I could have written this post on Motherlode about family dinner.  I especially like this:

But still, there we will be, with children too small to yet hunt, forage and gather for themselves, perpetually wanting to eat, particularly around dinner time, day after day after day.

Although mine are not.

At first I could not remember what I cooked for dinner last week, except for a pot roast which reappeared in various forms.  Slowly it came back to me.  It was a very beefy week.  Sunday was the pot roast with potatoes, onions, carrots and butternut squash.  Monday was avgolemono soup with pita bread.  There was supposed to have been a Greek salad that didn’t happen.  Tuesday was a last minute switch to blueberry pancakes, bacon and bananas after I waited too late to get started.  Wednesday was smothered cube steak with mushrooms, mashed potatoes and roasted broccoli.  Thursday was roast beef po’boys with an avocado salad.  Friday was leftovers.  Not too shabby, especially considering that I have a ton of freelance work, a paper almost ready to submit, and managed to exercise five out of those six days.

This week we should eat less beef, but I making a big pot of chili today (the first of the season!) and planning to serve it over cheese enchiladas later in the week.  I haven’t tried any new recipes in a while —  this Thai Butternut Squash Soup sounds really good.  I’ll likely  pick up some chicken sate from the Thai restaurant by my office to go with it.  I’ve been craving Indian food and we could use some fish in our diet.  I just order a pricey bottle of Bengali Five Spice (times like this I love Amazon Prime) which should arrive on Wednesday so I can make this Bengali-style Fish Stew.  I would dearly love to know how to pronounce its real name —  Maacher Jhol.  I am guessing that at some point in the week, there will be a clamor for “American food” and I’ll be feeling lazy so we can have sliders, beans and slaw (so much for eating less beef).  The child who complains most loudly gets to cook this one.

What are you feeding your kids this week?

Back to school and meal planning

The kids and I have been back to school for about a week now.  I had this vision that all in life would immediately settle into a new routine as the over-business of my summer magically turned to mist and evaporated.  Sadly, that is not how it is going.  Take Two.

I made a meal plan last week and shopped without considering our schedule — XC practice every night with one weeknight night meet and an overnight on the weekend, a late afternoon department meeting, and plans to check out the new brewpub with a friend midweek.  Both kids had heavy first week homework loads to boot.  Much pizza and subs were consumed while my beautiful end of summer produce rotted in the fridge.

This week looks just as full — more XC practice for Travis, Jack in driver’s training until 7:30 tonight and tomorrow night, Open House at the high school as well as a work commitment tomorrow night as well.  My goal is simple meals (for me anyway) with an abundance of late summer fruits and vegetables to make up last week’s lack.

Monday – mojo grilled chicken wraps with avocado/ lettuce/ tomato, black beans

Tuesday – french dip roast beef sandwiches, tomato salad

Wednesday – salmon with roasted cherry tomatoes, couscous, zuchinni gratin

Thursday – chicken souvlaki with zucchini, tzaziki, pita, greek salad

Friday –  burgers with avocado/ lettuce/ tomato, corn on the cob, baked beans

Here’s to a great week of healthier meals!


Summertime & the living is easy

There is so much to love about summer meals — savoring the abundance of fresh seasonal produce, grilling on the deck at the end of the day, dining  al fresco and lingering at the table, sipping crisp whites and rosés. We spent this weekend at the lake so I stopped at Josh’s Farmers Market on my way out of Mooresville yesterday and bought bags of (mostly) local fruits and vegetables — strawberries, tomatoes, peaches, new potatoes, summer squash and zucchini. I’ve planned my meals for the week around those bags!

roseMy new grill is going to get a workout this week.   I’m encouraging the boys to  learn to grill but lately the weather has been so lovely that I’ve done it myself — relaxing on the deck with a glass of wine while I wait for the grill to heat up, then another while I cook.  With the long days this time of year, we eat a little later.  The early evening light is my favorite of the day and I relish being outside to enjoy it.  Its been a little cooler than usual lately so we sometimes need our hoodies to be comfortable eating outside, but I pretty much insist unless it is pouring down rain!

On Friday night, I’m hosting my first dinner party in ages.  I’m taking a chance on a new grilled chicken recipe from this month’s Food and WineFive-herb Grilled Chicken with Green Aioli.  I used to make new recipes for dinner guests all the time, but haven’t in quite a while now.  The rest of the meal includes all long-standing summertime favorites so if the chicken isn’t fabulous, it should still be a great meal.

My plans are to use up all that great produce and grill every night:

Monday – grilled chicken and summer vegetable tostadas, black beans, guacamole

Tuesday – grilled salmon with herbed butter compound, basmati rice, zucchini and tomato gratin

Wednesday- bacon avocado burgers, baked beans, grilled corn on the cob

Thursday – caesar salad with grilled shrimp

Friday – five-herb grilled chicken with green aioli, minty roasted potatoes, marinated tomato salad, white chocolate blueberry bread pudding

Later this week I’ll be posting about some of my favorite rosés — perfect wine for the season!

Getting back to good routines

One of the many things I love about my job is the way that the beginning and ending of semesters demarcate time.  With the end of each semester, there is a break and an opportunity for a new beginning.  And with the start of each semester, there is the chance to begin anew.  I am wrapping up the tail end of my Spring semester today — a few random make-up and early exams to grade and I’ll be done for six weeks.  With this new beginning, I am looking forward to getting back into some of my “good” routines — meal planning, blogging, and exercising.

I’ve been pretty slack about meal planning this year, which means more money is getting spent for less healthy meals and a bunch of produce lands in the compost bin.  It’s generally a good idea to start planning the week’s dinner by checking out what is in your produce drawer…  Mine is pretty full with lots of salad makings, a couple of big artichokes, some root vegetables and asparagus.  Next I look at my schedule to see which nights I’ll have more or less time to spend on dinner and which nights I’m planning to go out.  Then I check out the weather to see which nights are likely to be nice ones to grill.   And finally, I peruse the freezer, bread box, deli drawer, etc. to see what else I have on hand that needs to get eaten sooner rather than later.  My general idea is to start with Meatless Monday, try to have at least one fish night and not more than one red meat night, and, accept the fact that we’ll likely have pizza for dinner when I have plans to go out.  So, incorporating some other things which need to get eaten, here’s what I’ve come up with for this week’s dinners:

Monday – Rösti casserole with baked eggs and roasted asparagus

Tuesday – Grilled flank steak and roasted root vegetablesartichoke2

Wednesday – Chicken souvlaki with tzaziki sauce, greek salad, pita

Thursday – Pizza and steamed artichokes with red wine-roasted garlic sauce

Friday – Dinner at the lake

The links take you back to my old blog, Another Marvelous Meal.

It is an absolutely gorgeous day in the High Country.  Carolina blue skies and it is finally beginning to look like Spring. I’m thinking of hiking one of the trails out at Cone Manor this afternoon or at least do four miles on the Greenway.  It is a bit chilly this morning, but according to Ray should be in the mid-fifties this afternoon.  Pat on my back for a great start in re-establishing my good routines!  Next I can start working on getting rid of some of the bad ones I’ve settled into lately…