What are you having for dinner?

I need to know because I am making a very long list. Let me explain.

Do you plan your meals a week ahead? Do you make a menu for the week then shop accordingly?  What do you think about meal plans.  I think about them a lot but I am a great thinker!chickens

I kind of make a plan when I have a house full of people.  I look to see what we have in the freezers and gardens and plan my dinner around that.  At least a day ahead anyway.  In the morning I write on my black board what we are eating that day, so if I get held up outside  with the milk cow or something or if I am working down the back pretending I don’t know what time it is, anyone can begin the dinner because the menu is on the board and the recipe cards are on the bench.

But I am not consistent. And if I  do NOT have a plan (which is most of the time) I always have this low moan clamour in my brain all day, a kind of white noise anxiety – ” What shall I make for dinner? What shall I make for dinner? What shall I make for dinner, what shall …  then the moan comes up above my subconscious. “Who put me in charge?!  Why do I have to be in charge?!  WHAT WILL I MAKE FOR DINNER!”  – then it drops back to the white noise clamour  so I can try to ignore it again – well, you get the idea.

So I began to make a long list of all the meals I might make with the ingredients commonly found here. You know what they are – you have watched me grow them for years. Not fancy, but good. Later I will shuffle the list into menu’s organise  then into seasonal weeks, add left over days,  and create the flow (like a roast chicken today becomes tomorrows chicken and noodle soup, beef stew left overs become shepherds pie, etc ), then my decision is made and I can proceed and the white noise anxiety will go away.

So to the list –Lady Astor

I stood with chalk in hand and could only write three meals  on the board.  I  wrote split pea soup because that was what John was making for dinner and I could smell it. Then pumpkin soup because I saw a butternut squash on the bench. Then gnocchi with sage and burnt butter because my daughter told me she had that for dinner last night but I can’t have sage as it is all frozen to the ground.  Then I ran out of ideas again.


SO. What are you having for dinner?  What shall I have for dinner? Any ideas for my list?

Love celi


162 Comments on “What are you having for dinner?

  1. Hello Celi. If in doubt on a weekday, I go to a friend’s kitchen (Korean, Italian or French). On a weekend, I would do my usual roasted organic veggies with olive oil/lemon juice/rock salt dressing. With a dessert of dried figs and camembert. Easy, tasty and no fuss to clean up. Sometimes, I make breakfast for dinner: oatmeal or an omlette. It’s quite liberating when you grab whatever is in front of you and cook it. You have a darling setup right at home, so I am sure that your table will be full of lovely treats by dinnertime. Be well. xo SB

  2. I don’t think this’ll help much – during shooting season I normally buy a brace of pheasants every week at the farmers’ market. Currently they cost £7 for the pair and are the size of chicken. They are quite versatile and will take strong flavours like curry. That’s a few days worth of meals and I buy season vegetables from the farmer. As the temperature has been so warm this winter, he had green peppers last week and I believe some people have had an exceptionally early crop of asparagus! 🙂

    • asparagus already!? goodness, i have not even got around to cleaning my patch off yet! .. The hunters around here and finding it harder and harder to find pheasant now. In fact I knew a group who walked the ditches and creeks for three days and did not even see one. I never even hear them anymore.. The mowers clean up most of them.. c

      • It’s not normal, the temperature didn’t go down below 10ºC until last week. Pheasants are plentiful here, due to a rich banker obsession with shooting hundreds of them. They are hatched and released into the wild every spring.

  3. Pan fried Tasmanian salmon with steamed sweetcorn on the cob, a salad of baby spinach and rocket with baby tomatoes, avocado, carrot and apple, dressed with aioli, and a baked sweet potato with the salmon pan juice drizzled over it. Fresh mango off the tree for dessert.
    On the stove is Moroccan lamb soup, made from meaty lamb bones from the butcher, roasted in the oven to caramelise, then turned into stock with the meat stripped off. In the soup is brown rice, three bean mix, pumpkin onion, garlic and carrot, and it’s flavoured with ras-al-hanout, salt and pepper.
    Tomorrow I shall make the Cheergerm’s spicy cauliflower fritters, from half a head of cauliflower blitzed in the blender till it’s like large breadcrumbs, stirred into a batter of 3 beaten eggs, 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1 cup of water, together with a finely minced half onion and 1 clove of garlic and a heaped tablespoon of garam masala and a finely chopped chilli. Fry large dollops of the mixture first till brown on both sides, and then put in oven for 15 mins on 350F/175C. I’ll probably serve them with either chicken curry made from leftovers, or chicken laksa with noodles, ditto!
    Does that help with any inspiration at all?

    • Mmmmh, just want that cauliflower Fritters right now! Along with a fresh salad, that’s enough. No meat needed. Thank you for sharing the recipe, Kate!

        • I use a gluten free flour alternative made from rice/corn/potato. It doesn’t perform quite as well as wheat flour, but good enough! I’ve also greatly increased the garam masala content from Lisa’s recipe, and I make my cauliflower pieces a lot smaller than she does for a slightly flatter and less bobbly fritter.

