We're welcoming you into our home kitchens to see how we're staying busy and well fed. Stop by anytime to get tips, recipes and inspiration for all your meal planning and preparation—plus a glimpse at our candid, sometimes messy, countertops. We'll be updating the content regularly with ideas to inspire you to cook more, stay healthy and keep connected.
Rainbow Cake
Rainbow Cake
Pride is a joyful celebration of the LGBTQ+ community. It is also, and has always been, a fight for human rights, inclusion, and equality. As a company built on the principle of bringing people together, we honor this fight, this celebration and everything for which it stands. For Pride 2020, Chef Meredith made this spectacular Rainbow Cake. It’s the perfect baking project for this weekend. Please share your creations with us on social media by tagging @surlatable and #MakeMore in your posts!

Recipe Notes: This six-layer creation is an ambitious undertaking, so we recommend planning on a two-day process. You will need a minimum of three 6-inch cake pans to make this recipe. If using three cake pans, divide the ingredients in half and make the recipe twice.

Makes 2, 6-inch 6-layer cakes


Butter for greasing cake pans, at room temperature
10 large eggs, separated
17 ½ ounces (2 ½ cups) granulated sugar, divided
12 2/3 ounces cake flour (3 cups), sifted
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon fine kosher salt
8 ounces (1 cup) lukewarm water
8 ounces (1 cup) vegetable oil
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
Scant ¼ teaspoon each red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet food colorings
Buttercream Frosting (click for the recipe)


To Prepare Batter:

Rainbow Cake
1. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment add egg whites. Beat whites until foamy. Gradually add 1 cup sugar to the whites, beating until soft peaks. Scrape whites into a clean mixing bowl and set aside.
2. Wipe bowl clean and set on stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, add flour, remaining 1½ cups sugar, baking powder, and salt. While on medium-low speed add 8 ounces lukewarm water into dry ingredients; increase speed to medium and add in oil, egg yolk, and vanilla. Beat until mixture is smooth and no streaks of flour remain, scrape sides of bowl with silicone spatula as needed. Fold whites into batter in 3 additions.
3. Divide the batter evenly between six clean bowls, each portion will weigh 11 ounces. Add a scant ¼ teaspoon gel food coloring to each bowl. Adjust coloring as needed, folding coloring through as to not deflate your batter. Gently pour each colored batter into a prepared cake pan.
4. Transfer cakes to preheated oven, bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool Cakes in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Turn cakes out of the pans onto the racks and cool completely.

For the rest of the directions, click here.

For the Buttercream Frosting recipe, click here.

Ginger-Soy Salmon Sheet Pan Dinner
Ginger-Soy Salmon Sheet Pan Dinner
This sheet pan dinner is perfect for those weeknights when you need something simple and quick. Chef Meredith even prepped her vegetables and marinade in advance, so her meal came together in under 30 minutes. She used Sockeye salmon, but you can use any salmon, firm fish or even shrimp—the ginger-soy marinade works great on all! Chef Meredith suggests serving this alongside rice and adding any leftovers to a salad or grain bowl the next day. Enjoy!


3-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ cup honey
½ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt

12 ounces Sockeye salmon, skin on (any salmon, firm flesh fish or even shrimp is great)
6-8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, halved or quartered
1 pound baby bok choy (or regular bok choy cut into ½-inch slices)
1 red bell pepper, cored and cut into ½-inch slices

Ginger-Soy Salmon Sheet Pan Dinner Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
2. To a small bowl, add all marinade ingredients and whisk to combine.
3. Transfer salmon, skin side down to a rimmed baking sheet. Pour ½ cup of marinade over salmon and let marinate while you are preparing the remaining ingredients.
4. Add mushrooms, bok choy, and pepper to the baking sheet with the salmon and pour over remaining marinade, gently tossing to coat.
5. Transfer to preheated oven and roast until salmon is cooked and vegetables are tender and edges are crisped, about 20 minutes. After 10 minutes, check fish for doneness, stir vegetables and baste vegetables with pan juices.
6. To serve: Divide salmon and vegetables between 4 warmed plates. Great served alongside rice! Leftovers can be added to a salad or grain bowl the next day.

