Tuesday, July 2, 2013

What we did.

For those of you who are the primary cook in your home, you will know of what I speak.

I am sooooo sick of meal planning.

OK, that's a lie because I don't meal plan and so I end up standing in the kitchen at 5 pm staring in the pantry/fridge/freezer and thinking, "Shit. Why don't I meal plan?"

I do this about 7 nights a week so you'd think I'd get with the program, wouldn't you?

Yea, so I did.

This week, but, hey, it's a start.

And here's what we did:

I put the proverbial foot down.

On Sunday, when we were unplugged, I said, "Hey, Finn, go grab a bunch of cookbooks, bring 'em in here and just open each one to a random page and that's what we'll have for dinner!"

Big hit.

BIG hit.

We did quickly have to set some ground rules because the first thing Finn opened was The Joy of Cooking and it opened to ICINGS.

He couldn't believe his luck!

I did promise that we would choose an icing and make something to go with it, but I also had to insist that we retry until we found dinner.

So here's our menu for the week:

Monday:  We had work people over for dinner so this night didn't count from the cookbooks.  No way I am making Summer Lasagna or some intensive shit like that for 10 people.  I am not that kind of wife.  So we had tacos.  Really good ones though with fresh tortillas and two kinds of beans and Jackdaddy's insanely great guacamole and some super good strong cheddar cheeses and Mexican corn on the cob.  OH, YEA, and Finn made dessert!  ALL by himself.  Not kidding.  He makes this thing whereby he slices strawberries, drizzles them with lime juice then sprinkles brown sugar all over that.  Good.  Really good.  Plus, Alison the wonder baker, brought over some no-bake chocolate oatmeal cookies to boot.  I ate  47 of them.  At least.

Tuesday:  Glazed carrots with mustard and honey dressing (Veg Cooking for Everyone), Salad with homemade vinaigrette (Hearty Vegan) and then we're throwing some trout on the grill because Jackdaddy balked at two rabbit dishes for dinner.

Wednesday:  Potato Leek Soup (In Season) with side salad and leftover dressing from Tuesday.  Can I just say that I always think of potato leek soup as a winter soup, but damn if potatoes and leeks are not flowing at the markets these days, so, what the hell.

Excuse me, a chicken just walked past me which means the back door is open.

Thursday:  Tomato/garlic/basil/olive oil cookup over pasta.  It's pretty much this: Fresh tomato pasta sauce.  We make this a lot in the summer, but I never thought to let it sit before.  Lordy, lordy that really amps it up good.

Friday:  Normally this is pizza and movie night, but I think we'll be picnicing this week.  We have lots of leftover corn from last night so I think I'll make a summer corn salad (Pinterest has 17 million ones that look good), maybe some tuna fish, lots of fruit, etc., etc.

Saturday:  Roasted chicken with tiny potatoes (Smitten Kitchen).  There is really nothing in the Smitten Kitchen cookbook that is not the most fabulous thing you ever tasted so we may just open that one 7 times next week.

Sunday:  Um, looks like we only picked 6 so, we'll see.

There you have it, fellow non-meal-planners.

I am a plananista! 

Now if only I can make us stick to it.

Anybody else meal plan this week?

What's on your list?

Wanna share?  


  1. My form of meal planning is to take meat out of the freezer on Saturday (actually, Don does this) and then have Don grill it all on Sunday. Then all week, I just come up with sides!

    1. Yep, I think I'll have Jack start grilling a bunch of veggies on Sunday that I can use for the next few days.

      LOVE that grillin'!

  2. I do some meal planning, but when I worked and had to do that, I often found that what I planned for Friday wasn't what I wanted when Friday arrived. What works really well for me is to have a pantry stocked with the essentials, have some protein on hand (eggs and canned fish in the pantry), and plan just one or two days ahead. We also always have chard in the garden, which is a healthy fall-back. I market almost daily, a habit I obtained living in London, picking up just a few things for the evening meal at the grocery on my way home from Yoga. It takes very little time and also ensures that our veggies are really fresh. We eat nothing from a box or package and don't eat grains or legumes, so evening meals are pretty basic: two or three servings of veg and one serving of protein. Easy peasy! Last night we had roasted chicken (for me) fish (for Morgan), roasted eggplant, left over kale, and broccoli. It took about an hour from figuring out what to eat to table. Tonight will be faster because we have left over meat and fish.