          • Your menu looks amazing! I want to add myself to the list of people that want to eat at your house! I’m really curious about this flour mix. I have a daughter who can’t eat gluten without feeling icky. She’s not celiac, but it helps her if I cut down on gluten in the kitchen. Can you be more specific about this flour mix? I’d love to try it…do you use it for everything? Right now we’re using a mix of rice flour and tapioca which is not bad.

            • For baking, I use a commercial GF flour. For this recipe, I’d use two thirds millet or sorghum or brown rice flour for the most part, and one third commercial stuff. You want a nice crispy finish, and for that reason, I’d avoid using too much tapioca or potato starch for this recipe as they tend to get a bit heavy and puddingy. Rice flour, corn starch, soy flour, millet, sorghum or buckwheat are all fine, and if you’re making batter for something sweet, coconut flour is good. Green banana flour is brilliant and very low GI but it absorbs enormous amounts of water, so you’d need to fiddle around with the quantities. I don’t know what you can source where you are – I’ve always found Italy pretty good with the GF ingredients, France less so…

              • I’ve never found a commercial GF flour, but I do have many of the other options. Thank you!! (I discovered the absorbency of coconut flour the hard way!)

      • I love to cook… And I never make a shopping list from a recipe, I just buy what looks good and then think what to make from it.

    • Kate, don’t think you and I would have a single issue about what to cook . . . . moreish to the max . . .

  4. Oh goody, thought I was the only one who battles to think about what for dinner. Pete came up with the idea of us starting a menu, just like in a restaurant of what we like to eat and then use that for inspiration. Such a clever chap my Pete – we started and then got stuck with ideas so we build on it now with the meals we really enjoy.
    Haven’t a clue what I am making tonight and it is already lunch time! Pete is away so it might just be a piece of chicken and salad.
    Have a beautiful weekend C.
    🙂 xo

  5. I cook 2-3 main dishes along with squash and sweet potatoes on weekends and eat through the week. Some friends tell me they can’t eat leftovers, I say it’s not left overs until I eat it at least once. 😉 Today soup bones are in the crockpot for stock and tonight there will be oxtail soup cooking happily away. High tomorrow is forecast at -1, soup weather to me. Stay warm today Celi.

  6. Tonight, salad with rice crackers and brie. Tomorrow I will buy roast of the day (usually lamb) and a selection of roasted potatoes and vegetables from my local grocery store. Cooking for 1 is the pits. When I have guests I draw up a meal plan and shop accordingly. If leftovers aren’t fed to the dog and are put into the fridge they usually end up looking like science experiments and have to be hurled out. Not much inspiration here I’m afraid. Laura

  7. I grow pinto beans in the summer and can them. If I need a quick meal, I can open a jar and whip up some cornbread. This is our favorite winter meal. Also, having jars of pintos is a great addition if someone pops in and I need a little extra something and leftovers make great refried beans for taco night.
    I love my slow cooker! I’m gone 11 hours a day so having something ready when I get home is very nice. I have a home grown chicken going in the cooker today with potatoes and carrots. Another favorite is a pork roast cooked all day and then shredded and add BBQ sauce.
    We also love breakfast for dinner. Eggs, bacon, and biscuits and gravy. Can you tell I’m from the south? HA

  8. I just discovered dill pickle soup. {http://noblepig.com/2013/03/dill-pickle-soup/) Rich and creamy with a nice bite from the pickles. Perfect for winter–made with stored root veggies and pickles from your stored stash. Add warm bread for dipping. YUM!

      • In Eastern Europe make that dill pickle and kidney soup: a fantastic combo 🙂 !

        • Actually went and talked to Mr Google ’cause loved this so much as a ‘picky’ child !! The recipe is usually under the name ‘rassolnik’ and both Poland and Russia claim the provenance! It really is yum!!!!

  9. Tonight is breakfast for dinner – pancakes, eggs, grits,fruit. Girl-child leaves for school tomorrow, so it’s her choice. I do pizza one night a week, making the crust and sauce myself. I do chili in my slow cooker pretty often, and spicy black beans. They are hearty and filling. I’m like you. I cannot relax until I know what I am feeding the family. I need the plan. I do my menus two weeks out and write it on a board so we know what we’re eating and when. I am most relaxed when I am organized. I

  10. Just got home from the movies with a beautiful friend and we had a quick thai meal before … But once we got to the restaurant I didn’t feel like anything on the menu. So I ended up having Sweet n Sour Pork cos I hadn’t had it in ages … It was the saltiest dish I’ve eaten in a long time!! o.O Thank God she left us a big dish of steamed rice {white tho – ugh!} so I could cut the salt with that.
    I write a basic menu on the calander a fortnight or so ahead, so I know what we have and what we need to make it thru each week … the kids reallllly enjoy helping and having a say in what we eat 🙂

  11. Beef Barley soup, its a winter mainstay at my place, love my soups and stews

    I have been craving making little pasta pockets and stuffed bread calzones.. and have been thinking about making cabbage with onion and fat coil of german farmers sausage baked with loads of onions..

    you are making me hungry, but what I really need is for one of my ewes to lamb so I can get fresh milk in the house

  12. I make a general plan for the week ahead. If the husband wants beef during the week (which he usually does!), I check the sales pages and see what looks interesting. There are no winter farm markets right near us). We always have homegrown lamb, goat, pork and chicken in the freezer, so I just have to try and come up with something i’m not bored with! I love beans of all types, my husband does not, so I try to have a bean dish for leftovers that I can take for work lunches. It makes me crazy! I hate the planning, especially during the school year, but I do love to cook.

