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My Menu Plan

2017 September 24

If I have to be honest, I have been out of sorts for a better part of this year. It might be the fatigue from the political climate, or being 39 with 40 looming just a few months ahead, or a general sense of unrest that comes from wanting to change careers, hair styles, homes, vacation plans…and that’s on any given day. And one place I have been avoiding like the plague has been the kitchen. A space that is usually synonymous with comfort, routine and ease in my life has been sitting there largely gathering dust while I give into one more takeout meal, over-priced dinner out or frozen Trader Joe’s staple. With the new season (sort of…given the heat) upon us, it felt like a good time to take inventory and kick start my own ass a little towards a clearer path for the rest of the year. A more focused mind. A more driven vision. And starting with the kitchen seemed like the easiest next step. So it’s back. My menu plan. As always, it’s not perfect. It includes at least one night per week of someone else’s cooking. It is healthy and not at the same time. It’s not always set in stone. But it’s here. And it got me back on track on this sunny Sunday afternoon. Almost 40. Still tired of the political discourse. A little out of sorts. But ready for the week ahead.

Sunday – homemade chicken enchiladas, loosely inspired by the ones in the Dude Diet by Serena Wolf of Domesticate Me. This is a really good cookbook for people who want lightened up versions of their favorite comfort food. It’s a fun, easy read and while her recipes aren’t harboring any surprisingly uncommon tips and tricks, it’s nice to have them there for inspiration nonetheless. So our homemade enchiladas (my first time making them!) will feature whole wheat tortillas, organic chicken that I have had in the crock pot all day so I can shred it myself, black beans, avocado and lots of cheese. Oh and store-bought enchilada sauce because…laziness.

Monday – turkey & ricotta meatballs from Julia Turshen’s amazing Small Victories. Julia collaborated on Gwyneth Paltrow’s first cookbook (and my favorite of hers), My Father’s Daughter, and this recipe became an internet sensation from her own solo cookbook when it launched last year, with very good reason. These meatballs are hearty and healthy(ish) and incredibly flavorful and I have made them so many times now, I’ve mastered the recipe so that it’s fairly quick and easy, too. We serve them over pasta or spaghetti squash when we feel like eating clean. This isn’t one of those weeks.

Tuesday – pesto pizza with chicken sausage. I am going to use the leftover basil from the meatballs recipe to whip up a homemade pesto. It’s another incredibly easy – and worthwhile – kitchen endeavor and I just follow whatever recipe comes up first on Google. This one is nice. I like to make my own pizza crust (currently obsessing over Pizza Camp for inspiration – if you are a pizza fanatic like me, it’s a must add to your collection) but the Trader Joe’s fresh ones are a favorite as well, and we have been topping all our homemade pizzas with fresh cheeses lately – ricotta, mozzarella, buratta – and cannot believe we’ve been using the shredded stuff for so long. I will cook up some crumbled chicken sausage to throw on top, too. I believe in one pizza night per week. Sometimes two. If I am lucky, even more. Life is short and pizza is very important to me.

Wednesday – Tony’s Steak from Dinner: A Love Story and a simple salad. This cookbook is easily one of my favorites and I love to give it as a gift to girlfriends, too. Jenny Rosenstrach is a champion for family dinner (as am I) and turns a memoir of her years cooking for herself alone and then she and her husband and finally, the two of them plus their kids, into an entertaining, informative, inspiring cookbook that you will reference over and over and over. I haven’t yet tried this steak recipe but it has all the flavors I love and will go perfectly with a side salad of butter lettuce, cherry tomatoes, fresh chives and this dreamy buttermilk ranch dressing I have been obsessed with all summer.

Thursday – night off. This mama is going for a late afternoon massage that day and if I play my cards right, ice-cold oysters and a Moscow Mule will be waiting for me when I get out.

Friday – Fridays are so tricky now that we’re in soccer mode. More on that later, I am sure. It’s our first season doing it and I am…less than enthusiastic. Anyhow, it’s a tiring day for everyone after a long week and we have soccer practice at 5pm which must have been a schedule devised by the parenting devil and we usually lay low with takeout to keep appetites – and emotions – in check. But this week I am going to try to go out on the same positive note I am on going into it. Mexican. I say ground turkey tacos with all the fix-ins. A margarita or two. And maybe these for dessert. But only maybe.

Have a great week, friends. x

*image above via Chronicle Books.

3 Responses
  1. Helena permalink
    September 25, 2017

    Tony’s Steak is probably my favorite recipe from that book! The taco soup is also a big hit.

    • WWGD permalink*
      September 25, 2017

      Oh good! Excited to try it.

  2. Erin permalink
    September 26, 2017

    Love all these suggestions for meals – I am in a similar boat (although 42 now and Canadian) so a little different but I completely understand and agree with all points. I think it sets a great tone for the week and easier to manage kids expectations/ our own expectations and money/ wasting food! Thank you.

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