Although I've spent most of my life as a seat-of-the-pants cook who loved to invent dinner on the fly out whatever was in season (or in the pantry), I've really enjoyed the last few weeks of planning a week's worth of meals in advance. I've over-ridden my intuitive instincts for a little while--and I'm trying lots of new cookbook recipes. By doing this, I'm learning some new techniques, experimenting with some new flavors, and getting lots of ideas for the future.
Last week's meals were almost exclusively from Aviva Goldfarb's new SOS! The Six O'Clock Scramble to the Rescue: Earth-Friendly, Kid-Pleasing Dinners for Busy Families. She, after all, was the person who got me intrigued with the whole idea of meal planning to begin with. Her recipes are interesting and tasty, beautifully easy to follow, and really quick to make on busy evenings. I loved the meals filled with all the wonderful flavors of spring. And we especially enjoyed her Shrimp and Grits!
We also loved the leftover asparagus soup which we served chilled. David and I ate it for lunch one day (while our son was visiting friends), along with homegrown radishes on toast with fresh butter:
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This week, I thought I'd try out some recipes from the marvelous food memoirs I've been reading.
Chicken Thighs with Cinnamon and Dates
from Kim Sunee's Trail of Crumbs: Hunger, Love, and the Search for Home
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Wild Greens Turnovers with Lemon Bechamel sauce (vegetarian)
Basil Panna Cotta
both from Cathy Erway's The Art of Eating In: How I Learned to Stop Spending and Love the Stove
Channa Masala over Brown Basmati Rice (vegetarian)
from Shoba Narayan's Monsoon Diary: A Memoir with Recipes
Homegrown Broccoli Rapini
Out for a book signing by one of my son's favorite authors
Travel Salad (vegetarian)
from Emily Franklin's Too Many Cooks: Kitchen Adventures with 1 Mom, 4 Kids, and 102 Recipes
Carried "to-go style" in our tiffin
Flank Steak with Chimichuri
inspired by Tara Austen Weaver's The Butcher and the Vegetarian: One Woman's Romp Through a World of Men, Meat, and Moral Crisis (but recipe here)
Assorted Salad Greens from the Garden
Sweet Potato Pie
Chicken Thighs Braised in Pomegranate Molasses
Roasted Cauliflower with Smoked Paprika and Cocoa Powder
both from Shauna James Ahern's Gluten-Free Girl: How I Found the Food That Loves Me Back...And How You Can Too
Bouchon au Thon
from Molly Wizenberg's A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table
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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.
What are you thinking about eating this week? Are you being inspired in the kitchen by books? Or are you being most moved by all the asparagus, strawberries, garlic scapes, or fresh peas coming into the farmers market?