A week of meals | Ann Mah

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Weekend cooking/ weeknight eating

By Ann | May 30, 2014


broccoli rabe

As you might have guessed from my Tuesday Dinner series, I’m fascinated by what people cook during the week—not fancy food, but the fast, ordinary meals prepared after a tiring day of work. Ever since the baby arrived, I’ve developed a new strategy. Instead of grocery shopping one meal at a time (I now think of those days and laugh), I cook large quantities during the weekend and reheat during the week. What I lose in spontaneity, I make up for in speed and peace of mind.

On the internets, people’s lives have a tendency to look glossier than they really are. (Surely this explains the email I received after this post appeared, from a reader accusing me of being a trust fund baby.) The truth is this: I try to get a home-cooked dinner on the table about 70% of the time. Do I enjoy cooking every night? No. Sometimes I’m so tired I wish I could swallow the balanced-meal-equivalent of a pill, and collapse into my pillow. But I try to eat at home most nights because I care about the food we eat, I don’t want to weigh 1,000 pounds, and I pinch pennies like everyone else.

Today I’m sharing my week’s cooking routine: what I prepared one weekend, and then how we ate it during the course of seven days.

asparagus broccoli rabe

chicken tetrazzini

What I cooked:
Over the weekend, I steamed a pound of asparagus, sautéed broccoli rabe with chili flakes and garlic, boiled up a pot of quinoa and couscous for packed lunches, and prepared a chicken tetrazzini casserole. (I also made some baby food.) My husband cooked a pot of chili.


What we ate:
Sunday – Turkey chili, basmati rice, cheddar cheese, and pickled red onions (made the previous week).

chicken tetrazzini

Monday – Chicken tetrazzini, reheated at 350ºF for an hour until golden and bubbly.

pb sriracha toast

Tuesday – Peanut butter/ sriracha toast, sauteed broccoli rabe. (Note: husband ate chicken tetrazzini, but I’d had an enormous lunch.)

chili 2

Wednesday – More turkey chili, basmati rice, cheddar, avocado, and pickled onions.

salmon donburi

Thursday – Japanese-style donburi bowl. Salmon (cooked this way), avocado, asparagus, broccoli rabe, pickled red onions, black sesame seeds, and dashi broth over sushi rice. This is one of my favorite meals, but it’s only fast if you’ve cooked the vegetables in advance.


Friday – Vegetarian burrito from Chipotle. We get take-out once a week and I look forward to it.

Saturday – Dinner out with friends (delicious Korean food at Hanjan). Drank a martini and forgot to take pictures (sorry).


A few observations:

–We eat a lot of food in bowls!

–My late-night food photography needs work (sorry about those #struggleplates :)

– Not pictured: the asparagus and broccoli rabe also appeared at lunch, atop of quinoa, with sliced turkey breast and cherry tomatoes.

– The rice cooker is my best friend–it produces perfect grains every time, with no pot watching. I’m not sure how I survived so long without one.

– Though we didn’t dip into our freezer this week, I rely on it most weeks.

I’d love to hear about your weekly cooking routine!

Topics: A year in a French market: Spring, New York City, Tuesday dinner | 8 Comments »

8 Responses to “Weekend cooking/ weeknight eating”

  1. T Says:
    May 30th, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    I do my shopping on weekends, given work and caregiving duties. Saturday morning is my “regular” stuff – milk, cereals, bread, etc, Sunday morning is my meat-and-Asian-supplies stuff.

    I work from home at least twice a week so those tend to be the days when I will cook things that take more time – braised or roasted meats, homemade chow mein, etc.

    The office days are times for quicker meals…sautes, pastas, chicken wings …If I’ve thought about it in advanced, Chinese homestyle meals, poached chicken, bean threads, Mongolian beef….

    Take out is greatly enjoyed but requires some gyrations – order and pick up before a caregiver leaves for the day or order and pick up on the way home from the office, sneaking out a little early (shhhhh!).

    All this talk of food, I’m hungry!

  2. Joy Says:
    May 30th, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    Never apologize for drinking a Martini Ann!! (hee hee)
    I loved these meal ideas, and BTW, I am now addicted to the pickled red onions, you are right, they are incredibly good and I put them on just about everything!!

  3. Emma Says:
    May 31st, 2014 at 12:01 am

    “I wish I could swallow the balanced-meal-equivalent of a pill”

    ^ this or takeaway! Which is horrible because apparently I love cooking, haha.

    Your meals look delicious Ann. I tend to have a day every month or two where I cook big pots of chilli, Mexican vegie beans and soups for freezing so dinner is merely taking something out for defrosting and heating. We also eat a lot of pasta, mushroom and leek omelets, salmon and rice (lately I love black rice) and avocado and fried egg on bagels.

    And we sort of alternate between doing a big shop every few weeks or so and picking up what we need every now and again.

  4. Amelia Says:
    May 31st, 2014 at 6:45 am

    Love it Ann! It’s given me inspiration for when spring rolls around in the southern hemisphere. We’re currently relying on a lot of freezer meals thanks to the new baby + long-commute-for-my-husband combo. Getting organised on the weekend is the only way to survive the first year of parenthood I think!

  5. CK Says:
    May 31st, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    Bowls vs. plates = hilarious. My grandmother used to call bowls plates. As in: “Want a plate a chicken soup?”

  6. Jeanne Says:
    May 31st, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    Yum, the peanut butter with sriracha on toast looks like something I might make for dinner when my husband is not home. I never thought of putting sriracah on peanut butter but it must be delicious.The Japanese-style donburi bowl looks so good and healthy too.

  7. adeline Says:
    June 1st, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    Loved reading about your daily menu for the week. This is what we ate: Monday (thin marinated pork slices with slivers of fried onions). Tuesday (steamed fresh talapia fish with cilantro and ginger). Wednesday (Tofu with beef). Thursday (angel hair pasta with meat sauce). Steamed rice from a rice cooker with every meal. Friday night we dined with friends at a wonderful Italian restaurant in Long Beach (Vino and Cuccina) where I had the best Linguini with clams. Saturday evening we were invited to the Montana Cafe in Santa Monica where I ate great lamb chops.

  8. Shannon Says:
    June 3rd, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    Wait…peanut butter and sriracha? Mind. Blown. In fact, I’m already thinking of ways to steal this idea (with the appropriate aknowledgment of course).

    I’ve never thought of doing sauteed veg in advance–genius!

    And finally, on the topic of bowls. I just counted the variety of bowls we have–at least half a dozen regular use types. I think there is something comforting in eating from a bowl.

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