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, a creamy polenta was served with Bacon & Eggs and Grilled Skirt Steak. This week, Israeli couscous is tossed in a Beet & Orange Salad and served with Pan-Roasted Lemon Chicken.
Here's the rest of the plan:
Grocery List based on servings for 2 w/ leftovers
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Day 1 -- Linguine w/ Clams & Fennel Seeds recipe adapted from bonappetit.com
In a pot of salted water, cook 2 servings of pasta to just under al dente. Reserve ½ cup cooking liquid.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add 1/2 tsp fennel seeds, 1 minced shallot and 2 cloves minced garlic, cooking until softened, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup dry white wine and 1 lb clams. Bring heat to high and cover, cooking until clams open, about 4-7 minutes depending on size. Transfer clams to a bowl and discard any that have not opened.
Add 1/4-1/2 cup reserved cooking liquid to pot and bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook, tossing, until al dente. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add clams and juices back in.
Serve topped with parmesan.
Day 2 -- Pan-Roasted Chicken w/ Lemon, Garlic, & Mint *Makes leftover Lemon Chicken for Pesto Chicken Panini & leftover Couscous for Beet & Orange Salad
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper.
Heat a large oven-safe skillet or cast-iron pan over medium-high heat and coat with 1 tsp olive oil. Add chicken, skin-side down and cook for about 10-12 minutes, allowing the skin to brown and fat to render. Remove any excess fat.
Meanwhile, cook 4 servings couscous according to package instructions (using half water, half chicken stock). Season with salt and pepper to taste. *Reserve half for use in day 3.
Slice lemon into thin rounds and scatter over chicken. Transfer to oven and roast until skin is crisp and chicken is cooked through, about 8-12 minutes depending on the size. Transfer chicken, skin-side up, to plate and cover with foil to keep warm. *Reserve half for use in day 4.
Remove any excess fat from skillet and return to medium heat. Add in 1 minced shallot, 2 cloves minced garlic and 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes. Cook for another minute and add in 1/4 cup dry white wine and 1/4 cup chicken stock. Cook util reduced by half and season with salt and pepper. Add in chicken to warm through.
Serve chicken and lemon over Israeli couscous and drizzle with pan sauce. Top with chopped fresh mint.
Day 3 -- Orange, Beet, & Watercress Salad w/ Israeli couscous *Uses leftover Israeli Couscous
Peel and grate beets. Place in bowl and toss with 1 tbsp cider vinegar, ¼ tsp orange zest, 3 tbsp olive oil and a pinch of sugar. Season with salt and pepper and adjust flavor as needed.
Peel and slice orange into wedges.
Arrange watercress onto two plates and top with leftover couscous, orange wedges, torn fresh mint, grated beets and crumbled feta (about 1 oz per plate).
Drizzle with any dressing remaining in bowl and serve.
Day 4 -- Mint Pesto Chicken Panini w/ Tomato & Cucumber Salad *Uses leftover Lemon Chicken & makes leftover Tomato & Cucumber Salad
In a food processor, mix 1 cup fresh mint, 1 tbsp sliced almonds and 1 tbsp parmesan cheese. Drizzle in 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Remove skin from leftover chicken and use two forks to shred meat. Toss with pesto.
Cut 4 slices from loaf of bread and spread chicken mixture onto two halves. Top with other slices and drizzle the tops with olive oil.
Heat grill pan to medium-high heat and place, oiled-side down, onto grill pan, grilling until golden brown. Drizzle the tops with oil again and flip, pressing down, until golden brown and crisp.
Meanwhile, peel and cut cucumber into large chunks. Toss with halved cherry tomatoes and thinly sliced red onion. Drizzle with olive oil and red wine vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste. *Reserve half for use in day 5.
Slice panini and serve with tomato & cucumber salad.
Day 5 -- Greek Panzanella recipe adapted from Ina Garten *Uses leftover Tomato & Cucumber Salad
Cut leftover bread into 1-inch cubes.
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a skillet and add bread cubes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook, tossing, until golden brown and crisp. Set aside to cool.
Mix leftover red onion, tomato and cucumber salad with a chopped yellow bell pepper, 1-2 oz pitted kalamata olives and torn mint leaves. Toss in toasted bread cubes.
Whisk together 1 cloved minced garlic, ½ tsp oregano, ¼ tsp Dijon mustard, 2 tbsp red wine vinegar and 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and crushed black pepper to taste.
Pour vinaigrette over the salad and gently toss to combine. Top with chunks of feta and serve.