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What are you planning for dinner this week?

Recently, I've taken to planning a weekly dinner menu to avoid 1,001 trips to the store and slapdash, uninspired meals at 8:00 pm. Maybe those of us who plan ahead could post our weekly menus to help each other generate ideas? Although I don't always have time to pre-plan menus, it really helps me to shop wisely and actually use the recipes I discover on Chowhound.

So, to get things started, here are my menus from the past three weeks. I don't always follow them too rigidly, esp. if I'm short on time or not in the mood I try to allow for at least one dinner out and/or one meal of leftovers, leaving me with 4-5 meals to plan.

...WEEK I...

-Fish and veggie green curry with rice vermicelli [had brown rice instead]
-Chicken satay, summer rolls with avocado & cucumber [made venison goulash instead]
-Crustless quiche florentine, bacon, tomato soup [made quiche for brunch and skipped the rest]
-Pork tenderloin with mango salsa, black beans with Spanish rice
-Chicken shepherd's pie topped with sweet potato mash, spinach salad with toasted walnuts, clementines, honey-orange dressing [skipped the salad]
-Leftover white bean and ham soup

...WEEK II...

-Pumpkin soup with leek, roasted fennel, fish baked with remoulade & potato chip topping
-Rachel Ray's eggplant stew with polenta (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/eg...
)-Chicken-pork adobo with quinoa, spicy green beans
-Pork tenderloin stuffed with chipotle, sweet potato fries, cole slaw [made a different tenderloin recipe and changed the sides]
-Leftover venison goulash

...WEEK III [this week]...

-Pumpkin and roasted corn risotto (using up leftover soup), oven-fried panko chicken cutlets, field greens with toasted almonds and clementines
-Leftover eggplant stew & polenta
-Yellow Thai curry with white fish, potatoes, peppers, green beans, onions, carrots, bamboo shoots
-Baked chicken meatballs (http://smittenkitchen.com/2009/10/bak...), tomato sauce for dipping, squid ink spaghetti with garlic and red pepper flakes, glazed carrots with OJ, brown sugar, and cayenne
-Ravioli and chard with hazelnuts and sweet potato (http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/...); roasted beets

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  1. Good idea! I've been trying to plan two weeks of dinners in order to better plan my shopping trips (I alternate between a Whole Foods-like market and a regular supermarket) but it hasn't been working out all that well. So here's my menu for the upcoming week
    Sunday: Steamed mussels with roasted veggies
    Monday: Pinto bean cakes and avocados on greens (meant to be this recipe http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/rec..., but the pitas I got last week went bad already. boo
    )Tuesday: Spring veggie risotto - probably this one: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...
    Wednesday: Corned beef and cabbage, in the slow cooker, to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.
    Thursday: Vegetable tostadas and a salad
    Friday: don't know
    Saturday: Corned beef hash

    1. So now I don't have to read your posts on WFD? Hahaha!! I have some weeks where I am at a loss and digging in the freezer every night, and others where I plan out the entire week, and get sidetracked or unmotivated at some point, and it falls apart!

      But I happen to have planned out this coming week, so here's what I have on tap:

      Last night (Sunday) : Grilled NY strip steaks, baked potatoes, roasted asparagus, mushrooms
      Monday: Carne asada tacos with roasted onions, red peppers & black beans, avocado, salsa, cheese, black olives, tortillas
      Tuesday: Roast chicken legs provencal with tomatoes, red onion, and olives, couscous
      Wednesday: Pot roast, possibly in the crock pot, with carrots and potatoes
      Thursday: any leftovers of steak, chicken and pot roast
      Friday: salad, manhattan-styleclam chowder (potluck @ Church)

      The previous week was:
      Sunday - Roast whole pork loin with rosemary on bed of leeks & garlic, au gratin potatoes, roast asparagus
      Monday - roast pork sandwiches on sourdough rolls, with leek aioli, roasted tomato w/herbs & arugula
      Tuesday - wild mushrooms and chicken in cream sauce with farfalle pasta
      Wednesday- Chicken and fried rice with mushrooms and peas
      Thursday- roast pork fried rice with carrots and mushrooms, leftover pasta
      Friday - Tuna noodle casserole (mine), clam chowder & salad

      I guess sometimes it seems to fall into place. Hope that helps somebody out there!!

      3 Replies
      1. re: Phurstluv

        Do you mind posting your chicken Provencal recipe?

        1. re: ChristinaMason

          Sure. It's really just a simple roasted chicken recipe with vegetables. I take whole or split chicken legs, rub them with some herbes de Provence and kosher salt. Then roast them in a large sheet pan along with some roma tomatoes, red onions, fennel, garlic cloves and brined olives. Sometimes I use shallots and leeks and red or yellow peppers, whatever I have. Sometimes I throw in baby red or fingerling potatoes, or leave the garlic head whole. Then drizzle with olive oil, more salt & pepper and some fresh thyme. Roast at 425 until chicken is done. If some vegetables start to burn, I remove them and put them on the platter while the rest finishes. I will then deglaze any fond on the pan with some white wine, and make a jus with some stock, boil it down to reduce it for about 10-15 mins while getting the rest ready.

          It's really good served with couscous, if you don't serve potatoes.

          And as a note to my Grand Plan above, I realized that tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day and so the pot roast should be a corned beef dinner. We'll see how that goes with the kiddies!!

          1. re: Phurstluv

            Thanks! I know what I'm doing next week with some leg quarters I bought! :)

        1. Wow, maybe your efforts will inspire me to get it together, menu-wise. I tend not to think much past day 3, although I always have the running commentary of dinner possibilities in my head, and the "thousands of things I want to try."
          Lots of good ideas here. Thanks for your postings!

          1. Very good idea - I could use some help in that department as well.

            Sunday I roast a whole turkey from the holidays that was in the freezer and we're finishing the sides today. Tomorrow (Wed 3/17) will be the corned beef and cabbage traditional. I'm still looking for a ginger cookie recipe for dessert.

            Thursday will be turkey enchiladas
            Friday corn beef sandwiches and probably coleslaw from leftover cabbage
            Saturday will be 'wing it" day - I'll just wing it with what ever's left over

            I'll have to keep this thread in mind in the coming weeks to (hopefully) keep the plan working.

            7 Replies
            1. re: JerryMe

              I have this ginger cookie recipe, which I found online but which no longer seems to be available. I haven't tried it yet, but it sounded so good I saved it.

              Mrs. Shaw's Molasses Spice Cookies

              These spice cookies are excellent by themselves, or you can serve them with poached or roasted pears. They freeze beautifully, so you can make a batch and keep them on hand for tea or special occasions.

              2 cups all-purpose flour

              2 teaspoons baking soda

              Heaping 1 teaspoon cinnamon

              Heaping 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

              1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

              1/4 teaspoon salt

              1/2 cup corn oil

              1 cup sugar

              1/4 cup molasses

              1 large egg, lightly beaten

              1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter or cooking spray for greasing cookie sheets

              1 cup crystallized (coarse) sugar (see note)

              Preheat the oven to 350 F.

              Sift together the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt.

              Mix the corn oil with the sugar in a mixing bowl, beating until light and fluffy. Stir in the molasses and the egg. Add the dry ingredients in several batches and mix thoroughly. Gather up the dough, wrap in plastic, and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours, or in the freezer for 30 minutes.

              Roll heaping teaspoons of the dough into balls. Dip one side of each ball into the crystallized sugar and arrange the balls, sugared side up, about 3 inches apart on greased cookie sheets. Bake the cookies in batches in the middle of the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are puffed and cracked on top. Slide the cookies with a spatula to a cooking rack and let them cool.

