July 31, 2014 at 1:00 am

Do some prep on Sunday for quick weekday meals

With preparation ahead of time, Pork Loin with Carrots, Fennel and Lemons can be made quickly. (Romulo Yanes)

To be set up for fast weekday meals, do this on Sunday:

Make Herb Pesto: In a food processor, process 1 bunch parsley, large stems removed, ½ bunch mint, stems removed, ½ cup toasted sliced almonds and ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil until smooth. To store, refrigerate pesto in an airtight container, up to 5 days.

Marinate steak: In a zip-top bag, combine 1 tablespoon grated orange zest (refrigerate zested orange for later in the week), 1 garlic clove, minced, ½ teaspoon red-pepper flakes, ¼ cup vegetable oil and 1 ¼ pounds skirt steak, cut into 4 pieces. Seal and shake bag to evenly coat steak. Marinate at least 8 hours (or up to 4 days).

Make rice: Cook 1 ½ cups long-grain white rice according to package directions. To store, let cool, then refrigerate in an airtight container, up to 5 days.

Cook lentils: In a medium saucepan, bring 1 ½ cup dried green lentils, 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced, and 2 cups water to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until lentils are tender, about 25 minutes. Season with coarse salt and ground pepper and let cool. To store, refrigerate lentils in cooking liquid in an airtight container, up to 5 days.

Prep vegetables: Trim, wash and dry 4 medium bunches arugula, wrap in damp paper towels and store in zip-top bags, up to 4 days. Cut 1 ½ pounds carrots into 3-inch pieces and cut 5 medium fennel bulbs into 1-inch wedges. Refrigerate separately in zip-top bags, up to 3 days.

The shopping list

The shopping list

Produce

3 garlic cloves

½ pound snap peas

1 ½ pounds carrots

5 medium fennel bulbs

1 bunch celery

1 bunch radishes

4 medium

bunches arugula

1 bunch parsley

1 bunch mint

3 lemons

2 oranges

Dairy/eggs

4 ounces ricotta

4 ounces fresh goat cheese

2 ounces Parmesan

4 large eggs

Meat/shellfish

1 ¼ pounds skirt steak

2 pounds boneless pork loin roast

¼ pound thinly sliced prosciutto (optional)

1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

Staples

Oil: extra-virgin olive, vegetable

Vinegar: balsamic, white-wine

23 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1 ½ cups long-grain white rice

Dijon mustard

Miscellaneous

¾pound penne rigate

½ cup dried green lentils

½ cup dried apricots

2 ounces sliced almonds

½ loaf country bread

Red-pepper flakes

Ground coriander

MONDAY

Shrimp and Penne with Herb Pesto

Coarse salt and ground pepper
¾ pound penne rigate
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ pound snap peas (3 cups)
½ cup Herb Pesto
4 ounces ricotta (½ cup)
Grated Parmesan and extra-virgin olive oil, for serving (optional)

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions. In last 3 minutes of cooking, add shrimp and snap peas and cook until shrimp are opaque throughout and peas are bright green. Reserve ½ cup pasta water; drain pasta mixture and return to pot. Add pesto and toss to coat, adding enough pasta water to create a thin sauce that coats pasta. Top with ricotta. If desired, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with Parmesan. Serves 4.

Per serving: 691 calories; 25 g fat (5 g saturated fat; 33 percent calories from fat); 71 g carbohydrates; 41 g protein; 5 g fiber.

TUESDAY

Pork Loin with Carrots, Fennel and Lemons

Prepped carrots and fennel
3 lemons, halved
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 pounds boneless pork loin roast, tied at 1-inch intervals
1 teaspoon ground coriander

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss together carrots, fennel, lemons and oil. Season with salt and pepper, arrange in a single layer and roast 25 minutes. Remove sheet from oven and stir; place pork in center of sheet, sprinkle with coriander and season with salt and pepper. Roast until vegetables are tender and pork is browned and cooked through (an instant-read thermometer inserted into center should read 145 degrees), about 30 to 35 minutes.

Tent pork with foil and let rest 15 minutes. Reserve 3 cups vegetables in an airtight container for Thursday. Slice pork and serve with lemons and remaining vegetables. Serves 4.

Per serving: 548 calories; 29 g fat (10 g saturated fat; 48 percent calories from fat); 27 g carbohydrates; 50 g protein; 11 g fiber.

WEDNESDAY

Marinated Skirt Steak with Apricot-Arugula Rice

Marinated steak
Coarse salt and ground pepper
¼ cup fresh orange juice, plus orange wedges for serving
4 cups cooked long-grain rice
23 cup low-sodium chicken broth
½ cup dried apricots, chopped
1 teaspoon white-wine vinegar
2 cups prepped arugula, roughly chopped

Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Remove steak from marinade and shake to remove excess; season with salt and pepper and cook until medium, about 4 minutes per side (work in batches, if necessary). Add juice and swirl pan to pick up browned bits from bottom. Transfer steak and juice to a plate and tent with foil. Let rest 10 minutes; thinly slice against the grain.

Wipe pan clean and add rice, broth, apricots and vinegar. Cook over medium-high heat until rice is warmed through and liquid is absorbed. Season with salt and pepper, remove from heat and stir in arugula. Divide among four bowls, top with steak and serve with orange wedges. Serves 4.

Per serving: 668 calories; 19 g fat (6 g saturated fat; 26 percent calories from fat); 76 g carbohydrates; 45 g protein; 3 g fiber.

THURSDAY

Roasted Vegetable Salad with Lentils

3 cups reserved roasted vegetables
8 cups prepped arugula, trimmed
1 ½ cups cooked green lentils, drained
4 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled (1 cup)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange roasted vegetables in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until warmed through, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Arrange arugula on a platter and top with vegetables, lentils and cheese. Drizzle with vinegar and oil and season with salt and pepper. Serves 4.

Per serving: 365 calories; 20 g fat (6 g saturated fat; 49 percent calories from fat); 36 g carbohydrates; 15 g protein; 11 g fiber.

FRIDAY

Open-Faced Egg Sandwiches with Celery-and-Radish Salad

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
6 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
½ cup Herb Pesto
4 thick slices country-style bread, toasted
¼ pound thinly sliced prosciutto (optional)
4 hard-cooked large eggs, peeled and thinly sliced
1 ounce Parmesan, shaved (¼ cup)

In a medium bowl, whisk together mustard, vinegar and oil. Add celery and radishes, toss, and season with salt and pepper.

Spread pesto on bread and top with prosciutto, if using, egg and Parmesan. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with pepper and serve with salad. Serves 4.

Per serving (without prosciutto): 495 calories; 36 g fat (7 g saturated fat; 65 percent calories from fat); 26 g carbohydrates; 16 g protein; 5 g fiber.