Ahhh…Monday. My day off! I’ve had a very busy weekend, and I’ve had a bad back on top of that, so I am happy to see my Monday. I’m feeling a little better, and I’m ready for my Monday routine: sit around and drink coffee until I can’t sit around and drink coffee anymore, do the laundry (Coach did most of it yesterday, hooray!), get some sewing done, straighten the house, play with Licorice (our sweet bunny), plan our meals for the week, and most importantly, share some easy, delicious make-ahead meal ideas with all of you! I just love easy, delicious recipes, and I love planning ahead!
All of these things on my to-do list are important, but none so much as planning for, and even preparing, our meals. Working in a salon means I don’t get home in time to prepare and cook an entire meal and have it ready at meal-time. Some nights, I get home after meal-time, and having a lot of the food prep, or even cooking, done is a life-saver. The girls are getting more and more helpful in the kitchen, and Coach can re-heat like a champ! Having the majority of the work done takes so much stress off of me when I come in from a long day on my feet.
Hairstylists, you know what I mean. There is nothing worse than coming in the door at 7:30 pm, and having no clue what you are going to feed your family. My girls go to bed at 9 p.m., and, realistically, they need to have already eaten by 7:30, so I’m stressed about that. Plus, I’m usually exhausted after a late night like this, and the thought of standing in front of the hot stove is definitely stress-inducing. Taking the time on my day off to cook a few things that re-heat well is one of the best favors I can do for myself! I would like to share some easy, make-ahead meals that will make your life easier, and your family happy. Recipes for hairstylists…what a novel idea!
I’m just going to dive into my list, and share my easy recipes at the end.
1) Grilled Meats: Something Coach can do! I’m starting with this one because it’s SPRING! We have already done this, and it’s such time-saver! Coach grilled up two beautiful pork tenderloins and six boneless, skinless chicken breasts last week, and I prepared the sides, like these yummy oven-baked green beans and corn pudding. I’ll share a great pork rub at the end, and the chicken rub was Coach’s own barbecue rub recipe that he won’t let me share (men and their recipes…gah!). When the weather gets a little hotter, I can make a potato salad, pasta salad, or garden salad ahead of time, and we can enjoy the meats and sides all week. If chicken or pork are seasoned well, I actually love them cold, and we really enjoy left-over grilled chicken on a salad. Grilled hamburgers and hot dogs re-heat well, also, and all you need is condiments, chips, and maybe some veggies and dip! *Tip: making salad one day ahead is ok, as long as you store it with a paper towel folded up inside the container to keep the moisture off. It won’t wilt this way!
2) Spaghetti With Meat Sauce: This one is just too easy. I do have a fabulous spaghetti sauce recipe, and I shared it a while back in this post. This dish is so versatile, and when I make my huge pot of sauce, we use it for lots of different pasta dishes. A couple of weeks ago, I made my sauce and we just had it over spaghetti noodles, and then a few days later I changed it up with penne pasta and a ricotta mixture and baked it. Spaghetti with meat sauce is a family favorite, and it’s usually even better warmed over! Add a green salad, or even some steamed broccoli, and garlic bread for a complete meal!
3) Beer chicken: A staple in my family since I can remember.
I showed it to you once, here,but never shared the recipe. This stuff is like GOLD. Beer chicken is delicious right out of the pan, and it’s delicious the next day cold, and it’s delicious if it’s reheated in the microwave, and it’s just delicious. The fresh rosemary doesn’t hurt.
I usually prepare some macaroni and cheese or buttered noodles and green beans for day 1, and then we like it sliced on sandwiches the next day. I love this stuff!
4) Pork or Chicken Lo-Mein: One-pot meal (sort of)! What I usually do for this is just cook my noodles (spaghetti noodles work fine) the day before, toss with a little olive oil, and refrigerate. I usually go ahead and prep and chop my veggies, also, and cut up and marinate my meat. It takes no time to cook up, and my whole family loves this meal! Sometimes I buy frozen egg rolls and cook them in the oven as a little side treat, but we are usually pretty content with this dish alone. Chinese take-out always makes me feel really yucky, so I have figured out how to make just about any Chinese dish I like at home. This lo-mein may not be authentic, but it sure is tasty! It’s great left-over, too.
5) Tacos: I’ve shared my taco secrets with you before, in this post. No one at my house ever complains about this dish! I’ll just cook up my meat on Monday (either ground chuck or diced chicken), and we can eat it a variety of ways throughout the week! Taco salads on Monday, burritos on Tuesday, etc. Add anything you like! We love black olives, sour cream, diced avocado, fresh cilantro, chopped green onions, beans, hot sauce, rice…the possibilities are endless!
