It’s time to write my post-mortem. First, I shortened my weekly meal planner experiment by 2 weeks because I learned nothing new from the last two weeks. When I started this little experiment my hope was to add more recipes to my repertoire, and to start planning ahead. Let’s see how I did point by point.
Adding new recipes to my repertoire. I tried a few new recipes. But with a toddler and a busy schedule, it proved to be harder than I originally thought. For one thing, the fact that Zack is neither a fan of chicken nor steak reduced my choices. Several new recipes that inspired me where either too long or require ingredients that are normally found at the grocery store. This leads to planning ahead. Continue Reading
My meal planning was business. I wished that I could report a new recipe but it didn’t happen. So, you will see many common faces on last week’s menu:
- Monday: What was in my pantry dictated what we ate that night. I served spaghettini with a garlic, olive and tomato sauce topped with freshly ground Parmesan.
- Tuesday: I made what is comfy food in my home: my spicy Italian sausages with vegetables one pot dish.
- Wednesday: Zack’s appetite was really back. He adored my scaloppine al limone. I originally planned to serve Brussel sprouts but the ones at the grocery store had seen better days. I relied on my trusted asparagus and rice for completing my menu. Zack had chocolate one or twice before. He was delighted at his first bite of Dixies from Laura Secord. This crunchy pecan pieces and chewy caramel covered in milk chocolate is delicious!
- Thursday: A friend offered that we exchanged babysitting duties to each have a night out. Therefore, Zack had a little friend over for Valentine’s Day. For the occasion, my husband cooked a kid-pleasing meal: sloppy joe. I made for us an arugula and spinach salad.
- Friday: We were due for some spicy shrimps. We each ate a bowl of stir-fried prawns and noodles from “Off the Shelf: cooking from the pantry” by Donna Hay. For dessert, we had more Dixies, thanks Laura Secord who sent Zack a box as a Valentine’s gift after they heard that he loves them so much. A big thanks to Katia and Laura Secord!
- Saturday: My husband and I celebrated a friend’s birthday at a French restaurant while my toddler went to dinner at an Asian restaurant with my mother-in-law.
- Sunday: I craved for a simple winter meal. We ate a Chinese fondue with cauliflower and button mushrooms.
That was it!
My little experiment on recording what we eat for dinner continues. Last week was special because my toddler was sick for half of the week. He ate bread and chicken soup several nights in a row. I am glad that he now has regained his appetite.
Here is what we ate for dinner last week:
- Monday: After a morning of running errands and an afternoon filled with accounting duties, I welcomed the comfort of a simple healthy meal. I paired boiled green beans and Brussel sprouts — topped with butter — with the Dijon mustard steelhead trout fillets cooked by my husband.
- Tuesday: I had a craving for chicken and couscous. I cooked a her early Donna Hay cookbook titled Flavours. It a grilled lemon chicken breasts on a bed of almond, sage, lemon and caper couscous salad. If you don’t own the cookbook, have a look at Emily’s Culinary Adventures. Emily shared how she makes the recipe.
- Wednesday: We ate a cheese fondue with an assortment of charcuterie (Grison beef and prosciutto), sweet onions, sour onions and sour gherkins.
- Thursday: I went to a concert that night. Since I was in a hurry, we ate pasta with a ready-made sauce.
- Friday: It was sushi night.
- Saturday: Since we were at the ski cottage, I cooked a simple meal. We grilled steelhead trout fillets with a touch of Dijon mustard and oil live on top. Rice and grilled asparagus were our side dishes. For dessert, we ate a delicious apple and cranberry pie from a local bakery.
- Sunday: Since we arrived from the ski cottage at a time where the grocery store would be full, we ordered pizza. Our usual place is closed on Sunday. We ate it with a Greek salad.
I will continue this experiment until the end of the month.
+ sourcing: Celeste Dinnerware at Crate & Barrel
Deciding what’s for dinner was easy this week. I only wish that it would be as simple to feed my toddler boy. I don’t know if it is because he had a cold, but it was not less enthusiastic by my cooking this week.
Here is what we ate for dinner last week:
- Monday: We started the week with an easy pasta night. To save time, I served the Florentine Spinach and Cheese sauce by Classico on spaghettini. We added extra cheese with freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano.
- Tuesday: My husband had an event that night. To enough me to pass more time with Zack, I stopped by Tourtière Australienne and bought their delicious Lamb roganjosh pie. I served it with the leftover potato, rutabaga and carrot mash from last Sunday.
