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Menu Planning: The End of a Suck-ulent Week

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Menu Planning 5.8

You will be pleased to know that I will not rant, complain, sigh or otherwise indicate my GREAT displeasure with the week that has just passed. Suffice it to say that Mistakes Were Made. I will, instead, look at the good stuff: we ate our first Michigan asparagus of the year, all of the flowering trees are just popping into bloom and looking and smelling so good that it’s almost surreal, the vegetable seeds that Sam and I planted are mostly coming up, I found a fantastic bread recipe, and I got a beautiful box of lemons in the mail from Eric, in San Francisco. (About which more, later). In the TMI department, I started meditating this week and found that I can sit cross-legged for 20 minutes, and that I can keep random thoughts from intruding about 10% of the time. It may not sound like much, but my mind is a busy place, and I find that my “ohms” are frequently swept away by a recollection of the picture that was taken for my London Tube pass 24 years ago, or musings about which Netflix movie to watch.

I also found a great iGoogle widget which tells me what is in season at this time of this month in my state. It may be optimistic, but I have some evidence to support it’s claim that I should be able to find Michigan asparagus, potatoes, peas, greens, herbs and rhubarb. I have made a menu centered around those as my fresh produce items, and I’m also buying the relatively little meat we need from the meat guy at the Farmers Market (along with eggs and butter). Here’s the plan:

Saturday

Potato Enchiladas, Scalloped Apples

I found the Potato Enchilada recipe on allrecipes, and while it sounds filling, tasty and delicious, it also calls for Velveeta. That is so not happening. I will change it by making a cheese sauce out of real cheese and milk, and leave other things pretty much the same. Whole foods purists take note: I am walking a reeeeeally fine line feeding two vegetarian meals a week to people who will not willingly eat tofu, tempeh, seitan, etc., and who really need to feel that they had enough dinner. First I have to make the veggie thing work, then I can move on to making the veggie dishes really healthy.

Sunday

Pasta with Onions and Bacon, No-Knead Bread, Spinach Salad

I still have bacon ends & bits from Ma Wilson’s, and I should be able to get fresh spinach at the market. Our big Mother’s Day hoo-ha (such as it is) will be brunch at a Japanese restaurant, so dinner is just…dinner.

Monday

Jerk-Marinated Chicken Thighs, Coconut Rice, Asparagus

We were supposed to eat this last week, but we didn’t. I can’t remember why.

Tuesday

Morroccan Chicken with Green Olives & Lemon, Cous Cous, Cooked Spinach

I am hoping that Farm Guy has chicken again, planning to use a couple of my beautiful San Francisco lemons, and thinking I had better find a recipe for cooked spinach that these people will eat. Preferably one that does not involve bacon.

Wednesday

Pan-Fried Tilapia, Asparagus, Boiled Potatoes with Butter and Dill

Thursday

Burgers, Fried Potatoes, and Waldorf Salad

Meat from Farm Guy, Michigan potatoes and apples. Cheating on the celery.

Friday

Curried Cauliflower & Chickpea Stew, Jasmine Rice, Fresh Peas

A recipe from the newest “Bon Apetit,” which has about 100 recipes I’m dying to try.

Menu Planning: The First Green-ish Week

menu-planning-42309 Oh, this is going to be harder than I thought. Yesterday I printed a rather optimistic plan for eating “greener” this year, including a commitment to buying and eating mostly produce grown fairly locally. I am still working out what constitutes “local.” The next town is “local,” California is “not local,” the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, although in-state, is (at 240+ miles)”not local.” This kind of determination will be easier once the Farmers Market opens (May 2!!) because no one who sells there comes from more than 50 or 60 miles away; until then I am at the mercy of my usual grocery purveyor.

