Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Menu Planning Sure Makes Things Easier!

I'm a very organized person.  In my home I live by the motto "a place for everything and everything in its place". At the office I'm always on top of my deadlines, return phone calls promptly.  I'm almost done with our Christmas shopping. I'm saving for a family vacation in 2015.  But. I. Hate. Shopping. Now the Internet has made shopping a little easier for me, I can shop for holidays and birthdays in my pajamas. As a result, I don't make too many trips to department stores. I hit Costco about 6 times a year (and stock up when I do!) But grocery shopping continues to be a thorn in my side. Part of it is I don't like dealing with the people, trying to get through crowded aisles with people who stand on one side and park their cart on the other.  The other part is I get tired of always being the one to determine what our meals will be, having to be inspired. I love to cook and bake, just get tired of deciding what to make! Because of that I'm usually standing in my husband's office about 4 pm asking him what sounds good for dinner.  I always get "I don't care". So I head to the store and get things for that evening.  Half the time it seems I get home and I'm missing an ingredient so have to run back to the store or tell my husband we're going out. And, of course, there's always the standby dinner of bacon and eggs. It's all so inefficient and I know better.

This week I vowed to do better so sat down and made a weekly menu, perused my pantry for ingredients, made my grocery list with what I needed and went shopping. It's amazing how much easier my week has been! Tonight I got home at 5:30, brought in the garbage cans from the street (garbage pickup day), played with Harley and started a load of laundry.  I made dinner, cleaned up the kitchen and was relaxing by 7! Why don't I do this every week?!!

Tonight's dinner was quick, easy and a favorite of ours, salmon piccata. We love fish, we love piccata sauce so it's a win-win situation for us. We like to serve it over pasta, the lemony, slightly-salty caper sauce soaks into the pasta capturing more of the flavor than if you just pour it over the salmon.

Capers have long been a favorite in the Mediterranean region. The small, green herb buds lend a piquant sour and salty flavor to salads and main dishes.

How can a dish be bad when the sauce starts with butter and garlic?

Salmon Piccata

2 6-ounce salmon fillets
Salt & pepper ( I love to use lemon pepper in this dish)
1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup chicken broth
Juice from one lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoons capers, drained

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Sprinkle both sides of the salmon with salt and pepper, place on a baking dish, and cook until the salmon flakes easily with a fork, about 12-15 minutes. 

While the salmon is cooking, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Whisk together the broth, lemon juice and flour until well blended and add to the saucepan.  Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring constantly.  Continue to simmer and stir gently until the liquid thickens slightly, about 2 minutes.  Stir in the capers. 

Plate salmon and top with sauce.

So, tell me.  What are your meal planning/shopping secrets?

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