              Note: Crystallized sugar is sold as "sparkling white sugar" at gourmet specialty stores and many supermarkets or may be mail-ordered from www.bakerscatalogue.com. If unavailable, use granulated sugar.

              (All recipes from Nina Simonds' cookbook "Spices of Life: Simple and Delicious Recipes for Great Health," Knopf, 2005, $35)

              1. re: ChristinaMason

                Christina - Thank you! I'll have to try it once the snickerdoodles that I made yesterday are gone. Actually, at the rate I'm raiding the cookie jar, I'll be ready to try those tomorrow! Ha!

                1. re: ChristinaMason

                  Just a thought, Christina, since you are at the source: The best molasses spice cookies I ever made were made with a packet of Lebkuchen spices a friend sent me in a gift of baking supplies from your neck of the woods. Are they available year-round or just around Christmas, I wonder. Come to think of it, the spice would be good mixed with sugar for yet another Snickerdoodle variation (Schnickerdudel?).

                  1. re: buttertart

                    JerryMe, you're welcome. Please let me know how the recipe works for you, because I want to make them myself :)

                    buttertart, I'm not sure if Lebkuchen spices are available this time of year. To be honest, it's kind of an acquired taste for me, but maybe worth a shot. Did they, um, taste like Lebkuchen?

                    1. re: ChristinaMason

                      Not really, just like more interestingly-spiced molasses spice cookies. Lebkuchen has a sort of fruitcakey/almond pasty thing going on, doesn't it? Not that that's a bad thing, I like both.

                      1. re: ChristinaMason

                        Christina - (Finally) got the chance to make these. Really easy - I put them in the freezer for 30 minutes to allow me time to run to the store and get parchment paper. I did not oil the cookie sheets. I did not have the sparkling white sugar - I just used regular granulated.

                        They are a good, flavorful, soft cookie and this would be a keeper. If nothing else, to keep a batch of dough in the frig to bake up when ready.

                2. We too find that if I cook more than four times a week a ton of leftovers get tossed in the compost. Might be an argument for halving even more recipes.

                  Anyhow, about a year ago we hung a small, bistro-style chalkboard in the kitchen. Yes, it's dorky, but we like it. Every Sunday we write up the week's menu. We're not rigid about following the plan (work, friends, happy hours, and leftovers tend to get in the way) and it doesn't reduce shopping trips 'cause I'm an incorrigible daily shopper, but it gets us thinking more (dare I say) "proactively" about what we want to cook, why we want to cook it, and what stores I need to hit. Plus the girlfriend gets to draw on it. That makes her happy.

                  I'll try and remember to post next week's menu here when we get around to it. Great idea, by the way.

                  5 Replies
                    1. re: ChristinaMason

                      Oh my, totally forgot about this thread. Sorry! Thanks for reviving below. We are currently out of town and have been traveling a bit lately so I'm geeked to get back in the kitchen and get us some home-cooking. For the remainder of the week (get back late tomorrow) I'm thinking of...

                      - a skillet mac n' cheese I came up with a few weeks ago when the girl was sick and I didn't feel like Kraft or being in the kitchen forever. I think it had little shells, slab bacon, wilted arugula, ground pistachios, and fresh sage in a roasted garlic cream sauce (garlic cloves were in the freezer). Ran it under the broiler with plenty of cheese and buttered bread crumbs. Might be a keeper so I want to do it again before I forget what I did.

                      - Something from Dunlop.

                      - Lard. OK, not dinner but I'm out of stock and it's likely what I'll be doing in the kitchen instead of making dinner one night. Because somebody has been requesting buttermilk biscuits on the weekends lately.

                      - Pan roasted wild salmon with a side of fresh greens and maybe some roasted potatoes. Finally finished a raised bed at the end of the summer and I'm hoping when we get home we'll have enough lettuce and baby mustard greens to make a small side salad to pair with the fish.

                      That is all. Thanks again Christina.

                      1. re: eight_inch_pestle

                        Welcome back :)

                        Boy, that mac sounds good.

                        What are some of your favorite Dunlop recipes?

                        1. re: ChristinaMason

                          You know I only picked up her Sichuan book a little while back, and so far have only stocked up on ingredients and made kung pao chicken a couple times. Good ma po dofu is one of my faves though, so there's a good chance I'll try that next.

                          1. re: eight_inch_pestle

                            That recipe (ma po) is super...the real thing.

                  1. I always plan out our meals ahead of time. So much easier to do the week's shopping at one shot, plus it eliminates the "what's for dinner tonight?" malaise :)

                    Up this week:
                    - pasta alla norma
                    - pork chops with braised red cabbage, and mashed potatoes
                    - beef & broccoli, with brown rice
                    - spiced pork tenderloin with potato rosti and green beans
                    - beef tenderloin with corn and steamed broccoli
                    - skillet lasagna and zucchini
                    - tbd, either leftovers or out to eat

                    some of the recipes are from the fabulous skillet recipes cookbook from america's test kitchen.

                    1. Okay, just figured out what's on deck for this coming week:

                      Sunday - baby back ribs, first slow cooked in my oven, then grilled, cornbread, coleslaw and a jello mold for my kids, they love 'em!
                      Monday-Roasted provencal chicken legs w/ potatoes, tomatoes, & green beans, pear salad with red leaf & frisee and toasted walnuts
                      Tuesday-Ground turkey tacos, spanish rice
                      Wednesday- Chicken cutlets with greek salsa, lemony orzo and arugula & mache salad
                      Thursday-any leftover of the above
                      Friday-Vegetable primavera lasagne, roasted garlic bread & salad

                      I have also been trying to give myself weekly baking goals, since I need to improve that area of my cooking ;) so I have 5 lbs of red pears, galia melon wedges, a grapefruit, lots of lemons & limes, and some strawberries. I have to use most of this up if I want to go to the farmer's market tomorrow!! So, I've made some strawberry sauce. And I juiced the red grapefruit for a vodka-grapefruit later.... So, it's what to do with all the melon & pears?? A granita or sorbet would work for the melon. Any ideas for the pears? Nothing too fancy, I'm not an accomplished baker!!

                      10 Replies
                      1. re: Phurstluv

                        Why not use the pears in a tarte tatin? Julia Child's recipe looks good, it's for apple but you could substitute the pears. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/em...

                        1. re: Cherylptw

                          Yes, either tarte tatin or galette was my original thought too. I ended up getting busy over the weekend so I have this week to research the recipe for next weekend.

                          I also have some edits to my list:

                          Sunday-green beans, sweet potato fries, au gratin pots & green salad replace above.
                          Tuesday-cilantro lime rice instead
                          Strawberries no good
                          not enough melon for sorbet

                          1. re: Phurstluv

                            May I suggest a Poire Bourdaloue tart - poached pears in almond custard (frangipane). It's wonderful. There is a recipe for it in Julia Child's MAoFC, I believe.

                            1. re: buttertart

                              That sounds delish. I will look it up, thanks.

                        2. re: Phurstluv

                          I make the Pear Tartin all the time, it's easy. If you want, buy a store bought (roll out) pie crust and after you place the crust on top of the skilled, cut it so there is only 1/2" overhang. Make sure to tuck the edges inside of the skillet.
                          I've also used Puff Pastry. YOU cannot ruin this dessert!

                            1. re: mcel215

                              Well, you greatly underestimate me.

                              I ruined this dessert. I burned it. Went through the entire process following JOC recipe to the letter. Watched it every step of the way. Used the exact equipment. Timed it exactly and erred on the side of caution. And of course, you don't realize it's burnt until you take it out of the pan. Now with hindsight, I realize my one fatal flaw was using the largest burner on my stovetop. I should have used a smaller one. The guys all ate it and praised me, telling me it was delicious the whole time. But I took one look at the sad thing this am & pitched it. (Funny how things don't look so bad after a bottle of wine!!) Back to the drawing, or baking board......