Speaking of the grocery store, I called this morning to see whether the produce theoretically grown in Michigan at this time of year was available. I had on my provisional menu a great deal of asparagus, some broccoli and cabbage, and rhubarb. After a rather dispiriting conversation with the “onion and potato” guy (who consulted with his colleagues in greener areas) I got out the Wite-Out; the only things they have from Michigan at the moment are parsnips, wheat grass, sprouts, white and russet potatoes, apples and potted herbs. Since people do not, to my knowledge, actually eat wheat grass, and no one in my house eats sprouts (other than me), it’s a pretty limited selection. I am allowing myself onions and garlic, and anything I already have in the house, and I have come up with the following week of menus (and I hope we really like parsnips and can eat apples on a nearly daily basis without coming to hate them): parsnips

Saturday

Vegetarian Nachos and Waldorf Salad Well, I guess I’m also allowing myself two avocados which were almost certainly not grown in Michigan, to make guacamole. The thing is, this is one of our vegetarian meals, and I am walking a fine line with this family between “Earth Friendly” and “Punitive,” so I have to make some compromises so that the vegetarian meals do not cause violent protests and lead to my ouster. Waldorf Salad is an odd choice with nachos, but apples seem to be pretty much the only non-starchy fruit or veg we can have, and maybe I’ll add a little chili pepper and toast the walnuts…or use Pepitas instead of walnuts….

Sunday

Roast Chicken, Michigan White Potatoes and Scalloped Apples The roast chicken will give me bones to make stock, so that I can make this genius soup that uses the woody and usually discarded ends of asparagus…if there is ever any asparagus grown in Michigan.

Monday

Bucatini all’Amatriciana, Homemade Bread and Sauteed Brussels Sprouts This is a cheap and hearty pasta dish; I cheat and make it with bacon because I can’t always find (or afford) decent pancetta. The Brussels sprouts are in the freezer, and while they may have been grown on Alpha Centauri, I get to use what I already have. (She said, clutching her bag of frozen sprouts). The bread will probably be Ciabbata, and I’ll saute the sprouts with some garlic and onions.

Tuesday

Ribs, Fried Parsnips and Apple-Raisin Sautee I believe that Sam and Rob would try goat bladder, or diced camel hump if I fried it in butter. I am hoping that this trick will work with parsnips which, while certainly not appalling to contemplate, are not in our regular repertoire. The ribs will be prepared in my usual way (crockpot until tender and finished on the grill) and everyone will have had a day off from apples, so there should be no problem there.

Wednesday

Fish Tacos, Apple Salad I am buying wild-caught cod, which is not specifically listed among my “you are allowed to eat these” fish, but which I believe to be okay in an ecological sense. (If you know otherwise, please tell me!!) Since the fish tacos are fried, and fairly heavy, I’m thinking I’ll julienne the apples and hit then with some lime juice.

Thursday

Burgers, Oven Fries and Homemade Applesauce For these burgers, I will grit my teeth at the price and buy grass fed, organic beef. Actually, though, if you take at least two meat meals out of your budget, it does make it easier to buy “good” meat when you buy it. Of course the potatoes and apples will be from Michigan (“Together again for the very first time, ladies and gentleman, please give a hearty Forest Street welcome to Michigan apples and Michigan potatoes!!” )

Friday

A Sort of a Pizza Bianca Sam and I will be on our own Friday night, and there’s a good chance he’ll have something better to do. If he’s here, I am going to experiment with a pizza (homemade dough) topped with olive oil, thin slices of parboiled potato, sauteed garlic and onion, mozzarella and a sprinkling of fresh herbs (maybe basil and parsley) and baked until the cheese melts. A Pizza Bianca of sorts. I am thinking that by Friday the idea of peeling an apple will cause me to hyperventilate, so we may just eat apples out of hand to get our “fresh” in. If Sam’s not around, I’ll probably have a cheese omelette, some toast and another damned apple….

‘Cause I’m Nibby Like That….

gladys

As long-time readers may recall, I used to post every Thursday what we were going to eat the following week. I knew what we were going to eat the following week because every Thursday I sit down with the grocery store sales circular, a pad of paper, a pen, some Post-Its and whatever recipe resource grabs me that day (foodie magazines, cookbooks, the computer, recipes I’ve clipped, etc.) and plan what we’re going to eat for dinner every night starting with the following Saturday. (Saturday is grocery day). I still do the menu planning routine, but I had stopped posting menus because it occurred to me that probably no one cared what we were eating for dinner.

