What do you look forward to every week?
Emma sat at the kitchen table with an assortment of cookbooks stacked neatly next to her. It was Saturday, meal planning day, her favorite day of the week. Most people looked forward to Friday to let loose, or the weekend to relax, but for Emma, the day she planned out her family’s meals for the coming week was the highlight of her week.
Some weeks she had themes: ethnic foods from one country or region, dinners that rhyme, film inspired dishes. Other weeks she would showcase the versatility of an ingredient she bought in bulk or on sale or both. She liked to add variety to her menus, but there were always stretches of predictability.
Typically she planned out four meals with leftovers for the weekend or a busy night. Her go-to foundation was one chicken dish, one beef or pork dish, one vegetable dish, and one seafood dish. Every entrée would then have accompanying vegetable sides or salad and a starch of some sort. Her kids loved pasta, but she tried to limit those sides to twice a week.
She sighed as she flipped the pages of her favorite cookbook, The Joy of Cooking. The thin pages were light in her fingers and always filled her with nostalgia for her childhood when she would cook with her mother. Her kids liked to help cook, too, but they weren’t much for the planning stage. Emma smiled as their laughter rang in the other room.
As she scanned the recipes she wondered what next week would bring. They had just finished a Mexican inspired week of meals, a week that had been capped off with the creamiest enchiladas this side of the Mason-Dixon line, if she did say so herself. Todd had agreed, because he always agreed when it came to her opinion on food, but he wouldn’t object to a week of good old fashioned American food.
Emma pulled up her family’s schedule on her phone. Grace had ballet class on Tuesday afternoon and tap on Thursday. Isabelle had Tae-Kwan-Do also on Tuesday and a piano lesson Wednesday. She would need a quick and easy recipe for Tuesday, or something with leftovers for Monday.
Her eyes stopped on “Ham Sliders” as the thought went through her mind. The recipe made more than enough and it was quick and easy. Emma smiled as she jotted down the ingredients on her shopping list and added a sticky arrow to the page for easy reference. Some Planning Days went like that, the recipe she needed would be on the page as she thought of it.
The sunlight pouring in through the dining room windows bounced off the chandelier, throwing tiny rainbows across the walls. Phone still in her hand, she checked the forecast for the week. Right, there was rain coming for Wednesday. Soup was always good on a rainy day.
She flipped to the soup section and scanned the pages until a recipe caught her interest. It wasn’t until the end of the section that Emma really felt the pull. “Roasted Cauliflower Soup” had a delicious ring to it. She loved vegetable based soups and it was easy to get the kids to eat.
Halfway done. She still needed a chicken dish. The idea came to her almost immediately. A family recipe she hadn’t made in a while. She pulled the heirloom cookbook from the pile and searched through it until she found her quarry. “Honey Dijon Chicken.” It was such a simple recipe, but so sweet and tangy and the girls loved it.
For her last dish she vacillated between fish and beef. She looked at the forecast again. Friday was supposed to be warm and sunny all day, a perfectly comfortable late spring day. A day for grilling. Emma decided both would be good, grilled steak and shrimp. Some nice surf and turf. She added the last ingredients to her shopping list and sighed.
Planning days were her favorite.
Notes: I really need to follow Emma’s example. If I don’t have Blue Apron coming, I’m horrible at coming up with a meal plan for the week. And I typically only get Blue Apron about once a month. My husband and I love it, but sometimes it’s a hassle to get our deliveries at our apartment complex. I’ve been trying to be better about planning meals so we aren’t ordering Chinese once a week, eating Tuna Helper another night every week, and getting McDonald’s or some other fast food trash on a different night. Though we do love our Tuna Helper, yumm.
So what’s the highlight of your week? Do you look forward to 5 o’clock on Friday for happy hour? Or do you have a retail job where you simply look forward to whatever day it is you have off? Maybe you have a favorite weekly TV show you can’t wait for?
Speaking of, if you have Starz, Counterpart is phenomenal. I don’t watch much regular TV, but I got sucked into this one in the first episode.
Thursday’s prompt: Were you born to shine in one special way? What makes you really stand out?
No, and my legs. Ba dum tiss. I’m here all week, folks! See you tomorrow!