We’re big fans of Andrew Schloss and the easy-going but unwavering precision of his cookbooks and cooking classes. Andy’s all-around know-how is equaled only by his ability to translate that knowledge into practical, everyday kitchen techniques for the rest of us.
So we’re so excited to be working with him on a year-long project we’re calling Sunday Dinners. At Cookthink, we’re always thinking about ways to make it easier for us to cook more often and use up what we have on hand. As Andy explains below, Sunday Dinners suggests a way to think about cooking for the week that saves times and money, and helps cut down on food waste. – Chip
In a world where there are any number of ways to get dinner on the table without ever turning on the stove, the only real reason to do it yourself — or the best reason, at least — is because you genuinely enjoy cooking.
The Sunday Dinners project is for those of us who love to cook but can’t seem to find enough time to do it as much as we’d like. The concept is simple: by cooking a big meal on Sunday, when most of us seem to have a little more time, you make the component parts for a few dinners to make during the week.
Let me use this first week’s Sunday Dinner as an example to show what I mean. Let’s say you’re going to make this dish of steamed clams and mussels with mint kefir. Even if you’re only going to eat a dozen mussels, it doesn’t take any more time or effort to steam two dozen mussels than it does to steam a dozen. So why not do all the work now?
By steaming a little bit more seafood than you’re going to serve that night, you not only have some shellfish for a pasta dish the next night, but you also have a flavorful broth to use for the pasta sauce, or to use for a soup or a braised fish or a stuffing for that fish.
If you make more mint kefir sauce than you need for drizzling over the clams and mussels on Sunday, you can use it as a salad dressing or a pan sauce later in the week. I could go on and on with more examples, but you get where I’m going, right?
The Sunday Dinners project isn’t really about what we call “leftovers.” (In fact, I hope this will be the only time you will ever hear me use that word.) It’s not about microwaving last night’s dinner to eat tonight. It’s about cooking smarter. If you know you’re going to be rushed for time during the week, consolidate the prep work and do it earlier.
With containers of roasted meats, flavorful liquids, chopped herbs, and already-steamed vegetables populating the shelves of your fridge, you’ll be armed with an arsenal of homemade convenience ingredients to use during the week. Instead of “leftovers,” I call these “plannedfors,” and by stocking up on them, you can throw together weekday meals quickly but not have them taste like they were thrown together quickly.
Plannedfors not only leverage your time, they also save you money by helping you cut down on food waste. Instead of letting those green onions languish in the vegetable crisper, you’ll be able to plan a use for all of them when you buy them.
So here’s the plan: each week on Sunday morning, I’ll link to several recipes to use for that night’s Sunday Dinner. Most of these recipes serve 4 people, with enough to set aside for weekday plannedfors, so you’ll need to adjust accordingly if you’re cooking for a lot more (or fewer) people.
I’ll also post suggestions and recipe links for ways use the plannedfors during the week (which you might hear the guys at Cookthink refer to as “leftovers,” but I’m working on them). These weekday recipes will stand on their own, so you can still make them from scratch even if you haven’t made the Sunday Dinner.
I love how Cookthink connects relevant tips and techniques to each recipe, so most weeks I’ll also mention a few time savers and shortcuts to help you with that week’s assortment of recipes.
Please tell me what you think of the Sunday Dinners project and be in touch. This is definitely a work in progress, and I’d love to get your ideas about where to take it. I’m also always looking for new time savers and shortcuts, so please let me know about your favorites.
See you next Sunday!
Sunday Dinners Week #1: Steamed Clams And Mussels With Mint Kefir