    Tonight we are going to be roasting a chicken. As it’s an ice and snow day, I am looking forward to it! We might have to do some scalloped potatoes as well!

      • Scalloped potatoes with chicken and veggies. The spouse does the majority of cooking and makes this with chunks of chicken breast sauteed in butter and onion, the veggies are usually broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and more onion, the whole works gets mixed together and baked as a casserole, sometimes with cheese on top, sometimes not. Great for a cold winter evening. I have a recipe for either beef or pork with sweet gherkin sauce which everyone liked a lot, I’ll see if I can find it and email it to you. My mother would make a big meatloaf, with crusted pan fried pototoes and onion or what she called “one dish meal” that was a pound of ground beef seasoned placed in the bottom of a big ovensafe bowl, then green beans over that, then sliced carrots then onions and thinly sliced potatoes mixed and laid on top with water to just cover and then in the oven till the meat was done, she didn’t bother to thicken the juice but you could if you like.

  13. The day before yesterday’s meal has been my beloved vegetables and noodles dish made from smoked porc belly (or call it bacon) and onions browned a little in the pot, tomatoe paste and bite size cubes of green bell pepper and cucumber added, cooked in very little meat stock, seasoned with paprika and pepper (little chili if needed), then after a good cook half a can of tomatoes added (I take fresh ones in summer of course) while spiral shaped pasta is cooking aside. The bell peppers (still) come from my balcony crop. Cooked cucumber needs a bit getting used to if you haven’t had it before.
    Living and cooking alone it has become a rule in my household that I always or mostly have a second portion of the dish the day after and love it as well if not more – with the advantage of not having to cook every single day. I do not like very much the idea to freeze and thaw ready cooked meals.
    As there are some bell pepper halves and half of the can of tomatoes left I intend to make Lecsó today – a hot (if you like) Hungarian red and green bell pepper dish along with onions, garlic, potatoes and chorizo.
    I check, plan, make lists and decide after my liking. My lists are just papers filled with cooking ideas, when one dish is made I tick it off. I learned to keep this papers (and there are lots) for reuse when I run out of ideas. I even tried to write down the dishes I cooked into a small calender lying in my kitchen for having an overlook for the past and as a pool of ideas in the future. – I started a list in my PC too, to get rid of all the papers and so I have a document with the name “What shall I cook today?”. There I add the cookbook names and page no. where the recipe is taken from or – if it is taken from my huge amount of online collected recipes – I create a hyperlink into that document so I can get very quickly to the source. The PC thing needs a bit of time but it’s not bad I think.
    Today we’ve got a lovely white blanket of soft snow outside. It’s still snowing along – finest powder coming calmly from the sky. Wish you a good decision making and a very nice week end, Cel!

  14. Currently cooking in my kitchen are two dishes destined for the freezer and ultimately our new season’s dinner guests; Duck Ragu and the filling for Steak and (local) Ale Pie.

  15. I plan out 4 weeks worth of dinners as I only go to “town” once a month (90 miles round trip). My grocery list consists mostly of toilet paper and alcohol as we grow the rest. When we have company I extend the menus to include breakfast and lunch. I plan seasonally and with what’s ready in the garden, greenhouse, dairy, chicken house and freezer. Winter dinners include a lot of soups — ham & bean, chili, beef stew, minestrone, chicken with homemade noodles, fish (trout from the pond) and corn chowder, and roasted things that go in the wood cookstove oven – beef roasts, elk roasts, meat loaf, whole chickens, ham (once a month or so I thaw out fresh ham roasts, ham hocks, and side pork and smoke them on my home smoker and then re-freeze all but that night’s dinner) I try to make the meat parts last for at least another dinner and/or lunch in maybe another form. Friday night is movie night and I usually make a pizza — homemade sausage, grilled chicken, bacon and potato. Sides include potatoes – oven fries, baked, mashed, boiled with butter & parsley, veggies from the freezer or home-canned – green and yellow beans, corn, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, and greens. LOTS of home canned tomatoes in different forms. On busy days dinner is sometimes just homemade tomato soup and grilled cheese (my own!) sandwiches.

    • I would LOVE to have a wood stove cooker with an oven – one day. You eat very well. in fact your menu sounds a lot like ours but much more organised.. thank you.. c

  16. I always struggle with dinner. I always need leftovers for my daughter’s school lunchbox for the next day, and mine and hubby’s lunch. Ahhh!
    I love gnocchi with browned sage butter, but in the winter I put gnocchi in my chicken soup instead of noodles. Just put them in at the end until they are cooked. I also use pumpkin or squash in the kale salads, hat recipe has finally been posted on my blog, just search kale.
    I can’t wait to see the list and get some ideas.

