Long hot summer days are upon us, and to be honest I don’t feel much like cooking. However the family must eat–so meal planning is still necessary.
1. I’m down one kid for half the week since Buddy is with Grandma. That means supper is only for 3 folks. Then later in the week it is his birthday and we’ll be taking him out for dinner.
2. It’s supposed to be in the high 70’s to mid 80’s all week. So warm, but not unbearable. The temperature is always an important consideration because we only have AC in our bedroom and a unit in the living room for occasional use (which is new this year). So the amount of heat that various cooking methods will add to the kitchen is a concern.
3. In the garden we have kale (2 kinds), lettuce and pak choi that is starting to bolt, sugar snap peas, snow peas, pea peas, lambsquarter (a weed I let grow then harvest), and the start of the tomatoes. In the fridge I have a couple kinds of cheese open, my two sourdough starters (which at the very least need to be fed if I am not going to cook with them) a dozen eggs, a gallon of milk, some homemade yogurt, a small head of broccoli, a quarter of a head of cabbage, a little bit of cooked beef and a bunch of mandarin oranges.
4. In the freezer I’ve got a large variety of frozen beef (from my bulk beef purchase of 1/4 steer) some venison, pork, fish and chicken. I’m still trying to use up odds and ends out of the freezer so I can organize and clean up a bit better-there is a 1/3 bag of frozen hash browns and a bunch of other bits and pieces.
Taking all that into account here is my game plan:
Monday: Spaghetti with Meatsauce and Stewed Greens
The day is already half gone as I write this and I don’t want to worry about anything complex. Pasta and sauce is a go to easy meal for me, whether I whip it up using store bought sauce or homemade. I’ll use a jar of sauce, sautee up some onions and garlic, and add the cooked beef I’ve got in the fridge. Serve over pasta (which I will most likely boil on the burner outside if it’s hot). I’ll stew some mixed greens (or boil once then saute them–several I want to use up are from plants where they have bolted) then toss with some seasonings and butter–probably a bit of red pepper, homemade seasoned salt etc.
Tuesday: Homemade Vegetable Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
One of the things I need to use up from the freezer is some vegetable stock I made over a year ago. Good thing that broth can’t get freezer burn eh? I don’t know exactly what I’ll add yet, but with all the produce in the garden, home canned tomatoes etc, I’m sure I”ll be able to come up with something tasty. Since broth and vegetables might be filling in the short term but are unlikely to keep a person satisfied all night, we need a bit of protein. Grilled cheese will fill that gap and use up some of the block cheese I have in the fridge. Plus, that keeps the whole meal meat free.
This is my soup meal and my meatless meal for the week.
Wednesday: Venison Cube Steaks in Gravy with Mushrooms, Sugar Snap Peas and Hash Browned Potatoes
Cube steak will cook up super fast. I’ll just brown it in butter on both sides, then remove it from the pan to make a gravy with sauteed mushrooms (they are on sale at the local grocery store this week), broth, flour and butter. The snap peas will just be steamed. They are so yummy fresh that you really don’t have to do anything else to them. Actually I just eat them raw most of the time. . . Finally to add a starch I will use up the frozen hash brown potatoes and just cook them up in another skillet with a bit of oil.
This is my venison meal for the week.
Thursday: Dinner out for Buddy’s Birthday
Princess is going to have to eat whatever her grandmother feeds her. We are going to the Japanese Hibachi Steakhouse! I’ll most likely order the scallops–so does that mean I can count that as my fish meal for the week?
Friday: Homemade Pizza
This summer has been so crazy, I don’t think we’ve actually made pizza yet. So we’ll make it on Friday. Using the now famous (or should I say “infamous”) Pizza Hut Crust Clone recipe.
Saturday: Slow Cooked Pork Shoulder, Macaroni Salad and Garden Fresh Peas
I’m defrosting a pork shoulder right now–not quite sure how I’ll cook it, but I know it will be in the slow cooker. I’ll decide later in the week. Instead of my initial impulse to pair it with mashed potatoes or rice I decided to go the summer route and make a macaroni salad instead. By Saturday I should have enough fat pea pods to shell for a dinner’s worth of peas. They will be boiled very breifly (just till they turn bright green) and then served tossed with some butter and a bit of fresh mint.
This is my pork meal for the week.
Sunday: Homemade Hummus with Vegetables and Pita Bread
Princess loves Hummus. It’s pretty easy to make and I believe I have everything I need on hand (I’ll have to check on the Tahini, but I’ve been known to use peanut butter instead). Since we have so many lovely fresh veggies in the garden right now it just seems like a good time to have a meal like this. If it isn’t enough to fill folks up we can always make a sandwich to go with it or something–but I’m willing to bet as long as we make enough Hummus the kids will be happy to stuff themselves on it.
This is my bean meal for the week.
Are you interested in learning more about menu planning? Check out my post “Why Plan a Weekly Menu” .