On the menu this week: January 12 - 18

I need to rework my schedule for ski season.  Normally I work on our meal plan on Saturday and/or Sunday and have it all figured out by Sunday evening.  But for the next 8 weeks we will be spending all day Saturday up at the mountains with kids in ski lessons, and spending much of the day Sunday reorganizing and recovering.  I'm behind with this week's meal plan because I just couldn't muster the brain power to finish it last night, so I'm updating my calendar and this week I'm going to try to get the plan done for next week by Thursday or Friday. We'll see how that works. But I finally got this week done and I think it's pretty good.  

I've got a couple of nights where I've got an idea in my head that I'm just going to cook without a recipe. And that's something I've been wanting to post more about anyway.  You don't always need a recipe, and once you can break yourself free from feeling like you have to have a recipe, you will enjoy cooking so much more.  You just need some basic techniques, like how to cook chicken, and then the possibilities are endless.  Once you know the basic techniques, then you just add whatever flavors you think sound good and just go with it. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't, and that's totally ok. Even if it doesn't turn out exactly like you had hoped, it's almost always at least edible, and you learned something about what works and what doesn't.  And if you really screw it up and it's not edible, don't stress about that either - pull out a box of mac & cheese, or order a pizza, and try again next week.  It's how you learn - just roll up your sleeves and go for it. 

So, for our meal plan this week (click the image to view a larger size)...  

Breakfasts are pretty standard fare these days, a rotation of oatmeal, eggs, yogurt, muffins, etc.  The difference during ski season is that I'm not doing big breakfasts on the weekends. Saturday mornings we're having something that's already made and/or fast - cereal, instant oatmeal, muffins, boiled eggs.  And on Sunday mornings the kids usually won't be home, as they have sleepover at grandparents after ski days, so I'm not planning anything for Sundays. Lunches are also our usual stuff, but I at least try to mix up the sides, or use a little cutter or fun toothpicks to make it look more interesting.  But there's no reinventing the wheel here, I go with what I know works.  

click to view larger

For dinner Monday night I'm going to roast some chicken pieces.  I actually have a couple of whole chickens but I'm going to cut them up before cooking, season generously with salt, pepper, dijon mustard, olive oil, and then put in a roasting pan with a bunch of garlic cloves and lemon slices.  I think this will cook at about 375 for about 45-60 minutes.  No recipe needed.

Tuesday night I'm also winging it - I will make broth from Monday's chicken, and season it up to give a little Asian flavor, with some ginger, garlic, and miso paste, and then add in some noodles, veggies, and either leftover chicken or some cooked shrimp.  I think it will be easy and delicious.

Thursday will be basic burgers, as requested by a child, with a variety of choices for toppings.  But I'm going to get some little slider buns and make the burgers kid sizes.  I've done homemade buns before using my basic bread recipe, but this week I'm just going to buy some good local ones because I already know that I will not have time for making bread. I will cook the burgers in the oven, like in this post - I've done this many times now and it works great for making a bunch at a time.  

Saturday night I need something that I can make ahead and will be warm and comforting after a day in the mountains, so I'm going to make this green enchilada soup again.  I will try to cook it on Thursday or Friday and just reheat, and I will use the already cooked chicken from the Monday dinner. 

Sunday will be some kind of slow roasted pork shoulder.  I usually do this in my slow cooker with just salt, pepper, cumin, onions, and sometimes I cut up an orange for a little sweetness, and cook on low for 6-8 hours. I always cook lots extra and then this will figure into the meal plan for next week as well. 

That's it for now!  Have a great week.