Sunday, May 22, 2011

Planning ahead: Meals for the week

My new year's resolution was to waste less food and cook more meals at home.  Some people may consider this two resolutions, but in fact by cooking more, I would inevitably end up wasting less.  Lamentably, I haven't done as well as I'd hoped in this first half of the year.  Now that summer is approaching and my work hours are shortening (I seem to be fortunate in that summers are almost always relatively quiet in my office), I intend to get back on the cook-more, waste-less bandwagon.

To that end, I'm planning my dinner meals ahead of time so that the more perishable ingredients can be used first, while the pantry workhorses can be used later in the week.  I hear household gurus and budgeting mavens say constantly to plan your menu for the week, and make a shopping list around that.  Personally, I like to do just the opposite:  Go to the market; pick up whatever looks fresh, local, and/or within my budget; then come home and plan my menu.  Sure, I might end up with an odd piece of ginger that I have to find a creative use for -- perhaps a Ginger Simple Syrup to be used in drinks and on fruit? -- but that's the fun part!  If I went to the market with a set menu in mind, would I have ever made this? Or this?

In any case, I've made my initial trip to the market, which is usually supplemented with trips to the local coop for various odds and ends, and here's what I've got in mind:

Saturday, last night:
  • Whole roasted red snapper stuffed with lemon and basil
  • Corn on the cob with basil compound butter
  • Loaded pizza - tomatoes, red & green bell peppers, red onion, mushrooms, diced VT Smoke & Cure pepperoni, and basil (we bought a LOT of basil this week)
  • Switchback beer for my husband, who adores his kegerator; and a crisp Tuscan rosé for me
  • Salmon fillets with maple-ginger glaze
  • Mesclun salads with tamari-lime vinaigrette 
  • Turkey burgers with sauteed mushrooms and swiss
  • Homemade french fries
  • Evaluate fridge. Glean leftovers.
  • Switchback for all!
  • Pasta with sauteed zucchini and homemade pesto (see above re: basil)
  • Light salad with white balsamic vinaigrette
  • Anything goes!  For us, this will probably mean either phở from the Vietnamese restaurant around the corner or burgers and beer from our favorite pub.  (Following my resolution for six of seven days isn't bad, right?)

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