fall meal plan ~ week 1

hello! big changes this week! my meal plans will now feature five different recipes each week PLUS a grocery list to make it insanely easy to follow. i have heard from several people that the hardest part of getting dinner on the table is not the cooking, or even the shopping — it’s the thinking, the planning! (personally i don’t understand this as i love the planning part — hi! 🙋 geek here!)

my hope is that you will not only enjoy the variety of meals i include each week but also find that you spend less time thinking about what to make. the majority of the meals in my plans are already available on the internet via food blogs or cooking websites, some are from cookbooks and then there are a few that i’ve gleaned from friends and family. they’ve all been tested however and are keepers!

not every meal (not even close) can be ready in under 30 minutes but i surprise myself a lot at just how quickly so many of them come together! i often find myself marinating something the night before, and i’m a big bean soaker (there’s nothing wrong with canned beans, i’m just cheap) but for the most part, i start making dinner about an hour before i want to sit down and eat.

occasionally i will include a salad or side dish with a particular meal if i think it’s necessary, but often i won’t; if you would like to add a salad or side dish or crusty rolls even, feel free!

here’s what we’re eating this week:
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week 52

FRIDAY steak + corn on the cob + green beans
SATURDAY dinner party
SUNDAY spiedies
MONDAY leftovers
TUESDAY thai noodle salad with peanut-lime dressing (next week)
WEDNESDAY out for dinner
THURSDAY lentils with fennel & halloumi

by last friday, we’d just returned home from a week away with no cooking so i needed to gently ease myself back in. i rarely if ever make a meal that does not involve me following a recipe but this was the perfect summer meal! we’d picked up half a dozen cobs of corn on the way through chilliwack and i had a ton of green beans on the vines in my garden so the old guy suggested having some steak to go with both. plus a handful of cherry tomatoes from the garden too? winning! is that a negroni? whaaat!?!?
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week 51

FRIDAY date night
SATURDAY vietnamese noodles with steak & shrimp
SUNDAY falafel salad
MONDAY marinated lentils
TUESDAY japanese grilled chicken noodle bowls
WEDNESDAY thai fish burgers
THURSDAY spiedies

oh man so many good dishes this past week! all the flavours! perfect summertime fare!*

i adore noodles in the summer. these vietnamese noodles with steak and shrimp pack so much favour! they’re probs not super authentic (nor attractive) but who cares? it’s dead easy to make and super quick too. rice noodles, red pepper, carrots and cucumber, steak, shrimp and a yummy dressing. yes, there’s fish sauce in that dressing and yes, fish sauce smells like death, but my god, does it ever make food taste delicious!!  fish sauce + sugar + lime = 😍
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week 50

FRIDAY bookclub
SATURDAY date night
SUNDAY burgers + french fries
MONDAY enchiladas verdes
TUESDAY peanut soba noodle slaw
WEDNESDAY ahi tuna poke
THURSDAY salmon en papillote

lotta hits and a couple misses this past week, altho the misses were really my fault — what was i thinking turning on my oven in the middle of this insane heat wave in vancouver?? and were they really misses, or was i just cranky by the time i sat down to eat? who’s to say really.

started off the week with good old fashioned hamburgers. it doesn’t get more summer than that, amirite? plus it gave me an excuse to make smitten kitchen’s insanely easy and delicious french fries again. i probably shouldn’t have made the full amount as there was only three of us at dinner, but my boy happily finished them off the next day (even tho deb says they don’t keep very well — depends on who you ask i guess!) yes, i know, there are hamburger recipes out there — does anyone really need another?? i blitzed an onion in my food processor till it was essentially liquid and added it, along with some minced garlic, to a pound of lean organic ground beef. a little salt and pepper, and then formed them into patties. that’s it. oh and brioche buns if you can find them! yum!
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week 49

FRIDAY lamb burgers with mint-feta pesto
SATURDAY date night
SUNDAY fajitas
MONDAY asian bbq salmon + thai coconut rice
TUESDAY szechuan noodle salad
WEDNESDAY enchiladas verdes
THURSDAY sweet potato & black bean burgers

on friday, i made these lamb burgers and omg i love them so much! i don’t even bother buying buns for these; we like them served plain with a dollop of the mint-feta pesto on top and an easy greek salad on the side. and by easy, i’m not kidding. the amount of posts i see for greek salad is crazy. traditional authentic greek salad (horiatiki) is chopped cuke,  tomato, green pepper, and red onion, with a bunch of olives and a nice slice of feta. i use yellow pepper cos i don’t like the green ones, and neither my husband nor i like olives so i don’t bother. in greece, we often saw capers (!!!) in the salad so sometimes i go that route; i didn’t this time. but it’s the “dressing” recipes that get me. it’s literally olive oil, people. no vinegar. just good extra virgin olive oil, glugged over all the veg. crack some salt and pepper over the top and mixy mixy. and some dried oregano if you fancy. yum!
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week 48

FRIDAY date night
SATURDAY shrimp corn cakes + jicama slaw
SUNDAY croque monsieur + grated carrot salad
MONDAY shanghai cod with udon noodles + smashed cuke salad
TUESDAY taco salad
WEDNESDAY tomato crostini + steak frites + green beans in escargot butter
THURSDAY fajitas

for the first time in never, i cooked exclusively from cookbooks or cooking magazines all week! not exactly newsworthy, but i’d noticed a pattern of buying more cookbooks and yet still only cooking from printed-off-the-internet recipes. well done, me!

first up was a meal from the rebar modern food cookbook. if you’re not familiar with the almost vegetarian restaurant rebar, in victoria on vancouver island, i would recommend you become so. we’ve only had the fortune to dine there a handful of times but their food has inspired me to cook a few meals from their menu (almond burgers and wild rice salad are two i’ve made recently). so i was well pleased when my sweet daughter bought me their cookbook as a “just because” gift. these shrimp corn cakes took me forever to make and i must admit i was ridiculously disappointed when we finally sat down to eat. the cakes didn’t stay together super well and i was unsure if i’d even prepared them correctly. that said, when i had a couple the next day for lunch, i was reassured as to how delicious they are and it just got me to thinking how i’d do them only a tad differently next time. these would certainly be perfect fancy dinner party appies. i was serving the shrimp corn cakes as a main dish so roasted some yam wedges to go with, in addition to this very delicious and easy to make vegetable slaw from the same book.
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week 47

FRIDAY date night
SATURDAY mustard chicken + herbed pasta + leeks vinaigrette
SUNDAY cowgirl salad
MONDAY steak frites + tomato crostini
TUESDAY roasted cauliflower salad
WEDNESDAY asian barbecue chicken + napa slaw
THURSDAY gnocchi & meatballs

the week before last was a bit of a gong show and so a couple recipes got postponed to last week. one of those was a meal inspired by the food52 cookbook club: from my paris kitchen, david lebovitz’s mustard chicken with herbed fresh pasta, and leeks vinaigrette. making all three together was a bit of an undertaking, so i spent the entire afternoon prepping and cooking while the old guy worked on painting the house.

we’re not normally bone-in, skin-on chicken people, and to be honest, next time i make this i’m going to try it with boneless, skinless chicken thighs (several members of the cookbook club say it’s delightful that way), but this time around, i followed the recipe exactly. the flavours were amazing! that sauce? gahh!! the herbed pasta was the perfect vehicle to sop it all up. altho regular dried pasta or even mashed potatoes would do in a pinch too.
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