  17. I decide that day or the night before. I don’t drive so have to shop almost daily, as I can only manage to carry one-three bags at a time during the twenty minute walk home. Weekday dinners have to be fairly quick, preferably 15-45 minutes to make. Sometimes I’ll cook baked potatoes in the oven in advance. Lots of pasta (spaghetti carbonara is a favourite) Tofu stir fries. Curries. Stews in the winter. Chicken and peppers wrapped up in corn tortillas, tomato sauce and cheese over the top and warmed up in the oven.

  18. I am so very, very fortunate as My John was a chef with his own restaurant before we married (for the second time!) and he became a teacher, and then we became farmers! So he is the one who deals with the question ‘What shall I make for dinner?” and my daily question ‘What are we having for dinner?” He does make large batches of all different, delicious bean dishes, and red chilies and white bean chilies, and chicken and dumplings and soups, and we freeze them so there usually seems to be something we can defrost and eat if he is too tired to cook up a gourmet meal. We had a glut of green peppers and cabbages this summer, so made loads of stuffed green peppers and cabbage rolls, which we froze and have been wonderful eating! So now I’m sold on making extra when cooking so that it can be eaten later with none of the white noise and nagging questions on the part of the cook. 🙂

  19. Tonight it will be a Thai vegetable soup, because I have broccoli that needs to be used. Tomorrow a mixed veggie saute that uses up my limp zucchini, then we start the new week over. My routine consists of choosing recipes for the week, or 1/2 week, prepping my grocery list around what I may already have or need to use up, and then shopping. Most of my list is the veggie components because I keep my pantry stocked with all the canned, dry, easily stored items so only have to buy those on occasion. We have an odd household when it comes to food. The remaining “at home” daughter and I eat vegetarian, although I toss in fish or chicken for myself one night per week. Those nights are our “you cook for yourself” night. We try to share the choosing and cooking responsibilities because mentally I have no interest in cooking every night and as she is here rent free at this point, kitchen duty for her is a must. The spouse goes between odd diet menus and foods, salad and carnivore gluttony with smoked meat and BBQ and store bought, pre-prepped dinners. He doesn’t eat breakfast and I have no idea what he does for lunch while at work as he doesn’t take food from home. It’s funny that you asked this question today. I have that little dinner voice going off in my head as well, not so much “what will I make” but more likely “do I really have to cook tonight.” We always have a few odd cans of store made organic soup sitting around as well so we can just heat and eat with a salad if no one wants to be in the kitchen.

      • Haha! Did ‘The Last Daughter’ sound odd. I go back and forth on naming outright or finding descriptive ways to label my adult children in everything I write. And now that you mention it, it does sound like a book title 😉

  20. Two weeks ago we both had a desire for pizza. We make our own dough and use homemade pesto instead of red sauce. Part way through the build, Melanie turned on the oven. We finished the work of art. Our taste buds were tingling. We looked at the temp on the oven. It hadn’t moved! Our oven was broke. We put the creation into the freezer very disappointed. Two days later we left on a road trip to DC. Yesterday, the repairman came and fixed the broken igniter. He said the stove was a basic model, and one of the best. It should last for years.

    Years ago, we cut index cards in half. On each we wrote a meal combination we liked. Ended up with quite a stack. It made planning a week ahead easier. Both of us worked full time. The white noise phenomenon you speak of didn’t bother us.

  21. I have always moaned over that question myself. I raised five children by myself too and that was the first question I was asked when I got home from work. I learned to be creative with the basics on hand!! That said, I grow alot of green chile here in Albuquerque, so it is almost always a part of my meal. Green chile stew , bean burritos with veges,enchiladas are my favorites in winter.

      • Burritos are super simple! You only have to chop the fresh veggies up , saute a little meat, (as Our John likes it), quickly heat the tortilla, layer all ingredients in the burrito, add some cheese and salsa on top and then you and he each build and roll up the burrito the way you like it! Yummy! This is something I make when giving My John a break from the kitchen 🙂

  22. In an attempt to eliminate a daily grocery store run, a few years back I created 5 weekly menus. Every week, I take the menu of the week and create a grocery list, go shopping once a week (for the most part). I post the menu of the week on the fridge, so everyone knows what’s for dinner without asking me about it. The 5 menus are different and are rotated monthly so I also eliminated the “we just had this” complaint. And yes, I do add and delete items based on new recipes or items that simply get old. But the greatest benefit to all of this is the end of that white noise in my head!

  23. Ooh – good question! I tend to have a vague idea and buy/grow/get given food that can be recycled or turned into a couple of other meals. Today we have soupy rice with fish (arroz caldoso) and while I was cooking that I made a chicken and vegetable soup for tonight. I will strain off some f the stock and we’ll have mushroom risotto tomorrow for lunch and in the evening it will be jamon/cheese and salad! Luckily we don’t have to worry about fitting in shopping/cooking with work hours so it does make it easier. I always have stock in the freezer and rice in the larder so the arroz caldoso is a regular on our menu, even if we just have it with veggies 🙂 Just realsied, we eat a lot of rice!

