Monday, August 23, 2010

Back to School Cooking Tips Plus More Garden Goodness

Oven roasted heirloom tomatoes
 After spending last weekend giving the guest room/my office a good makeover, this weekend was a lot more laid back. Which was good because I definitely needed it.

Not to mention that today is Josh's first day of classes (he's a professor), so it was lovely to have time together, and a little time to prepare for the week ahead.

Since we're both busy and like to eat well during the week, I try to have a few things made ahead of time so that there is food to grab when we need it, that there are leftovers to take for lunch, and that there is the start of a few dinners waiting in the fridge. I am definitely still learning how to do this, but I think, and hope, that this will make us feel grounded and cared for even through long days.

Buttermilk Farro Salad
 This weekend, this translated to a double batch of granola, which is a perfect quick breakfast option, and an enormous brown rice salad adapted from this Farro Buttermilk Salad recipe from 101cookbooks. I put in thinly sliced cucumber, beets, and fennel, with dill, thyme, salt pepper and a buttermilk white vinegar dressing. I added in shredded mozarella and used brown rice as a nice (inexpensive) substitute for the farro that was called for. We had it for dinner last night with grilled local lamb and will be having it for lunch today and tomorrow.

I also made a batch of slow roasted tomatoes from the garden since there were just too many that were on the verge of going badly. I roasted them, cut up and on a rack placed on a baking sheet (so that drips had somewhere to go), at 225 F for about 4 hours. They wound up slightly shriveled and sweet, and I put them into jars topped with olive oil and a few sprigs of basil. This will turn into a quick no cook pasta sauce later in the week.

Whole grain French toast
 And because there's nothing like a hearty Sunday morning breakfast, we had French toast. Which has nothing to do with preparing for the week other than making sure we took a few moments to enjoy the luxury of time while we had it. Plus, it was excellent fuel for a 34 mile bike ride that we took later that day (before then sitting on the couch and watching Mad Men for the rest of the afternoon- we like to balance things out!).

I'd love to hear any tips on how you balance work with weekends and feeding your families—do you cook extra on the weekends? Rely on a few quick dinner options that are easy and fuss free? I'm thinking that we'll probably have at least one "free" night a week where we're each on our own to fed for ourselves for dinner. But since we don't see each other all day, we are going to try to eat dinner together when we can.


  1. The salad looks like a delicious recipe!

  2. I've been pondering this too since I'm finally getting my weeknights back after we get back from vacation (which means getting to eat something for dinner other than PB&J or McDonalds — whee!).

    For the past 10 months, I've relied on weekend cooking to give us lunches through Wednesday, then try to find time on Wednesday to cook something that will generate leftovers for lunches for the end of the week. (Pizza with storebought dough is genius and quick for this.) But it was just too much to make something for dinner too, hence all the fast food. Sigh. Anyway, now I have to add dinners back in to the mix, so I'm thinking I'll try to make a second dish at the weekends to give us leftovers for dinner on one or two nights, then do something quick for dinner the rest of the week. (Your no-cook pasta sauce is pretty genius, btw.)

    Our version of a "free" night is probably Friday night takeout/delivery/go to a restaurant — because by that point in the week, I have NO desire to cook and that way, we still get to eat together without the pressure of either of us having to do much about it!