Until

I ran into a friend and regular reader at a community event, and she told me she really missed the weekly menu. I asked her if she missed it because she was using it to help her plan menus, and she said no; it was just because she likes to know what other people are doing. And that, friends, is why I love her. I like to know everything about everybody, all the time, and I always have. On the plus side, it makes me an attentive listener; on the negative side I may sometimes appear to be a stalker. I am nibby like that (first definition, please), and while everyone does not have to be quite as nosy as I am, I think that a strong curiosity about other people, what they think, what they cook, what they read, if they get on with their parents, and what they named their dolls is deeply connected to living passionately and joyously in the world.

Now that I have concluded my sermonette, on to the menu for the week. I guess I’ll do this again for a while…let me know what you think about whether it’s useful or not, interesting or dull. You KNOW that I want to know what you think.

menu-planning

Saturday

Turkey and Cheese Panini, Potato Chips, Fresh Canteloupe

Saturday is a busy day; grocery shopping, haircuts, errands…dinner needs to be easy and both deli turkey and deli cheese are on sale.

Sunday

Bean Soup?

Sunday is strange and complicated this week. There is a neighborhood potluck, oddly scheduled from 3-5 PM so as to be not really dinner, but more like high tea. Additionally, I am scheduled to take dinner to a friend whose daughter was hit by a car last week. My current plan is to make double batches of macaroni and cheese and no-bake cookies, and take macaroni and cookies to the potluck, macaroni, cookies and a salad to the family, and have bean soup on the stove, making use of the Easter ham bone. That way, since Rob and Sam will be starving mid-evening after eating dinner before 5:00 I can whip up some biscuits and give them soup and biscuits. There is something about this whole plan that makes me want to dress either in a shirtwaist, pearls and heels, or in an ankle-length dress with a calico apron and a bonnet. Coming right after the post about gardening and canning, this all makes me feel that my inherent, black-wearing cynical self is being weakened in the night by wholesome aliens carrying jars of Ovaltine and copies of “Woman’s Day.”

Monday

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches & Cream of Tomato Soup

Rob will be out of town, and Sam and I would probably eat this every night, if we could get away with it. It’s also Vegetarian Meal I for the week.

Tuesday

Broccoli Cheese Potatoes and Fresh Fruit

Rob will be gone again, so there will be another low-key, vegetarian nursery dinner. My version of the potatoes does not, you will be relieved to know, involve canned soup. I steam broccoli, bake potatoes, make white sauce and add sharp cheddar, then stir steamed broccoli florets into the cheese sauce and pour over the potatoes. Plus, it’s Vegetarian Meal II.

Wednesday

Something Scampi-esque with a Green Salad

On Wednesday night Rob will be back, but Sam will be gone for dinner, which is the signal for seafood. I kind of know how to make scampi, kind of; I’ll have shrimp and garlic and butter and pasta, and I’ll figure it out. I guess I could look in a cookbook….

Thursday

Shredded Mexican Beef, Tortillas, Refried Beans, and Fresh Pineapple

We loved this last time, the meat is on sale, it’s incredibly easy, and it’s a busy day. That’s all I’ve got.

Friday

Braised Pork Tenderloin with Mushroom Sauce, Asparagus Risotto, and Salad

This is the Dinner Deluxe. Pork tenderloin and mushrooms were both on sale, which is a sign from the Kitchen Gods, asparagus is in season, and risotto is my second favorite food. Sam will pick the mushrooms off the meat. If it’s beautiful, I will take pictures and post recipes.



