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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.