I use my (15-year-old) bread maker less often than I might -- who doesn't love the smell of fresh-baked bread? I do, but I'm eating fewer carbs these days. Lots less bread. No cookies. No cake or muffins. I haven't been baking. (And I have missed it, enough to make today's all-day kitchen marathon a deep pleasure.)
Ingredients for focaccia are simple: flour, salt, yeast, milk, a little bit of butter. The machine takes over the kneading and first rising. I'm hands-free for the next few tasks. We still had a large zucchini in the fridge from someone's generous garden gift, and I wanted to shred it to make muffins.
Here's the shredding in the silver bowl: Half of the zucchini went into the batter, and the other half went in the freezer in a washed/reused plastic bag. I jazzed up the zucchini bread recipe with ground flax seed (fiber! omega-3!), chocolate powder and mini-chocolate chips.
I didn't have cupcake papers so I used waxed paper, cut into squares. It's compostable (so are cupcake papers) and I had it on hand already. No dyes in this waxed paper, either.
Meanwhile, I was soaking vegetables -- the celery that had gotten limp, carrots, half a yellow squash, some homegrown kale from my mother's garden. The cold water washed and revived the veggies, and I used the wash water on my houseplants (slightly more nutritious than plain tap water). The focaccia went into the oven while I finished up the muffin batter and greased a loaf pan with a leftover butter wrapper (I keep those in the freezer for whenever needed for greasing a pan).
But wait! Not finished yet!
These both came out beautifully! I also had some beets I wanted to cook. Might as well roast those in olive oil with some salt and pepper. Below, you can see the spaghetti squash, loaf of zucchini bread and the beets all cooking in the oven. The temperature was 400 for the focaccia, but I turned down to 325 for the rest. I left the beets cooking in the dwindling heat when I pulled out the last of the zucchini bread.
As these items baked, I peeled, chopped and spun the veggies in the sink. We have chopped carrots and celery for lunches, chopped kale and beet greens, and some odds and ends (kale stems, celery tops) for soup later this week.
Tonight we will have a meatless supper of beets tossed with some Gorgonzola (try it with feta or bleu cheese); greens sauteed in this morning's bacon pan; warm, fresh focaccia and zucchini-chocolate bread for dessert.
And tomorrow's supper is premade: I will fork-flake the squash and stir in spinach, chopped tomatoes from my mother's garden, and the odds and ends of cheese in the fridge. Spaghetti sauce and a sprinkle of cheese on top (including a couple of leftover packets from pizza) and this baby goes in the oven (again). It's also meatless, since our vegetarian daughter is coming for dinner.
Don't think I slaved away in the kitchen all day. I didn't. I had laundry going, I made travel plans, talked to my mom on the phone, read the Sunday paper, drank coffee in the sun, and got the Boy to clean his room. The beauty of weekend food prep is that you can do other things at the same time -- and get ready for an easier week.
Have you used the oven for multiple meals or foods? Do you prep on the weekends for your week's meals? Share in the comments section.