What’s for Dinner: Week of September 7, 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.

…and we’re back from vacation!  This week we hear from Mark, who lives in Boston with his wife, Kate, and their toddler.  I’m delighted to finally showcase a dad who does the bulk of the cooking–and, from the looks of it, makes delicious meals!


Mark’s Family Food Philosophy:

I grew up cooking dinner for myself from the age of 14 as both parents worked nights. I try to follow three rules: (1) I don’t use recipes except to get a general sense of ingredients/portions and cooking times but I vary from there. It’s key to understand what’s needed to make a dish versus what’s added for flavor.  (2) I like a meal that can be prepped and cooked in under 45 minutes. (3) I avoid or substitute away from exotic ingredients. If I don’t have it and use it often, I’m avoiding it or using something else.

I also like to remind people that many of the worlds best cooks are men and I, like them, love to cook 🙂

Our weekly menu consists of 2-3 recurring staple meals, 1-2 inventive meals, and 1-2 nights out or delivery. The goal is to have a reasonably healthy meal and ready in under 45 minutes.  Kate likes a lot of color on her plate and I keep that in mind when selecting accompaniments to the main dish.  Our son’s meals always include elements from our meals.

What inspired this week’s menu?
Our appetites seem to be less in the summer months, so a few of these involved only a single dish, rather than the average 2-4.

So what’s for dinner?

Sunday: Turkey burgers with fried egg and cheese accompanied by garden salad and sweet potato tater tots
Monday: Pistachio crusted pork chops, corn on the cob, and alfredo pasta (from box)
Tuesday: Seared tuna over large salad
Wednesday:  Baked chicken breast topped with homemade mushroom gravy, roasted potatoes, and asparagus
Thursday:  Cod baked in garlic butter, white rice, green beans, and salad
Friday: Quesadillas with chicken, peppers, and cheese with takeout queso from our local Mexican spot
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