Wannabe Martha

Still trying to figure out which Martha

Dinnertime Sanity Makes a Comeback

on March 10, 2014

This weekend I vowed to get a grip on one huge source of frustration and stress in my life – WHAT TO COOK FOR DINNER.   The usual routine goes like this:  early Saturday morning I haul out a couple dozen cookbooks and start pouring through them, (or clicking through my favorite cooking blogs) trying to find dishes for our weeknight meals.  They have to be relatively simple to prepare (aggressive work schedule); not require exotic items (budgetary considerations), and appeal to the taste buds of the people who live in my house (one of whom (guess which one), at present is going through a “phase”).  Many hours later, I’m annoyed and frustrated.  I have a stack of cookbooks teetering on my dining room table and my shopping list is out of control.  At least one item will defy the basic rules – easy to prepare; don’t require hours of prep; don’t use every pot and pan I own.  Enough already!

Everyday Food Light

Photo Credit – Amazon.com

Courtesy of “Everyday Food Light” I present this week’s menu:

  • Monday – Barley Salad with Chicken, Corn & Scallions (pg. 202)
  • Tuesday – Flat Iron Steak with Cauliflower and Arugula (pg. 326)
  • Wednesday – Spicy Chicken Stir-fry with Peanuts (pg. 313)
  • Thursday – Leek, Bacon, & Pea Risotto (pg. 337)
  • Friday – Shrimp & Cabbage Lo Mein (pg. 425)

All the shopping is done; every meal can be on the table in under an hour; and best of all, Angharad can prep a lot of this for me, because she won’t need to be a mind-reader.

I love this cookbook and use it often.  I love that it’s organized by seasons.  There are no highfalutin ingredients that cannot be purchased at your local supermarket.  Bonus:  all the recipes are under 500 calories per serving and nobody would every guess (they really are that good).

Some other favorites from this book are:

  • Tandoori Chicken Kebobs with Peach Chutney
  • Broccoli Corn Chowder with Bacon
  • Sausages with Kale and White Beans (also yum with spinach and garbanzos if that’s all you have)
  • Seared Pork Tenderloin with Pomegranate Glaze
  • Lemony Pasta with Wilted Arugula

I’m going to try this for the next couple weeks – pick a cookbook (Lord knows I have enough of them) and cook from that one source.  Maybe I can be the boss of dinner instead of it being the boss of me for a change.

(I’ll take some photos throughout the week and post, along with any tweaks to the recipes (which is kind of a given ya know)

9 responses to “Dinnertime Sanity Makes a Comeback

  1. FuzzieWuzzie says:

    Please don’t ask me to go to the store.

    That didn’t work out all that well, did it?

  2. Jenny says:

    I love following a cookbook to figure out what I’m eating. This looks like a good one. I like Rachel Ray’s stuff too.

    • Maeve says:

      Hi Jenny! I have a couple Rachel Ray books too and I love them. I think I’m going to keep with this method for a while to see if it makes a difference in lowering my frustration and stress with the whole affair. The part that really bothered me is that cooking is my thing and I was starting to resent it. Mostly I’m happy that I now have one less thing to which I have to divert mental resources midweek.

      I’m thinking of posting a weekly cookbook review – maybe in conjunction with my menu planning. I like hearing from others about cookbooks they swear by – my all time favorite in the whole world site, The Kitchn, does some great cookbook reviews.

  3. Mrs. C says:

    I’ve often done the “pull one cookbook and find the week’s menu” thing myself. Planning is really half the battle. Now if I can just remember to pull things out of the freezer the night before, there won’t be the “wait for the microwave to defrost” that holds up the cooking of that quick to cook dinner.

    • Maeve says:

      Hi Mrs. C – welcome to my sandbox 🙂

      Ah yes – the old “hurry up and defrost dinner so we can cook dinner”! All too often that has resulted in pizza for dinner at my house. LOL. This week is going pretty well – but it’s only Tuesday so I have plenty of time to throw my hands up in despair. I really do think this is going to work for me and maybe I’ll just have that nice extra bonus of introducing some new things for dinner – getting a little tired of the same old stuff that keeps showing up.

      • Mrs. C says:

        Maeve, one of my tricks is to try to make enough to last for two days dinners, then I only have to cook every other day. When that’s not possible, I try to do things like dice an extra onion if I’m already dicing one and freeze it or brown an extra pound of ground beef and freeze half so another days dinner has components already done. It’s really a never ending battle……but it all for our family so it’s a good thing.

      • Maeve says:

        Mrs. C – there was one week maybe a month ago or something when I only cooked twice. For Real. Both times the initial meal was made in the crockpot and then it was leftover heaven (not so much actually) at my house.

        I do try and keep a stash of spaghetti sauce in the freezer. I like your thinking though of throwing extra onion or ground beef in the freezer.

        I really need to stop making my life so difficult – it can manage that on it’s own with no assistance from me.

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