                              1. re: Phurstluv

                                Ha! Sorry, I forgot all about the chance of it burning. I did it the same thing the second time I made it (the first was at cooking class). I melted the butter and sugar, added the pears and YES, walked away with the pan on low. Now, I never walk away. It's always on low, but I make sure to remove it from the burner right while it's still a golden brown color......... sorry for the oversight!
                                Try it again, it will be perfect........ I promise.

                                1. re: mcel215

                                  The JOC recipe says to put it on the highest heat possible! You put it on low? How long does it take? The JOC recipe took about 10-12 mins, I think. That's funny how it seems you can do it either way and it'll come out!

                                  I happen to be the Queen of burnt baked goods. Especially, bread. Simple slices of bread. I can use my toaster, but I burn the garlic bread in my oven all the time, it's a running joke in my family. But I suppose I will endure the ridicule and try again at some point!

                                  1. re: Phurstluv

                                    Wow, I am so sorry that I never saw your question. If you go to beyondsalmon.com, you will see the recipe I believe. She said low, and that's what I do all the time. It takes sometimes like 25 minutes for it to turn golden, but it's worth it.
                                    I hope you have overcome your being "Queen of burnt baked goods" by now. ;)

                          1. Here's what I'm considering for this week. Probably at least one of these options will get dropped in favor of eating out or leftovers.

                            -Miso-glazed cod with cabbage and brown rice (http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/mi... ). [I keep meaning to make this...hopefully my marinated filets will still be good tomorrow.
                            ]-French lentil soup (recipe from my cooking class), ciabatta, buffalo mozarella with grilled peppers and caper vinaigrette (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bo...
                            )-Turkey meatloaf [using leftover meatball mix from prev. week], lemon mashed potatoes, roasted Brussel sprouts, cucumber salad
                            -Moqueca (Brazilian fish stew) (http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/moqu... ) (add cumin), rice noodles, mango-jicama-cucumber salad (http://www.chow.com/recipes/10814
                            )-Coq au vin, wide egg noodles, lamb's lettuce salad with Dijon vinaigrette
                            -ATK pork chops with apple cider glaze, cole slaw, apple sauce, cous cous pilaf with apricot bits [does anyone have a good paraphrase of the chops recipe?]

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: ChristinaMason

                              Thanks for the idea for the Moqueca--excellent! Hits just the right spot for a cold, raw New England dinner.

                              1. re: susanpmccoy

                                Cool, have you tried it or is it on your list? I'm going to make mine with cod and shrimp. Hopefully they'll hold up!

                                1. re: ChristinaMason

                                  Had it for dinner last night with cod (had to search for thick cod and finally found it @ Capt. Mardens) and then brought it in to work today and fed it to the Boss, who thought it was really good and thinks that it will need to be put in the menu rotation. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!!
                                  Tomorrow I'm making Paul Prudhomme's meatloaf with ground chicken.
                                  Thursday will be Tofu and veggies (maybe miso??)
                                  Friday is always roasted chicken.
                                  I'm lucky in that I only have to cook 5 nights a week so planning is a lot easier:-)

                                  1. re: susanpmccoy

                                    Cool, I'm so glad it's a solid recipe. I'm going to give it a shot tomorrow night.

                                    Here's another variation that's getting rave reviews. I like the idea of the piri piri sauce and may combine the two recipes.

                                      1. re: ChristinaMason

                                        Wow, that sure would add flavor! I think I will try this one the next time. I like the idea of blending the veggies into the soup to make a thicker broth.

                                        1. re: susanpmccoy

                                          This one looked good, too. I'm using cod and shrimp in mine tonight: http://bewitchingkitchen.com/2009/07/...

                            2. I have been trying to plan for the week recently, also, hoping to cut down on budget and food waste. Budget has not changed, but a lot less food is being thrown out. Here is this week's menu:

                              Monday: salted eggs on butterered toast with celery-radish salad and broccolini, from Nancy Silverton's Sandwich Book (Backup plan if the salted eggs are funky--they have been brining for six weeks--frisee aux lardons)
                              Tuesday: sherried tomato soup
                              Wednesday: miso crusted salmon with sesame greens and soba noodles
                              Thursday: cornmeal crusted chicken, noodles with green peppercorns, salad
                              Friday: jerked shrimp, sweet potato puree, zucchini
                              Saturday: choice of spicy pulled pork shoulder or pulled chicken tacos, dirty rice, guacamole, pico de gallo
                              Sunday: whatever fish looks best at the market

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: liamsaunt

                                I saw this pulled chicken taco filling recipe that looks great: http://crepesofwrath.net/2010/03/12/t...

                                Can't wait to try it.

                                1. re: liamsaunt

                                  Could you share the Sherried Tomato Soup recipe?

                                  1. re: Jen76

                                    I've got one that I'll post for you, but I'm curious to see liamsaunt's, too:

                                    For a giant pot (approx. 10-12 full-sized portions):

                                    -4 large cans whole (unseasoned) tomatoes, juices reserved
                                    -2 Tbsp. brown sugar (or demerera)
                                    -4-5 large shallots
                                    -1 small onion
                                    -4 Tbsp. butter
                                    -2 Tbsp. tomato paste
                                    -scant 1/2 tsp. allspice
                                    -2 Tbsp. flour
                                    -4 c. chicken or vegetable broth
                                    -1 tsp. fresh thyme
                                    -a few shakes garlic powder
                                    -lots of salt and pepper
                                    -dash of Worcestershire sauce (optional)
                                    -dash of cayenne (optional)
                                    -1 c. whipping cream
                                    -4 Tbsp. sherry

                                    Seed the tomatoes, reserving the juice they're packed in. Spread them on 2 lightly oiled baking sheets and sprinkle with 2 Tbsp. brown sugar and a little salt. Roast in center of oven @ 425F(220C) for 25-30 min. They're ready when liquid is gone and tomatoes are darker and slightly colored on the edges. Set aside to cool.

                                    In a huge pot, combine 4-5 large chopped shallots and one small chopped onion with 4 Tbsp. butter. Add 2 Tbsp. of tomato paste and 2 pinches of allspice, cover, and reduce heat to sweat shallots & onions for 10 min. Then add 2 Tbsp. flour to shallots and onions, stir with a wooden spoon and cook 1 min. Stir in 4 cups chicken/vegetable broth and all the reserved tomato juice, the roasted tomatoes, 1 tsp. fresh thyme, garlic powder, Worcestershire and cayenne. Simmer uncovered for 15-20 min. Either puree with an immersion blender or strain the solids and puree separately in a blender until smooth.

                                    Stir in 1 c. cream and heat through. Off heat, stir in 4 Tbsp. sherry. Adjust seasoning w/ salt and pepper and more sugar to taste.

                                2. here's my list for the week, in no particular order:

                                  roasted beet salad with fried chickpeas, greens. fish, seared
                                  spring rolls with cucumber and avocados with a spicy dipping sauce and grilled shrimp
                                  red lentil soup with auduille sausage, onions and wilted CSA greens
                                  wontons with red chili oil+peanut sauce. big bowl of cool cucumber sesame pickle salad
                                  day5 - leftovers of everything from above
                                  misc veggies made in green curry tofu format

                                  1. For the rest of the week...

                                    Tuesday - Mushroom, broccoli and chicken cheese casserole
                                    Wednesday - Chicken "Stew" with Johnny cakes
                                    Thursday -Spicy Turkey Stuffloaf
                                    Friday - "Crispy" Fish Taco's
                                    Saturday - Lobster Bake Bermuda Style

                                    Sunday - Stuffed and Rolled Roasted Turkey, remove the breast from the bone, butterfly and stuff with prosciutto and sage dressing , then stuff and roll the turkey, sear the outside and bake till done.