Instant Pot Lemon Chicken with Green Olives
Instant Pot Lemon Chicken with Green Olives
Summer is almost here, so Chef Meredith made a fresh, Mediterranean-inspired chicken dish best enjoyed on a sunny patio. This Lemon Chicken with Green Olives recipe comes from the Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook. Chef Meredith made it in an Instant Pot in under 30 minutes, then served it alongside brown rice and green beans for a complete meal. We’d suggest pairing it with a crisp, citrusy white wine or rosé. Cheers!


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 3 pounds)
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 lemon, sliced into thin rounds
1 cup pitted green olives (Chef Meredith used Castelvetrano olives)
6 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (Chef Meredith used more thyme to garnish instead)

Instant Pot Lemon Chicken with Green Olives Directions:

1. Turn the Instant Pot on to Sauté. Heat the olive oil. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with the salt and pepper. Add half of the chicken, skin side down, and cook until the skin is golden brown and crisp, about 10 minutes. Flip the chicken and cook for 1 minute more. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken.
2. Add the garlic to the pot and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the onion, lemon, olives, and thyme, and cook, scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pot, for 2 minutes. Lay the chicken on top. Press Cancel.
3. Lock the lid. Press Manual and cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. Chef Meredith suggests preheating your oven broiler here, as she likes to re-crisp the chicken for serving.
4. Use the “Quick Release” method to vent the steam, then open the lid.
5. If you want to re-crisp your chicken, Chef Meredith says: transfer chicken thighs to a rimmed baking sheet and move to oven under broiler. Broil until chicken skin is crispy and golden.
6. Serve the chicken with the onions, lemon, and olives, and sprinkle with the parsley (or thyme, in Chef Meredith’s case!). She served her chicken alongside brown rice and green beans.

10 Cup Cookies
10 Cup Cookies
Chef Meredith recently asked Instagram what kind of cookie she should make. There were lots of responses and quite a few shout outs for Christina Tosi’s Corn Cookies from Milk Bar. They taste like they’re made with cornflakes, and who doesn’t love cookies made with breakfast cereal? That got Meredith thinking about an Abbott family tradition: 10 Cup Cookies! Chef Meredith tells us that these are the best cookies her mom ever made and that they would always have a bag of them in the freezer. (Her whole family agrees that they are best eaten frozen.) She never heard the story of how they got their name (which doesn’t even make sense, since there’s more than 10 cups of ingredients in the cookie). But with their roots in the Midwest (Chef Meredith and the cookies) and ingredients like oleo, salad oil, butter flavoring and Rice Krispies, we had to give them a try. To quote our beloved chef, “These cookies sound bizarre, but my oh my, they are delicious and have a shattery, crispy texture that will knock your socks off.” Gather up the kids (or kids-at-heart)—it’s time to bake!


10 Cup Cookies 1 cup oleo (butter), room temperature
1 cup salad oil (vegetable, or canola oil)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon butter flavoring
1 teaspoon coconut flavoring
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup oats
1 cup coconut flakes, sweetened or unsweetened
1 ½ cup Rice Krispies (or puffed rice cereal)
6 ounces chocolate chips, semi-sweet preferred

Yields: about 72 cookies


1. Add butter, oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar and cream of tartar to the bowl of a stand mixer.
2. In a separate small bowl, add egg, vanilla, butter flavoring and coconut flavoring; set aside.
3. Put a mesh strainer over a medium bowl and add flour, salt and baking soda. Sift to combine and break up lumps.
4. In another bowl, combine oats, coconut, Rice Krispies and chocolate chips.
5. Attach bowl to your stand mixer and fit with the paddle attachment. Beat butter and sugar mixture until smooth; add egg and flavorings and beat again, scraping bowl as needed.
6. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients in stand mixer and beat on medium-low until no streaks of flour remain. Scrape sides of bowl as needed.
7. Add in oat/chocolate chip mixture. Beat on low, or fold in by hand.
8. Using a ¾-ounce portion scoop, portion all cookie dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Transfer baking sheet to refrigerator and chill dough balls for 20 minutes.
9. Preheat oven to 350°F and position racks into lower and upper thirds of oven.
10. Transfer cookie dough balls to another parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving 2 inches between each ball.
11. Place cookie sheet in preheated oven and bake for 12 minutes.

