When we first moved to Bend and Glenn was working so far from home, his regular schedule kept him away from home until about 8:30 or 9 each evening. At first he ate at school and I ate at home which made perfect sense. It was handy, convenient, and less expensive. But we missed the gathering together over a meal, the built in conversation time, the shared nourishment beyond the components of the meal and so we started eating at home again. It was late and goofy but it was the way we operated. And it turned out to be really freeing for me. The lateness of the meal allowed me the space to try some things that I wouldn’t usually have had the room for. It meant I could attend a meeting and still be home in time for dinner. And we built a habit of sharing our evening meal that stays with us in every setting.
Today I still value our shared dinner time. I love the chance to prepare meals for my family. My weird allergies have forced me to prepare more from scratch than I probably would have on my own but now I’m a true believer. I love that cooking at home allows me to prepare meals with less salt, fewer preservatives, smaller portions and more of everything good. It’s what keeps me cooking.
Oddly though, even when I like the process and love the result, if I had to go home from work tonight and decide what was for dinner we’d be having pizza or maybe tacos. The fact is that at the end of a work day it’s just hard to muster the creative energy it takes to plan a meal. So I have a keystone habit of planning my menu. I try to do it on Saturday or Sunday. I check the calendar and the weather and take a quick look through the fridge and the pantry and make a plan for the week.
Planning my menu enables me to pursue the other value I say I hold: regularly preparing and sharing dinner with my family. Posting here is my attempt to create some online accountability.
So here’s the plan for this week. Whether you make the recipes or not, I hope you’ll think about what you can do to feed your family, whether or not it has to do with food.
Monday – Salmon Nicoise Salad
This is a delicious take on the traditional Nicoise and perfect for this sunny (finally!) day.
Tuesday – Simple Smoked Sausage Chili
One of my favorite go-to recipes. This is just a few ingredients and comes together really quickly. Pair it with cornbread or some fresh fruit (we love watermelon) and it’s a perfect week night meal.
Wednesday – Pork and Pineapple Stir Fry
I’ve only made this once before but it was super yummy. I love that it’s all simple ingredients and we feel good after we eat it. Throw some sticky rice in the rice cooker or prep some quinoa and you’re set.
Thursday – No homemade dinner
This is Glenn’s Rotary Charter Dinner so I’ll be joining him and some delightful folks for dinner out. Darn!
Friday – Chicken Piccata
I’m super lucky that Glenn likes to cook too. Ironically, the more complicated the recipe, the more interested he is. Maybe because that means he can use all the dishes and maximize the washing up. At any rate, at our house Chicken Piccata is his dish. So I’m not certain of the recipe he uses but I think it’s the one from Rachael Ray in the link. When I asked what he wanted for dinner this is what he said so I’m in. We’ll serve it with some crusty bread and sauteed spinach.