Weekly Menu: July 28

Royal Blue on Regent St

{Royal Blue on Regent Street – From last week’s adventure to London!}

With summer, pool days, the wedding and a trip to Hawaii all coming up, Le Fiance and I have started to have more serious conversations about health and fitness. Not just our usual, which is like, “We totally shouldn’t eat these cookies, NOM NOM NOM.” And then we maybe run around the block once. No! We are getting serious over here.  WE WILL NOT EAT YOUR COOKIES NOSIREE!

I even resisted putting this on the menu for this week, which I feel both brave and sad about, for obvious reasons. I mean seriously: read this recipe, then tell yourself no, and then tell me you don’t feel a little sad about it.

Because of all this health and fitness business, this week shall henceforth be known as the week of greens and protein. We actually eat like this most of the time anyway, for the record. We don’t buy processed foods or things that can only be cooked in the microwave. We don’t even have a microwave, like the rogue hippies you’d expect us to be. BUT! Ohhh but. And it’s a big but (ha!) Our love for ice-cream and homemade baked goods and wine knows no bounds. Especially me (wine) and especially when I’m traveling. So this week is about getting some bounds. I’ll let you know how it goes…

Monday – Seared filet mignon + homemade chimichurri and sweet potato wedges
Tuesday – Stuffed Tuscan Chicken (recipe coming up next week!)
Wednesday – Baked fish + brussels, carrots, tomatoes
Thursday – One pot faro with tomatoes +  jalapeño sausages
What are you eating this week?

Weekly Menu: June 16

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Summer is upon us! That means this week is all about fresh herbs, tons of veggies, and lightness. Bonus points if you get to eat outside. We don’t, because we live where summer = frigid arctic temps. Still, that can’t stop me from stuffing my face with all kinds of summer produce.

This week is also all about using our resources smartly! I’ll be traveling two days this week, so I am all about trying to figure out how we can maximize ingredients and meals so N doesn’t have to cook for one while I’m gone. He can cook for himself certainly – he’s a highly evolved man who knows his way around a skillet – but when left to our own devices, we each retreat back our single eater/single person behaviors: one of us eats eggs and watches Dexter episodes and the other of us might eat popcorn in bed for dinner and watch Call The Midwife on Netflix and cry their eyes out. Ahem.

(But seriously, are you watching Call The Midwife? It’s THE best show on television. No, SERIOUSLY.)

The only downfall from this week’s menu is that it’s more meat-heavy than I usually prefer. Normally we try for the reverse ratio – two or three meat dishes as opposed to just two veg dishes. I’ll make up for that by eating veg while on my business trip Tuesday and Wednesday, but you could work around that by leaving chicken out of a salad or going out to a veg restaurant when you eat out.

Here’s this week’s menu:

SundayNew York Times Green Goddess Chicken

Monday – Chickpea Curry (V)

Tuesday – Chili from the freezer (V)

Wednesday – Salad with shredded leftover Green Goddess Chicken

ThursdayMark Bittman’s Chicken Yakisoba

Friday – Date night to the San Francisco Symphony

Saturday – Grilled Mahi + Edamame Mint Salad

 

Grocery List:

Whole chicken cut up

Frozen edamame

Basil – one cup

Chives – /25 cup

Mint

Scallions – 2 bunches

Lemons

Onions

Carrots

Broccoli

Kale

Cabbage

Buttermilk

Greek yogurt

Anchovies

Chickpeas

Ramen

Couscous

 

 

Menu Planning – March 17

Our menu a few weeks ago was a real winner, if I do say so myself. It’s helpful to plan your menus around something, to save on ingredients and to make sure you don’t waste anything. This week, I realized that I’d pinned quite a few recipes that called for tomatoes and basil, so it made sense to group them together this week and buy a lot of both. Once we got to Berkeley Bowl and saw the heirloom tomatoes, it was really easy to execute on this bad boy. Also, any week that involves a lot of tomatoes and basil is a good week. Add dark chocolate + wine and that’s pretty much all you need to eat ever again. You heard it here first!

The other tip from this week is to make at least one dish that will freeze well. This particular week, it was the enchiladas. Le fiancé is an excellent cook, but it’s hard to cook for one. With two big work trips coming up, he’ll be kitchen solo, so I love to leave things in the freezer for him. I also love that that means he’ll do stuff for me later, like back rubs, laundry and putting up with me when I wear the same hoodie and dirty yoga pants for two straight days and walk around our apartment muttering about “the caterers, THE CATERERS!” He’s a gem. A gem deserving of many enchiladas.