* You may freeze remaining dough balls and bake anytime. Just pre-heat oven, put frozen dough balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 13-14 minutes.

Pork Shoulder Roast
Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder
Here’s a great weekend cooking project—Chef Meredith made slow-roasted pork shoulder which is delicious right out of the oven or can be used for several satisfying meals. Our favorites on her list are pulled pork sandwiches, carnitas for tacos or nachos and pork tossed with red sauce and pasta.


Pork Shoulder Roast
1. Preheat oven to 300°F
2. Slice onion and garlic, set aside. Season all sides of the pork shoulder with the Bitterman Herbs de Northwest.
3. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, then add 2 tablespoons oil.
4. When oil shimmers from the heat, sear each side of pork until a deep, golden crust is achieved. Remove pork and let it rest on a plate.
5. Add onions, garlic, fennel and paprika cook until softened and slightly browned.
6. Add can of crushed or diced tomato and scrape up fond (browned bits) from bottom of Dutch oven.
7. Add pork shoulder back into pot and nestle into sauce. Add enough water (or broth) to pan to bring liquid 2/3 way up pork.
8. Top with lid and transfer to oven. Roast for a minimum of 3 hours and up to 5.
9. Remove lid and roast for an additional 30 minutes to reduce sauce and crisp top of pork.
10. When cooking is complete, put Dutch oven on stovetop with the burners off. Remove any twine, and using tongs or forks, “pull” pork into large chunks and stir into sauce.
11. Serve immediately or divide into shallow food storage containers and refrigerate for future use.

Pork Shoulder Ingredients:

2-4 pound boneless pork shoulder
28 ounce can (1) of crushed or diced tomato
1 yellow onion
4-6 cloves of garlic
Neutral oil (e.g. canola, grapeseed)
2 tablespoons Bitterman Herbs de Northwest (or 1 tablespoon Italian-style dry herbs + 1 tablespoon Kosher Salt)
2 tablespoons fennel seed
1 tablespoon paprika
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Grilled Pizza
With longer days and a craving for fresh air, Chef Meredith headed outdoors, fired up the grill and made pizza. It’s a delicious way to eat your veggies and this versatile base works well with so many toppings—cured meats, anchovies, thinly sliced potatoes, mushrooms, leftover cooked sausage, chicken, pesto, and more. Buon appetito!


Grilled Pizza
1. Make the pizza dough recipe we developed for our cooking classes or buy this one ready-made and delivered to your doorstep.
2. Preheat your grill, then grill the veggies. Cool slightly and cut down to pizza topping size.
3. Place a pizza stone, pizza steel or large cast iron skillet on the grates of your grill and allow the cooking surface to get hot. This should take 5-8 minutes.
4. Coat with a thin layer of oil, then transfer 1 thinly rolled pizza round into skillet (or pizza stone/steel). Close lid and let it cook for 2 minutes.
5. Flip and repeat. Meanwhile, preheat the broiler in your oven.
6. Remove crust from grill and place it on a baking sheet. Top crust with pizza sauce (light coating or abundant to your taste), add grilled veggies, and finish with low-moisture shredded mozzarella.
7. Broil on top rack until cheese is melted and bubbly golden, check at 4 minutes.
8. Drizzle edges of crust with olive oil and sprinkle with Maldon sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Grilled Pizza Ingredients:

¼ cup (2 ounces) warm water (110° to 115°F)
2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast or 1¾ teaspoons instant (fresh) yeast
3¼ cups (16¼ ounces) bread flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup (8 ounces) water
3 tablespoons (1 ½ ounces) extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon for brushing
1 bell pepper
2 zucchini
1 yellow onion (leave root attached and quarter)
a few stems of kale
pizza sauce
low-moisture shredded mozzarella

Crusty, Comforting Sourdough Bread
Chef Danielle bakes spectacular sourdough bread and documented how she recently made this crusty comfort food for her family. It takes several days from starter to finish but is well worth the wait. Let’s do this.