What’s For Dinner – The Pleasing Everybody Edition

I am delighted beyond reason to be cooking again these days, and I have expanded my duties to include cooking dinner for my parents three nights a week. Those meals must be un-spicy and easily transported. In the mean time, I am adjusting my menu planning for nights when Mr. Annie is on the road (nursery food) and the realities of the season and the economy. I pretty much missed farmers’ market season this year, and a Michigan November is not a great time to plan meals around fresh produce. Furthermore, food is just getting really expensive, and although knowing how to cook takes the sting out of it a bit (I can braise a tough cut of meat into silkiness like nobody’s business) I still have to make some choices, particularly in terms of quality. I could drive to a farm in a nearby community and buy eggs, or drive to the City Market to replicate the farm-fresh eggs I buy at the farmers market in the summer, but in either case I would be increasing my gas expenditure and my carbon footprint in order to get better eggs. I could buy Eggland’s Best,” which do (in my opinion) have a slight edge in taste and a definite edge nutritionally, but they are at least twice the price of the less exotic eggs in the dairy case. We eat the regular eggs.

Here’s what we’re eating this week, based on the parents, the schedule, the budget, and what called to me from my cookbook collection. I have never made several of these recipes before; I was in that kind of mood.

Saturday

That’s a Great Question

My niece is making her stage debut Saturday night in a production of something called “Captain Bree and the Lady Pirates,” and since the curtain goes up at 7:00, we will need to leave here by no later than 6:15. I am not personally capable of eating dinner earlier than that, so I am hoping that Mr. Annie will prepare a sumptuous post-theater feast that will be ready when we return home, put our opera glasses away and slip into our respective smoking jackets.

Sunday

Chicken and Indian Spices with Yogurt, Basmati Rice & Spiced Acorn Squash

The chicken recipe is Mark Bittman’s, the rice is on a bag in my cupboard and the squash is to be invented. This is a just-us night; I knew as soon as I saw the spices called for in the chicken recipe that it was not suitable for the faint of heart.

Monday

Short Ribs in Chipotle and Green Chile Sauce, Tijuana Tangerine & Mixed Green Salad and Grits

I realized recently that, although I love to eat short ribs, I had never cooked them. The beef and salad recipes are from The Bon Appetit Cookbook, and I don’t know why I’m making grits other than the fact that I needed a starch that would nicely soak up the sauce, and I wanted something different.

Tuesday

Pork Tenderloin, Homemade Applesauce and Baked Sweet Potatoes

This one goes to my parents, so it’s non-spicy and fairly comforting. I’ll probably bake the pork with some maple syrup glaze, and start the applesauce in the morning so the house smells good.

Wednesday

Cheese Tart, Spinach Salad and Fresh Pineapple

This meal will be served only to my parents and me; Rob will be in a motel somewhere, abnd Sam will be at Youth Group (which we are hoping will improve his character). The Cheese Tart is a Moosewood recipe I haven’t made for maybe 25 years (it’s really a quiche) and although this will be a nice, light vegetarian meal, it is possible that the half pound of bacon languishing in my meat drawer may be used. It’s really just being thrifty….

Thursday

White Bean, Tortellini & Pancetta Soup and Homemade Ciabatta

This one will be for my parents, Sam and me; Rob will still be eating at the restaurant nearest the Red Roof in some Midwestern city. The soup is Giada De Laurentises (tough call on the possessive, there) and the ciabatta is my old, beloved recipe.

Friday

Chicken Marinara, Pasta with Butter & Parmesan & Green Salad

The chicken recipe is Mark Bittman’s, the rest is from the recesses of my tormented brain.

What’s For Dinner?

george-bailey

I have planned menus throughout my recently concluded career as a campaign press person, but actual execution was pretty spotty. Sometimes I came home at 4:00, slept until 6:00 and had to order a pizza or make soup and grilled cheese because people were starving and couldn’t make it until I finished cooking the planned meal. Other nights my parents took pity on us and took us to dinner, or I discovered at 5:30 that some essential ingredient had been used up, never purchased or was otherwise unavailable. It would be an understatement to say that I had neither the interest in nor the capacity to whip up something creative using what actually was available. I was interested only in how quickly some Pad Thai, gyros or subs could be made to appear in my house.