SundayBerkeley Bowl Panzanella (made 3 hearty servings)

MondayColorado Enchiladas (made 6 hearty servings)

TuesdayShakshouska (3 servings)

Wednesday – Baked Mahi + Herbed Vegetables (2 servings)19

Thursday – Bruschetta (appetizers for 6)

Friday – Mushroom Risotto (4 normal servings)

Produce:
Basil
Heirloom Tomatoes
Mushrooms
Cauliflower – 1 head
Garlic
Bread:
Flour tortillas
Dairy:
Cream cheese – 2
Heavy Cream – 1 pint
Coffee creamer
Pecorino/Romano grated cheese
Meat:
Frozen chicken breasts
Mahi filets
Pantry:
Jar of green tomatillo salsa/verde
Veggie broth
Table wine – 4 bottles
Apple cider vinegar

Print me! Weekly Menu – March 17

Weekly Menu: March 13

As we launch into the weekend, I wanted to post the first of our menus! Now that we talked about the importance of menu planning and how to do it, I’m excited to start sharing our menus here with all of you in a new feature on Gourmet Style Girl.

These menus, along with applicable recipes and grocery lists, can now be found on a new page in the header titled Weekly Menus, and below, for viewing and downloading. Be sure to double check your grocery list against this one – you might already have some of these items on hand!

Happy eating!

Monday – Thai coconut noodles (save leftovers for Thursday’s spring rolls)

Tuesday – Pan-seared tilapia and balsamic brussels sprouts

Wednesday – Chickpea, cherry tomato, pesto, quinoa salad

Thursday – Peanut soba spring rolls

Friday – Pizza night! 

 
Grocery list:

Rice noodles

Fish sauce

Spring rolls wrappers

Tilapia

Basil

Bell peppers – 2

Brussels – one pound

Scallions – one bunch

Garlic

Onions – red and yellow

Mushrooms

Tomatoes

Canned chickpeas

Jarred Marinara

Pre-made pizza dough

Vegan sausage (for pizza)

Print me! Weekly Menu – March 13

How to Menu Plan

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Menu Planning is something I do every week, usually on Saturday morning. Lies! I actually think about food all week long, all the time. I think about it while I’m writing (What can my characters eat in this scene?) and while I’m doing expense reports, while I’m in meetings, and I especially think about it while running. I actually chant Dough-NUTS! Dough-NUTS! in my head. It’s like a little Gregorian chant goin’ on in there, but with a lot more emphasis on baked goods. Ahem. Have you seen my cream cheese pound cake?

Anyway, Saturday morning is when I write that biz down, and that’s really how the Menu Planning process works. And unlike the hanger process, it’s much more productive and takes less than two hours for the entire week. The whole week! Most people watch more TV every day than that. Amazing.

Step 1: Look at what we currently have in the fridge and pantry. Beans, quinoa, or leftover veggies almost always mean that cassoulet or big bowls are going on the menu for that week. If we want something out of the ordinary, I find recipes that include whatever we have on hand that we need to use. For example, I had a LOT of celery, leeks, and carrots lying around a few weeks ago. Instead of letting them go bad, they became a huge batch of this soup, which went straight into the freezer. This week I found myself with an overabundance of carrots – pickle that biznass!

Time required: 5 minutes. Just five measly minutes to peer around your kitchen and open up ye old refrigerator.

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Step 2: Dream about what we’d like to eat and cook! Pinch of Yum, Love and Lemons, and Everyday Food are my favorites for finding recipes that are healthy, vegetarian, and interesting. We eat veg at this chez at least 85% of the time because it’s good for the earth and good for your man, clap yo’ hands, hey clap yo’ hands! (And good for yourself, too, obviously. But rhyming is important, okay?) This is the fun part because it means I get to troll Pinterest and food blogs and not feel like I’m not wasting my time.

Time required: 15 minutes, but I usually spend about 30, because it’s fun!

Step 3: List! I know people who use Ziplist or other apps, but I usually email Nathan and myself a list, so we can add or delete if we need. We almost always have the basics: spices, garlic, EVOO, and staples like quinoa, soba noodles, veggie stock, etc. When we do run out of those things, they go on a small whiteboard on the fridge. The fridge list gets added to the email list, which takes about .2 seconds.