Sourdough Bread

Sourdough Bread Directions:

First the starter:
1. Mix 3 ounces white bread flour
1 ounce whole wheat flour
4 ounces warm water
Mix well and cover. Let sit 2-3 days until starter begins bubbling. Optional: If your starter isn’t bubbling, add 1 T rye flour to boost activity.
1. When starter begins to bubble, begin regular daily feedings. Weigh your starter and discard 80% (by weight) then feed the remaining 20% of starter 2 ounces water and 2 ounces white bread flour. Repeat daily until the starter rises and falls regularly and has a sour, yeasty smell like buttermilk. This should take 3-7 days. Note: Instead of throwing away your starter discard, you can make crackers, waffles or pancakes.
3. Now it’s time for a float test. Fill a container with cool water and drop a tablespoon of starter into it. If it floats, move on to the next step. If not, feed the starter again and repeat the float test in 5-6 hours.
4. Take 1 tablespoon of starter and mix with 7 ounces white bread flour and 7 ounces warm water. Cover and let sit overnight. Note: We recommend that you save the remaining starter and store it in your fridge. Feed it every few days or so.

Sourdough Bread Making your dough:
1. Gather and mix ingredients: 7 ounces starter, 4 pounds white bread flour, 4 ounces whole wheat flour, and 4 teaspoons fine kosher salt dissolved in 2 ounces warm water. Mix all together to a shaggy mass.
2. Turn dough out onto counter and split into two pieces.
3. Flour counter and using wet hands, take one corner of the dough and pull it over the entire dough to the opposite corner. Repeat with all 4 corners.
4. Flip dough and shape into a rough circle.
5. Repeat steps 1-4 with second piece of dough.
6. Cover each piece of dough and repeat folding every 30 minutes for the next 2½ hours.
7. Turn dough into a well-floured proofing bowl (or other bowl) so that the smooth side is facing down. Place inside a large plastic bag or wrap well with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Alternatively, cover with a towel and allow to rise 2-3 hours at room temperature.

Sourdough Bread Bring on the baking:
1. Remove dough from refrigerator and let it come up to room temperature.
2. Preheat oven to 500°F then place Dutch oven or cast iron skillet into oven for 30 minutes.
3. Remove Dutch oven or cast iron skillet from oven and place on stovetop or other heat-safe surface.
4. Carefully invert dough from bowl into Dutch oven or cast iron skillet.
5. Using a bread lame or sharp knife, score the top of the dough.
6. Transfer Dutch oven with dough into the oven and top with lid. If you are using a cast iron skillet, place a pan of water in the bottom of your oven.
7. Reduce oven temperature to 450°F and bake for 20 minutes. Remove lid and bake another 20-25 min until the crust is dark brown.
8. Let it cool, slice—yum!


3 pounds white bread flour
5 oz whole wheat flour
Rye flour (optional – 1 tablespoon)
4 teaspoons fine kosher salt

Bourbon Smash
Bourbon Smash
Chef Meredith created this cocktail to toast good health and staying home. Any berries you have in the freezer will do and this is a tasty way to put them to use. Here’s to you!


1 ½ ounce bourbon
5-8 frozen blackberries (You can use any berry you like—adjust sugar and lime juice to your taste)
2 wedges of lime
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
Plain soda or seltzer water
Ice in a rocks glass or highball


1. Add berries, lime and sugar to a cocktail shaker and muddle together. If you don’t have a muddler use the handle of a wooden spoon.
2. Pour in bourbon, add two ice cubes and, this is important, put the top on your shaker!
3. Shake until cup is frosty.
4. Strain over ice into your glass and top with soda water.
5. Squeeze in remaining lime wedge. Cheers! (Your Zoom happy hour friends will be jealous.)

