Updated 2008-07-06 18:01:58 ID=2:0

© 2008 The Romantic Table
©2008 The Romantic Table 2008-06-10 20:43:51:13
©2008 The Romantic Table

Chef Sue selecting Fresh Zucchini Blossoms at Templeton Farmer's Market

Pointers for choosing your meals of the week.


First look at your calendar. –What days can you afford the time to make a little longer recipe to cook?—Choose those days for the “harder-to –make” meals. I often like to make a bigger batch than required so on a busier day in the future (especially if I freeze it for another time) I can easily heat it and serve it on one of my more hectic days. ---It’s always nice to know that you’ve got a back-up for those days you’re in a hurry!

First look at your calendar. –What days can you afford the time to make a little longer recipe to cook?—Choose those days for the “harder-to –make” meals. I often like to make a bigger batch than required so on a busier day in the future (especially if I freeze it for another time) I can easily heat it and serve it on one of my more hectic days. ---It’s always nice to know that you’ve got a back-up for those days you’re in a hurry!

What days are going to be busier? –Plan those days to have a quick-throw-together meal—or at least one’s that are no-brainers.

What are the main delivery dates of the stores’ grocery items? –Plan to arrive at the store after the delivery time to get your ingredients. ---You should also have in mind some easy substitutions if the store is “shorted” on an item.

Know your grocery stores’ phone numbers and carry your cell phone with you. –Then if something important to the meal at one store is in poor shape—or nonexistent, you can quickly call another store to find out if they have the item, and pick it up on the way home.

Always try to have an empty ice chest or insulated bag in your car for those times you happen to spot something really special while you’re out and not necessarily going directly home.

For those of us that are health-conscious about what we eat, try to alternate the “more healthy” meals just before or after a “splurge meal” or higher calorie meal. ---You can enjoy the food much more if you’re not plagued by guilt! –And this method of planning meals keeps you on a “self-imposed” mini-diet and keeps you “more legal” than if you haphazardly eat at random.

Eating healthy, fresh-made foods cooked yourself will save money in the long run.—Plus they taste so much better!

“Convenience foods” are generally not as healthy and are much more expensive than foods that require a just a little effort and preparation before being served. For instance, a 28 ounce can of a good quality low-sodium crushed tomatoes sells for $1.18 at one store.—However if you shop around, you can find it as low as 99 cents. This size can will easily make and feed a family of four. All you have to do is add a little garlic cooked in a couple tablespoons of olive oil, then add the tomatoes, perhaps adding a little water to thin the sauce down a bit, then Italian seasoning of your choice, a couple tablespoons of chopped parsley as well as salt and pepper and you’ve got a nice Italian sauce for pasta. (And it’s good enough for entertaining!) In comparison, a ready to eat sauce that you’d buy, won’t feed and as many people plus it’s not anywhere as tasty or as low calorie and healthy for you --- and then on top of it ---costs so much more! Plus there’s so much self-satisfaction and pride to be able to claim to your guests that it’s home-made!—Furthermore, a sauce like this can easily be prepared in fifteen minutes. With so many




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A tip from Sue!

Beware cooking wine!

Never use a "so-called cooking wine" that's marketed specifically as a cooking wine for your sauce. Only use a wine that would not be objectionable to drink by itself. In lighter sauces a good one to use is a nice Fume' Blanc or Sauvignon Blanc. In stronger red sauces, use a decent red wine such as a Barolo, Zinfandel or Cabernet.