This week, I am ready to cook again. Like George Bailey on the snow-covered bridge near the end of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” I have seen what life is like without home cooking, and “I want to cook again!” I am not quite ready for adventures in the kitchen; I just want to make good things from scratch. Then I want to eat them. Here’s what we’re having on Forest Street this week:

Saturday

Grilled Sausage, Macaroni and Cheese, Salad, Brownies & Ice Cream

A group of boys who lived up the street during their senior year in college are coming back to town for a football Saturday, and having dinner here between the game and their evening activities. (Which undoubtedly include lots of alcohol and probably things i don’t want to know about).  I used to have the pleasure of feeding these gentlemen fairly often, and i know them to be big eaters with fairly straightforward taste. For the 6-8 of them and the 3 of us, we’ll grill a bunch of kielbasa, I’ll make two pans of macaroni and cheese and a big salad with some interesting additions (maybe some slivered Granny Smith and some pepitas) and we’ll finish with homemade brownies and ice cream.

Sunday

Beef Curry, Basmati Rice, Fresh Pineapple

I have missed this curry so much that I could weep. I have posted the recipe previously, but I love it so much, and want so much for you to share my joy, that I am posting it again:

Annie’s Out-of-the-Box Beef Curry

  1. 1 1/2 pounds lean beef strips (can be from any cut of beef, but fatty and/or tough cuts will require an additional step)
  2. 8 tbsp Thai red curry paste
  3. 2 tbsp fish sauce
  4. 2 cans unsweetened coconut milk
  5. 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  6. 2 tbsp Brown sugar
  7. 3-4 crushed garlic cloves
  8. 1 large or small onions halved and thinly sliced
  9. 3 carrots peeled and cut into rounds or 1 1/2 cups slaw or stir fry mix (not frozen)
  10. 4 tbsp chopped basil (optional)

1. If you are using tough or fatty meat (chuck, for example) cook with no oil over medium- high heat until all visible pink is gone, remove meat from pan with a slotted spoon, pour off fat, and return meat to pan. If you are using lean meat (almost no visible marbling) heat oil in pan over medium-high heat and cook until no visible pink remains.

2. Add onions and carrots or slaw mixture to meat and cook, stirring frequently, over medium-high heat for about 1-2 minutes. Add garlic and stir 1 more minute.

3. Add coconut milk, curry paste, fish sauce and brown sugar; stir to combine. Reduce heat to “low” and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until meat can be cut with the side of a fork but is not mushy. (You are looking for a texture that is firm, but not so firm that you will essentially be serving beef chewing gum). Cooking time will vary depending on the type of meat used.

5. When meat has reached desired consistency check sauce for taste and add salt or pepper if needed.

6. Serve curry over steamed or boiled rice, and garnish with fresh basil if you like.

Monday

Chicken & Dumplings and Lima Beans

I am going to use this recipe, in my final salute to the crock pot that got me through so much of the past four months. I am making lima beans, which Mr. Annie hates, but which I worship and crave with unnatural fervor. He just won’t have any.

Tuesday

Potato Leek Soup and French Bread

C’est magnifique, this soup. It’s comforting, elegant and subtle. I might make a simple green salad, and I might not. I plan to commune with the spirit of Julia Child as I cook.


Wednesday

Topopo Salad

Another craving to satisfy.

Thursday

Bucatini all’Amatriciana, Bread, Green Salad

Simple, authentic Italian pasta with many of life’s best things (including bacon, San Marzano tomatoes and Bucatini), a warm loaf of bread with good extra virgin olive oil, and some greens dressed with olive oil, sea salt and Balsamic vinegar.

Friday

Flash Chicken Saute with Cider and Almonds, Pilaf and Butternut Squash

I figure that by Friday I’ll be capable of trying something I haven’t made before. This recipe comes from Lynne Rosetto Kasper’s “Splendid Table,” and sounds autumnal and delicious.

What’s For Dinner?