    1. Oh my gosh, HOW I LOVE to market just a bit every day. I mean, I don't because marketing with a 9 year old boy is not so much fun, but I manage to get to the farmers' markets every Wed and Sat or Sun. Such a luxury. My dream is to have a little Smeg fridge and market every day.

      I wish I was in London right now.


      I don't eat meat except for fish, but I always buy a lot so that I can have it all week. The boys will have chicken later in the week and Im going to try and make myself make chikkin salad with any leftovers.

      AND I wanna make homemade mayo today!

  3. Tomato/garlic/basil/olive oil cookup over pasta. That looks delicious. I have 2 that would whine and bitch about it and refuse to eat it because neither of them like tomatoes. My son will eat them cooked and I quit trying to get him to try them raw years ago. The middle granddaughter hates everything and is a big pain to get food into. With the tribe I feed, I have to plan.

    1. Crap, do I hear ya or whut?

      Finn has just turned the corner into liking food SOME. He does not eat the pasta thing. I usually make him pasta with fresh lemon squeezed on it plus olive oil. That's his "go to" meal.
      And smoothies. The kid lives on smoothies.

  4. Once again....I love this blog, I don't meal plan (but should I guess) but I did enjoy reading about your planning! Especially about the chicken and open door scenario! Hahaha. I also love the game incorporation of the cookbooks, that is something I will definitely have to try! Thank you for sharing, it was a nice little post to brighten my day (yes I know you're writing this blog just for my entertainment!) -Keisha

    1. Well, see there? I AM writing it just for you so thank you for saying nice things. The cookbook thing was really truly super fun.

  5. Love the cookbook idea. I've used Holistic Squid, eMeals, and TheFresh20 for meal planning. eMeals is probably my favorite because they (apparently) create their recipes based upon what is on sale at various grocery stores (I use the Whole Foods plan, but have noticed that many times the meats that they have in the recipes that week are not on sale at the store, but their meals are always quite good; they also have a breakfast and lunch plan).

    1. All-right, now you've got me thinking. I desperately need breakfast plans. Going to check it all out. Thanks for the recs!

  6. Dene Murphy PayanJuly 2, 2013 at 8:45 PM

    I plan my meals out every week... Not as healthy as you did, but hey, we eat, lol
    We normally have a lot of Mexican type foods, but that didn't happen this week.
    We don't eat canned foods at all. Most everything is homemade
    Sunday: Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Pasta with Alfredo Sauce, Grilled Asparagus
    Monday: Pork Carnitas, Corn Tortillas, Pinto Beans, Fresh Pico (Tomatoes, Onions, Habañeros, Serranos, Jalapeños, Garlic, Cilantro, all from the garden with fresh lime juice and chopped avocado)
    Tuesday: Pork Roast, Baby Potatoes and Onions(from the garden), Baby Carrots
    Wednesday: Baked Chicken, Parmesan Pasta, Steamed Broccoli
    Thursday: Grilled Tilapia, Rice A Roni (I love that stuff!) Cucumber Salad (from the garden)
    Friday: Grilled Pork Steaks, Dinner Rolls (I hate making these, but everyone loves them), Salad (Cauliflower, Celery, Cucumbers, Radishes, Lettuce, all from the garden)
    Saturday: Hot Wings, Baked Herb Potato Chips, Celery, Carrots, and Dips

    1. Wow, that sounds yummy! Especially the Carnitas day!

    2. Damn, girl, I'm coming to YOUR house. That's my meal plan: your house!


      Thanks for great ideas too! THIS is what I was looking for. Maybe we need a FB page: What's for dinner?

    3. Dene Murphy PayanJuly 5, 2013 at 11:12 PM

      The Carnitas are to die for (It's repinned on my Pintrest page). Try it, you'll love it. I have tried the following recipe with pork, beef, chicken, and are our favorites in that same order.

      Pork Carnitas (Mexican Pulled Pork)

      2 1/2 lb - Pork Shoulder Blade Roast (Lean)
      6 Cloves - Garlic (Diced)
      To Taste - Cumin
      To Taste - Dry Adobo Seasoning
      To Taste - Garlic Powder
      3/4 C - Chicken Broth
      1 can - Chipotle Chilies in Adobo Sauce (I use the large can)
      2 - Bay leaves

      Season pork with salt and pepper. In a medium sauté pan on medium-high heat, brown pork on all sides for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

      Using a sharp knife, insert blade into pork, cutting small holes and insert garlic slivers. Season pork generously with cumin, adobo and garlic powder all over.

