Thursday, August 6, 2009

I'm In the Kitchen: Rolling with the Punches

"Summertime and the living is eaaasy." I'm trying to get back into the everyday routine of life and this week I did my regular meal planning & grocery list, instead of the kind of slap-dash improvisation I've been doing.

Ya know I am so frustrated with my local supermarket, they are always out of stuff and I have to go to at least 2 markets to get everything on my list. Last week they were out of garlic. How can I cook without garlic?! Today they were out of Pesto (I found an expensive import to buy but I wanted to buy the refrigerated one I normally get), the broccoli was black on top, not gonna eat that! The yogurt case was half empty (looked like they had a mishap) and there was no fresh basil anywhere to be found, not even the little blister packs.

So it's summer, I'll roll with the punches & adapt, I'll just have to hit another market tomorrow and switch up the batting order of meals I have planned for the week. Courtney, creamy pasta is on the menu again this week so that I can show you how to re-heat it the next day :D (Pasta is waiting on that fresh basil I couldn't get.)

So tonight I'm making Pesto Chicken Grill Packets out of the June/July 2009 issue of Rachael Ray's Magazine. It was easy to put together and goes on the grill in little foil pouches. Unfortunately when I went to put them on the grill, the flame went out, I was out of propane. So I'll have to bake them in the oven. Not what I would have planned, but oh well.
We have about 20 more minutes of waiting before I can give my verdict. Pesto Chicken Grill Packets Recipe Here.

Menu Planning
I don't menu plan in the conventional way. I don't lay out what we're going to eat on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday... I think about our schedule for the week and what we have going on, then I just select 3 or 4 recipes that I plan to make at some point in the week. I find that a dinner for every night of the week is far too much food for my family of 3. Generally I cook one night and we eat leftovers the following night. I like this, it means I only have to wash pots and pans every other night. Cooking I don't mind, I go into my kitchen, buzz around singing, I go into a happy place in my mind, and then there is delicious food to eat. Dish washing is the opposite of this zen-like experience, and it cuts into family time.

My vague menu planning allows me a certain amount of spontaneity in my cooking as well. Some nights I am just "in the mood" for certain kinds of food. I can switch to one of the other recipes in order to accommodate this, or sometimes I just make something up with ingredients I have that satisfies the craving (I nearly made asparagus risotto, tonight, except that I could already taste the salty tang of the pesto in tonight's new recipe.) I did end up making a simple rice with onions and garlic to go along with the chicken and veggies.


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