We decided last week to start planning our menus for each coming week. That way Ward can make one big trip to the grocery store once a week for the staples he’ll need, and then on the days he’s cooking, he’ll only have to run out to get the fresh stuff: the meat, seafood and vegetables. Right now, on the days he’s cooking dinner, he spends about two hours running around getting all the ingredients. So we’re hoping this will be a real time-saver.

The other thing is, even though he’s home for lunch, he never gets around to cooking lunch. We generally make do with leftovers, or eggs, or toast – not particularly inspiring.

But when he has the ingredients on hand, lunch is just as fabulous as dinner. Take today’s lunch, for instance; Ward had grabbed a pound of mussels yesterday but forgot to make them to go with last night’s dinner, so we had a lovely meal of mussels steamed in a white wine, garlic and herb broth (which he then rendered into a gorgeous garlicky good sauce!).


Mussels for Lunch!


And the Garlicky Good Sauce

So I’ve been appointed Chief Meal Planner; it’s my job to lounge around with a stack of cookbooks and cooking magazines, and decide on a handful of dinner menus and some lunch items. I know. It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it, right? I made the ultimate sacrifice and volunteered for duty.

Here’s what will be on our table this week (Ward has the job of deciding what he wants to cook on what days):

Menu 1

  • Korean grilled short ribs
  • fried bean sprouts with garlic
  • spicy garlic and chive fried rice

Menu 2

  • white beans with tomatoes, garlic and sage
  • focaccia con apolle
  • spinach with lemon and garlic

Menu 3

  • Pollo Alla Diavola
  • grilled mushroom caps with arugula butter
  • spaghetti con zucchini

Menu 4

  • Malaysian chicken satés
  • beef satés with coriander
  • vegetable salad with peanut dressing
  • sesame noodles

Menu 5

  • shrimp and white beans
  • flat olive bread
  • insalata misla con mele e noci (mixed salad with apple and nuts)

And our lunch choices this week will be:

  • chickpea soup
  • Roman gnocchi
  • zucchini pie

I’ll be posting about different dishes from this list this week. Let’s hope our weekly dinner planning experiment goes well!