      Pour chicken broth in the Crockpot, add bay leaves and chipotle peppers. Place pork in crock pot and cover. Cook low for 8 hours. After 8 hours, shred pork using two forks and combine well with the juices that accumulated at the bottom. Remove bay leaves and adjust salt and cumin (you will probably need to add more). Let it cook another 15-30 minutes.

  7. Dene Murphy PayanJuly 2, 2013 at 8:50 PM

    Your cookbook idea is fun. I try to have 1 new recipe each week, usually a recipe I find on Pintrest or get from a friend. This week it is the Baked Herb Potato Chips, a recipe I sorta kinda made up, lol

    1. RECIPE Please!!! Sounds great.

      Is Pinterest the shit for recipes or whut?

  8. We haven't planned since school let out for summer. Boo :-(. That means we've been eating out more than we should, especially the past few unbearably hot days.

    Yesterday morning I put a whole package of chicken breasts on the grill--being all so ON IT with making food in the morning before it gets too hot--then promptly forgot them and took my son to a 2 HOUR movie, with the grill blazing away the whole time. Remembered when I got home and flew to the deck in a panic. Tiny little black lumps on the grill, but no fire or damage to anything but the chicken. We went out to eat last night. So, yeah: Feeling more than a little food-challenged lately.

  9. I've been a meal planner for a long time (it gets easier as you go) because nobody likes to eat the same things twice around here and when I tried (oh and I DID try!) to eat up all the leftovers myownself I couldn't keep up. So I meal plan in ways that use up leftovers (proteins especially) with a slightly tweaked re-run a day or so later. Factor in picky eaters (which I'm dealing with in spades around here) and you eventually end up with "if this is Thursday I guess we are having Breakfast-for-Dinner". And that's OK.

    I love love loved "Excuse me, a chicken just walked past me which means the back door is open.". Perfection!

    1. You know, I LOVE breakfast for dinner!!!

      I totally forgot about doing that.

      I have been SO good about left overs this week!! Am really proud of myself.

  10. Oh, what a familiar topic. I, too, stand looking into the pantry in panic. However, my anxiety starts a long time before that, around 3 or 4 p.m. when I start trying to think of something to make. Then, it stacks up as nothing comes to mind, or as I discard one idea after another because we're missing a critical ingredient. Because I almost never undertake anything new without an accompanying gadget, I've been trying the PlanToEat web site (local!). I've finally got a lot of recipes in there and hopefully it will be useful. What I've tried to do is just plan out maybe 5-6 dinners (leave the last one free form) and then be flexible about when I actually make each one. Maybe on Monday we're in the mood for Wednesday's dish. No problem, I should have all the ingredients at hand!

    1. oooo What's PlanToEat?!?! Going now.

      Yes, damn ingredients is an issue here too. Especially since we eat mostly fresh foods.

  11. I'm embarrassed and proud to say my husband does most of the meal planning. He's darn good at it too.

    1. Plus those arms of his.

      Damn you, gloater.

  12. My motto? When in doubt, eat out.
    Since my hometown has 17,683 restaurants serving mexican food and 9,214 serving BBQ I am somewhat limited on variety but manage to survive nicely.
    Actually, last night I did have boiled new potatoes in the jackets with butter, salt and pepper plus fresly sliced tomatoes with mayo. Can you see my halo?
    When Finn chose icing and you said no did he say "You said!!!" ?

    1. HAHHA. You and Finn both love that motto!

      YUM on your dinner! That sounds really wonderful. Your halo is blinding me.

      Yes, he proteseth much.

      Love you!

  13. Meal planning usually consists of standing at the grocery store on Sunday night going, "What do I want to eat this week?" I normally only come up with 2, maybe 3 meals...and then I'm hosed and have to fall back on something we normally have on hand such as pasta or breakfast potatoes. What I have tried to do this year is make a new recipe (or eat at a new restaurant) every week. It's been going okay...I've tried to note all the stuff on my regular blog (with the original goal of having pictures every week), but that's even fallen by the wayside. Though we did make a delicious chocolate icebox cake based on a recipe from Woman's Day the other week.

  14. Man, meal planning makes me tired. I use epicurious' everyday cooking "Dinner Rush".


    Mixed with a bunch of older recipes. I find reading cookbooks really boring even though I love cooking. Don't know why that is.

  15. We just returned after ten days on a cruise ship in Alaska! I forgot how to cook. What is that?
    ms mdd


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