Although it is summer, and I am supposed to be lying around reading novels and watching kids splash in the pool, I am actually experiencing full-bore busy-ness with only occasional moments to drink beer on the porch or pretend to garden. (I guess that’s kind of a giveaway about my gardening prowess – I’m thinking that people who actually grow stuff did a lot of work in the spring and are now doing things like mulching and weeding. Or whatever it is that they do).

People around here still need to eat, though, and its starting to be possible to use fresh, perfect things from the farmer’s market. No tomatoes yet, or eggplant, or melons, but there are onions and potatoes and herbs, and the start of zucchini and broccoli. I have decided on a week of dinners that alternates between labor-intensive and ridiculously easy, on the chance that on an “easy” night I will find myself with time to sit on the porch, feet up on the railing, drinking iced tea (or Red Stripe) and finishing the mystery that has been sitting by the side of my bed since Hannibal crossed the Alps. Here’s what’s cooking on Forest Street this week:

Saturday

Burgers with Cheese, Red Onions and Avocado; Potato Chips; Strawberries

Definitely pushing the “easy” button here. Just try to make me feel guilty.

Sunday

Asian Marinated Grilled Chicken Thighs; Thai Noodles with Peanut Sauce; Melon

Depending on my level of inspiration I will either make or buy the marinade for the chicken thighs; the noodles are delicious and fairly healthy, and I like them cold just as well as hot.

Monday

Breakfast Burritos; Fresh Pineapple

Chorizo, scrambled eggs, onions and jalapenos cooked together and rolled in a flour tortilla with hot sauce and cool pineapple on the side.

Tuesday

Chicharrones de Pollo; Rice; Zucchini

Time-consuming. Unhealthy. Fabulous.

Wednesday

Grilled Italian Sausage Sandwiches; Potato Chips; Fresh Fruit

These will be the standard grilled Italian sausages in a roll with some melted provolone and a healthy dollop of sauteed onions and peppers. We will have eaten all of the fruit by Wednesday, so I’ll go look for something that looks good – maybe peaches or plums.

Thursday

Topopo Salad

Again, labor-intensive, but worth it. A perfect summer dinner with a bottle of Corona and a walk to Tastee Twist for ice cream later in the evening. (Fireflies mandatory).

Friday

Ribs; Fried Potatoes, and Coleslaw

I will use my “lazy” slowcooker-to-grill method for the ribs. I have been loving very young, un-peeled red potatoes or fingerlings sliced very thin and fried in a pan with olive oil and onions and topped with a little Fleur de Sel (and possibly white truffle oil), and I never made cole slaw this week, as I was supposed to, so I still owe everybody some cabbage.

What’s For Dinner

Posted on

Life is still a little crazy in these parts, but I am trying valiantly to strike a balance between what’s easy (mainly all things marinated and/or grilled with something fresh and something starchy on the side) and what’s interesting to cook and eat. The Farmers’ Market is just starting to have things that were actually grown here, and I don’t want to miss anything while its in season. Although its always subject to change depending on my whims, and what I find at the market on Saturday morning, here’s what I think we’re eating on Forest Street next week:

Saturday

Out to Dinner

We’re headed to Crunchy’s, a local burger and pizza place with a great beer selection, popular with college students. Its safe for those of us in our Golden Years during the summer.

Sunday

Grilled Chicken Breasts with Barbecue Sauce, Rice Pilaf and Roasted Carrots

The roasted carrots are from a “Barefoot Contessa” cook book, and it may just be too hot to run the oven, in which case the carrots (hopefully the same small, sweet local variety I found at the market last week) will be grilled, instead.

Monday

Leek, Potato and Tarragon Soup and Homemade Bread

If its as cool as its been lately, the soup will be hot and i will actually bake bread. If its Africa Hot, I’ll chill the soup a la Vichyssoise and buy a couple of good baguettes. I am hoping to find leeks, potatoes and tarragon fresh at the market.

Tuesday

Pan Fried Chicken Breasts, Risotto with Vegetables

The chicken breasts will be breaded lightly, and for the risotto I’ll use whatever is fresh and local at the market – zucchini, scallions, green beans…its all good.

