One of my favourite things about the weekend is that fact that I get to do some good, quality cooking. We have designated Sundays as our day of rest. It’s a lazy day where we watch films, catch up on BBC iPlayer, maybe go out for lunch, make a delicious meal and get our food prep done for the week, all while wearing our cozy, stay-at-home clothes (read: sweats). Ironically though, right now, it also is my long run day…but after the run, rest. Some might read this paragraph and think ‘How is cooking resting?’ but when you’re me, you work full time and get home totally physically and mentally zonked every night, cooking can feel like a chore when all you want to do is lie on the couch. On the weekends, however, cooking becomes a joy; it’s peaceful, quality time for me, and I know the end result will be amazing.
My Sunday cooking starts with Thursday night shopping. My husband and I compile a list of meals that we want for the next week, Friday to Thursday. We always make sure we make meals that will give us leftovers for maybe Monday night’s dinner and lunches, but definitely Tuesday nights, when both my husband and I have stuff going on, (him – swimming, me – running). It’s so comforting to come home around 8pm knowing that all I have to do is heat up dinner. We might make a few meals that give us leftovers, (our system requires that you like leftovers). Our menu for this coming week looks like this:
– Friday: Lasagna with salad
– Saturday: dinner at the in-law’s (yes, we take things like that into consideration)
– Sunday: Homemade pizza with wholemeal flour crust
– Monday: leftover Lasagna OR Bruschetta with salad if the Lasagna is finished
– Tuesday: Chicken and brocoli stir-fry with quinoa (a recipe I want to share with you soon!)
– Wednesday: Wholewheat spaghetti with chickpeas(loaded with complex carbohydrates!)
– Thursday: Flattened, herb-rubbed chicken breast with oven-roasted sweet potatoes and salad
*we usually have enough food to last us Friday as well. I also make a ‘health bar’ and some kind of sweet tray bake for us to last the week.
We then create our shopping list and shop for our groceries online with Tesco. They’re delivered to the house sometime Friday after work, which is a total luxury and prevents us from having to drive 30 minutes to the grocery store, to conquer masses of people and add all sorts of unnecessary treats on to our shop. I’m told by my friends in Canada and sister-in-law in Germany that we are so lucky to have this opportunity, and I agree. I also make a trip to the butcher Saturday to buy some meat if our menu calls for it. This may look like beef brisket to make Slow Cooker Beef Brisket with Cannellini Bean Mash, or a pork shoulder to make slow cooked pulled pork (recipe below). Have you experienced the joy and convenience that is slow cooking yet???????? If not, what are you waiting for???
Sunday rolls around and I’m ready to cook! The recipes below are a sample of what I would make, hope you try them and then love them!
|Delicious and nutritious|
Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork Sandwiches
*Adapted from Easy Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork
1kg pork shoulder, boneless
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp dried mustard powder
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp pepper
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp chili powder
250 mL chicken stock
2 medium onions, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
~ 100mL BBQ sauce
2. Place the chopped onions and garlic in your slow cooker; put the spice-rubbed pork on top. Pour the chicken stock into the slow cooker. Cook at high for 6-7 hours, (I did 8 and found the meat extremely soft).
3. Once the pork is done, remove the meat and place on a large platter or dish, then shred all of it. With a sieve, pour the cooking juices and onions into a large pitcher or bowl, then return the onions to the slow cooker. Do the same with the pork. Skim as much fat off the top of the cooking juices, then return about 125mL back to the slow cooker. Add your BBQ sauce to this, and mix well. Serve in a nice crusty white roll with coleslaw, potato salad or just salad!
For that salad, why not try wedge salad?
Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing
*Inspired by Cook’s Country Wedge Salad
A wedge salad is a salad that is made by cutting out a wedge of lettuce and dressing it, rather than cutting/ripping the lettuce into more bitesize, manageable pieces.
For the dressing:
1 tbsp creme fraiche
1 tbsp mayo
2 tbsp blue cheese, crumbled into small chunks
salt and pepper to taste
the juice of half a lemon
For the salad:
a wedge of your favourite salad lettuce, like half the head of Baby Gem lettuce, or 1/4 of a head of Romaine lettuce
1 tbsp red onions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp cucumber, chopped
1. Combine all dressing ingredients in a small bowl and stir well.
2. Place lettuce on a plate, then sprinkle the red onions, tomato and cucumber over top and around. Drizzle dressing all over salad and enjoy!
*Dressing lasts three days, please cover and refrigerate after using for the first time.
Sweet Treat: Blueberry Crumb Bars
These are a current favourite for me! These bars are subtly sweet and just plain delicious. I’ve made the recipe three times now, and each time I’ve changed the fruit I put in (but always putting the same quantity): blueberries, rhubarb, and strawberry-rhubarb, (the best one yet!). The linked recipe is in US/Canada meaurements, and I’ve converted the recipe to UK measurements below.
|First time: Blueberry|
|Second time: Rhubarb – tangy and sweet|
|Third time: Strawberry-Rhubarb, best!|
1. Preheat the oven to190’C. Grease a 22cm x 33cm rectangular pan.
2. For the shortbread base and crumb top: In a medium bowl, stir together sugar, flour, and baking powder. Mix in salt and lemon zest. Use a fork or pastry cutter (or your clean hands) to blend in the butter and egg. Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan, (I put 2/3’s instead).
3. For the fruit filling: In another bowl, stir together the sugar, corn flour and lemon juice. Gently mix in the the fruit. Sprinkle the fruit mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the fruit layer.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. (This took only 25 minutes in my oven). Cool completely before cutting into squares.