If you are new to this blog, welcome to Menu Planning Thursday. Each week, I sit down with the sale circular for our grocery store, whatever cookbooks or clippings I’m obsessed with, and the calendar for the following week. I plan menus based on the following factors: family schedule, what’s on sale, use of whatever is in season, and (of course) personal likes and dislikes. One night each week we eat out or get takeout, and other than that I try to have one vegetarian meal, one seafood meal, and no more than two meals with red meat as the main feature.
I will provide recipes/suggestions along with the menu plan for dishes I have made before, but if I’m experimenting with a new recipe I like to wait until I have actually prepared it before sharing – sometimes they are quite wretched (tonight’s, for example) and sometimes I end up doing quite a bit of tweaking, and I like to pass on my observations and suggestions.
Here’s what we’re eating on Forest Street this week:
Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Rendezvous Rub, Corn on the Cob, Mixed Melon Bowl
Pork tenderloin is on sale this week, and I’ll buy a big one which will make two dinners. I’ll also buy more corn than we need, so that we’ll have some left over to make Tuesday’s corn risotto. I’ll cut the tenderloin in half, put half away for Tuesday, butterfly the remaining half, and let Rob grill it, brushing on some spice rub from Rendezvous in Memphis towards the end of cooking. (He used to work for a Memphis-based company and brought several jars home from a conference; its a great way to finish meat on the grill). This should be a fresh, summery kind of meal that all of us will eat happily, and its healthy (depending on the quantity of butter one slathers on one’s corn, that is).
Pan-fried Lake Trout for Grownups Chicken Fingers for Sam, and Tomato Tart For Everyone
We are still in the early days of introducing seafood to The Forest Street Kitchen. Rob and I will eat the trout dredged in a little flour, salt and pepper and fried in a modest amount of oil and butter, but Sam will absolutely. not. eat. fish.. I’ll slice a chicken breast into “fingers,” dredge it and fry it in the pan before the fish is cooked, and serve it to Sam as his “main.” The tomato tart is a recipe from a magazine that looks divine and makes great use of what’s fresh – it involves overlapping layers of heirloom tomatoes baked on a crust in the oven. If its great, I’ll share.
Crispy Pork Milanese, Corn Risotto; Salad of Grape Tomatoes and Fresh Basil
The other half of the pork tenderloin will get pounded, breaded and fried, the leftover corn will go into the risotto, and I’ll just toss some halved, fresh tomatoes and chiffonade of fresh basil with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Not the healthiest or quickest meal of the week but probably the one I’ll like best.
Caprese Panini, Baked Potato Chips and Watermelon
This is an easy cooking night for me, and gives us our vegetarian meal. The panini are made with mozzarella and fresh tomato. (The recipe calls for pesto, but as I have recently learned, pesto is not popular in these parts so we’ll be having pesto-free panini). Everything else is pretty simple.
Chicken Fried Steak with Mashed Potatoes and Cream Gravy, and Green Beans with Hazelnuts
This is the red meat, anti-health meal. I have nothing to say in my defense, other than to sputter something lame about how I make them eat fish, and fruits and vegetables, and this is what they really, really love: red meat and potatoes. I personally loathe and despise gravy, and am not a huge fan of chicken-fried steak; I suspect I’ll focus on un-gravied mashed potatoes and the green beans. It is a fact, however, that I will have a family mutiny unless I sometimes provide a meal that could be found on the “Cracker Barrel” menu.
Grilled, Marinated Chicken Breasts, Grilled Zucchini with Feta and Mint, and Grilled Peaches
Easy and healthy. Boneless, skinless breasts marinated in Italian Dressing and grilled, zucchini peeled, halved, grilled, chunked and tossed with some crumbled Feta and roughly chopped mint, and fresh peaches halved, pitted and grilled.