Monday, June 20, 2016

Meal Plan • 6/20/16

This genius new page in my bullet journal is a total meal-planning game-changer.  The idea (and I would be so pleased if it works out as planned) is that I will pull off the post-its each week and store them in my recipe binder.  Over time I will build a collection of them, organized in the binder according to type (pasta, soups, Mexican, etc), and then when it comes time to plan each week's menu, I will be able to pull these post-its out of the binder and pop them into their respective day slots in this page in my bullet journal.

The truth is, of course, that I am constantly trying new recipes and discarding the ones that no longer serve us, so it is entirely possible that I will continually be creating new post-its, but I would like to think there will be at least some re-use involved.

Regardless, it looks cool.  And I had a zen time making it.

This week has more new recipes than usual slotted.  It is that time of year when I am far less overwhelmed than usual, and the time and space have opened in my mind to allow for tinkering and testing.  The beautiful, long, languid days of summer are my forever favorites.

MONDAY: Penne Pasta with Artichoke Lemon Pesto, Bruschetta
The kids are in an all-day camp every day this week, so quick and easy recipes are on my mind.  We are all a little bored with traditional pesto, and this one looked unusual and interesting enough (yet still fast enough) to make the cut for day one.

TUESDAY: Marinated Kale & Whipped Ricotta Pizza, Salad
I swear, I've had this recipe pinned for eight million years.  Not sure why it took me so long to throw it onto a menu.  Very, very excited to try it.  The flavor profile sounds scrumptious, and it should be easy enough if I use pre-made pizza crusts (pro tip: the ones at Trader Joe's are made without high-fructose corn syrup and keep in the freezer for such a time as this).

WEDNESDAY: Brown Rice, Black Beans, & Pico de Gallo
This sounds so simple, and it is simple, but this dish is so comforting and flavorful and I would eat it every day if it came to that.  I mean, it's just beans and rice, sure, but the pico elevates it to restaurant-quality, and if you batch-cook the beans on the weekend and freeze them until needed (or heck, use canned beans in a pinch), then the dish comes together in minutes.  I know canned beans are not ideal - the sodium is too high, the flavor isn't quite as complex, the texture is less-than-perfect, and the cost is higher - but if the choice is between canned beans and picking up take-out, I think it's a no-brainer.  Use the canned beans if that's what it takes.  Sometimes 'good enough' is actually perfect.  Also, if you have a bottle of Liquid Smoke around, I highly recommend throwing a dash or two of it in the beans while they heat up.

THURSDAY: Gnocchi with Pomodoro Sauce, olive bread bruschetta
Pre-packaged gnocchi is straight-up emergency food, and I have a sneaking suspicion that we will be in Emergency Mode by Thursday.  I keep a pack of Trader Joe's shelf-stable gnocchi around for just this sort of occasion.  The sauce looks like fun, and the added mozzarella will keep it decadent enough to please the children.  I'm looking forward to this dinner.

FRIDAY: Corn & Chipotle Soup, Salad, Baguette
I like simple, fresh soups for summer, and this one sounds intriguing.  Anytime I open up a can of chipotles in adobo sauce, I freeze the leftovers in ice cube trays to use in our black bean chili or to throw into salsa.  I am very interested in seeing how the addition of the chipotle flavor will affect a soup that seems as basic as this one, and plan to try it in some of my other favorite soups if it turns out as interesting as it sounds like it will.

SATURDAY: Frittata, Honey Mustard Roasted Cabbage
Frittatas are one of my fall-backs for the end of the week.  They are so versatile and will use up whatever leftover vegetables and cheeses (and even grains) that are still sitting around in the fridge, and they are always crowd-pleasers.  The roasted cabbage is another new recipe that I've been meaning to get around to, but we love cabbage and are always up for a new spin with it.

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