Here are the recipes that need sharing today:
Favorite Pork Rub
This is my favorite way to prepare thick cut pork chops or whole pork tenderloin. Mix up 2 tablespoons of ground cumin, 2 tablespoons of ground coriander, salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. Rub it all over your pork (or even chicken), let sit for 20 minutes or so, then grill. This will make you want to slap your Mama! Sometimes I even add a little fresh lime zest to this rub, and it’s super-good, also.
Corn Pudding ~Click here for the printable!~
Oh, is this good…and so easy!
1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
1 tablespoon sugar
1 can whole-kernel corn, drained
1 can cream-style corn
1 stick butter, melted
1 8oz. sour cream
Mix all of this yummy goodness well, pour it into a greased 9×9 pan, and bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Heaven in a pan! This dish reheats well.
Oven-Baked Green Beans
Simple and delicious. Open two (or three, or four) cans of green beans (cut ones are best, I’m not sure those stringy French-cut suckers would hold up), drain, and rinse well. Shake off excess moisture, and place in a shallow baking dish. I love my Pampered Chef stoneware deep-dish round pan. Drizzle with a decent amount of olive oil, salt, and a good amount of black pepper. Place in a 350 degree oven, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, but pull them out and stir them up every 15 minutes or so. Here in the Deep South, we like our green beans overcooked, a little shriveled, and seasoned with some kind of fat. I love them slow simmered with ham or bacon grease, but it’s not a very healthy option. This method cooks them down like we like, seasons them perfectly, and is a really healthy option for ‘country-style’ green beans. You Southerners will understand! Thank you, Lynn C., for sharing this method with me years ago. It’s a keeper!
Beer Chicken ~Click here for the printable!~
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 4-8 depending on their size and the size of your family
Butter and olive oil, for browning, 1-2 Tablespoons, depending on the amount of chicken.
Salt and Pepper
Garlic powder, to taste
Fresh or dried Rosemary, also to taste
1 can or bottle of beer
Start by seasoning your chicken well with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Heat your oil and butter in a large skillet or dutch oven to medium-high, and brown the chicken well on all sides. This is where you get the majority of your color, so don’t rush it. Once it is browned, pour in your beer and add the rosemary. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until ALL of the beer is gone, which can take up to an hour, and has become just a sticky substance on the chicken. It’s not done until the beer is gone! You can cook it a little faster, but boiling the chicken the whole time will make it tough. I like to let it simmer and cook low and slow, because it’s so tender and juicy that way! I’d like to give thanks to Carol Mc. for sharing this recipe with Madre when I was a kid, and I’d like to thank her late husband, Jack, for leaving half-full cans of beer sitting around, causing Carol to invent this recipe. Waste not, want not, right?
Pork or Chicken Lo Mein:
This is more of a method than a recipe, I guess. You can put whatever you like in it: carrots, green onions, water chestnuts, bean sprouts, cabbage, bamboo shoots…be creative! Plus, of course, meat and noodles.
Cut your chicken or pork into small strips for this, and marinate with any combination of these things: soy sauce, chicken broth, rice vinegar, ginger (ground or fresh), lime juice, orange juice, etc. Again, be creative! It’s fun to try lots of flavor combinations! I do this usually the day before, or several hours before. If you use a lot of vinegar, maybe don’t marinate it as long, or it will pretty much ‘cook’ in the acid. Take your meat out of the marinade when you are about to cook, but reserve the marinade. The ginger and soy sauce will give it that Asian flavor you are looking for, so don’t leave those two out!
Get your skillet or wok extremely hot, and I like to use vegetable oil for this, because it can stand the high temperatures. When your pan is hot, add the oil, and then add the veggies, and cook them quickly, tossing them around frequently. Remove the veggies from the skillet while they are still tender-crisp, and add the meat (you may need another little swish of oil, you be the judge). Cook it through, also in the really hot skillet or wok with veggie oil. Once it’s done, you can add back your veggies and your cooked pasta, tossing around briefly. I usually stir about a teaspoon of cornstarch into my marinade before pouring that into the wok, as well, just to finish off the lo-mein and give it a little bit of a sauce. Cook this just long enough to heat it all through, making sure the marinade reaches the proper temperature, since it was housing raw meat earlier. That’s it! Just serve it up with some egg rolls, or without!
I hope these tips help you guys out, especially my hairstylist friends, or anyone who works long, grueling hours and just needs a little break! Madre is giving me a break today and cooking us up a beautiful corned beef brisket, and I get to work on sewing and cleaning and blogging and making a million phone calls. Even though today is not a cooking day for me, I hope it will be for you with all of these great meal ideas!
I will be back on Wednesday….I have a pretty exciting Waves On Wednesday post for you! Shuh-Wanda and I went to a hair show in the Big City yesterday, and I can’t wait to share what we learned!
*This post was shared to the Pin Worthy Wednesday link up party! Be sure to check it out for lots of great recipes and DIY’s! You can also follow the Pin Worthy Posts Pinterest board. It’s also linked up at FoodieFriDIY. Enjoy! 🙂