                                    Use the bone of the turkey for soup!

                                    3 Replies
                                      1. re: ChristinaMason

                                        I "Stuff" the Turkey Meatloaf with provolone cheese, homemade roasted tomatoes and sautéed zucchini slices then add a drizzle of my Smoked Cherry Pepper BBQ sauce will also top the Turkey loaf with the BBQ sauce.

                                        1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

                                          Sounds good to me! Last night I made meatloaf with leftover Smitten Kitchen turkey meatball mix, and it turned out really nicely (tho I used turkey): http://culinspiration.wordpress.com/2...

                                          I topped it with a combo of ketchup, marinara sauce, and sriracha.

                                    1. I am so envious of you planners! DH says my inability to plan meals ahead is one of my most frustrating qualities (as he does a lot of the shopping)--but if pressed, he could probably come up with a lot more . . . .

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                        It absolutely requires a bit of discipline, but the pay off is what has helped me stay on track. 20 minutes of planning SIGNIFICANTLY reduces the stress and hassle of weeknight cooking!

                                      2. I started doing this a few months ago. I like it for three reasons:
                                        -Weeknight dinners are WAY less stressful when I already know what to cook and that I have the ingredients.
                                        -Grocery shopping is way easier - and my list is much easier to make - when I can plan for a specific set of recipes.
                                        -I can reuse/overplan items (for example, a roast chicken) when I have a plan in place, which is great for budget shopping!

                                        Here's ours for the week:

                                        Friday: Braised sweet and sour ribs, cole slaw
                                        Saturday: Broiled pork steaks with BBQ sauce glaze, sweet corn, baked beans
                                        Sunday: Orange beef, asparagus, white rice
                                        Monday: Spaghetti and meatballs
                                        Tuesday: Fried noodles (leftover spaghetti noodles) with broiled shrimp
                                        Wednesday: Pork chops and applesauce
                                        Thursday: Tacos! (We always use an exclamation point, since it helps remind us what fun taco night is!)

                                        1. Below is my tentative list for next week. The problem is, I can never seem to get through all the menus I dream up. We are still eating our way through meatloaf and coq au vin leftovers. I don't even know if we'll get to the moqueca, which I really wanted to try. Maybe Sunday? I really need to learn to cook in smaller quantities or just plan for more leftover nights.

                                          -Spicy chicken with tomatoes and fresh marjoram (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...), saffran orzo risotto (http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/rec...), mixed greens salad
                                          -Island Spice pork chops (http://annies-eats.com/2010/03/17/isl...) OR the cider-glazed ones I didn't get to, quinoa salad with cukes, tomatoes, and cilantro (http://culinspiration.wordpress.com/2...
                                          )-Chicken breasts with cognac mushroom cream sauce (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6959...), green bean and new potato salad (http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/rec...
                                          )-Pike-perch fillets in picatta sauce (adapting's CI's recipe from http://thelazyhousewifecooks.blogspot...), wild rice, broccoli amandine

                                          Baking projects:
                                          -Lime-blood orange bars (http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/l...
                                          )-Honey-oatmeal white bread (This time following the rise times carefully: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6887...)

                                          10 Replies
                                          1. re: ChristinaMason

                                            I know exactly how you feel, Christina! We have been eating leftovers all week, and I still don't have the time to make all the dinners I've dreamed about! So, I just push that list into the next week. For once, my upcoming week is a little up in the air, since I'm "on call", and expecting a visitor mid week, so it's a little uncertain as to how much will get done.

                                            Chicken cutlets on the grill with greek salsa is all I have planned for the weekend, but my baking project is the pear tatin.

                                            Monday - ground turkey tacos, cilantro lime rice
                                            Wednesday-cobb salads
                                            Friday-wild pacific sole, either fried or baked, sweet potato fries,
                                            Easter Sunday- leg of lamb, grilled if boneless, roasted if whole
                                            Dessert - 1-2-3-4 Lemon Cake (unless my MIL wants to bake something else, she'll have brought some recipes with her).

                                            As you can see a lot needs to be filled in still. I need to go to the store before my kids get out of school (1/2 day today, great!) and try to hit the farmer's market, either Saturday or Sunday. That way I can fill out the rest of the plan ;)

                                            1. re: Phurstluv

                                              Okay, after an hour at the gym and another one at the store, I have a better idea of what I'm planning:

                                              Weekend: Adding either scallops or swordfish on the grill (on sale, have to go back) to greek chicken cutlets with lemon orzo & salad greens;
                                              Baking: Pear Tatin
                                              Sunday: Veal Marsala w/ sauteed bellas, spaghettini with herbs & spring vegs (whatever looks good at farmers mkt), roasted rainbow carrots

                                              Tuesday:Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, broccoli
                                              Wednesday:Ahi tuna (also on sale) tartar, baked halibut for the boys
                                              Thursday:Carnitas tostadas w/ black beans, avocados, olives, cheese & tomatoes

                                              Saturday: Baked Ham glazed with pomegranate molasses, braised greens,four cheese macaroni & cheese, roasted asparagus
                                              Easter Sunday: Leg of Lamb or Rack, they were also on sale & butcher told me he'd have them all week, so I may pick two up by Friday and dry rub them with herbs until roasting on Sunday.

                                                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                  I consider that high praise, indeed! Let me know if you want any recipes!!

                                                  1. re: Phurstluv

                                                    OK, how do you do your tuna tartar, for starters? Greek chicken cutlets? These sound like great dining choice for the recently arrived warmer temps.

                                                    You guys are going to make a planner of me, yet. (Of course, after coming up w/my weekly plan, I will then feel guilty for not following through--because I inevitably bite off more than I can chew--er,cook.)

                                                    1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                      Tough crowd!! Okay, so I don't have the tuna tartar recipe yet, I was going to base this on a favorite sushi restaurant item I always order. Its got ahi, chopped avocado, scallions, black sesame seeds & some roe on top. Can't be too hard. Probably dressed with some sesame oil & rice vinegar or something, but I will glean the details from other recipes I find. That's why this is on Wednesday, when my MIL gets into town, and she'll enjoy it with me. I will let you know how I make it, when I come up with it!

                                                      The chicken is simple. I marinate chicken cutlets in evoo, white wine vinegar, oregano and crushed garlic. Grill for a couple of minutes per side. Serve with greek salsa which, my concoction, is halved grape tomatoes, basil, parsley, oregano, evoo, chopped kalamata olives, feta and lemon juice, freshly ground pepper. Can be made a couple of hours ahead and sit out at room temp. Very easy and tasty.

                                                      1. re: Phurstluv

                                                        Thanks,Phurstluv--both sound yummy, and I'm going to try them both.
                                                        I always see "sashimi-quality" tuna at the market--and this sounds like a great way to use it.

                                                        1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                          I think so too. And my market with the best fish counter is having a sale on both swordfish and ahi, so I plan to take advantage of it, since I don't eat enough fish as it is. And at least I will have my MIL to enjoy it with me during the week, since my DH is hardly home for dinner, and serving ahi to an 8 & 6 y.o. doesn't go over big at my house!

