Sunday, March 7, 2010

Menu Planning for the Aspiring Domestic Goddess

I didn't want to do this Blog post, but Stone said you guys would be interested. It's his fault if you find this intensely boring. OK?

So, I'm in Week 2 of planning out dinner menus for the upcoming week. I kid you not when I say it is going unbelievably well. We have already saved a fortune in wasted food, and about 14 trips to the store to acquire missing ingredients.

I thought I would share the menus for the first two weeks, and show you where I am getting the ideas from.

Since I know how to cook already, I really just need ideas, and maybe a picture to inspire me. My favorite recipe idea site is which aggregates all the recipes published in Sunset, Southern Living, Cooking Light, Coastal Living, and Real Simple magazines. The pictures are lovely, and I can browse about a million ideas and make my own menu plan for the week. I also like

Here are the first two week's worth of Menu plans.

Week 1:
  • Broiled salmon with a lemon and parsley sauce, fancy-ass potatoes, and grilled asparagus.
  • Lemon Chicken stir fry with red peppers, Bok-choi and whole wheat noodles
  • Chicken Parmesan with Orso, marinara, and broccoli
  • BBQ flank Steak with garlic roasted green beans, octopus salad, and garlic bread
  • Rare roasted Lamb and tomato sandwich on grilled chibatta with Blueberry crumble dessert.
  • Chicken and healthy summer veggie tostadas with salsa, guacamole and sour cream
Week 2:
  • Flank Steak and balsamic roasted cherry tomato sandwiches on grilled ciabatta with grilled potatoes
  • Seared Lamb chops with fresh mint and pea risotto
  • Creamy Beef stroganof with egg yolk pasta and steamed Asparagus
  • Chicken fried Steak with buttermilk biscuits, gravy, peas and corn
  • Brazilian Black beans and rice with fresh salsa and baked bananas
  • Garlic grilled prawns with Sauteed Broccoli and astonishingly expensive potatoes
Once I have decided on the Menu for the week, I make my shopping list based on that menu. I keep A lot of stuff on hand in the pantry and in the deep freeze, so my weekly shop does not always include staples or meat.

Here is my shopping list for last week, it includes everything I will need for the dinners, plus some of the staples we use for other meals and Snacks around here
  • Omani cherry tomatoes
  • Ciabatta or other sexy bread
  • Omani Mushrooms
  • Egg pasta
  • sour cream
  • Rocket
  • mint
  • corriander
  • Baby asparagus
  • watermelon
  • bananas
  • Extra fruit if it looks good
  • frozen peas and corn (Watties!)
  • fresh herbs if they are nice
  • lemons
  • OJ
  • Black beans (canned)
  • 1 cuke
  • red and yellow peppers
  • lamb chops
  • chicken broth
  • parmesan
  • Sibou Prawns
  • whole meal sliced bread
  • laban
  • eggs
  • fancy potatoes
  • broccoli
  • frozen blueberries
  • flank steak
  • Dates
  • cookies
  • Juice (Big and Small)
  • Whole meal flour (stone ground, extra strong)
  • olive oil for cooking ans XVO for dressings
  • Jam and Marmalade
I try to do a quick check of the pantry and the freezer to see if I am running low on any staples such as sugar, coffee, vinegar, anchovies, etc.. and add them to my list. I usually sop at Sultan Center, with occasional trips to Al Fair (hideously expensive potatoes, Popsicles) or Carrefour (Duck Confit, pretentious cheeses)

So far I'm really happy with how it's worked out. We are eating healthier, and I only have to face the grocery store once a week if I'm lucky. Stone is delighted, because he really loves a home cooked meal, and having a slightly less surly wife.


The Restless Quill said...

Stone was right! Food is always interesting.
Meal plans for me is a new concept, as I think it is for most Indian homes because we cook, and I mean really cook, at least three meals a day. So while I am sure planning the meals can be managed, shopping for them becomes a big task. Or maybe it's just like your plan but multiplied into three.
When my children are older, I'd really like to do something like you're doing. All of is sounds super fancy and really healthy :)
fancy assed potatoes :D

oh, also, where are you getting sour cream?!

Delirious in the Desert said...

Nice Suburban, Stone was right...some of us LOVE food and enjoy hearing about other people's kitchen inventions :) I love too!

You will have to tell me where you get your bok choi as I am obviously shopping in the wrong places.

Cheers for the post, it was the inspiration I needed after heading to Al Fair tonight for last minute dinner ingredients. Working late everyday and a hubby that doesn't cook sucks balls! lol.

r said...

when i'm out of ideas i go to

;) i keep saying i want to plan dinner for the week, but then some nights i'm just too lazy to cook! its just two of us!

restless quill, you can get sour cream at al fair or sultan center.. (they even have them low fat!)

The MET office said...

Stone is right.
This is 2 interesting.
My mouth is watering.

How to get invite 4 dinner at bait suburban?

next u post food fotos: fresh ingredients from shopping to fresh cooked?

The Restless Quill said...

Thanks, r! i tried the one at al fair and hated it. i'll try sultan centre next.

Nadia said...

Stone was right! WE ALL LOVE FOOD!

Can I invite myself over for dinner on the garlic grilled prawns with Sauteed Broccoli and astonishingly expensive potatoes night?

Steve said...

Call this planning?? With more visitors than Belgium, Mrs. M Tours has to plan meals weeks in advance tailored to guests, their various foibles and an intensive programme of activities. It is not unknown for Mrs. M to whip out a fresh chicken and avocado ciabatta after several days in the mountains, in the desert or on the beach.

Our camping specialty, pit-cooked lamb, doesn’t happen on its own, either. It can take days to find the right meat (not the crappy local stuff) and other ingredients (including home-grown rosemary), drive around Muscat trying to find wood in case the beach is lacking (never happened), find barbecue coals that don’t turn to white powder after reaching operating temperature and locate natural firelighters to avoid using toxic chemicals to get a flame in near storm force winds. Even this is only a fraction of the effort it takes to do a full Christmas dinner with all the trimmings on the beach. I admire your efforts, but you have a long way to go OO.

Amber said...

who the hell is this steve person? Pompous...and I'll make sure never to use Mrs. M tours...or whatever with that attitude!

That is a nice menu...and menu planning is something I should actually sit down and would save time and energy and trips to the stores. Like Oman, Qatar has the same grocery store issues minus my favorite Sultan Center. What I would give for a good Sultan Center!!!! Thanks for sharing - it is inspiring to know that it IS possible.

Nadia said...

Who the heck is Steve? Nutcase.

Anonymous said...

Nice post. We all love food. We like variety in it. And sharing knowledge and awareness about everything is too good. Thanks for menu planning saves time and energy..

Steve person: People with this attitude close their minds. And can't be innovative. So, u are missing out on many nice things in life...

Suburban said...

THanks for the lovely comments guys. Don't be too hard on poor Steve, His humour is rather dry. He truly is Plagued by guests, and has the good fortune to be married to a genuine domestic goddess, whim I can only dream of emulating.

Resltless, I usually get mine from carrefour, or make it using UHT whipping cream and lemon juice. It's not great, but it works in a punch.