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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Drunken Green Beans and My Weeknight Dinner Prep

Every weeknight on my way home from work, all I want to do is eat dinner and relax. I don't flick off my Louboutins, shake myself a vodka martini and politely nibble on pate and crackers while my husband regales me with tales from his day. No, that is not my life. I don't own Louboutins, except in my dreams, and I can't pour myself a vodka martini on a weeknight if I want to stay awake past 9pm. No, when I walk through the door, I am usually tired and very hungry. I just want to eat. Admittedly, a lot has to happen from that moment and when I sit down with my husband for dinner. I want something that's not fussy but at the same time, I also want us to eat something healthy. So how do I get dinner on the table quickly without popping something pre-made and processed into the microwave? With a little effort, a tad bit of planning, and a little team work.

Guiding Principle for Weeknight Dinner:
Keep it simple, there is no need to impress. But be organized, and have a well stocked pantry. A stop to the grocery store on the way home is not a detour I like to make after a long day at work.

The Plan:
My husband and I have a quick conversation in the morning about what we are going to have for dinner. If we're having meat, we take it out of the freezer and set it in the refrigerator to defrost before we head out the door in the morning.

In the evening, the first person who returns home first gets dinner started.
The first thing we get on the go is our starch which is usually rice. (This is partially because I grew up eating rice everyday and for practical reasons as it requires very little prep before cooking and it's low maintenance.) We have finally transitioned to brown rice and that takes a little while to cook. So we get that going before we start anything else.

We also try to plan out a couple veggie side dishes while we do our weekly shopping so that we don’t have to struggle on weekend nights with what to eat. This recipe is a great example of something we were able to throw together quickly based on what we had in the fridge. Although it's fast, it boasts great flavour.

The Pre-Work:
If you want to do a little weekend prep to facilitate weeknight meals, toast the almonds and wash and prep your vegetables when you're cooking on the weekend. Store in a sealable container. This is an unbelievable time saver.

Green Beans in White Wine with Toasted Almonds

Serves four

1 lb green beans, trimmed and washed
2 garlic cloves minced
1 tbsp butter
1/2 c white wine*
pinch of red pepper flakes
salt to taste

toasted almond flakes

1. Heat large saucepan over medium high. Add butter, garlic, and red pepper flakes.
2. Add green beans and coat in the melted butter.
3. Saute until the green beans turn bright green. When the butter seems absorbed and the pan looks dry, add the white wine to de-glaze. Simmer and allow white wine to reduce.
4. Remove off of heat and place and garnish with almond flakes.

*not recommending you open a bottle of wine for this. This is strictly a way to get rid of leftovers. If you don’t have an open bottle of wine, you can use vermouth, chicken broth, or water. (If you’re using water, add a squeeze of lemon j for a bit of tang, and throw in some lemon zest if you're so inclined.) And don’t worry about the alcohol, if you’re simmering it down, the alcohol burns off and flavour is all that remains.


Nicole (Nico's Eats) said...

This sounds delicious! I'm always looking for new and inventive green bean recipes. I will try this out this week. (I think green beans are also wonderful just roasted in a very hot oven for 1-=12 minutes with red peppers, olive oil, and salt and pepper. It's quick, too.)

Hungry Gal said...

@ nico

Thanks for dropping by and your suggestion - will try next time... (also like GB fried - gasp - the way they do them in Chinese restaurants)

I like your site, BTW. Will have to try the shrimp & sausage chowder.

Queen B. said...

looks awesome !

Joanna said...

any food with the word 'drunk' in it is my kinda food too!!!

Hungry Gal said...

@ queen b and joanna

thanks ladies!

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