Cold Asian Style Salad and Rosemary Focaccia for Lunches All Week
Lately I've been having a hard time with lunches. Summer is easy with all the fresh vegetables, and the hot weather kinda kills my appetite. I don't seem as hungry. These cooler days have my stomach grumbling. And I hate to stop everything I'm doing to work in the kitchen, especially when I have dinner to do in just a few more hours.
What if I was more organized? What if I pre-made my lunches so that me and hubby could grab it when we wanted to right out of the fridge, with no mess and no fuss? I could make some type of cold salad we could eat as is or add some cold cooked chicken to it to spice it up after a couple days. And I could make a focaccia for all kinds of different ways to serve it; we could dredge slices in an oil dip, make a chicken or tuna salad or make pizzas! If I sliced up some fruit and kept a bowl in the fridge that would make a real filling lunch. This could save us some major money as we could by-pass takeout or premade items from the grocery. And the way grocery prices are spiraling, we need all the help we can get as I'm sure you do too.
I chose to use Sunday as my preparation day. I decided to make one or two desserts on this day for weeknight evenings when we hanker for something sweet. This past week, I made a batch of sugar cookies and a peach cobbler. While waiting for these to cook, I quickly tossed some canned peaches, fresh blueberries, and strawberries into a bowl for the lunch fruit of the week.
Meanwhile, I baked a whole chicken and mashed potatoes with peas for Sunday dinner. The leftover chicken, I shredded for lunch (half I left to add to the salad, the other half I used a few tablespoons of my home-canned relish, mayo, fresh dill and crushed walnuts to mix up a chicken salad to go with the focaccia).
I found an amazing and easy Asian-inspired cold salad that serves 8 and it was very yummy. For two people, it served us both for four days. Two days as is, two days with some chicken thrown in. This recipe comes from This Delicious House (https://thisdelicioushouse.com) with a few changes I've made to it.
Asian Noodle Salad with Cabbage and Peanut Dressing
16 ounces thin spaghetti, broken in half
1 head green cabbage, thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, diced
4 stalks celery, chopped
2 handfuls garlic chives, chopped
1 handful fresh parsley
Asian Peanut Dressing
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons vinegar
1 3/4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
juice of 1 lemon
Bring water to a boil and cook the pasta as directed on package to al dente. Put cooked pasta noodles in large mixing bowl. Add cabbage, bell pepper, celery, garlic chives and parsley. For the dressing, add honey and peanut butter to a microwaveable bowl and heat 30 seconds. Whisk to combine with the rest. Dressing will be thick but pourable. Toss dressing with pasta and vegetables. You can add a few shakes of hot sauce if desired. For some variety, toss with shredded chicken. Divide into 8 servings.
With the salad, we had four days taken care of. We needed three more days to make a weeks' worth of lunches, so I choose to make a Rosemary Focaccia that was "oh so good", versatile and filling. I used a bread machine, but you can mix and knead the bread on your own if you don't have a bread machine. This yielded one 12-inch focaccia bread. For us, we were happy one day with dipped bread and fruit and the other two days we enjoyed chicken salad sandwiches. We stayed happy and full.
This next recipe comes from the Fleischmann's website Bread Machine Rosemary Focaccia (fleischmannsyeast.com
Bread Machine Rosemary Focaccia
cup + 3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons Fleischmann's Bread Machine Yeast
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
Add ingredients in order to bread machine. Select dough/manual cycle. When complete, remove dough from machine to lightly floured surface. Cover and let rest 5 minutes. Form dough into smooth ball. Roll out to 12-inch round and place on lightly greased pizza pan. Poke dough randomly with fingertips to form dimples. Brush top with olive oil, sprinkle with rosemary and salt to taste. Let rise uncovered in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size...about 30 minutes. Bake at 425 degrees for 18-22 minutes or until done. Serve with olive oil and freshly ground coarse black pepper, if desired, for dipping.
I plan to do something similar this coming Sunday as this turned out to be a success. I found it really didn't take much time to pull all these recipes together and it sure made my week run a lot smoother. This week's recipes I'm planning chocolate brownies and an apple pie with lots of cinnamon. I'm mixing berries with mint yogurt dressing for our luncheon fruit. And for my two recipes I'm thinking breakfast burritos I can freeze and pull out when ready to eat, along with hamburger vegetable soup (with added Italian seasonings).
What can you do when you decide to become more organized? The possibilities are endless!