It’s been a few months since I started Life List item number23, Master a Working Menu for a Year, and already I have made a few changes. This is a good thing because I’m less concerned about following this task to the letter than I am about conquering it’s spirit: can I successfully produce dinner on a regular basis from a weekly plan for a whole year? The only way I’ll ever perfect meal planning is to do it, over and over again.
Here are some things I’ve learned:
* Roast chicken! I never tire of you. Your leftovers are so versatile. I was right–all I needed was the perfect recipe and I can make you over and over. There’s a reason why one of Isobel’s first words was ‘chicken.’
* Broccoli beef; you are good, my friend. But not that good. Can’t we still be friends? Like, once a month friends, instead of weekly friends? You can pick up the stuff you left at my house whenever. Hearts, the Castillos.
* I need something to take over where the broccoli beef left off. Any takers? I’m currently holding auditions for the Wednesday night dinner slot. Inquire within.
* Pasta, you are a true friend of the harried cook. Sadly I don’t get to make sauce from scratch as often as I’d like. Can anyone recommend a good jarred pasta sauce they prefer? Pretty please? I don’t want to try every one in the store, but I will if I have to. (Don’t make me.)
* Eggs, you’re just great. Don’t change a thing.
* After eating a spectacular dinner cooked by my FIL, a former chef, I decided to do the most grown up thing I’ve ever done: I purchased fancy, for salad only, expensive olive oil. I’ve never done this before, ever, but I can more easily justify splurges in food if it means my family is eating better and healthier.
I don’t regret this move at all. I’m eating so much salad because the best dressing is very good olive oil and a touch of lemon juice. I don’t get tired of it. Add some cheese and I can eat this by the trough-full. (Interestingly enough my Grandpa had a ranch in the Delta. He never ate salad before he met my Grandma, a nurse, who was very into healthful living. He called vegetables ‘cow food’ because that is exactly what they fed the cows–veggies!).
* Sun tea has become the life blood of our household. Anthony is on one of his ‘I’m quitting soda!’ crusades so I’m brewing a jar of sun sea every other day. I don’t sweeten my tea and I look askance at anybody who does. (But then, I dip my fries into my Frosty, so I probably have issues.) I cut up a half lemon and add it to each jar and holy cats is it refreshing. It’s helping my husband kick the soda habit (he’s allowed it only during D&D) and I’m becoming very fond of it. It does have caffeine so I have to watch my hydration levels.
* I’m having a hard time convincing myself to eat breakfast again. Must work on this.