  24. I always used meal planning when my boys were home. It made shopping and cooking so much easier and faster when I was working full time. Now that I look after just me I choose just a couple of things a week. I love what I make and will eat the same thing day after day until it is done. Tonight though it will probably be thin crust pizza of the frozen variety and V8. This week will make delucious meat loaf and mashed. Mmmmm

  25. Oh that’s always fun, standing in front of the fridge wandering what in the world to make! Arg! My go to meal in this situation is bacon and leek pasta. Just chopped bacon, some larger noodles like penne, some chopped up leeks fried in the bacon fat, all tossed together with a little sprinkle of parmasean…served with a salad. Everybody has always loved that to pieces. The other thing I love is my slow cooker for bone broths and no fuss morning stews/chilies/soups, that just bubble around all day and I don’t have to think about it. 😀

  26. i must be the only one in the world that never plans ahead.
    i just open freezer, grap whatever dead animal part is on top, and plan around that.

  27. You hit the nail on the head! I have known for a long time how much I loathe cooking and baking – it gets worse as I get older. It was doable before we went with Paleo lifestyle (well, not true Paleo but our own version of eating as a modern day hunter/gatherer would do), but my time in the kitchen is a nightmare. I go through the same mental agony most days, trying to think of some meal plan. I resent that it is my responsibility to come up with meal plans. It used to be doable when I could indulge in dairy, grains and legumes. Physically, I feel better than I ever have… but mentally – I have a real attitude that takes away from the pleasure of eating. Eating clean and organic is expensive and quite a challenge.

    • It is hard – maybe you could join me on making a list too.. we can be coaches for each other or something! No legumes is a toughie – John likes his beans and they are so cheap. c

      • I have indulged in off-Paleo dining when we eat out (which is rare) and in small amounts items like beans or grains do not seem to bother much. The whole Paleo movement is about eating clean, and taking in foods that are not an irritant to the gut. I still use a small amount of butter and cheese. If I had to give those up, I would be VERY unhappy!! Ha ha. But I do miss the ease of cooking beans and having whole grains. And I am not nearly as busy with chores as you are. I admire that you are able to spend much time cooking at all, let alone come up with a meal plan!

  28. Cooking and meal planning is not my forte. I hate it and used to answer the question of what’s for dinner with a snappy “whatever you are cooking” I know that brain rumble well. I liked living alone so no one would ask. Now my son is living with me and I’m teaching him how to make everything.:) I just want enough to keep the stomach from grumbling now and not think about it. Love one pot meals. Chili, lentil soup with potatoes, (mom’s recipe) spaghetti. I make large pots of anything and freeze much. I’m not an adventurous cook. No help here.

      • We ended up going out for a good burger. I’d done my grocery shopping in the morning and had planned to grill some steaks but when my sister showed up, she wanted to go for burgers. The steaks can marinate now till the rain slows down so I can grill outdoors. 🙂 I am not much of a cook. 😦

  29. Oh Celie! I don’t plan ahead much, and when I do, the odds are that I won’t have the energy to carry it out. When I cook, I try and make enough for two or three meals, and freeze for those dead tired days. The freezer is my backstop, containing lots of cooked dishes, veg and puds.

    Tonight: I’ve made a fish pie with cod, prawns and smoked mackerel. It was an effort, but it’s all ready to go in the oven in half an hour to brown the cheese on top. Now I am sprawled in my comfy chair.

    • Viv, I am so with you. I cook for the freezer as well as me. There are days when my energy drains as if someone had pulled a bath plug in my feet – my heart does not always love me. 😦 Living alone and on a hill where I overlook a three story block of apartments with a gable roof built on the level of the town, means I have to plan shopping trips. I know several widows who do not cook, saying that it is not worth cooking for themselves… it is the road to ill health. I have one good solid meal everyday. You can see my breakfast here in a video made by Elly for my blog post hip surgery in 2009.

  30. All the animals are asking you that question… or maybe it was “What were you up to yesterday”?

    When my Jack was a young lad in County Durham and came in to ask he mother (my late mother-in-law who I never had the opportunity to meet.) “Our mam, What are we having for our dinner?” She had only one answer: “Three jumps at the cupboard door, Pet. Now if you don’t get out from under my feet, we will not be able to open the cupboard door! Away out and play, I’ll call you when it is ready.” Do you have the recipe for “Three jumps at the cupboard door”, Celi?

    I began my ‘cooking’ life very early on when mammy was often ill. Climbing the stairs to describe how each stage looked or tasted and to find out what to do next…. They were meals for eight+, with hot pots and pans far to heavy for me to lift, my eldest brother helped me to lift them. When I married it was difficult to cook for two and soon three. For the past almost eighteen years, cooking for one has proved more difficult, but I cope at times by preparing a meal for six to eight people, having it fresh on the day and freezing the remainder in single portions for the days when energy is low or I cannot think of what to cook. If I have unexpected visitors there is usually enough in the freezer to present them with a meal.

