I haven’t forgotten the meal plans! Last week was a little tricky, though, as we were away for July 4th. Saturday night we were up in Lowell and took the kids to a South Indian vegetarian restaurant. Yum! They didn’t love it. Ben ate more than Max did, though. We won’t give up on having them try new things.
This week, I didn’t make it to the farmer’s market and am trying to use whatever we have in the fridge. Also, our oven hasn’t yet been repaired and I’m trying to cook on the grill more. Our stove still works, but grilling is more fun.
I say “trying” not because I suck at grilling (I am actually pretty good at it and used to grill all the time, every night, especially vegetables), but because we live on the second floor and the grill is down in the backyard and when you have small children, grilling in this situation becomes tricky, with all the running up and down the stairs to get stuff or prep food in the kitchen (i.e., the salad), and the children would therefore be left unattended in one place or the other at a time of day when they are “not as easygoing and mellow as they are earlier in the day.” Ahem.
Monday: Jerk Chicken Satay with pineapple dipping sauce (Wildtree freezer meal), corn on the cob, shredded cabbage salad with scallions and lime dressing. We used the grill, hooray! (only because Ben was napping). Max helped with most of this meal, though I got nervous when he put on his apron and insisted on turning things on the grill (he was nervous, too, and I helped him). I flat out refused to let him use the mandoline to shred the cabbage.
Tuesday: Black beans and rice, Swiss chard. I bought a ton of black beans at Costco, and since we all like them, I think black beans and rice will be appearing weekly.
Wednesday: Pasta and meatballs, spinach salad.
Thursday: Pizza on the grill, raw beet salad (soooo good). I love making pizza on the grill but haven’t done it in years. Let’s hope I still remember how!
Friday: Turkey burgers and hot dogs, some kind of vegetable.
Sunday: ?? Probably fish.
I was discussing meal plans with a few other people, some of whom are perhaps a little smarter than me. One woman, rather than reinventing the wheel every single week like I do, has three meal plans — A, B, and C — and rotates them. Aha! That’s it!
She very kindly sent me her meal plans, which look yummy and like stuff we make. I really like that idea. I do tend to be a little whimsical in the kitchen, and I usually rely on what’s on sale and what I find at the farmer’s market. But since I’m not really building meals around this week’s supply of Swiss chard or what have you, I could easily have a plan of three weeks of main dishes, with sides varying depending on the harvest.
It got me thinking about some staples, themes, and frequently repeated meals, and here are a few:
- Black beans and rice
- Fish (pan-cooked or baked/broiled)
- Wildtree freezer meal (eight of these left!)
- Pasta and meatballs, or pasta and beans, or pasta and veggies
- Chicken (bah, chicken; I think we’re all sick of it): grilled? pan-cooked? I need a more interesting way to prepare it
In other happy food news, I was reading about cold brewed coffee and decided to make some. Basically, you mix coffee grounds and water and let it sit at room temperature for at least 12 hours, then strain it. The concentrated result is a great base for cold/iced coffee drinks — just add milk and/or ice. It tastes a lot different than brewed coffee that has cooled down — less bitter, less acidic, more flavorful.
Plus, of course, I can store it in a Mason jar, and god knows I love Mason jars!
Speaking of Mason jars, jam season is almost upon us! Our raspberry patches have been really productive. I need another day or two’s harvest, and then I can make jam! I can’t wait. And then it will be peach season, and plums, and apples…
What are you cooking this week? Do your meal plans rotate, like my friend’s, or do you come up with new ones based on your whims?