Monday, December 17, 2007

My Menu Plan for the Week

I was talking with some dear friends about menu planning last night. They were saying how they wish they could do it, and I was saying how I can't imagine not doing it. It was really nice to hear that they read my weekly menu plans and feel stirrings of inspiration towards doing their own...that was very gratifying. It gives me that funny pay-it-forward feeling. So: Kerry and Marta, you can do it! Or you could begin by trying it once and seeing how it works for you. Copy one of mine, or pick and choose from different weeks! Then the mental hassle is taken away, right?

Really though -- I can't conceive of not meal-planning weekly. My wonderful friend Robin first turned me onto it, and helped me to see that it was possible to do without being a crazy Betty Crocker type, enslaved to one's kitchen and never thinking about anything else but What To Cook.

And now, sitting down once a week, usually on the weekend, and planning my and hubby's meals is the only way I can see how to do this cooking all week thing. When I didn't do it, years ago, we ate out SO MUCH MORE. Which is not only not as healthy as eating home-cooked meals, but considerably more expensive.

And even cooking regularly but not planning it out requires going to the grocery store every day, or at least every other day, and that also ends up lightening your wallet more than you ever wanted it to. Because we all know that even when you go into the store with only two items on your list, you always end up with a couple or a few or several more extraneous goodies, like... dark chocolate caramels with sea salt, or chili-lime cashews, or a baguette and brie, or...the list is really endless, the things which catch my eye. (And which I do not buy, because I go to the store once a week and can usually exercise enough will power to avoid them once. But if I had to go more regularly? Forget about it. Those dark chocolate caramels with sea salt would be in my kitchen already.)

By planning the week's meals regularly, there's an easy routine to it, which means it's not a headache for me to do. And it takes stress out of the rest of my week: even if nothing else goes as planned or goes well during my day, at the very least I know I don't need to worry about what the heck we're going to eat for dinner. And if I plan it right, there will be leftovers, which means I also don't need to worry about what the heck we're going to eat for lunch the next day. (Another HUGE wallet-saver!)

So...with all of that said, here's what we're eating for dinner this week at Casa Dena:

  • Sunday: My Boss' Holiday Party (aka we noshed til we were full and did not need to eat dinner when we got home)
  • Monday: Warmed Ravioli (Roasted Butternut Squash & Chestnut in Pumpkin Pasta) with Balsamic-Shallot-Olive Oil Dressing on a bed of wilted Arugula, topped with Parmesan shavings
  • Tuesday: My Office Holiday Party (aka eating out at a yummy restaurant)
  • Wednesday: Quinoa with Sauteed Kale
  • Thursday: Tofu Stirfry
  • Friday: Mother-in-law's in town! (aka eating out)

So there you go. I'm taking it pretty easy this week. I hope to tackle more challenging recipes next week, actually.

What are YOU eating this week?

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