                                            2. re: ChristinaMason

                                              A woman's prerogative is to change her mind, so I did. After a lot of meat and heavy meals last week, I wanted to lighten it up. So I'm dropping the chicken recipes in favor of:

                                              -Moqueca, kohlrabi and mango salad with lime and chili (really wanted to finally try the recipe)


                                              -Spinach-potato strudel with Indian spices (riffing on this: http://www.thewednesdaychef.com/the_w... with the filling borrowing from this: http://www.recipezaar.com/Aloo-Palak-...), slaw or salad

                                              Sunday we might have a small ham rubbed with brown sugar and baked, something green (asparagus?) and....Kraft Mac! A friend brought me some from the U.S., and yep, I'm looking forward to eating it!

                                              We're leaving town in a week, so I'm trying to eat down the fridge and freezer before then. A defrost is in order!

                                            3. I used to sit at the dinner table on Sunday nights with my calendar and my cookbooks with paper and pen. While we ate dinner we went over the calendar for the week so I know which child had to be where and when. Then I would plan the meals based on how much time I had to prepare and eat on any given night. I always tried to have one flow into the other. Grilled chicken on Monday often meant chicken quesadillas or chicken salad sandwiches on Tuesday. I fell off the wagon when I went back to work full time and never got organized again.

                                              I was thinking of doing something mexican this sunday maybe tacos and while i'm in the kitchen and all those ingredients are out anyway maybe a pan of burritos for Monday night - since we will have lots of leftover fresh salsa to be eaten up. Tuesday some kind of soup in the slow cooker.....after that..... I dunno. Maybe before I go to bed on Tuesday I'll grill something that can be tossed in a salad on Wednesday. Everything needs to be fast and easy since I get home from work so late (6:40)

                                              1. Here in New England, we are still in the cool weather recipe sections (I'm very envious of y'all that are already grilling!)
                                                My week plan: (easy week)
                                                M, T: dinners out
                                                W. tried korean spiced tofu over the weekend--will not repeat, so will go with a simple stirfry with lots of veggies, tofu and brown rice.
                                                Th. Halibit or scrod gingered over baby choy & carrots (Womans Day)
                                                F: Kellers roasted chicken
                                                S/S dinners out.
                                                Like I said easy week:-) Passover Monday & Tuesday, and Easter weekend--all at someone else's house...all I have to do is bring wine. I'm REALLY lucky, but I'm sure that I will have an horrible cooking week to make up for it!!

                                                1. I am sooo glad you posted this! I have done this for the last few years and am just getting back to cooking after having a baby. I'm getting some great dinner ideas from other posters!

                                                  My MO is on Sunday's I check my refrigerator and see what I have and want to use up. Then I check what's on sale, then I plan my menu for the week and place an order for groceries from Fresh Direct. I find this helps me to use up what i have and reduces waste.

                                                  This week our dinners are
                                                  Mon -Rotisserie chicken with scalloped potatoes and zucchini
                                                  Tues - turkey Chili with Rice and salad
                                                  Wed - Short ribs in a slow cooker, black bean salad (I think) and a veggie TBD
                                                  Thurs- Chicken fajitas or enchiladas, green salad
                                                  Fri - Pizza or shrimp (I'm catholic so no meet on Fri)
                                                  We're rarely home on the weekends so I don't usually plan ahead for those dinners, if I am home and in the mood to cook I'll make a big batch of soup or something that I can freeze.

                                                  A few tips that help me...
                                                  *I try to use the slow cooker once a week especially if we have a late afternoon appointment or play date.
                                                  *Freeze leftovers for other dinners (for example the chili we're having this week was made a couple months ago.)
                                                  *If something comes up or my hubby is coming home late I jus switch one days meal with another if that's more convenient.

                                                  1. I'll bite. I usually plan for meals S-Th, sometimes cook Friday but that is often take-out night, and Saturday is go-out night. Shop Saturday or Sunday, once in a while I'll pick something up during the week. Leftovers get consumed for lunch.

                                                    This week looks like:
                                                    Sunday - savoy cabbage layered with ground pork and balsamella (from Marcella Hazan), salad (house salad these days is baby spinach and arugula with evoo and good vinegar). Also made some excellent cheese bread from Jim Lahey's My Bread, and some not-so-excellent apricot and almond bread from the same book.

                                                    Monday - tunisian baked omelette (in NYT a couple of weeks ago, has tuna, potatoes, carrots, harissa, really yummy), salad

                                                    Tuesday - chicken with 40 cloves of garlic, mashed pots, cabbage left over from the Sunday night dish

                                                    Wednesday - salmon and lentils, and a vegetable to be named later (maybe more of that cabbage! or some roasted carrots)

                                                    Thursday - potatoes in spicy yogurt gravy (from Julie Sahni), rice, salad

                                                    1. This week's meals make use of a lot of stuff I already have in the house, since we are scraping the bottom of the barrel of the month's budget. We have family coming in town starting on Thursday for Easter, so I haven't finished the weekend's menu yet.
                                                      Sunday: Pizza with pepperoni, olives, Italian sausage.
                                                      Monday: Spring Minestrone : http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recip...
                                                      Tuesday: Pulled pork tacos (w/ last week's pulled pork
                                                      )Wednesday: Pasta with Italian sausage : http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recip...

                                                      Trying to figure out what to fix for Saturday night when the family is in town. I'd like to use the grill since it's supposed to be so warm here in SC this week. Maybe an orange or lemon- glazed ham, cooked over indirect heat on the grill?

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: DoubleBaconVeggieBurger

                                                        Martha Stewart has a recipe up for fresh-pinapple glazed baked ham that's been getting raves. I bet it wouldn't be too hard to adapt for the grill.

                                                      2. I *think* this will be my dinner menu next week. I almost like planning better than the cooking. In my imagination at least, I'm a fabulous cook with boundless energy, money, and creativity. ;)

                                                        Easter dinner:

                                                        -Potato-leek soup (from cooking class), butter-lettuce wedge salad with buttermilk goat cheese dressing, almonds and dried cranberries (copied from: http://www.columbiafirehouse.com/docu...), Martha Stewart's fresh pineapple and mustard-glazed ham (http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/p...), cloverleaf dinner rolls (http://friedalovesbread.blogspot.com/...), Cointreau-marinated strawberries with whipped cream and butter cookies

                                                        Rest of the week:

                                                        -Hoisin-chipotle-honey glazed fish (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...), brown rice, stir-fried snow peas with garlic
                                                        -Previously-frozen bolognese over pasta, salad
                                                        -Bittman's pad-thai-style rice salad (using tofu - http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/30/din...
                                                        )-Cooking Light's Avgolemono (http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/rec...), homemade pita bread (http://mideastfood.about.com/od/bread...)

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                          Oh, I love potato leek soup. So good. Sounds nice, CM.

                                                          Well, I've had to tweak my week's menu a bit, but I think I can pull it off.

                                                          I'm going to do the Ahi tartar, a mix of Emeril's & Ming Tsai's recipes, on Thursday, since I'm sure my DH will be working, and I won't have to make something separate for him (not a huge sushi fan).

                                                          So, tonight is the carnitas tostadas, with black beans. We still have more meatloaf left.
                                                          Thursday-the ahi tartar, asparagus, wonton chips, baked halibut for the boys
                                                          Friday-wild Pacific sole meuniere, from Bon App, sweet potato frites,sugar snap peas
                                                          Saturday-Baked Ham (still looking), 4 cheese mac & cheese, braised greens,
                                                          Sunday- Brunch at a friend's after Mass - bringing a leek tart
                                                          Dinner-Roast rack of lamb, roasted baby new potatoes with lemon, roasted provencal tomatoes, black olive relish, grilled asparagus, arugula & baby lettuce salad with pine nuts & blood oranges, blood orange vinaigrette.
                                                          Still looking for starters.......