Other tips: Vodka, tequila or gin can be substituted for bourbon. If you want to add some fresh herbs when muddling, we recommend mint or thyme.

Homemade Hummus
Chef Meredith made fresh hummus using things you probably have in your pantry too.

Hummus is a great source of protein and fiber, plus it’s absolutely delicious and easy to make. We like it as a dip for pita chips, pretzels or fresh vegetables or as a spread to amp up your sandwich. Let’s get to it.


1 can chickpeas, drained
1-2 tablespoons tahini (Chef Meredith substituted 2 teaspoons
white miso paste + 2 teaspoons unsweetened peanut butter)
Juice of half lemon
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
2 shakes paprika
1 shake cayenne
Water if needed
Other optional seasonings: cumin, za’atar, coriander


1. Drain chickpeas and then pour them into your food processor.
2. Add garlic clove, tahini, olive oil and lemon juice. If you don’t have tahini, try the miso paste and peanut butter substitution.
3. Process until semi-smooth.
4. Add salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne.
5. Process again until completely smooth.
6. Taste and adjust seasoning. If you prefer your hummus extra smooth, add water 1 tablespoon at a time to desired consistency.
7. Enjoy!

Making Spam Musubi with Kids
Chef Danielle Vauthy, our chief recipe developer, has two kiddos at home with her while she concocts more delicious dishes for our cooking classes. Here's how she's keeping them busy.

People have strong opinions about Spam. What I've found is that everyone thinks it's delicious until they reach a certain age when "good taste" favors meats that don't come in tins. That's why Spam Musubi is a great dish to make with kids: they love the stuff, and it gives you an excuse to eat it, too—you've got to try their handiwork. (Really, though, Spam is tasty.)

For those not initiated, Spam Musubi is prevalent in Hawaii, where it's enjoyed as a snack or a light lunch. Those that have lived on the Islands view it with nostalgia as local fare. They compare notes on where to find it, who makes it best and how much you can mess with the traditional recipe. Your kids will just think it's fun to play with the sushi rice and nori, plus it's relatively healthy as far as kiddie bites go. You don't even need a musubi mold to make it—you can use the Spam can. Just remove the top and bottom of it. See how great Spam is! It's a full-service pork.


1 can Spam, cut into 6 even slices
½ cup sake
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 ½ cups sushi rice cooked and cooled slightly (Make at least 1 ½ cup dry rice for each can of Spam.)
6 sheets of nori
Furikake flakes


1. Slice Spam into six pieces and sear on both sides on medium-high heat in a skillet until crispy and golden.
2. Remove Spam. Don't discard rendered fat. Deglaze fat with sake. Simmer on medium scraping up all the brown bits. Stir in granulated sugar and soy sauce. Simmer until the glaze is thickened, about 3 minutes. (Tip: make extra glaze, then whisk in 1 Tablespoon of Sriracha and serve with musubi as a dipping sauce.)
3. Return Spam slices to skillet and coat with glaze.
4. Lay a sheet of nori on a cutting board, shiny side down. Center musubi mold on nori, wet hands and fill mold with an even layer of rice, about ¼ inch thick. If you're using the Spam can as a mold, cut the nori in half to fit.
5. Wet hands to handle rice. Use the plunger or hands to shape rice into one even flat layer. Sprinkle furikake on rice. Top with a slice of Spam. Repeat with a second layer of sushi rice ¼-inch thick.
6. Unmold musubi by pushing down with plunger with one hand and pulling up mold with your other hand.
7. Fold nori around the rice, pressing up and over to make a sharp right angle. If nori doesn’t stick, use a piece of rice between the nori as glue. Allow musubi to set 10 minutes before cutting.
8. Slice each piece of musubi in half. Wiping down knife with a wet towel between each cut. Plate and serve.
9. Wrap musubi in plastic wrap and refrigerate if you have any leftovers. Allow to come to room temperature before serving.

Be sure to check back next Tuesday for Chef Danielle's tips for making pizza dough with the bambinos.

