Friday, January 14, 2011

Meal Planning

Do you want to know a little secret? I love meal planning. Some weeks I feel overwhelmed because there are so many things I want to cook, and I'm trying to stick to a budget, but I love to sit down and dream up a week's worth of dinners. In the future, I'll be offering up my meal-planning services to you, so sit tight for that treat.

I have decided to give my weekly meal planning posts a little revamp. And to actually make them weekly posts. Each Friday, I'll post a recap of the last week of dinners (Friday - Thursday). This way I can tell you what I thought about the things we made. After all, I hate to send you off with a recipe that I've never made before only to find out it's not even good. And, on Friday because I think most people do their meal planning and grocery shopping on the weekends.

Finally, I'll include all seven (or six) days of dinners because we have a very specific eating pattern at the White Hot house. Monday through Thursday, we go healthy and fairly easy; we're talking in and out of the kitchen in forty-five minutes most of the time. Friday and Saturday, we are a little bit more indulgent and have more time to devote to the cooking; these are the nights I am most likely to experiment. And Sunday, I'm all about some Sunday dinner; I like it to be at least moderately healthy so I feel like we're ending one week and starting another on the right foot, but I usually have a lot of time on Sunday afternoons so I'm willing to tinker away at the stove for awhile.

One last thing, most Tuesday nights we eat leftovers. When I'm in Savannah, I stay at a hotel and there isn't a lot of cooking (that I want to eat, anyway) to be had in a microwave. So many weeks you'll only be getting six dinners, but they'll be tasty.

Now you know the new plan, friends, so let's get to it!

Greek Nachos - Make them. Eat them. Lick the plate. Go back and dip your finger in the sauce when no one's looking, I won't tell. But do it next week, because I'm not giving you the recipe until then.

Meatball Subs - I made these using my own marinara sauce and an adapted meatball recipe from How Easy is That?. I'll be posting the recipes early next week. Hugh might have proposed to me after this dinner if we weren't already married. What is it with men and meatballs?

Sunday Tuscan Minestrone - Just what you want from a Sunday soup. Including the ability to taste even better the next day. We served this with toasty hunks of sourdough.

Baked Potato Bar - Bake some potatoes. Serve with any of the following: grated cheddar, cooked and crumbled bacon, sauteed spinach (surprisingly delicious) or steamed broccoli (Hugh's preference), caramelized onions, quartered grape tomatoes, and sour cream. Note: I like to halve the cooked potatoes, top with cheese, and broil until bubbly before I add the other toppings. Because, browned and bubbly cheese on a starchy carb? Yes, please.

Carbonara - I found out on Tuesday I didn't have to go to Savannah this week (three cheers for crazy weather!), so Hugh cooked me my favorite celebratory dinner. I cannot help but inhale this meal; I have no self-control when faced with its cheesy, bacony, saucy, carby goodness.

Black Bean-Stuffed Burritos topped with shredded romaine and sliced avocado - We left the chicken out this week. Still delicious. I do have to admit, I make my own pico de gallo and sub it for the salsa. It couldn't be easier: chop up some grape tomatoes, mince a little onion, chop some fresh cilantro, squeeze in half a lime, mix it all together, and salt it to taste.

So, what do you think about the new format? What did you eat this week? Do you want me to help you plan your meals?!

Post script: Next week I'm doing a little project meal-planning project with a favorite friend. Check back next Friday for a week of vegetarian dinners.

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