                                                          1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                            Since we're leaving town on Saturday, I'm scrapping this menu. I'm going to do my best to cook from the pantry, freezer, and fridge and buy only the bare necessities, if anything at all.

                                                            Tonight we'll have cuban black bean soup (beans from dried), pan-fried fish (from freezer) with some leftover enchilada sauce (basically tomato-butter-cumin-chile), and maybe some glazed carrots (from crisper)

                                                            This is like an iron chef challenge. Let's see what the rest of the week brings! I've got some fresh green beans, leftover buttermilk dressing, and some purple potatoes that will probably be combined into a salad one night. Additional leftover buttermilk might go into breakfast for dinner one night, too.

                                                          2. This week starts the month of moving into a new house (with a brand new kitchen!) will be exhausted, I'm sure. If I cook, it will be easy meals.
                                                            Sunday: Cooks Ill. lime-chili chicken on the grill w/ grilled veggies and salad
                                                            Monday: Honey, ginger salmon on the grill and quinoa salad, broccoli
                                                            Tues: Spaghetti with chicken sauce (ground chicken mixed with Classico!!) green beans
                                                            Wed: Hoisin Marinated Tri tip from Chow, sweet potatoe, cauliflower
                                                            Thurs: Tinga de Pollo (author gives permission to use store bought rotisserie chicken!) mexican brown rice from CI and whatever grren veggie I can find:-)
                                                            Friday: Chicken on the grill (thinking the CI Thai recipe), noodles, broccoli rabe

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: susanpmccoy

                                                              yum...don't you just love grilling? it's so primal...and easy!

                                                              1. re: susanpmccoy

                                                                I used jazzed-up Classico last week as a base for stewed green beans -- you're in at-least-moderately-good company!

                                                              2. I thought I'd revive this thread, as we have quite a few newbies to CH, and I've noticed several of you also plan meals for the week.

                                                                Here's what I have on tap for this week (some of which is carried over from recipes I planned for LAST week...oops). I don't cook strictly from recipes (far from it), but when I find an inspiring one, I save it as a reference. If I'm considering one, I've included it in parentheses.

                                                                -fish tacos in corn-wheat blend tortillas w/ slaw and a green salad with farmer's market tomatoes and homemade French (the dressing was this http://www.recipesecrets.net/forums/r... tweaked with horseradish, honey for some of the sugar, and celery seed


                                                                -dan dan noodles (http://appetiteforchina.com/recipes/d... and perhaps also borrowing from http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/da...


                                                                -picadillo w/ rice and black beans (http://events.nytimes.com/recipes/347...


                                                                -caldo verde (http://leitesculinaria.com/7580/recip... but following the suggestion of a commenter not to puree the chouriço


                                                                -some kind of eggplant and okra dish -- likely either an Indian preparation (along these lines http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8120...) or Thai-curry style.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                  I have plans that'll take me away from the house this PM, so dinner will be something that my DH can easily reheat when he gets home. I'm making Chow's slow-cooker split pea soup (http://www.chow.com/recipes/29348-slo... ), but I've axed the ham and added Indian curry powder and garam masala, grated ginger, a diced plum tomato, hot pepper flake, and a few Tbsp. of butter. Hopefully this turns out!

                                                                  1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                    Boy, not doing so hot with follow-through this week. The ground meats for picadillo and dan dan noodles were both neglected after thawing (too many meals out), so I had to make a quick meatloaf to avoid having them unfrozen for too long. Sigh.

                                                                    Flexibility is all!

                                                                2. My goodness, but you people eat like royalty!

                                                                  I tend to plan about a week at a time, same deal with shopping sales and then wanting to use what I buy without last-minute silliness. I've most of this week:

                                                                  Monday: Refried beans with chipotle, garlicky sauteed rapini, leftover pulled pork on fresh corn tortillas;
                                                                  Tuesday: The red lentil-root veg soup I'm making tonight after dinner, shredded Belgian endives in vinaigrette (the man has a class Tuesdays so I can eat vegetables he hates!);
                                                                  Wednesday:Broiled tofu with spicy peanut sauce, Szechuan green beans, brown rice;
                                                                  Thursday: Leftover pizza from tonight;
                                                                  Friday: Likely take-out as my weeks get busier by Thu-Fri and I've been home late from work so we have been buying food.

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: megjp

                                                                    Tofu with peanut sauce...I thought that sounded good, didn't you mention it on WFD? Do you broil the tofu then top with the sauce, or baste it with the sauce and then broil?

                                                                    1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                      I have mentioned it, I'm sure -- the man and I can only handle half a package of tofu at a time, but the rest has to be used in a timely manner obviously, so we really have to commit. My tofu-magination (!) isn't great so I fall back to the same tasty thing

                                                                      I do the tofu fairly plain, like cubed with S&P and peanut oil, then on the side I make the sauce (heat until combined PB, sriracha, minced ginger and garlic, soy sauce, honey, citrus juice) and dip the tofu*.

                                                                      *By dip, I mean scoop up scads of the sauce at once with each tofu cube.

                                                                      1. re: megjp

                                                                        Yum, thanks. I'm going to try that, maybe with a little 5-spice powder on the tofu.

                                                                  2. Since this post has been revamped, here is what I have been doing lately.

                                                                    I cook everything for the week (well, most everything) on Sunday afternoon, so I hardly cook any longer during the week. Here is what I do for the most part. Yes, it's a busy afternoon, but then on my busy work week nights, not having to decide what's for dinner or stopping at the store is so, so nice.

                                                                    I marinate two b/s chicken breasts (pounded, so they are even about 1/2" thick), grill in my grill pan for 3 minutes per side. I store them in the fridge to use for salads, stir frys or noodle type dishes as my protein. I cut back on protein so that 1 half of a chicken breast, gives me three meals.

                                                                    I buy large bunches of broccoli and a head of cauliflower, chopped up and roasted with olive oil until nice and brown. I use at dinner time when I want a quick side dish to cut down on cooking during the week. I just do a quick re-heat.

                                                                    I chop up red peppers, onions, zucchini, carrots and pea pods, stir fry and deglaze with white wine and add a few seasons. Nice to come home on busy nights and just nuke with rice or quinoa, bulger, couscous.

                                                                    I steam up a cup of rice to have with said stir frys.

                                                                    I buy a bag of mesculan greens, tomatoes, cukes to have for quick salad fixings.

                                                                    I make home-made soups and stocks to freeze for upcoming meals.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: mcel215

                                                                      So glad to find this thread...I've bumped into a lot of don't-know-what-to-make days lately. I've already been inspired by you guys...keep 'em coming. This week is probably going to be:
                                                                      ...Sliced pork loin (I did a big one on Friday & need to use it up) with gravy & rice, with the little tomatoes we're still getting from the garden.
                                                                      ...French onion soup, maybe with grilled cheese sandwiches.
                                                                      ...Chicken 'fingers' (sliced and panko-coated chicken breast) and buttered noodles, maybe with broccoli or some other green veg.
                                                                      ...Pad Thai (more use for that pork loin) with spring rolls & peanut sauce
                                                                      ...Fish (and maybe some shrimp) tacos w/chips & guacamole
                                                                      I have begun trying to make our meals kid-friendly (tired of cooking two separate meals and not happy with the 'I'll just have a peanut-butter sandwich" option more than once a week), and have therefore had to scale back a bit on how 'interesting' our meals are...I find this ties my hands somewhat. I'm trying to make sure that we have at least one thing each kid is sure to eat. I'm not terribly happy with 'dumbing down' our food, but I'm trying to ease them into eating a wider variety of foods. I know families that claim (with smug smiles) that their children 'eat what we eat' but I have a picky daughter (who is also very small for her age) and I feel an obligation to get some protein & veg into her every day. Thank goodness the boy is now 13 and has become much less picky and more likely to eat three servings of whatEVER I put in front of him.

