Thursday, February 9, 2012

Hey, Ho! Let's Go! A Concert of Weeknight Dinners

My life on any given weeknight of dinner making resembles an old Ramones concert .... at least it usually feels that way to me.  Anthony Bourdain would probably think there's nothing wrong with that.

Courtesy facebook Fan Page
Anyone who's been to one of their concerts will viscerally agree with me.  The Ramones, being a raw, straightforward punk band, would emotionally rush me through the spectrum including:  song speed clocking in at 2 minutes on average, appreciating the loud simplicity, abruptly stopping .... and feeling that manic way over and over again till the concert ended.

Witness Sylvia's mind and the benchmarks she aims to meet every night.

Here's the tempo.  First priority, make it healthy.  Second make sure we're not eating too late; no one should sleep on a full tummy.  Lastly create a moment of downtime (with a glass of wine of course) to visit with my husband before diving into last steps of meal prep and eating.   Do all this within an hour and a half from the moment I walk in the door from work to the moment of eating.  Feel the pressure I put on myself?  I don't think I'm alone.

Without Sundays, I wouldn't be able maintain the momentum throughout the week.  Hit the farmer's market and if necessary the grocery store.  Goal, buy only what's in season and plan the meals around those purchases.  Sundays are also great for making a long prep time meal that can provide us leftovers.

Having a well stocked pantry is my next secret crutch for keeping the pace without having to make return visits to the store during the week.

I must also mention my freezer and my kitchen garden.  Both are great go to's for getting a meal done in a short amount of time.

If I can come up with the right recipe or leftovers which fits my criteria, my life in the kitchen isn't so frenzied.  Dinner making is more like the individual pieces of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue where each element deftly leads into the next.

Original Sheet Music, Courtesy Wikipedia
Whether you are a fan of The Ramones, Gershwin or Martha Stewart, it doesn't really matter when you have a primary goal in mind.  Wait, how did Martha Stewart come into play? 

I found the perfect weeknight recipe in her monthly magazine which strikes all the right notes for being healthy, in season, using what I have, delivering a bit of down time and on the table in under an hour and a half. 

Martha's recipe for Sausage, Chard and Lemon Lasagna:

Swiss chard and lemon are from my backyard.  I had the sweet Italian turkey sausage in the freezer and the no boil lasagna noodles were in my pantry.  Parmesan cheese is always in my house.

A thinly sliced lemon is the star of this dish.

To make the lemons with their rinds edible, simmer in water for 5 minutes before layering into the lasagna.

While the lemons are simmering, brown the sausage too.

Prep the gorgeous chard sauce.

Assembly required.

Perfect amount of time in the oven to allow for visiting.

Dinner time!

1 comment:

  1. Was it great? It sounds great. I am counting four pans for cleanup.... Still, worth it for a great new recipe.
    - Barbara


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