Last week, I made an official meal plan for the first time--and loved the relaxed feeling it gave me at 5:30 or 6pm when I carried my laptop into the kitchen and turned on a podcast (often The Splendid Table) while I cut veggies for a meal already thought out. Although I've always adored reading cookbooks, I've rarely actually followed a recipe without major changes. I did this week--and we had a couple of meals that were quite different from the meals I normally create.
We did change a few things around. I forgot to defrost the chicken, so we had stuffed potatoes with goat cheese and rapini that night (instead of chicken, baked potatoes, and sauteed rapini). I changed the meal plan to reflect how we actually ate.
One of the best things about the week of meals had nothing to do with the planning itself. This was the first week when our local farmers market sold asparagus! We ate it for two meals--one roasted, and one steamed. Perhaps because we've spent a long winter deprived of these offerings, or perhaps because of my spring birthday, asparagus and strawberries are my absolute favorite foods ever. Well--and okra. And Brussels sprouts. Oh--and oysters, or shrimp.... And I couldn't live without rice.... (Yep, I'm a coastal South Carolina girl at heart, no matter where I live now.)
For those of you who read my first meal-planning post last week, you may remember that I was inspired to try meal planning by conversations with--and then a book talk by--Aviva Goldfarb, creator of The Six O'Clock Scramble and the author of the fabulous new eco-cookbook SOS! The Six O'Clock Scramble to the Rescue: Earth-Friendly, Kid-Pleasing Dinners for Busy Families.
This week will be a plan almost entirely inspired by recipes from Goldfarb's book. All of these main dish recipes--and even many of the side dishes that accompany the mains--are hers (more or less), with the exception of Saturday evening.
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A Night at the Opera
Beef Empanadas (made with homemade dough)
Carried "to-go style" in our tiffin
Indian-spiced Salmon over Brown Basmati Rice
Spinach with Mushrooms
Mango Lassi (dessert)
Orzo Salad with Peas and Feta Cheese (vegetarian)
Cream of Asparagus Soup (vegetarian)
Assorted Salad Greens with Raisins, Cashews, and Sunflower seeds
Homemade Sourdough Bread
Spice-tossed Shrimp with Parmesan Grits
Rhubarb Crisp (dessert)
A Day at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival
Homemade Mushroom Pizza topped with Homegrown Arugula (vegetarian)
(dough recipe from The Greens Cookbook)
Lemon Parmesan Fusilli with Asparagus and Spinach (vegetarian)
Strawberries topped with Greek Honey Yogurt
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I found a few online link lists of meal plans and have really enjoyed clicking to see how everybody makes their menus. Two of my favorites are Menu Plan Monday and Mindful Menus.
Next week: menus from great food memoirs!