                                                                      1. re: tonifi

                                                                        I think your meals sound very good, even for adults! Lucky kids.

                                                                    2. This is my first post on Chow, hope you'll welcome me with open arms :-)

                                                                      I try my best to plan each week, though I often come home, look at the menu and say "nope. I want XX instead." Then there's my husband, who is perpetually asking to order Chinese food. What is he trying to say about my cooking...?

                                                                      Sunday: Pot roast in the slow cooker with carrots, onions, and potatoes

                                                                      Monday: Cranberry chicken and caramelized vegetables with orzo and ginger (from Thekitchn.com)

                                                                      Tuesday: Fish tacos, Spanish rice, and black beans (I don't like beans, but I'm going to attempt to slow cook them to make them better, texturally, and hope I can enjoy them)

                                                                      Wednesday: Basic whole-wheat pasta with a basil-marinara sauce (I still have some basil growing!) and roasted cauliflower.

                                                                      Thursday: Work cocktail party

                                                                      Friday: Braided calzone with marinara, cheese, veggies, and some sort of meat. Chicken, probably, because that's what will be left in my freezer.

                                                                      I also have a desire to bake something this week. I'm thinking pumpkin-apple muffins.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Misscastle

                                                                          I think I'll just come to your house for dinner this week. ;) Everything sounds so good!

                                                                          Welcome ~

                                                                        2. We plan weekly - making the list and planning is one of our Saturday activities.

                                                                          I think I am a little too particular about it - but I hate to see food go to waste and I really don't like eating leftovers for days and days.

                                                                          I go through flyers on Friday afternoons and decide what to eat based on what's on sale. I get some different ideas by doing this. We try hard not to stray from the list but there's always something that catches our eye that ends up in the grocery cart!

                                                                          If my life is not organized by lists, I'll be totally lost.

                                                                          This is copied and pasted from my computer:

                                                                          Sunday: roast beef with roasted beets, turnips, carrots;
                                                                          Monday: leftover roast beef sandwiches (get buns for sandwiches)
                                                                          Tuesday: chicken tacos
                                                                          Wednesday: jerk chicken with rice and peas
                                                                          Thursday: stir fry - ingredients already in freezer
                                                                          Friday: go out to eat

                                                                          - prime rib (on sale at Highland Farms)
                                                                          - turnips
                                                                          - carrots (we have)
                                                                          - beets (we have)
                                                                          - avocado
                                                                          - lettuce
                                                                          - tomatoes
                                                                          - cheddar cheese
                                                                          - taco shells
                                                                          - yogurt
                                                                          - buns for roast beef sandwiches and for lunches
                                                                          - chicken thighs (x2); grind on Sunday
                                                                          - can of kidney beans
                                                                          - bananas
                                                                          - sweet potato dog treats
                                                                          - windshield washer fluid

                                                                          EDIT: I should also mention that we always take leftovers for lunch. Sometimes lunch is the best part of my day!

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: ladooShoppe

                                                                            < I should also mention that we always take leftovers for lunch. Sometimes lunch is the best part of my day!>

                                                                            Completely agree. And so many of my meals taste better or as good after melding together overnight. I think some of my more materialistic coworkers secretly look down on me for bringing a brown bag, but honestly, I'm secretly a little smug about it because I'm avoiding waste, saving money, and eating much, much better food than can be found near the office.

                                                                          2. As work has kicked my butt more and more, my meal planning has fallen off a bit. For instance, I'm only now gathering my thoughts to put the week together..

                                                                            Tonight: Roasted celeriac fries and baked spinach approximating something I saw on Smitten Kitchen a while back -- I'm not averse to throwing some meat in there too, depending on what I find on my market trip midday (oh please let Cornish hens be on sale somewhere!)

                                                                            Sunday: My organic PB is nearing the end of the line and I have just enough left to make a spicy peanut sauce for an adzuki bean-mixed vegetable stir-fry -- maybe with some millet or soba noodles to carb it up

                                                                            Monday: Slow cooker chicken cassoulet (I use straight-up chicken generally, but may throw in some bacon that's starting to look a bit wan and pretend it's duck fat -- I always load in more veg than is generally called for, and include green beans)

                                                                            Tuesday: Quick b-nut squash soup made with Saturday's unused half-squash and a bit of coconut milk, alongside curried chicken-apple-walnut salad sandwiches (I sub avocado for most of the mayo in the salad)

                                                                            Wednesday: Any leftover baked spinach from Saturday and something much like this to use up the rest of that (Monday-cooked) bacon: http://someonewhobakes.com/2011/05/09...

                                                                            Thursday: My boyfriend's birthday and he has to spend it at his school's academic awards because for a relatively young teacher NOT to show up is apparently a huge gaffe -- I'll likely get take-out or go dine solo (I haven't had Indian in a while and there's a great place nearby


                                                                            Friday: Whatever my boyfriend wants, a belated birthday gift (I swear he'd eat eighteen pounds of poutine if he could, but I'm kind of hoping to steer him toward a somewhat lighter medallion steaks with chimichurri, roasted chipotle sweet potatoes, tangy slaw kinda night :)

                                                                            next Saturday: We have both been talking about another round of tamale creation: could this be it? I have some pork and a whole free-run chicken in the freezer, some corn husks hanging out in the cupboard, and a 2/3 bag of masa.. oh the suspense! I have a lovely little squash (swan white? white swan? sticker fell off, but like a yellow acorn squash, first one I've ever seen) just begging to be halved, roasted, stuffed, and served alongside something like that. Also Bittman's cumin-lemon dressed beets would be a nice fall accompaniment.

                                                                            1. Here's what I'm thinking for this week:

                                                                              -slow-cooker beef pörkölt - http://culinspiration.wordpress.com/2... , w/ egg noodles and green salad

                                                                              -caldo verde - link above, possibly with CI's Almost No Knead Bread

                                                                              -slow-cooker jerk pulled pork - http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/s... on crusty rolls, pineapple-jalapeno cole slaw http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/pinea...

                                                                              -fried ham steak w/ honey mustard pan sauce, fried cabbage (subbing olive oil for bacon grease) http://www.pauladeen.com/index.php/fo..., buttered white rice

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                Want a houseguest for the week? Nice choices. I'll bake the bread and make the desserts!

                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                  Deal! Welcome anytime.

                                                                                  Not an "impressive" menu, but comfort food, for sure.

                                                                                2. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                  RE: jerk-spiced pork: I've made http://www.cbc.ca/bestrecipes/2010/03... to great acclaim. I mean, should you tire of sandwiches and find yourself with a hankering for Jamaican and a freezer-ful of pork cubes. Yum!

                                                                                  I did buy some frozen stew goat when I was out last weekend though, so obviously I need to make a Caribbean dish with that before revisiting the pork stew.

                                                                                  More on-topic, this week's meal plan has been jettisoned before the week really got underway. Tonight I boiled up some quinoa anelli pasta and tossed with an avocado-pesto-lemon-feta 'sauce' (ie., those things, mashed up with a fork until creamy). Then I felt guilty and cut up some Campari tomatoes and drizzled them with balsamic. Still.. sigh.

                                                                                  Maybe I will pan-roast some chicken thighs again tomorrow, and have 'em with spinachy polenta and leftover clove-molasses sweet potatoes.

