Tuesday, November 2, 2010

"we make plans for good times"

the song: "Plans" Bloc Party

Since I've started cooking, I've slowly and inadvertently developed a little game with myself. The goals are simple. Make it through the week with only one store trip and provide enough food for leftovers for everyday of the week. In order to do this, I menu plan.

Menu planning has saved us money and proven to be healthier than the "I'll just grab a bite on my way home after working a long day" strategy. But it can become tedious if it is too strict and boring if you fall into a rut. I have learned to leave a lot of room for dinners with friends, date nights, and impromptu happy hours. Come to think of it, I'm probably a little too lenient with the impromptu happy hours that turn into dinner. Oh well.

 Nothing to do with menu planning. Just thought you might like it.
If you plan your menus a week in advance, a month in advance, a few days in advance, or a whole year in advance I have a tip for you. The best tool I've found to prevent boring menu planning is tumblr. I read a lot of food blogs and when I see something I like, I add it to my tumblr for future reference. Oh how I love my tumblr page. The photos provide the best inspiration and remind me why it is worth it to menu plan and grocery shop and cook. Because I am constantly bookmarking new things, I don't get bored with cooking. It reminds me to be adventurous in the kitchen. Plus, it gives me an excuse to sit and browse food blogs for hours at a time. I'm not killing time, I'm menu planning. Really.

So what are we having this week? I'm glad you asked.

Monday: I ran across this pumpkin ricotta pasta casserole over the weekend. Doesn't it look amazing? Well...it was. You should make it. I had a few mini pumpkins for table decoration (as seen in the above photo) and last night they were (once again) put to good use. Plus, the husband will have leftovers for the rest of the week even after the nights we go out.

Tuesday: I had to buy yogurt for Monday's meal. And when yogurt is on hand, it seems appropriate to make quinoa falafel. I've been hungry for it since I wrote about it over the weekend. It's chilly today so this dinner will be a nice excuse to heat up the oven.

Wednesday: Speaking of cooler weather- I'm in the mood for soup. This roasted eggplant soup caught my eye a few weeks ago when it was still hot out. But thanks to my handy dandy tumblr page I haven't forgotten about the soup. Plus, my eggplant is still producing like crazy so we'll save a little money there and get to eat from the yard (which always tastes better.)

Thursday: San Antonio for the husband's job. Easy enough.

Friday: Out. Our buddy from New York is coming into town (yay!) and he is in desperate need of queso.

Saturday & Sunday: Beans and rice. Old friend. I put this on our weekend menu a lot. I always have these 2 things in my pantry, plus salsa. We have tons of peppers growing right now to dress it up a little bit. Beans and rice always makes me feel so good. I like knowing it's there. It will wait for me if we stay out all day. It won't be mad if I put it off until the next night. It never gets its feelings hurt when I pass it up for flashier meals. The perfect thing for a weekend.

Now I'm off to start dinner! What are you having this week?


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