Anyway, for the last few weeks I've been giving this menu-planning thing a try. Surprisingly, I'm liking it. A lot. It's always grand fun going through cookbooks and websites (yes, yes, I'm a big dork). It's *especially* fun trying out new recipes, things I might not otherwise make for the four of us because I don't have all the ingredients available. (I don't know about you, but I don't usually have items like "6 ounces mixed wild mushrooms" (Wild Mushroom and Broccoli Tart) or "2.5 cups passata" (Eggplant and Chickpea Tagine) on hand.) That puts the kibosh on trying new and fun recipes, unless you're the type to make a quick run to the grocery store for just a few things, which I'm not. I'd like to claim it's because it's a waste of gas, but really, it's because it's a pain in the...rear. By the time I go there and get back for those couple of things, I could have dinner half done.
How are these kinds of ingredients suddenly available, you ask? Why, because when I "schedule" a recipe, I do a quick check of what's in the frig and pantry and then add any necessary ingredients to the grocery shopping list. That in turn makes grocery shopping faster and easier, because I'm not haphazardly guessing at what we may or may not be having for our dinners. While I love to cook, I do not particularly enjoy grocery shopping. Actually, most of the time I loathe it. So I am all for anything that helps gets me in and out of the grocery store faster.
We don't eat out or order in a lot to begin with, but if we did, I'm going to guess that knowing what's the on the menu and having the ingredients on hand to make it would help cut that down.
Menu planning. Why haven't I been doing this before now?
For those who might be curious, here's what's on this week's menu:
Monday: Pasta with tomato garden sauce and some of that fresh bread -- a light whole wheat -- you see rising in the above picture.
Tuesday: Italian Veggie Turkey Soup (the kids LOVE this one) with more of that homemade bread. Yum!
Wednesday: Potato, Red Onion, and Feta Frittata*, with roasted veggies as a side dish.
Thursday: Tofu stir-fry with egg noodles*, and baked stuffed apples for dessert (a strange combination, I know, but one the kids like).
Friday: Ratatouille*, with Potatoes Dauphinois* and Eggplant, Smoked Mozzarella, and Basil Rolls* as the sides. Or perhaps the eggplant, smoked mozz, and basil rolls will be appetizers instead of a side. I haven't quite decided.
Saturday: Leftovers night!
Sunday: Whole roasted chicken, with brown rice and a vegetable medley as the sides.
Sounds good, no?
I'll try to remember to take some pictures.
*Starred recipes are from Vegetarian, which is fast becoming one of my favorite cookbooks.