                                                                                3. I'm self employed and work at home so I don't have to totally plan a whole week but like to have a few go-to ideas that I know I have ingredients for since working at home does NOT always mean "free time." I can mind a pot of stock, carmelizing onions or something in the oven but don't always have the luxury of something getting all of my attention.

                                                                                  Its a strangely overcast cool day so I'm about to roast a couple of chickens and will make stock with the bones after. With that....

                                                                                  risotto with roasted chicken, gorgonzola and spinach

                                                                                  with penne, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, tomatoes, lots of fresh from the garden basil and oregano and Trader Joe's parmesan spinach dip mixed in

                                                                                  with sausage and shrimp in a quick gumbo sorta stew (we're supposed to have some nights in the 40s out of nowhere so soup/stew will be welcome)

                                                                                  chicken salad or just sliced chicken over a green/ veggie salad for lunches

                                                                                  I also have a few pieces of bluefin tuna and yellowtail in the freezer that should be eaten soon.

                                                                                  1. Time to plan this week on the REPLY screen again!

                                                                                    Tonight: coconut-chicken soup (in WFD 113 thread), millet flour flatbread
                                                                                    Monday: chimichurri omelette, sweet potato fries, lemony leeks (I'll be alone; leftover night!)
                                                                                    Tuesday: sliced avocado in crockpot posole - this makes twice in three weeks so I may be officially obsessed
                                                                                    Wednesday: saag paneer with tofu standing in for the paneer, on leftover flatbread standing in for naan
                                                                                    Thursday: I'm sure leftover something, or take-out (an alarming weekly habit we have acquired chez moi)
                                                                                    Friday: likely this soup, since I just posted about it and now I crave it - http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/...
                                                                                    Next Saturday: to be determined, though I have both goat and Cornish hens in the freezer so it may be an indulgent night!

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: megjp

                                                                                      saag paneer w/ tofu---clever!

                                                                                      your mention of posole reminds me I need to try your recipe! hopefully it's more successful than my semi-lame mushroom stroganoff of this evening.

                                                                                      I haven't been great about following my "plan" each week, but I manage to tick a couple off of my list and repurpose most of the other ingredients without waste. it's win-win, really.

                                                                                      1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                        Thanks, it's not my idea but a vegan friend's, and since I don't do that well with most dairy, it seemed a lock. I like to dry-fry the cubed tofu (I like firm best) prior to adding to the wetter ingredients.

                                                                                        I did make it again! It was delicious again, but not soupy enough because I used too much dried hominy for the liquid then was gone for 11 hours. Oops!

                                                                                        Otherwise, tonight is going to be takeout as assumed; I came home from work early feeling ill, and likely won't go in tomorrow, and have already done dishes. 2+2 = 4, and all of those things = pure lazing for muggins. :)

                                                                                    2. What an inspirational thread! I love it....I have tried both planning for a week (or more) ahead, and not, and right now I'm not so much. I do try to come up with creative ways to repurpose, and often have ideas about what I would like to try. Right now my husband is back into retirement, so he is home and is a great cook, and often he decides what to make for dinner. We are also trying to use up some stuff that has been in the freezer for awhile. Anyway, here is our sort of loose plan for the week:
                                                                                      Today (Sunday) Slow roasted sirloin, mashed potatoes, gravy, baby carrots, crumb topped apple pie with cheddar crust
                                                                                      Tomorrow: (Monday) Husband, son-in-law and the kids will have leftovers, my daughter and I are going out for dinner and to see "The Help"
                                                                                      Tuesday: Macaroni and cheese, salad
                                                                                      Wednesday: probably pizza for those at home, several of us will be out.....husband has dinner meeting, son-in-law will be working, grand-daughter and I will be at dance lessons, then out for dinner after
                                                                                      Thursday: Beef pot pie, made from Sunday's leftover beef and veggies, and extra cheddar crust from when I made the apple pie
                                                                                      Friday: Usually home made pizza or pasta
                                                                                      Saturday...we start a new plan:)

                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: sunflwrsdh

                                                                                        <Thursday: Beef pot pie, made from Sunday's leftover beef and veggies, and extra cheddar crust from when I made the apple pie>

                                                                                        That's funny, when you posted your cheddar crust recipe, I thought, "I bet this would be great with a shepherd's pie-type filling." :)

                                                                                        1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                          It's actually from a chicken pot pie recipe, and when I originally made that, I thought, "Gee, I bet this would be great with apple pie:)"

                                                                                      2. I haven't really worked out a good plan for this week. We have some thawed homemade bratwurst in the fridge, so one meal will likely be seared sausages and warm lentil salad lentils (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...)

                                                                                        I'd like to make megjp's posole and perhaps also a slow-cooker "Jamaican pumpkin soup" I found online (http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/2008/...). Can you tell I'm on a crock-pot jag?

                                                                                        Tomorrow will likely be fresh fish of some sort, maybe with a quick parmesan-pea risotto. I've been craving creamy rice as the weather cools down.

                                                                                        1. I forced myself to menu plan before heading to the store yesterday. Here's what's on tap this week:

                                                                                          -keema beef curry (http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/ke... , following a Hound's recommendation to increase the spices) with either steamed brown rice or wheat berries. Most likely some wilted spinach on the side
                                                                                          -braised lamb shanks with orzo. can't decide whether to use up some leftover white wine in a braise or go Greek style. Served with orzo and a salad in either case.
                                                                                          -glass/bean thread noodles with spicy Korean-style sauce, cucumber, boiled egg, and kimchee -- a riff on http://beyondkimchee.blogspot.com/201... , subbing glass noodles because soba were $4 a pack!
                                                                                          -spanishy quinoa salad with seared shrimp -- http://www.chow.com/recipes/29671-spa... , using red quinoa in place of the cous cous. that dressing is killer!
                                                                                          -eggplant "gratin", which is basically roasted eggplant and mushrooms layered with meaty red sauce, Italian cheeses, herbs, and a few noodles and baked.

                                                                                          We've been eating out a fair bit lately (too much), so it's pretty likely at least one of these will get shoved to next week.

                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                            I love keema curry, too bad himself is iffy on it. V good made with ground lamb, peas, and mint.

                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                              the lamb variation sounds like an improvement. it was pretty good, but just seemed to be missing something.

                                                                                            2. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                              I think I'm going to make jap chae with the glass noodles instead. I love the dish, and I have all the ingredients. Winning! http://steamykitchen.com/180-korean-g...

                                                                                            3. Sunday was slow roasted sirloin, mashed potatoes, supplemented with pureed cauliflower, and carrots. Apple claflouti for dessert. (Funny story about why we had the claflouti...we were watching 3 and 5 year old grandchildren, who were wild and crazy while I was in the kitchen making dinner, and Papa was not paying too close attention to what they were up to. They took a bite out of every apple in the fruit basket. Hence, I now had about 6 apples with bites out of them that needed to be used...so....claflouti,)
                                                                                              Tonight....beef pot pie with mashed potato/cauliflower top crust.
                                                                                              Tomorrow....braised chicken leg quarters over a bed of spinach, calmata olives and roasted red peppers, with a green salad and homemade wheat bread.
                                                                                              Wednesday- out to eat, after granddaughter's dance class. If we're lucky, we will talk her out of McDonald's.
                                                                                              Thursday- cheddar stout meat loaf, and probably baked potatoes and green beans and/or tossed salad.
                                                                                              Friday- homemade pizza, with whole wheat crust, and not sure what toppings yet.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: sunflwrsdh

                                                                                                those ALL sound wonderful! the cheddar stout meatloaf is especially appealing in this nasty weather, as is the pot pie. why don't i just cancel my dinner plans and join you all ;)? i promise not to molest the apples.