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Monday, April 12th, 2010

What’s For Dinner?

Riding high on last week’s success with planning our dinners in advance I’m trying again.  I’m also inspired by Rob‘s good work with Menu Monday.  I spent some time over the weekend puzzling it out and came up with a list of dinners in no particular order and a shopping list of a couple of things to pick up.  A couple of things that are on my mind: I like working within a framework so I like buying the same stuff each week so I always have a sense of what’s on hand.

I’m not big on picking out a recipe and then buying a whole list of ingredients to make it.  I like to buy the same items weekly and then either prepare them in my favorite way or choose a new recipe that either varies the cooking method or uses other ingredients that I already have on hand in the preparation.

I still don’t like to use prepared foods even though sometimes making dinner totally feels like it’s going to kill me.  Although I did decide that stir fry sauce is one prepared food that I need to keep on hand.  Also, is it ok that my weekly menus look something like pizza, chicken wings, burritos if the stuff is homemade?  I hope so.

I’m probably the kind of mother that could make the same 7 meals in a weekly rotation.

There’s stuff in my cupboards that has been ignored for too long and must be used.  Probably stuff I bought to make some crazy recipes some time.  It’s time to use it up.

So, I got in bed with a stack of books and magazines and got to work.  That must have been Friday night.  I prepared the first meal on Saturday.  Linguini with clam sauce.  A rif on a Fine Cooking recipe.  I used a can of clams from the cupboard instead of fresh because that’s what I had.

Sunday night I made a dinner of champions.  It was pretty hideous but it was fast.  It involved hot dogs.  We won’t dwell on that one.

Tonight I made spanakopitas and a salad.  From my pantry this recipe uses up some leftover feta and pine nuts.  The filling is very tasty.  I hope having 8 triangles in the freezer makes up for the fuss of making them.  It’s not terribly difficult but way harder than say, rolling and topping a pizza.  I did make them early in the afternoon so that I could just pop them into the toaster oven at dinner time.  This recipe would be totally impossible for me to make starting at 6pm.

Tuesday: wild mushroom risotto.  Uses mushrooms which regularly appear on my shopping list and some arborio rice lurking in the cabinets.  Subbing a much less expensive blend of dried wild mushrooms for the morels which would break the bank for a weeknight meal.  Chase *might* eat this because she loves rice.

Wednesday: Tuscan lemon chicken, roasted tomatoes and risotto cakes.  Well a rif on the risotto cakes recipe from the book because I’m actually planning to use the leftover risotto.  Uses a frozen chicken from the freezer and the leftovers from Tuesday night.  I have some rosemary outside, TONS of lemons and bread crumbs for the risotto cakes on hand.

Thursday: Ribs, mac and cheese, black eyed pea salad.  I have a rack of ribs in the freezer and I’ve been fashioning bbq sauce using an entire jar of pepper jelly each time.  I’ve made these once before and they’re pretty easy in the crock pot.  I have black eyed peas in the freezer and can probably find some barley otherwise I’ll just omit it.

Friday: Something with leftover chicken.  Probably stir fry because I have bell peppers… unless I eat all the chicken for lunch as chicken salad.   If that happens I’ll probably make pizza or eat the leftover mac and cheese with salad.  That would make three meatless meals in a week.  Don’t tell my man.

I love to eat leftovers for lunch but I’m sure I’ll still have enough to get through Saturday night and then start all over again planning for next week.  Most of the recipes are from Ina Garten’s new book Back to Basics.  There are some pretty good looking recipes in there.  What I would really like is to see a noticeable dent in the half bags of stuff hanging around the kitchen.

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