I also plan out which meal we’ll eat on each day, so if I’m leaving early for work, N knows what to throw into the crock pot or what to have ready when I get home. If I’m working from home, I know how early I need to stop work and start cooking so dinner can be ready for him. This system does rely upon having a partner who likes to cook and who isn’t a dunce in the kitch. Thankfully, I got me one of those.

Time required: 10 minutes to make a list.

Time required to train your S.O. on the cooking process: TBD. You’re on your own with that one, friend.

Step 4: Shop! Also the fun part, even if that means I have to look longingly at sugary cereals, frozen waffles or other weird things that we don’t buy but which inexplicably always sound good in the moment. Never grocery shop hungry. Just don’t do it. Only buy what’s on your list. If you’ve done the above correctly, your list might be longer than a normal list, but you will eat for an entire week instead of walking out with three TJ’s prepared salads and a pack of dark chocolate peanut butter cups and a plan to return to TJ’s next week, after you’ve eaten out four more times.

This week we spent just under $100. For that money, we got 11 meals, in the form of dinners that became leftovers for lunch or became another meal entirely. If we make something in the crock pot and (we’re cooking for two), we can usually add at least four more meals on top of that. Would you like to see an ugly picture from inside my fridge to demonstrate that point? Here you are:

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Time required: 20 minutes if you split up in a tiny Trader Joe’s or a City Whole Foods. Give yourself at least 45 if alone in a Safeway and the lines are long. Why are Safeway lines always SO LONG? It’s a head scratcher, folks. Also, Alone in a Safeway could be the title of a new indie record OR an extremely low budge horror film. It’s yours for the taking and you’re welcome.

There you have it! Soon, people will be coming to your house and looking at your fridge. And you’ll be with me, out for a run with all that time you’ve saved. Chant it with me now: Dough-NUTS! Dough-NUTS!

Menu Planning + Head Explosions

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My head exploded the other day. Metaphorically, of course, but still. Perhaps we call those “epiphanies,” or “revelations” maybe? That all sounds rather biblical and, unless accompanied by a burning bush, not accurate either. We’ll stick with head explosions.

A dear friend of mine here in the city looked at our refrigerator, where we’d taped our meal plan for the week, and actually giggled. “You know what you’re eating every night for dinner? This is amazing!”

The amazing part was that it was taped to the fridge. Normally we email it. But truly, my friends,  this is really not that amazing. It’s called Menu Planning, and I thought this was how everyone ate. But what ho! as a Jane Austen character might say. Turns out, no. From what I am beginning to understand, the average San Francisco millennial’s food situation looks like this:

Step 1: Acknowledge hunger.

Step 2: Cast about for  nearby food. If you work at Google, this is easy. If you work somewhere without schmancy perks, less so. If you work from home, even harder. And if you work from my home, you are snackin’ on hummus and baby carrots, all day every day people.

Step 3: Become cranky, descend quickly into angry. Hanger sets in.

Step 4: Eat Luna bar. Remain hungry.

Step 5: Cave and buy something processed, prepared, or go out to dinner.

Step 6: Repeat.

Or you could skip straight from Step 1 to Step 6 with careless abandon. Yippee skippee! I love spending all my money at restaurants!

Maybe it’s the impending wedding, impending trip to Iceland, impending honeymoon, or, you know, general stuff like life and how it costs money, but I do not love spending all my money at restaurants. I love spending money at delicious restaurants and savoring a meal like a fine wine or a conversation with a dear friend. I hate spending money on a Starbucks oatmeal, a bruised granny smith coffee shop apple, or a sub-standard sandwich, because I could handle all that myself and it would be so much better and cheaper. Many people – maybe even most people? – will pay a premium for convenience. I am just not one of them.

Most people think Menu Planning is something you do with kids or when you’re married or when you have nothing better to do with your time. But though I am a lowly apartment fiancé (a mere step below housewife), I actually cannot imagine not doing this. I don’t want to grocery shop more than once per week. I don’t want to spend more than $100 on groceries when I do it. And I want to live with my riches for a long, long time, eliminating both processed food-like substances and paying for said food-like substances completely out of the equation.

Ergo, Menu Planning! And since I am such a passionate menu planner, I thought it would be fun to both explain how we do it, and start posting our menus here for others to enjoy and possibly even use?! Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to know we were all eating peanut noodle spring rolls together on the same night. Because that’s what we are having for dinner here in SF tonight, and we’ll be keeping our head explosions to a minimum while we do it.