Monday, January 9, 2012

Menu planning

I mentioned in yesterday's post that I try and sit down on Sundays and plan out a menu for the week. It is a little luxury I afford myself. Not everyone's cup of tea I know, but for me it is exciting to see what new recipes I can find to try out on whoever is my latest victim, often The Other Half. I peruse the ever-growing cookbook collection, pull out a couple of potentials and then sit at the kitchen table and flip through the pages until something catches my eye. Then I write out each day, with any major activities that might impact the cooking and/or eating of dinner, weigh in the likes and dislikes of the wee pods, and try and come up with a plan. I try to make sure I am offering chicken/turkey, pork, fish, beef pasta/pizza and vegetarian options during the week. At least one night, usually later in the week or Monday, is reserved for leftovers. (I have a leftover confession - I am not a big fan of them - they too easily become mystery meals in the back of the fridge, but especially when I am trying something for the first time I will make a full recipe so that I can get a sense of what the taste is like. Once a recipe is taste-test approved, then I will start to monkey with it/reportion.) Recipes that I want to try but are going to take a long time to cook are usually saved for the weekend when The Other Half and I can tag-team the wee pods. The rest of the week I try and do recipes that take between 30-40 minutes of cooking time - that doesn't include prep work which I try and do in advance either in bulk (why cry over onions all week long when you can get it out of the way all at once) or when the youngest pod is napping.

Here is what this week looks like:

Monday - Leftovers

Tuesday - Herb-Rub Roasted Chicken Breasts with Couscous and Peas

Wednesday - Ribollita with fresh Italian Bread from the bread machine

Thursday - Roast Salmon with Green Lentils and Tomatoes

Friday - Pizza Night - everyone makes their own with individual toppings

Saturday - Boneless Pork Loin Roasted with Apples and Sweet Potatoes, Salad

Sunday - Seared Rosemary Steak with Roasted New Potatoes and Broccoli

For Christmas I received two new cookbooks by Bonnie Stern and the "HeartSmart" series, published in conjunction with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. I discovered these cookbooks this summer, when visiting relatives and am super excited to dive in and try things out. A couple of this week's recipes come from Mark Bitman's, "How to Cook Everything" one of my go-to tomes, which will need to either rebound soon as it is so well loved and often used it is starting to fall apart.

So that is the plan. If you see something on the menu you are interested in having me post, let me know and I will try and take pictures while I am cooking (another resolution for the year - more pictures!) In the meantime, happy eating.

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