What’s for Dinner? Week of July 13, 2015

What’s for Dinner is a series dedicated to what real-life families eat.  Each week, a parent shares his or her menus for the week and talks about the food philosophy behind it.  Want to read more? Check out our WFD archives.

This week we hear from Sara, a new mom and fellow holistic health coach.  She and her family live in Brooklyn, where they cook up lots of deliciousness despite the fact there’s a newborn involved in the equation!  As she explains below, she uses the concept of themed nights to help her mentally organize her meals, an idea I’ve also been wanting to try!

Sara’s Family Food Philosophy: I love to cook but as a new mom, creating something new and exciting every night feels too overwhelming. To reduce the overwhelm while still feeling good about what I prepare, my approach has been to keep it simple and eat what we love. For me, this means well-rounded meals based on a few whole foods. To make it even easier, I practice two simple techniques: theme nights + bulk prepping and cooking. Themes help me stay focused and not over think what I’m going to make; these include Pasta Sundays, Sandwich Mondays, Soup Tuesdays, etc. Bulk prepping and cooking—done once a week or so—allows me to pull something out of the refrigerator or freezer sans stress. (I heart my crock pot!) There are also definitely nights when I have no desire to make (or defrost) anything so we plan for those, too—ordering in or eating out once or twice a week is a real treat!

What inspired this week’s menu? The green market. It’s my version of an art gallery—so many exciting fruits, vegetables, breads, and other goodies to ogle (and eat!). I have to pace myself when I go—inevitably I want to buy way more produce than I need. In my mind, I’m going to make all kinds of fabulous and exotic dishes. Unfortunately, my imagination has way more time and patience than my real life. To balance my adventurous spirit with the reality of my schedule, I buy a large amount of two or three vegetables plus a lot of mixed salad greens. A copious quantity of a few veggies helps me to focus on a couple of easy-to-make dishes while simultaneously doubling them up for weekday lunches or freezing for later dinners. I can still be creative without the guilt of vegetables wasting away in my crisper. For this week, I picked up some ricotta, pea shoots, radishes, and whole leaf spinach.

So what’s on the menu?

Monday: Radish and ricotta sandwiches with fresh spinach salad

Tuesday: Tomato bisque and grilled cheese sandwiches plus mixed green salad (bisque made in the crock pot last month and frozen; recipe adapted from The Everything Slow Cooker Cookbook)

Wednesday: Order in (Thai night!)

Thursday: Bread-heel strata with fresh spinach, ricotta, and red onions plus mixed green salad

Friday: Leftovers OR Kitchen Sink Pizza (Amy’s frozen cheese pizza topped with whatever vegetables we have in the fridge. Sometimes it’s a pizza topped with salad, sometimes it’s pizza baked with kale—the combinations can get pretty crazy!)

Saturday: Dinner out (usually at our favorite Brooklyn cheese and wine bar,Tuffet)

Sunday: Pasta with peas, pea shoots, and ricotta

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