    At times I come up with interesting concoctions from the bits in the fridge… not meals I would present to guests, but tasty just the same. An omelet with scraps of left over chicken and plenty of veg… made in minutes and satisfying. Soups made from scratch with my own stock are great for lunchtime. Today it was Broccoli & Almond with Guinness wheaten bread to go with it! Daddy would describe my mother’s soups as: That is great soup, it would put hair on your chest! So as my brothers grew an inch behind the table and expanded their chests, I sat cowering at the very thought. No. I am clear. I checked this morning and so far not one hair has sprouted on my chest!

  31. Tonight I’m having some baked chicken and roasted veggies. Tomorrow I’ll have turkey and veggies. I feel so boring in comparison to the other comments…

  32. Several months ago, hubby and I bough in Instant Pot (which means something very different in Washington and Colorado). I haven’t used it much, but hubby and thousands of others love it. It’s an electric pressure cooker and is awesome for making a meal in minutes. One of our favorite dishes is to take a can of tomatoes, rice, black beans, vegetable stock and spices. Throw everything in the instant pot and 30 minutes later throw the rice and beans on a tortilla. It’s quick, easy and filling. Another favorite go to is cooked stove-top. I call it Inside Out Green Pepper. Ground meat (your choice), rice, green pepper, onion, garlic, tomatoes, salt, pepper, Worschershire sauce, and water. Cook meat, add ingredients and simmer for 25 minutes (or until rice is done). Another quick, easy, tasty and filling meal.

  33. I taught my husband how to cook, so now he has to make the decisions! He likes it, really. Yesterday was pork roast with a new invention of haricot beans, garlic, and courgette(zucchini) stir-fried together. Yum!
    Tonight it is some kind of beef curry, I think. We plan around what is on sale at the shops – so it might be mostly chicken dishes for a week, or mostly minced beef. He’s been on a courgette kick lately (oh my, the courgette soup is amazing). We also eat very low carb foods, including a pizza where the base is cheese and egg. It’s good, but very rich! We cook a lot of things that are rather casserole in nature – like a beef lasagna with courgette instead of pasta, chicken, mushrooms, beans with green pesto covered in cheese. Taco salad, too.
    Summertime it is all about the BBQ grill, however!

  34. If I cook for the two of us it is simple, soups and salad. Every Sunday I go to the farmer’s market and pretend it is my farm. I plan my meals when I have guests and always love leftovers. As soon as my poor hubby gets over his stomach flu ( no fun having this on a return flight coming home) I am going to make him stuffed cabbage or a meatloaf . Tonight it’s some poached chicken breast over barley with maybe some carrots . It will be his first solid meal in days. I made him squash soup last night but that didn’t work. 😬

      • I get hulled barley , it is light brown in color and has a nutty flavor. Don’t buy the pearled barley which is not considered a whole grain and all the nutrients are removed. I usually add barley to my soups and cook it for 20 to 30 minutes. For just cooking soak 1 cup of barley overnight. Cook the drained barley in in 1 cup of water or any broth until the water is absorbed and barley is tender. Most of the time I don’t soak my barley.

      • If you’re organised C, soak barley in some leftover whey, yoghurt or kefir and cook the next day in an aromatic broth. The idea of soaking is to break down the outer husk and it halves the cooking time, this applies to all grains and legumes.
        Saturday is the day I usually go to the fishmonger, pan fried flathead last night, and tonight is, blue eye, sweet chilli,corainder fish cakes.

  35. I cook rice and some sort of dahl curry every day, using any sort of lentil, chick peas, whatever’s closest to hand, usually for lunch…there’s my protein for the day. I roast a big pile of eggplant, sweet potato, and pumpkin after I’ve been to the farmer’s market, and all the tomatoes and capsicum I can find from the garden, and keep them in the fridge. Then if I’m stuck I add them to pasta, or rice…..the other night I made a quick ratatouille with those already cooked vegetables, added some zucchini and seasonings and stirred in some fresh goat’s cheese….my quick version of an easy and delicious risotto. I eat lots of salads, using whatever greens are in the garden, and add cubes of spicy tofu, or chickpea or lentil patties…..from the left over dahl curry, and coleslaw or kimchi, and I might throw in some of the already roasted vegetables. And I eat soup a lot too, even in summer….seasonal vegetables with a grain added. I don’t really plan, just throw together in some form whatever’s in the fridge.

  36. So many great ideas from everyone! Inspiring. Mouth-watering. Kind of intimidating. Me, I have long had a habit of writing “ideal” menus for all occasions as a playtime art, but never had the skills (or budget) to execute most of them. Then I went and married a picky supertaster with a very limited palate and even more limited interest in trying anything new. So most of my cooking challenges revolve around how to take the incredibly few favorite ingredients and make them interesting enough for *me* without scaring my hyper-sensory dinner date. We end up eating same-same-same too much for my taste and eating out far too much for best health/budget control. So I am asking myself your same question with the goal of getting some very different kinds of answers.

