EAT! Week meal planning: seven days of menus

Here’s the plan for EAT! Week, my own meal-planning reality show. (Not that I actually will! pull it off!–check the daily posts to see what actually happens.).

Sunday March 20th:

Breakfast

glass of orange juice
tea with 1% milk & sugar
2 poached eggs on buttered toast, salt & pepper
Half of an orange

Lunch

Veggie panini sandwich: mushrooms sauted in olive oil, fresh spinach, 1/2 roasted red pepper,
sliced tomato, chopped fresh rosemary, mayo, salt & pepper
green grapes

Dinner

Bean & vegetable soup: dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight; chicken stock, spinach, tomato, roasted red pepper, roasted onion & carrot,garlic, thyme, summer savory, salt & pepper
Toasted baguette slices brushed with olive oil and rubbed with raw garlic clove

Notes:
This week’s plan assumes that yesterday (Saturday) you bought Monday dinner’s lamb shanks unfrozen. If (like me) you are working with frozen meat, you need to pull the shanks out to defrost a couple of days ahead of time (say, last Friday)!  Breads:  I’m starting off three different breads today. The toast is from a loaf of Grand Central Bakery Como bread; the rest of the loaf goes in the freezer. The panini bread comes in packages of four; use one today, put one in the fridge for later in the week, and freeze two for future use. The baguette: slice it and freeze all but the slices you have with dinner today. Then, the vegetables:  Almost all of these vegetables will appear later in the week as well. Save some mushrooms and spinach for your Monday lunch and next Saturday’s frittata! And the soup:  No recipe on this one–check the blog for the day for details. But basically, soak the beans and simmer them in chicken stock. Roast the onion, red pepper, and carrot. Add veg and spices to the soup. Eat! Put enough of the soup in the fridge for Thursday lunch; freeze the rest in serving-size containers. Label and date!

Monday March 21st:

Breakfast

glass of orange juice
tea with 1% milk & sugar
oatmeal with blueberries

Lunch

cottage cheese
salad:
butter lettuce, field greens, mushrooms, parsley, cherry tomatoes, green onions, walnuts
dressing: simple vinaigrette
toasted baguette slices
red grapes

Dinner

braised lamb shank with carrots and roasted butternut squash on orzo
steamed broccoli with a squeeze of lemon, salt & pepper

Notes:
Almost all of these ingredients will show up once again later in the week. The recipe for the braised lamb shank is from Joy of Cooking. (There are other great recipes, many of them simpler, on the Web.)  Choose a biggish butternut squash and roast the whole thing; use about a third of it in this dish and save the rest to make tomorrow’s squash soup for lunch. Put some of the lamb dish in the fridge for Wednesday lunch; put the rest in single-serving containers and put them in the freezer. (You’ll have to pull the meat off the bone, of course; it’s easier to do when the dish is still warm.) Be sure to label and date the containers!

Tuesday March 22nd:

Breakfast

glass of orange juice
tea with 1% milk and sugar
Cascadian Farms Multi-Grain Squares with sliced banana

Lunch

roasted squash soup
toasted baguette slices
apple slices with a nice cheese

Dinner

Judy’s “Thai” peanut butter pasta
Grilled eggplant with green onions
Green salad with rice vinegar/sesame oil dressing

Notes:
The recipe for the soup came from foodnetwork.com; instead of following their (pretty elaborate!) directions for roasting the squash, I just used the squash from yesterday, which had simply been cut up, tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and then roasted. The recipe for the peanut butter pasta originally came from an old friend from North Carolina, but since I’ve been making it for 30 years or so, I’ve appropriated it! See the blog for the day for details. The grilled eggplant recipe came from Suzanne Hunter of Cuisine By Suzanne (http://www.cuisinebysuzanne.com/), but you can find a similar one at foodgawker.com and other sites. (Take Suzanne’s cooking classes!–She’s a fantastic, fun teacher!) I just made up the salad dressing. I mixed a tiny bit of the sesame oil with canola oil or another neutral oil.

Wednesday March 23rd:

Breakfast

glass of orange juice
tea with 1% milk and sugar
cottage cheese with dried cranberries and apricots
toast with jam

Lunch

leftovers: lamb shank
served over rice
sauted spinach with a squeeze of lemon
blueberries

Dinner

Vegetable stir-fry:
broccoli, onion, carrot, tomato, celery, 1/2 red pepper, garlic)
rice

Notes:
Today we catch up!–Nothing is hard or complicated here. The only ingredients that are possibly unusual are the sherry, soy sauce, and cornstarch needed to make a nice stir-fry sauce for the vegetables; see the blog for the day for details.

Thursday March 24th:

Breakfast

glass of orange juice
tea with 1% milk and sugar
Oatmeal with blueberries

Lunch

leftovers:  bean and vegetable soup
toasted baguette slices
red grapes with a nice cheese

Dinner

halibut tacos
pico de gallo (tomato, onion, cilantro, lime, jalapenos)
shredded raw cabbage
2 flour tortillas
green salad with lime vinaigrette

Notes:
You may want to add a hot sauce on the tacos; I make the pico de gallo strong with lime and jalapeno. (I think it has a cleaner taste.) I just grill the halibut, but watch it!–it can get dry and/or tough. I take it off the grill when it just barely begins to flake (still a bit translucent); it mostly finishes cooking while I pull everything together, and then the lime finishes it off! Freeze the rest of the flour tortillas; be sure to label and date the bag. End of the blueberries today?

Friday March 25th:

Breakfast

glass of orange juice
tea with 1% milk and sugar
Cascadian Farms Multi-Grain Squares cereal with banana

Lunch

leftovers:  vegetable stir-fry with rice
Half of an orange

Dinner

moussaka
green salad vinaigrette with green grapes

Notes:
I got the recipe for moussaka from http://www.greekfood.about.com/. Eat one serving and freeze the rest in individual servings. Label and date the containers. Of your 2 lbs. ground lamb, use 1 3/4 for this recipe. This should be just about the end of the grapes, bananas, and orange!

Saturday March 26th:

Breakfast

glass of orange juice
tea with 1% milk and sugar
2-egg frittata with mushrooms & spinach
toast and jam

Lunch

Panini sandwich:
cooked 1/4-lb. ground lamb patty
lettuce, tomatoes, onions
small salad with chive vinaigrette
apple

Dinner

pork chop with roasted grape salsa
roasted carrots
steamed cabbage
green salad with dill vinaigrette
toasted baguette slices

Notes:
The roasted grape salsa was a find! The recipe (which I tore out of the New York Times a while back) says it is modified from Radically Simple by Rozanne Gold (Rodale Press), but I haven’t found the original. The idea is simple: divide the remaining green and red grapes in half. Roast half of them about an hour. Puree the other half in a blender, then strain out the skins. Sear the meat in butter in a skillet, then add the grape juice and simmer until the meat is cooked and the sauce is thicker. Remove the meat, whisk in some more butter, bring the liquid to a boil,  then add the roasted grapes. Pour some over the meat and save the rest for another meal!

Today we finish off the eggs, mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes, lettuce, ground lamb, apple, grapes, carrots, chives–and possibly the baguette slices! A big finish!

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