I love cooking for my fiancé and me, but most of the time, cooking for two proves to be difficult. If I don't make a plan, I end up running around in circles at the grocery store and wasting half the ingredient's I've bought (and I hate wasting food). Enter What's Cooking This Week - my weekly meal plan and grocery guide. This way, I can make the most of my ingredients and my leftovers.
Last week, chopped rib-eye filled a hot-giardiniera-topped Philly Cheese Steak and was remade into Creamy Steak Taquitos. This week, Buttermilk Fried Chicken is served hot one night, then served again "picnic style" alongside a lightened Creamy Coleslaw.
Here's the rest of the plan:
Grocery List based on servings for 2 w/ leftovers
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Day 1: Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Corn on the Cob & Tomato Salad *Makes leftover Grilled Corn and Buttermilk Fried Chicken
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl, coat chicken legs and thighs with 1 cup buttermilk, a dash of hot sauce, ½ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp black pepper. Set aside for at least 30 minutes. Can be marinated up to 2 days ahead of time.
In a large bowl, mix 1½ cups flour, 1 tsp sweet paprika, ½ tsp cayenne pepper, ½ tsp thyme, and ½ tbsp Kosher salt. Pour about 2 tbsp of buttermilk into the flour mixture and use a fork to create a few crumbs throughout.
Lift chicken from the buttermilk and dredge each piece in flour, pressing down to adhere.
Heat 1 cup canola, peanut, or vegetable oil in a large cast iron skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chicken pieces in batches, being careful not to overcrowd.
Fry chicken until golden brown and crisp, about 5-7 minutes per side. Monitor the temperature to make sure chicken doesn't burn. Set cooked pieces of a wire rack sitting atop a baking sheet and continue frying until all pieces are done.
Add chicken to oven to finish cooking through for about 15-20 minutes or until the thickest part of the thigh is 165 degrees. *Set 4 pieces aside for day 3.
Meanwhile, remove husks from corn and soak in water for 15 minutes. Remove from water and dry. Preheat a grill-pan to medium-high and coat each ear with cooking spray. Add to pan and grill, turning, until until lightly charred on all sides, about 10 minutes. Butter and season two ears with salt and pepper. *Reserve one cob for use in day 2.
Toss a handful of halved cherry tomatoes with ¼ thinly sliced red onion, olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper.
Serve chicken with grilled corn on the cob and tomato salad.
Day 2: Tilapia with Grilled Corn, Tomato & Black Bean Salsa *Uses leftover Grilled Corn and makes leftover Corn & Black Bean Salsa for Breakfast Tacos
Use a knife to remove kernels from leftover corn. Rinse and drain ½ cup black beans and toss with corn kernels, ¼ chopped red onion, 1 small clove minced garlic, and 1 cup diced cherry tomatoes. Add 1-2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro or parsley if desired. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. *Reserve ½ cup for use in day 4.
Meanwhile, drizzle tilapia filets with olive oil and season with a pinch of paprika, salt and black pepper on both sides. For added heat, add a pinch of cayenne.
Heat broiler to high and place fish under broiler for 5-7 minutes until fish is cooked through and flaky.
Serve alongside corn & black bean salsa and wedges of lime.
Day 3: Picnic Drumsticks & Thighs with Lighter Creamy Coleslaw *Uses leftover Buttermilk Fried Chicken and makes leftover Slaw for Bacon, Swiss, & Tomato Melts
Whisk together ¼ cup mayonnaise with 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp cider or white wine vinegar, 1 tbsp Greek yogurt, and 1 tsp Dijon mustard. Add 3 cups shredded coleslaw mix and season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. *Reserve half for use in day 5.
Serve leftover cold fried chicken with coleslaw and pickle spears. Best eaten on a picnic blanket.
Day 4 Potato & Bacon Breakfast Tacos *Uses leftover Corn & Black Bean Salsa
In a large skillet, cook 4 strips bacon until browned. Crumble and set aside.
Remove excess grease from pan and add peeled and diced potatoes. Cook until softened and add 1/4 cup diced red onion. Increase heat and cook until potatoes are browned and slightly crisp. Mix in 1 clove of garlic and crumbled bacon. Cook for another minute and remove from heat.
Meanwhile, scramble 4 eggs and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until desired firmness.
Warm tortillas and fill with eggs, potato and bacon mixture, and leftover corn and black bean salsa.
Serve with Greek yogurt and hot sauce.
Day 5: Bacon, Swiss & Tomato Melts with Creamy Slaw *Uses leftover Slaw
Cook 6 slices bacon until crisp.
Spread leftover coleslaw onto 2 slices of rye bread and add on Swiss cheese, cooked bacon and sliced vine-ripened tomato. Season with black pepper and top with other two slices of bread to form sandwiches.
Butter sandwiches on both sides and add to a preheated grill pan or panini press. Grill, pressing down and flipping once, until golden browned and crisp on both sides.
Slice and serve with pickle spears.