Cooking and Freezing Grains
Chef Meredith shares tips on how to bulk prep and freeze white, brown and wild rice; quinoa; farro and barley. These time-saving tips also work for lentils.

No matter what's for dinner, a wholesome, nutritious base of grains is like a cozy blanket for your belly. Rice, quinoa and barley are what fill us up, keep us full and make our meals satisfying. Most of my favorite dishes use some form of grain as a foundation food. As a result, I've found ways to make grains in advance to save time in the kitchen—even though it's my favorite place to be, this is also the Golden Age of Streaming, so there are shows to watch.

Here's how to bulk prep and freeze grains and lentils, plus a few of my favorite ways to put quinoa to use.

Step 1: I cook these grains like I cook pasta. To start, heat a large amount of water (over four times the volume of the grain you're going to cook) and season it generously with salt.
Step 2: Stream in the grains, stirring initially so they don't stick together, lower the heat to a simmer. Then cook the grain until it still has a bit of chew to it (al dente).
Step 3: Strain through a colander.
Step 4: Spread the cooked grains onto a rimmed baking sheet. Cool down at room temp, then slip them into the refrigerator until completely cooled.
Step 5: Divide the grains into reusable freezer-safe containers. Frozen grains will stay good for about a month and you can quickly microwave them for a few minutes before use.

A couple of my favorite quinoa recipes:

One-Pot Wonderful
Meredith Abbott
Chef Meredith Abbott, Sur La Table's Manager of Culinary Content, shares this easy and tasty recipe that will become your go-to for weeknight meals.

Simple is often best—especially in complicated times. In my experience, recipes that use easily nameable and shoppable foods become the repeat hits. They're the type of dishes we revisit whenever we want something satisfying and nourishing, and when we're just stumped about what to have for dinner.

This creamy one-pot meal is one of those dishes. All the ingredients are common grocery store items that can also be substituted to suit your particular tastes and cravings. You might try adding zucchini, carrots, swiss chard, kale or broccoli instead of or on top the veggies I chose below. You can also use pork sausage instead of chicken for a richer flavor. For the hotheads out there: a pinch or two of red pepper flakes or sliced chilis adds just the right kick. And this dish will heat up well for leftovers later in the week.

One-Pot Chicken Sausage and Veggie Dish Chef Meredith's One-Pot Chicken Sausage and Veggie Dish
Makes: 4 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
1 lb. Italian chicken sausage
1/2 yellow onion, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 bell pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups baby spinach
8 ounces cream cheese, cut into large pieces

One-Pot Chicken Sausage and Veggie Dish Directions:

1. Set a large Dutch oven or a stockpot over medium heat. Add chicken sausage. Cook, breaking up large pieces until golden brown all around, about 5 minutes.
2. Add onions, cauliflower and bell pepper, season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
3. Add tomato paste, stir to coat vegetables. Cover and cook for about 4 minutes.
4. Uncover and stir. Add cream cheese, cover with lid until vegetables are crisp tender, about 4 minutes.
5. Add spinach, carefully stir until spinach is wilted.
6. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
7. Serve. We like it with glass of chardonnay.

Meredith Abbott
A Week's Worth of Yum
Chef Meredith Abbott, Sur La Table's Manager of Culinary Content, shares how she makes delicious meals each week while limiting her shopping trips with planning tips and suggestions.

Meal planning for more than a few days has always been a struggle for me—I like to cook spontaneously, depending on what my partner Zac and I are craving. But with stay-at-home protocols, we have to limit the time we spend running errands like grocery shopping, and I have to adapt. I’m with you in this struggle!

Here are four steps I take to make sure we're all eating well and staying sane while staying home.

Gather Inspiration

To plan your menu for the week, get with your dining companions to discuss the foods that you all want to eat that week. We started with dinner—it’s the biggest meal, and the one we have the most opinions about. Once we had our list of food options, I chose meals with common ingredients. For us, that meant chicken, shrimp and versatile vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli and salad greens. You might also flip through cookbooks and look online for ideas to get you started. (Sur La Table has put together some great recipes for home-cooked meals.)

