"True wine enthusiasts don’t collect wines.
They collect memories of wines shared with friends and family."

-Dario Zucconi

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Make-Ahead Weeknight Dinners for Busy Moms (and Dads!)

This week was a roller coaster for me.  But, ultimately, I am grateful for being alive and able to enjoy what was a beautiful Sunday in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Today, I decided to make a few meals for next week -- hoping to ease some of the stress and anxiety that inevitably come with working full-time, commuting to and from work, and taking care of 3 school-aged children (while juggling homework, soccer, volleyball, ballet, etc.). Yep, school is fully in session!  I was excited to pick up the new issue of Food & Wine Magazine this week, which has some great "make-ahead" recipes for busy moms like me.  I decided to make three of them tonight.  I will describe two of them in this post  (the salmon and the chicken). For the other (a baked pasta dish), I will reserve for another day because I want to post it after I finish baking it (so I can get a nice picture of the finished product).  For the two that I finished tonight, here are the recipes!

Wild Salmon, Orzo and Arugula Pesto en Papillote(Courtesy of F&W Magazine. http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/wild-salmon-orzo-and-arugula-pesto-en-papillote)

10 ounces baby arugula
1 pound orzo pasta
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
1/2 medium shallot, chopped
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Six 6-ounce, skinless, center-cut wild salmon fillets
6 tablespoons dry white wine
Freshly ground pepper
2 lemons, very thinly sliced 
Preheat the oven to 375. Fill a bowl with ice water and bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the arugula to the boiling water and stir until just wilted, 20 seconds. Transfer to the ice water to cool; drain and squeeze out as much water as possible. Transfer the arugula to a food processor.

Boil the orzo, stirring, until almost al dente, 9 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water and transfer to a large bowl.

Meanwhile, add the cheese, garlic, lemon zest, vinegar, shallot, Tabasco and sugar to the arugula and pulse to chop. With the machine on, drizzle in the olive oil and process until smooth. Season with salt. Add the pesto to the orzo and toss.

Arrange six 16-by-12 1/2-inch sheets of parchment paper on a work surface. In the center of each sheet, mound 1 heaping cup of the orzo and top with a salmon fillet. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of wine over each fillet. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange the lemon in a single layer on the fish. Bring up 2 opposite sides of the parchment over the fish and orzo and fold to seal.

Arrange the papillotes on a baking sheet, leaving space between them. Bake for 18 minutes, until the packets are slightly puffed. Transfer to plates, open the packets carefully to release steam and serve. 

Chardonnay-Braised Chicken Thighs with Parsnips

(Courtesy of F&W Magazine. http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/chardonnay-braised-chicken-thighs-with-parsnips)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 medium chicken thighs (about 2 3/4 pounds)
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 small shallots, peeled and quartered
1 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into 3-by- 1/2-inch batons
1 rosemary sprig (about 6 inches)
1 cup California Chardonnay or other dry white wine
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish  

Preheat the oven to 425°. In a large, deep ovenproof skillet, melt the butter in the oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and dust with the flour, tapping off the excess. Add the chicken to the skillet skin side down and cook over high heat, turning once, until browned, 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Add the shallots, parsnips and rosemary to the skillet and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the wine and boil until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Nestle the chicken skin side up in the skillet, tucking it between the parsnips. Transfer the skillet to the middle rack of the oven and braise the chicken uncovered for about 25 minutes, until cooked through.

Turn the broiler on. Broil the chicken for 3 minutes, until the skin is crisp. Return the skillet to high heat and boil until the sauce is thickened, 3 minutes. Discard the rosemary sprig. Transfer the chicken and vegetables to bowls, garnish with parsley; serve.

NOTE: I will serve this with steamed rice during the week.

I hope you had a great weekend, and have a super week (with minimal stress) ahead!

Until next time . . . Cheers!


No comments:

Post a Comment