What's for Dinner This Week
“What’s for dinner?” It could be my least favorite phrase. Ever. The moment it is uttered, the muscles in my shoulders tighten, and I can feel the temperature of my blood start to rise.
Perhaps this self-induced stress is from the early years of my marriage, when Zach and I would spend hours scouring recipes or takeout menus until it was far past a reasonable dinner hour to decide on our meal. Maybe it’s because I loathe last-minute grocery shopping. Most likely, it’s because I thrive in organization. For me, organization and structure give me the clean canvas to become creative.
So, I avoid this question like the plague, and I rely heavily on our weekly menu plans. This week is no different. We’re cooking a mix of tried-and-true dinners (hello, tacos) with a few new-to-me recipes. Here’s what will be on our table this week.
My parents took us to a lovely pizza dinner after a day spent celebrating Mothers’ Day with them. Such a treat.
Monday: Za’atar Chicken with Garlicky Yogurt
I found this recipe in the latest issue of Bon Appétit, and friends, this is good. The chicken is moist and tender, and full of big flavor. The garlicky yogurt reminds me of some of the best Persian food while living in LA, and the za’atar oil is delicious. Our kids, most of whom have been in a record-setting food funk, each found something to love among it all. Success!
I wish I could say that I intentionally had “Taco Tuesday” in our house, but this was more strategic. Zach was out at a business event, so I opted for the easiest meal to get on the table while flying solo.
Wednesday: Cashew Chicken
When I’ve made cashew chicken in the past, I have gone for Martha Stewart’s cashew chicken recipe, which is reliable and easy to get on the table, but in my meal planning this week, I came across this one from Epicurious. The green beans caught my eye. We made it tonight, and the reviews were mixed: “authentic,” “could use more flavor", “I hate chicken,” and “the green peas [sic] are squishy.” I would give it another try, perhaps with a little more spice.
Thursday: Farro Salad with Corn, Arugula and Herbs
At least once a week, I try to sneak in a dish that I really want to eat. The kids will hate it. That said, they are in some kind of food funk lately and seem to hate just about everything that is labeled dinner, including their favorite dishes. So, what do I have to lose, really?
Our strategy for these kinds of meals is to break up the ingredients into separate bowls and let them assemble their meals with whatever elements of the dinner they want to put on their plates. If they only eat the corn, fine. In the case of a dish like this, I will also throw in something else just for them that they will eat. For example, they might get rice, while we’ll eat the farro.
Friday: Pizza / Takeout
I have really given up on Fridays. We all want the night off, so our Fridays usually entail a very simple dinner like grilled pizza with Trader Joe’s dough or takeout. This week, the kids will get pizza and we’ll order something a little more exciting.
Saturday: Turkey Burgers with a Tomato and Avocado Salad
It may not be summer weather outside quite yet, but we’re embracing summer dinners like we’re Hemingway in Paris. This Friday will be no exception: turkey burgers are on the menu, and I’m excited. We’ll be pairing it with a tomato and avocado salad, simply dressed with a light lime and cumin vinaigrette (1 part oil, 1 part lime juice, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt). Bring on summer!
What are you eating these days?
Images: Bon Appétit (top), Epicurious (second), Goop (third)