>> Tuesday, September 18, 2012
I like to improvise in the kitchen and I like to eat what I'm in the mood for on a certain day, not what my calendar says I was supposed to cook. So I am not drawn to the "plan out the menu for the week" sort of meal planning.
But this weekend began with a potluck camping trip and the Jewish New Year so I started making a little bit of a plan before I hit the supermarket - combined with what we had in our farmshare box (which I love because it forces me to improvise!) I had a plan that sort of fits my more haphazard style, jotted down on the fridge whiteboard. 7 things I wanted to cook, done on different days and mixed and matched:
1) panzanella salad - this is an addictive salad we make a few times when we have tasty summer tomatoes! Bread, tomatoes, onions, garlic, olives, some other vegetable such as zucchini or bell peppers, oil, vinegar, and basil. The kids don't eat it. That's okay. We brought it to the potluck, the kids ate hamburgers and pulled pork, and it was fine.
2) roasted chicken for Rosh Hashana dinner.
My older child eats the drumsticks and the mini drumsticks. My younger child is still in toddler eating mode - he eats all carbs one day, all protein the next, all fruit the next.. don't understand it, but it adds up to a balanced diet, we hope. Some days he eats the chicken, anyway. Not this one.
3) matzo ball soup for Rosh Hashana dinner.
Both kids devour this. Matzo balls are a sort of fluffy dumplings that go in chicken soup. I am cool and cheap enough that I have actually gotten into the groove of making and freezing soup - whenever I roast a chicken, I freeze the back and scraps so I can make chicken soup later, whenever I have celery I cut off the tops for chicken soup as well, and then probably every ~2 months or so I combine celery, chicken parts, and carrots and boil for a while into chicken soup that I freeze later.
4) rice made with the chicken drippings for Rosh Hashana dinner. This was originally going to be a recipe for rice pilaf, but instead I just put the rice in the rice cooker and when it was done, I heated it up with onions I sauteed in the chicken drippings . The brown rice maybe makes up a bit for the amount of bad stuff in the chicken drippings? Toddler eats the good kind, grownups eat the good kind, first grader eats the plain rice and I don't mix in the extras into hers.
5) Roasted Eggplant - I haven't made it yet, but I've got the eggplants in the fridge. Probably only the adults will eat them.
6) Beet Tzatziki - I got beets and dill in the farmshare, and made this recipe that I love - inspired by middle eastern cucumber tzatziki, but with beets - a sort of salad with beets, garlic, lemon, dill, and yogurt. The kids ate some cooked beets I did not shred, and some yogurt - the younger one tried the whole thing but did not approve.
7) plum dumplings - these are a dessert or a dinner or breakfast treat - a dough made with potatoes, flour, and eggs wrapped around little oval "prune" plums - which our supermarket has in the early fall each year, and which are the kind my husband grew up with. I will make a whole batch and freeze them with the uncooked batter wrapped around the plums - both the recipe and the freezing technique come from my mother in law. Then I boil them to cook the dough, and roll the cooked dumplings in butter, bread crumbs and sugar. This is dinner sometimes sort of the way pancakes and maple syrup are dinner sometimes. The kids eat them too.
I bought more chicken and made more soup than we needed, because my mom and her boyfriend were supposed to come over but then I got sick. So all of this leaves us with a lot of mix and match leftovers in the fridge to use for different meals as the week goes on - though I've also got some more stuff on my to-do list to cook, and some more vegetables in the fridge to add in for side dishes etc.
Beet tzatziki and a package of hummus and a package of pita was dinner last night; lunch the day after the Rosh Hashana dinner was more chicken, more rice, more soup and tomato salad; lunch today for me was a sandwich with chicken and onion and bbq sauce and cheese, and we still have a bunch of these things to choose from for dinners the next few days.