Monday, September 21, 2009

What's for dinner?

(image from CuisineNie)

I am married to a chef. (Can you say 'intimidating?') When I became a full-time stay-at-home-mother, my husband, Taylor, passed the dinner reigns on to me, and I was overwhelmed. Whereas Taylor can open the fridge, pull out 4 seemingly unrelated ingredients, and whip up a restaurant-worthy meal, I depend heavily on planning ahead and following recipes with the utmost exactness!

I have found menu planning SO helpful in avoiding the 'open-the-fridge-at-4p.m.-and-get-stressed' routine. Here's what I do. Once a week, before my trip to the grocery store, I look through my favorite recipe clippings, cookbooks, and websites to find inspiration. I try to keep in mind the things I have in my fridge or freezer that need to be used, and also keep in mind if there is anything fresh from the garden that I can use. I schedule out my dinners for the next week, and then write all the ingredients I need on my grocery list. When I do it right, I am excited about dinner time, instead of stressed. I love it!

I thought it might be helpful to share my menu with you from time to time, so you can benefit, too. Here is this week's list:

Monday: Roasted chicken (instructions HERE (but don't worry about a roasting rack--you can just do it in the pan), roasted red potatoes (Cut in bite-sized pieces, place on a cookie sheet, and sprinkle generously with olive oil and salt. You can just roast them in the oven at the same time as the chicken!), and green salad.

Tuesday: Nie's strawberry and arugula salad (recipe HERE), homemade chicken soup (you can make the broth from last night's chicken! Recipe HERE), and bread.

Wednesday: Simple night (every week needs one and my Wednesdays are crazy!) Plan A: leftovers. Plan B: breakfast for dinner (waffles or french toast!)

Thursday: Nie's zucchini and mushroom tacos (recipe HERE)

Friday: Homemade pizza (my favorite wheat crust recipe HERE)

Happy dining!


Nicole said...

I've been doing this as well, and it sure can save you money on your groceries, as well as lessen the dinner stress.

In the line of finding more recipes--Taste of Home Magazine is allowing free downloads of some of their past issues. They're just filled with different goodies and ideas for parties, as well as things that work for normal, every-day type eating as well.


Bloom said...

thanks for the heads up about Taste of Home, Nicole.

I'm coming around to the idea of menu-planning; I know it would save me time and stress, I just have a hard time being organized enough to plan and shop ahead.

Thanks for sharing your meals with us, Anne!

I also wanted to share a link to a favorite food blog where I've been getting lots of yummy ideas for dinners recently:

Rachael said...

being a menu planning fanatic, I must say that planning menus and grocery lists for the first eight weeks was one of the best things I did to prepare for my 3rd baby--total sanity saver to be able to just give my husband a shopping list and not have to think about it!

Tia said...

Check out this month's issue of Real Simple. They have an entire month of meals, including shopping list. We just finished week one and all of the meals were tasty and easy to make. I think you can find them all at

Joan said...

Those tacos are TDF! I haven't tasted them, of course but the picture says it all! YuM. Thanks for sharing your culinary secrets with us, Anne :)

Jonesy said...

I actually take it a step further and have a list of every meal my family eats (adding to it when I find something new & great!). That way, when it's time to make up my menu, I can just look at the list, instead of relying on my terrible memory to extract something dinner-worthy. It also keeps me from making the same thing over & over & over again. I also shop for at LEAST 3 weeks at a time--I have 5 kiddos and dragging them to the grocery store EVERY WEEK would be a complete NIGHTMARE!

Can't wait to try some of your new recipes--maybe I'll be able to add to my list!

Andrew and Marti Enke said...

I found this blog linked on Joan's page. I am liking it a lot. Thank you ladies. I miss you both.