Wednesday

Ribs, Coleslaw and Baked Beans

I’ll do the ribs using my slow cook-and-finish-on-the-grill method, and do a partial cheat for the coleslaw by buying the shredded cabbage but making my own dressing. I still haven’t decided if I’m going creamy mayonnaise-y or vinegar-y. The beans will, I confess, be produced mainly through the use of a can opener and the application of direct heat.

Thursday

Tandoori Chicken Sandwiches, Potato Chips and Strawberries

The chicken recipe comes from “The Bon Apetit Cook Book,” and is new to me. I am still fixated on Indian food, and it seemed like a way to get a little Mumbai into our lives without frightening the horses.

Friday

Fettucine with Prosciutto, Peas and Lemon Chive Sauce and Salad

Another recipe from “The Bon Apetit” book, that calls for a number of fresh ingredients I should be able to find at the Farmers’ Market.

What’s For Dinner?

I used to post a weekly menu every week, sometimes adding menus or comments about what I was cooking. After a while (particularly as I entered the fresh produce-free winter slump) I decided that no ones’ world would be rocked by the revelation that my family was having chili mac on Tuesday or lemon chicken on Friday. So I stopped, and there was barely a ripple.

Last week, at a party, I spoke with a young friend of mine who is newly married and has an avid and charming curiosity about the world in general, and cooking in particular. She asked me why I had stopped writing those weekly menus, and said that she “just liked to know what other people were eating.” Being fairly nosy myself (I look into windows when I am walking the dogs at night to admire bookshelves and shake my head at bad paint choices) I fully understand this. I am therefore restoring the weekly menu feature, starting today.

Saturday

Braised Chicken Breasts with White Wine Sauce; Risotto with Asparagus

I don’t really have recipes for either of these; I sautee chicken breasts in olive oil for about 15 minutes (turning every 5 minutes), then I de-glaze the pan with white wine, return the chicken to the pan, season with salt, pepper and maybe some Tarragon, and add enough chicken stock to cover most of the chicken. I then reduce the heat under the chicken to medium-low and let it cook while I make the risotto (usually like this), about 30 minutes tops. I serve the chicken with the risotto and some pan sauce poured over the top. If I’m feeling thin, I add a little cream to the sauce before serving.

Sunday

Broccoli Cheddar Potatoes and Green Salad

This is simple as can be. Bake big russet potatoes, steam some broccoli, make a cheese sauce (white sauce with shredded sharp cheddar), mix the broccoli into the sauce and serve over baked potatoes. Extra shredded cheese or bacon are lovely flourishes, and leftover ham goes nicely into the mix, although I like to serve this as a vegetarian dinner.

Monday

Chicharrones de Pollo, Green Beans and Rice

I have never made chicharrones before, but I found a recipe in the September 2007 issue of “Gourmet” that has been calling to me. It isn’t on “Gourmet’s” website, but I did find it here. I may play with a little saffron action in the rice, and will serve the green beans steamed with a little lemon, butter and good salt.

Tuesday

Pan-Fried Pierogies and Scalloped Apples

Busy day; frozen pierogies. I’ll just sautee them in a pan with some onions, slice and sautee some apples with some butter, brown sugar and cinnamon, and call it good.

Wednesday

Braised Pork Chops with Rosemary; Ditalini with butter and Parmesan and Green Salad

The braised pork chops are prepared much like the braised chicken from Sunday, except that I use Rosemary, and lots of it. I also usually sautee a little garlic in the pan and remove it before starting the pork.

Thursday

Scrambled Eggs with Chorizo and Tortillas (Migas) and Fruit Salad

I have made my own version of Migas many times, but this recipe was in the same issue of “Gourmet” as the Chicharrones de Pollo, and looked pretty fabulous.

Friday

Grilled Burgers, Potato Chips and Fruit

Hey, its a free country. Don’t judge me.

P.S. Is it wrong that I am totally freaked out by the fact that every time the spell-checker finds the word “sautee,” it offers me “suttee” as an alternative?

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