    What *does* go over well in this household has tended to be a few favorite dishes or ingredients (i.e., broth, chili, spaghetti sauce Bolognese, carnitas, roasted chicken) that I can make in large batches and freeze in smaller portions, but as of our move in December to an apartment half the size of the house, with a freezer also half the previous one’s size, this will also take some new approaches. Needless to say, I’ll continue watching the Fellowship’s responses for further ideas!

    Happy eating to all of us,

  37. I’m the exact same way. I cannot be like this, because I have two 18 month olds and a husband. But still…I’m this way. It’s maddening.

    I wanted to ask you if you or any of your awesome readers had recipes they could send my way. My girls are small. One is smaller. Doctors want me to up her calorie intake. I’ve already been feeding a lot of cottage cheese, whole milk, yogurt, cheese, avocado, etc. All store bought, of course, so not as good. They want her to drink an 8 oz Pediasure a day. She doesn’t really care for it. I’ve gotten some down her by making oatmeal with it, or mixing a little with her whole milk.

    She is walking now, and active as a wild horse, so she’s burning more calories than she’s getting in. She also is a slow and light eater- she’ll eat a few bites, then throw the rest on the floor, or just refuse to let me feed her more.

    So…does anyone have any simple, healthy, yet high fat recipes you don’t mind passing my way? I’m trying as hard as I can to get more calories into my little lady. Nothing like chips, or ice cream, or McDonald’s. Just trying to stay healthy. I’m also looking into making up healthy smoothies for her.

    • Maybe she would like some pudding made with cream, mashed potatoes with lots of butter and gravy. My niece was an extremely picky eater but loved crepes with Nutella. I have a cooking blog with a recipe for crepes . Have you tried spaghetti with tomato sauce . My niece liked that, especially when she was allowed to use her fingers. How about sweet potatoes mashed with butter or cooked carrots . Good luck !

    • Most of the small children I know like spaghetti and sauce. You can try her with elbow pasta and a carbonara sauce with a little bacon and onion in a rich egg and cream sauce, topped with cheese, or bolognese sauce with cream added to enrich it. I’ve always found ‘pizza wraps’ work well for children. Take a plain wrap, sprinkle with grated cheese, add pizza toppings they like, roll and fold it into a parcel and heat it in the oven till the cheese melts. You can cut them into pinwheels so she can pick at them bit by bit. Full fat live greek yoghurt with banana and honey, ditto with lemon curd… I could go on. Happy to offer more suggestions if you’d like, but without hijacking Celi’s blog, so maybe email me if you want other ideas? Address is on my Contact Me page.

    • Your picky eater sounds like my kids when they were little. Bananas, yogurt, mashed steamed fish – all mushy food – were OK. They didn’t really take to eating properly until after they had their tonsils out – like mine, theirs were very enlarged and must have made swallowing painful. After that, there was no stopping them!

  38. When I’m in gear, which is not always, I usually have a rough map for the week around dinner, but I’m not good at sharing it, so if I’m late home, the others are not likely to get started wtihout me. Typically I plan for at least two meatless suppers in the week – meatless might still involve chicken stock or a slice of bacon crumbled for garnish. I am pretty good about thinking ahead about leftovers. I am very fond of doing something big – what Jamie Oliver would call a mothership meal – on Sunday, and using the leftovers for the next two meals. It helps that we raise our own meat and buy more from local farmers – we keep a freezer full of just meat. So Sunday m ight be pork roast, a big pot of chili, a roast chicken, a whole salmon. I’m not home for supper on Wednesdays due to work, so I leave it up to the family to figure that day out and they seem to rely on pasta – we make and freeze a lot of tomato sauce and home made pesto each summer/fall. Pork roast leftovers might well be turned into pulled pork on Mon, and the remains put inside quesadillas or wraps on Tue. Chicken becomes curry on Mon and soup on Tue. Chili gets bulked out as sloppy joes (served on buns) or with rice or pasta mixed in on Mon, and fills burritos on Tue. Salmon leftovers become fishcakes on Mon and chowder on Tue. Thursday and Friday I have to start again, and sausages will feature on one of those days for sure – my pigs get turned into lovely flavours of sausage by my butcher – the favourite is pork and apple, closely followed by sage and onion. Either of those flavours might be served up in a bun with home baked fries and veg, or as a side for pancakes, or sliced up as a topping for perogies (local company makes good ones), with fried apple and onion. Friday is sometimes home made pizza night, sometimes the fish and chip shop looks after us, but is more often something like home made burgers or shepherds pie – pulling out a pound of ground beef or lamb (both from local farms) is almost a habit on Thursday nights for the next day. Saturdays, one of my two days off, I am trying to accomplish a weeks worth of stuff outside, so it’s crockpot or casserole day – meatless or otherwise. Favourite recipes for the crock pot are split pea with a ham bone, lentil soup or stew (I have a friend who grows lentils), squash soup, chicken wings or legs. Sometimes of course, I’m not in gear at all, and so it’s a bit of a panic every night when I get home from work, as I start cooking without a plan. It’s not uncommon for me to start chopping an onion while mentally reviewing what I could add to it from the crisper drawer. A week of that sort of fly by the seat of my pants meal prep and I’m totally motivated to get back on track. Another thing that can derail me is when the planned leftovers get eaten by someone who didn’t know they were planned. Sometimes that’s even me :), as leftovers make fabulous lunches to grab for work.