- Wednesday: That was our fish night. My husband cooked to perfection steelhead trout fillets that he lightly covered with Dijon mustard before cooking. I made us a tropical fennel salad and side of green beans.
- Thursday: I cooked Jamie-Oliver’s tender and crisp chicken legs with sweet tomatoes that I served with the remaining leftover potato, rutabaga and carrot mash.
- Friday: I took a day off from cooking. We ordered something that it always a hit with my toddler: our usual vegetarian pizza, extra ham with a mix salad.
- Saturday: In honor of the Super Bowl, my husband cooked his delicious chili con carne. He achieved a right balance of spices to be enjoyable but us and our toddler.
- Sunday: I made us a chicken pilaf rice. I used a recipe from the first cookbooks that I bought when I moved to my own apartment for university. It is so easy to make and delicious. The best part is that the leftover is enough for two lunches.
Do you plan your meal weekly? If so, what do you eat on an average week at your home?
The reason why I started to chronicle what we ate for dinner every week was to vary our meals. So far, it is working. I don’t know if reading my weekly menu gives you ideas for what to cook for dinner to your family but, on a personal note, I see the benefits of keeping track of what’s for my dinner. You should give it a try.
Here is what we ate for dinner last week: Continue Reading
My toddler enjoyed every meal I made for dinner last week except for the chop suey. I have the feeling that it was because of the ground beef. Instead, he savoured a bowl of the leek and carrot soup from my frozen soup supply.
Here is the list of what we ate last week: Continue Reading
I have a confession to make. I don’t plan ahead what I will make for dinner. Because I am looking at ways for finding time, I would like to change my routine. After all, planning ahead your meals would reduce my shopping time.
As a first step to change my behaviour, I decided to chronicle what we ate every week. At least, I could save time by referring to my meal planner when comes the time to decide what’s for dinner. Plus, I could monitor more carefully what we ate. Here is what I cooked or ordered in for dinner last week. Continue Reading
In a few words, I gave me less time to think about what’s to eat for dinner. Since my toddler go to day care, the need to quickly prepare dinner has taken a new meaning. I remain impulsive when it comes to decide what to eat for dinner but I added more organisation than it used to. I factor in what my son ate for lunch, what I would like to eat and make sure that our diet provides a variety of meat, fish and poultry.
At couple weeks ago, I gave Jamie Oliver’s 30 minute meals a try. The recipes were delicious but I lost a lot of time by having to constantly read the instructions to find where I was. My guess is that if I redid the same recipes, it would fast.
I reserve 30 to 40 minutes before I pick him up at day care to shop for what I’ld need to cook dinner that night. It used that time as a transition between work and family time. If the recipe is from a cookbook, I will take a picture of the ingredient list with my iPhone. This is quicker than to make a grocery list. I head to the stores with a “plan B” recipe, in case that they don’t have in stock an essential ingredient.
Our main courses for a week might look like that:
- Casserole of grilled Italian sausage and vegetables on rice – Like father, like son, since both adore this recipe.
- Dijon mustard trout served with grilled asparagus and rice – another winner
- A pasta dish made with a home made sauce
- Colombine potatoes (slices of potatoes with red peppers, french shallot and parsley), boiled green beans served with a T-bone steak
- Thai shrimp noodles
- Veal al limone with rice and broccoli – I used to serve Brussels sprouts with that recipe. Since my son has not yet developed a taste for them, I cooked broccoli instead.
- Tender and crisp chicken legs with sweet tomatoes – a recipe from Jamie Oliver
Over the week, I might grab a home made dish from the freezer. But tonight, I want to try a new recipe. I will quickly browse Donna Hay cookbooks for a change. I only have five minutes left to decide.
I don’t know if it is the same at your house. I am good at mixing the amount of meat, fish, seafood, poultry and pasta that we eat in a week. But I rely mainly on a set of recipes that I rotate over a few weeks. The rotation was longer before we had a child because we were eating out a few times a week. But now that I cook dinner every night, we can taste the redundancy.
By looking at my cookbook collection (I have more cookbooks stashed upstairs), I have plenty of sources of inspiration for easy to cook recipes. I use my cookbooks mainly for when I host a dinner party or during weekends. My excuse is that it is too late at 7 PM to try a new recipe.
My desire to expand our menu option comes from my little boy. Except for eating a Minigo for dessert, he craves for more variety at dinner time. So, I determined to break that bad habit. Starting tomorrow (tonight’s meal is already planned), I will try at least one new recipe every week. To make sure that I will fail, I already bookmarked 4 recipes that I never tried before.
Any tips for me? How do you vary what you cook for dinner every night?