any kind
Braised Lamb or Beef Shanks or Ox Tail with veggies & potatoes
Mixed Seafood Chowder
Iman Biyaldi (eggplant, onion, tomato "stew spiced with cinnamon, all spice & clove)
Pork Butt Braised to make pulled pork of whatever kind you like