I usually cook a big pot of soup or a chicken, rice, and vegetable dish that we chip away at every evening. It’s sort of like meal-planning because it’s a bit of work up-front, but definitely saves a whole lot of energy, time, and probably money, because we don’t need to order take-out when I don’t want to cook on a week night.
Cooking, for me, is fun and refreshes my creativity. It’s my favorite weekend activity, because I spend all week looking at tasty things on Instagram and Pinterest and have a growing list of foods I want to make. On the list right now: pretzels, souffles, macarons, dutch baby pancakes, the perfect buttermilk biscuit (which I tried out this weekend! Still looking for the perfect recipe, though, so I’ll be making them again in the near future), chocolate brioche wreathes, and of course, the enigmatic croissant.However, weeknights I get home late, so I often feel STARVING. We run into the house, grab out some bowls, spoon in whatever food we made, microwave, and shove it into our faces. Maybe not that crazy. But that’s what it often feels like!
So here are some guidelines I adhere to when making something for the week:
- It must be tasty. Though this is super obvious, it’s very very important, especially if you plan to eat the same thing for 4 days straight. It must be pretty awesome.
- It must be nutritious. Because I’m definitely not thinking about nutrition when I’m hungry, so I need to put that extra effort in on the weekend to make sure I cook some vegetables along with whatever else I’m making
- It must be easily microwaveable or easy to put together. As little work as possible is the name of the game on a weeknight. These sushi bowls are a great example of an awesome weeknight meal and are on regular rotation in our house.
By way of introduction, let me just say, Jonathan is NOT a soup person. His family never really ate soup, and he never grew to love it the way my family does. Soup, for me, is naturally what I eat every night during the fall, winter, and early spring. I love it: its varieties, its accompaniments. So when I first made this soup for our whole week, I was surprised and delighted to find that Jonathan actually likes it! He calls it his favorite soup ever, and that’s high praise.
This is so easy to make. The lentils don’t need to soak, and all the ingredients are delicious and hearty, the addition of vegetables makes the soup brighter and less just like brown mushy lentils, and the whole thing tastes good for a whole week. You can easily make this a vegetarian meal by omitting the sausage and adding any vegetables you’d like. This is one of our top weekly rotational meals that I make during the winter months.