Peter and I have been trying to menu plan for years. I mean years. But it has always just been so easy not to plan; the blessing/curse of our home location is that we’re a 45-second walk away from our co-op, which means he can get home from work and we can say “Hm, what should we have for dinner?” and then run over get ingredients. The down side of this is 1. boring dinners because we are never creative or interested in a more complicated dish when it’s already 5:30, 2. probably spending more money than we would if we planned ahead and 3. oh screw it, let’s just have Thai food. Ok, maybe 3 isn’t a downside per se…
Now that Malcolm is eating some solid food, we realized we needed to plan ahead for his sake; we can’t keep giving him Thai food (kidding). So we may as well plan for ourselves too. Thus far (a week and a half into it) it’s working well! I have a whiteboard up on the fridge where we write the meals for the week, and a post-it next to the board for a shopping list.
Regarding recipes: I basically just google a particular ingredient and go from there. I save recipes on Instapaper, which makes it easy to find them again. It’s been a bit of a challenge finding recipes that work for both Peter and me; I’m vegetarian and dairy-free (specifically cow-dairy, as M is sensitive to it, though I’ve recently discovered that goat and sheep dairy products are fine), and Peter is following a pitta-balancing Ayurvedic diet (except for the Thai food, ha) so sometimes it seems like there’s nothing we can both eat. We do ok, though; he makes exceptions sometimes and sometimes we put certain ingredients on the side if only one of us can eat it.
Anyway. The recipes! Both make a lot, so we were eating leftovers for lunch for a few days.
Curried Quinoa Salad with Cucumber-Mint Raita. We used sheep yogurt for this one, and mint and cucumber from the garden. Mangoes are my love language.
Secondly: California Chipotle Chopped Salad. The more finely chopped the pieces in a salad, the more gourmet it seems. I didn’t have any agave nectar (and it’s one of those pseudo-healthy sugar substitutes anyway) so I just used raw sugar. I should have known to use less sugar than the amount of agave nectar it called for, but I didn’t; so the first time I made it was much too sweet. I cut the amount in half the second time.
Next up: Asian Stir-Fry Quinoa Bowl. That was supposed to be last night, but I just didn’t feel like making it. So Peter threw together some portobella mushrooms, black beans, quinoa/brown rice, and a bunch of spices and it was delicious. I’m not good at throwing things together; I’m a recipe follower.