Grocery List Create a Shopping List

This is a must. To limit your time in the store, you need to be organized. Begin by checking how many your selected recipes serves to determine if you need to decrease or increase the required ingredients. Also, make plans for leftovers! You may even want to double up on some meals so you've got lunch covered the next day.

Next, write out the ingredients on a shopping list, then sort the ingredients by where you'd find them in store. For example:

Refrigerated & Dairy
Meats & Seafood
Pantry: Canned & Dry Goods
Bulk Bins
Home Goods (personal care, cleaning supplies, etc.)

Meredith Abbot This will increase your efficiency in the store, and it also makes it easier to divide the list up if you go to with another person from your household. If the person who is joining you is new to shopping for your house, also write down brands you generally buy, sizes or any helpful notes to help them grab the right items.

Here's what my grocery list looked like.

Create Your Meal Plan

Once you've made your grocery list, you can start to plan out the weekly meals. Since we prioritized dinner, those meals just need to be slotted in the corresponding days. They also inform what we'll be eating for breakfast and lunch, since they share ingredients—we might have leftovers that we'll reheat or use to make something else. Build in flexibility with frozen and prepared meals, even takeout. You don’t have to make everything from scratch!

Here's what our meal plan for the week looked like.
MONDAY Scrambled eggs with cheese and toast; coffee with almond milk Caesar salad with pepitas/nuts Roasted whole chicken with roasted mixed veggies with lemon and chili (roast half of extra chicken for future meals, half stays raw for Friday—freeze until Thursday ) Bulk bin finds / protein bar
TUESDAY Rolled oats with nuts, fruit and coffee with almond milk Sandwiches: Roast beef or ham, cheese, spinach, mayo, mustard, bread; sides: Pirate’s Booty and veggie sticks Sauteed or grilled shrimp with cheesy cauliflower grits with spinach Homemade hummus and veggies sticks
WEDNESDAY Egg and bacon breakfast sandwich with cheese of choice Caesar salad with leftover roasted chicken and pepitas One-pot meal: chicken sausage and veggies (cauliflower, bell pepper, spinach) with cream cheese sauce; optional: add quinoa Toast with peanut butter and berries/apples
THURSDAY Scrambled eggs with cheese, toast and coffee with almond milk Leftovers of choice Coconut chicken curry with quinoa (add spinach if some is left) Bulk bin finds
FRIDAY Rolled oats with nuts, fruit and coffee with almond milk Tuna salad on toast (melts?), small side salad with sliced veggies Lemon oregano chicken (grilled if nice out); Greek-ish salad with tomato, feta, oregano, bell pepper and olives Hummus and veggie sticks or yogurt and nuts
SATURDAY Egg and bacon breakfast sandwich with cheese of choice Chicken and veggie soup with pesto and quinoa (stock made from chicken bones and trim), toast or crackers—freeze what we don’t eat for next week Grilled (or broiled) fish tacos with cilantro and tapatio cream with cabbage slaw Yogurt with fruit or nuts
SUNDAY Scrambled eggs with cheese, toast and coffee with almond milk Sandwiches of choice (BLT, ham, roast beef, cheese) with crackers/chips LEFTOVERS!!!! + fridge cleanout Fridge cleanout: crackers, cheese, veggie sticks, random snacks
Manage Your Time and Expectations

This may surprise you, but just because I’m a chef doesn’t mean that I want to be in the kitchen all the time, cooking meals from scratch—especially when I still have my job to do. So I made lunches and breakfast easy on myself (and Zac)!

Making Lunch We decided that lunch would be simple sandwiches, salads and leftovers, with soup on the weekend (because it’s the weekend, I won’t be on conference calls or at my computer).

Breakfasts, I also kept simple, with eggs playing a big role. We love eggs, and more importantly, Zac loves cooking eggs. Planning meals that let one person take a break is key, and breakfast is when I get to take it easy. We also have a simple rule in our household—the person who isn’t cooking does the dishes, and we take turns making coffee in the morning.

In other words, meal planning is much easier (and more sustainable) when it’s a team effort.