Monday, October 4, 2010

Menu Planinng: Don't laugh it works

It seems lately I have been answering this question a lot.  Are you a creative cook?  Where do you find the time to make home cooked meals?  Well I don' t know about how creative I am, or how much time I have either, as you cam see from how frequently I have been posting here, but I can tell you one thing for sure.  When it comes  to my kitchen.  I am very organized.  My kitchen is stocked up with the basics, and every day has a theme.  My neighbours laugh because even they know what we are having for dinner, they have heard it so often.

Photo from Martha Stewart
Roast chicken , usually served with potatoes and steamed veggies

So here is how it works:  Every meal consists of a starch, meat or fish, and veggies.   Green beans and broccoli are faves and are usually steamed and tossed in a vinaigrette.  Fresh meat and fish at the beginning of the week and freezer specials at the end of it.  Sometimes potatoes and rice are fancy and other times.they are boring...  I am not a chef in a 5 star restaurant.  I cook to provide my family with nutritious meals, not an extravagant culinary experience.  And that is exactly what I tell them when I serve them Pasta e Fagioli and they frown.
Risotto Mondays
Roast on Tuesdays
Leftover Wednesdays
Pasta Night Thursdays
Freezer Fridays

Thursday is Pasta Night
The gang loves meatballs or sausages, so I usually cook them in the sauce. 
I love my mixed greens salad, so it's sure to be a side.

On weekends it's a group effort deciding what we eat.  Saturday nights are usually fun stuff, like fajitas, pizza, souvlaki etc.  And Sundays, now that it is fall, hearty soups, stews, and chili.  Salmon or fresh fish we eat on Sunday or Monday (with risotto).  When I make home made turkey meat balls, I double the batch, and freeze 1/2 (uncooked) for next time.  I often cheat and use store bought sausages for meat balls.  I like to slice my meats thin so they can fry up or oven bake in 20 minutes, especially on freezer Fridays.  Left over tomato sauce is my secret ingredient in minestrone.  I'll share more tips on stocking the freezer and pantry in the coming weeks, as well as some speedy cook methods.. Some I learned from Rachel Ray.

So what about you?  What's your secret for preparing dinner?