A few people have expressed interest in my weekly menu planning. My dear mother even asks me to email her the list so she has new ideas for what to cook. The idea of blogging about this has occurred to me, but until I saw my newest favourite writer Carrie Snyder blogging about “The Week in Suppers,” I thought it might be a bit weird. So thanks to my strange and insatiable curiosity about what other people eat for supper, I’ve now decided to do it.
My other reason for posting the week’s menu is more political. I believe that there needs to be a whole societal shift toward cooking real food at home. With a large percentage of the population suffering from weight and health problems, much could be improved by eating balanced home-cooked meals. What astonishes me, though, is how many young people say they can’t cook, and without that knowledge, meal prep can be incredibly daunting. It doesn’t have to be. With practice and perseverance, it’s easy to whip up a fabulously healthy and delicious dinner in less than 30 minutes – probably as long as it takes to bake a frozen pizza.
I want to show that it’s feasible to eat well without spending an entire night in the kitchen. After a long day and with two hungry children underfoot, I rarely spend more than an hour in the kitchen from start to finish, including cooking time; often it’s considerably less, depending on the meal and how fast I’m working. I hope this can also give you some fresh ideas for what to make if the old favourites are starting to get a bit repetitive; that happens to everyone at some point.
1. Chicken cutlets with bell pepper ragout and whole-wheat couscous
The toddler couldn’t get enough of the bell peppers and ate a large number of them before supper was ready. Oh well, I suppose they’re all going to the right place in the end.
2. Steamed mussels with chorizo and smoked paprika, served with fresh focaccia
Really yummy – I made this once before when I was pregnant and felt terribly guilty about the amount of wine in the sauce, but enjoyed every bite. The focaccia was delicious but stuck to the pan; it got rather mutilated.
3. Bacon-leek soufflé and garden salad
Not so great. I’m not a huge soufflé fan. As my husband philosophized after the meal, “The very nature of a soufflé is airy and unfulfilling.” I also didn’t cook the leeks enough and they were chewy. Eewy.
4. Spaghetti with roasted ratatouille sauce
The veggies were supposed to be grilled, but I was lazy. I turned out great, though my husband is never a big fan of our weekly vegetarian night, no matter what we’re having. (What is it with men and meat?)
5. Kima (ground beef curry), lentil dal, brown rice, and sautéed fiddleheads
This is my go-to standby when all I’ve got is ground beef in the freezer and minimal time. I can get the curry, rice, and dal started, walk away, and have a feast ready in 20 minutes. The fiddleheads were just in the fridge – my attempt at eating seasonally, though still not sure what think of them.