In an earlier post, I talked about how I first learned to like new foods, and to cook. I also developed a new interest in having a healthier diet; I found the magazine Cooking Light, and found tons of inspiration in every issue. I tried dozens, no, hundreds of new recipes – some were good, some great, and some … well, no need to go back there.
Fast forward to about 15 years ago when Terri and I traded two kitchens for one, and we started cooking up a storm together. One day we had the inspiration to start saving the recipes we enjoyed in our own notebook. Generally we would make a note of the day we cooked it, along with our rating: “Good!” Or “Great!!” Or “Company worthy!!!” We organized them by some basic categories, such as Chicken, Fish, Breakfast, Soups and Stews, etc.
Well, after 15 years, it kinda got out of hand. We had recipes stuffed here and there, some filed in the wrong places, some we tried, some were waiting for the right moment, some with no ratings. One of my retirement projects was to go through that overflowing 3” notebook and bring a bit more order to the chaos … but Terri beat me to it. It took awhile, but now its organized much better, marginal recipes discarded (too much sodium, too much work for not enough flavor, not rated highly enough). This thing, if not a work of art, is a thing of beauty!
Back before COVID-19, we used to enjoy hosting people for dinner at our home. Terri and I both love to cook, and by some miracle, we work together very well in the kitchen, and get a ton of enjoyment cooking for our friends and family. Now, perhaps our guests were just being polite, but we were often told that our meals were good. We hope so, and hope that everyone felt the love we poured into them.
A few weeks ago when we were enjoying a social-distance moment with Terri’s sister Lauren, and BIL John, he commented on how much he enjoyed our meals, and wondered if we could help them with meal-planning ideas and strategies. Terri and I kicked the idea around, and it kept growing and expanding beyond all reasonable expectations until we were internet superstars. The cold light of dawn put a sharp pin in that fantasy balloon, but the original idea never went away. So John, this is for you!
First thing we do is to pull out our Menu Planner (I may have mentioned I am a chronic list-maker). We pull out our calendar to see if we will be home, traveling, or otherwise eating out – a very quick task these days, as we continue to maintain a very high level of isolation.
Then we pull out our Cooking with Bill and Terri Cookbook, plus any recipes that may have caught our eye as we checked our inbox. Our healthy-eating goal is to have two fish meals a week. I also am a huge believer in “planned-overs” – we love being able to go to the fridge or freezer and pull out a great meal that just needs a salad, so quick and easy!
Once I plan out the meals, I pull out our grocery list (yep, another list) that is arranged by the layout of the store. These day things are a bit more challenging, as we don’t feel safe or comfortable going into stores, so I open the Fred Meyer app, and place my order there for pickup the next day.
That’s all there is to it! I’ve included a copy of my Menu Planner, along with this week’s meals, and the matching recipes. What do you think? Helpful? Too much work? Hope it inspires you to get Cooking with Bill and Terri!
The Roasted Chile Verde Chicken Enchiladas is very time consuming – maybe two hours total. BUT it makes eight servings, so that’s four meals at one whack for us! I always add a bit of granulated onion, powdered garlic, and some medium chili powder to kick it up a notch.
For the Chicken Cutlets with Sun-dried Tomatoes my only modification was to use chicken breasts and cut them in half lengthwise. We served over a whole grain, but it would also be breat over a pasta that would catch the great sauce.
Seared Tuna with Avacado Salsa
We were at the ocean recently, and saw a shop that does both fishing charters and fish processing … AND they sell frozen Tuna loins there, maybe a couple of pounds to a package, so we got three. We got four medium steaks plus smaller ends from that, so it made a great meal, plus leftovers. You should be able to find tuna steaks at your grocery store.