  39. Hola, I just arrived back in Mexico at noon and bought groceries on the way home. A group of us is going out for pizza! Ok. In the real world, I do cook occasionally. Chicken and chorizo sausage and fresh veggies stir fried with onion and garlic are good. Serve it over pasta, rice, potatoes or tortillas! Yum!

  40. Lamb chops from down the road, red cabbage and bacon from down another road, and something with cauliflower…My husband does the cooking (so grateful) and he’s talking something roasted, finely chopped, shaped, and seared for the cauliflower. I have renewed my resolve for farmer’s market meals with as little as possible from the store (but no one in Central Texas sells flour, butter, or apples at the market…)
    I hope dinner is delicious!

  41. Here in N.Ireland at the moment it is cold wet weather so my meals usually are soups Leek & Potato, Chicken Vegetable Broth, Irish Stew,Shepherds Pie,Chicken Pie or Braised Beef with Onion gravy and Champ I plan my meals so that i only shop every two weeks I do a big bake once a month and freeze it my Husband loves pudding so there is always something in the freezer that i can pop in the oven .
    Hope you have a good dinner.

  42. I’m not a menu planner. I’ll shop in the fridge or freezer to get an idea for tonight and tomorrow’s dinners. If a better idea comes along from a cooking show or blog, I’ll make a grocery run and adjust things. I have been going through a lot of zucchini lately, for some reason. 😉

  43. Yes, I am an inveterate list-maker. Buy most of my food on-line once a month [yes, it can be done!] homing in on specials mainly – save oh so much that way and can afford some of the ‘luxury’ items. Then make weekly lists to use things up in order. Mostly cook for one, tho’ I love having friends in, but since I basically only have to please myself travel the world with my recipes: mostly Asian, Middle Eastern and North African: yum and healthy – both important for me . . . 😀 !! Stirfries and curries are my standbys – the first clears out the fridge as far as vegetables etc growing ‘stale’ are concerned and the second is after all best on the 2nd to 4th day so lovely to have around adding new fresh ‘sides’ every day!!!!

  44. We do a week’s menu at a time and shop once per week. (right now the closest grocery store is 45 minutes drive away) Tonight the menu is Serbian vegetable goulash with baked barley and homemade rye crackers.

  45. In the winter, soup is always welcome at my house, with some lovely bread on the side, perhaps toasted with a bit of cheese. My favourite and the easiest soup is called Golden Harvest. In a nice large pot: Roughly chop a couple of onions, a couple of leeks (white only), sauté with butter (or oil) till soft. Add a medium-ish peeled and chopped butternut squash, a couple of roughly chopped potatoes, a couple of chopped or grated carrots. Then add enough chicken stock to just cover the veg, put on the lid, turn the heat down and let muddle along till everything is soft, maybe an hour. Use the stick blender till you have everything smooth, stir in a bit of cream if you wish and serve. Add a bit of salt and pepper to your taste, add a bit more stock if it’s too thick. Once the cream is in there, don’t let the soup boil. If you make a big batch, you can freeze individual servings (before cream) and they’ll heat up quickly for lunch or a supper on “one of those days”. Put a salad beside it if you’re extra hungry. You could probably do it in the crockpot too. It will taste a little different each time, because I never really measure and the veg are never the same sizes, but it’s still pretty darn good. you can fancy this up for company by putting a tiny dollop of sour cream or plain yoghurt on top, with a wee sprinkle of chopped chives or grated carrot.

    My other simple soup is Fake Tuscan Bean. I cheat by using a couple tins of rinsed and drained beans (white beans, butter beans, kidney beans, whatever I have on the shelf), frozen meatballs (homemade if I have any), canned or boxed beef stock (or homemade if I have some), throw in some fresh (or dried) rosemary and thyme. Put it all in the crockpot on low for a couple hours, serve with bread, salad, whatever. You can speed this one up if you’re in a hurry – microwave the meatballs for a minute or two to thaw, throw all but the herbs in a pot on top of the stove, cover and bring to a boil, turn down and add the herbs, give it a few minutes on medium then serve. you could get fancy by putting a piece of toasted bread with garlic butter on the bottom of the bowl, then a sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top. This is not something you would freeze – counter productive really since it pretty much comes off the shelf. I invented this one late on a Saturday night when I needed a soup for Sunday church lunch. It was apparently tasty enough that I didn’t get to bring any home.

    I’ll send you by email another recipe for cauliflower soup, this comment is long enough already.

    There have been some great sounding dinner ideas here, I’m looking forward to seeing the whole list.
    Chris S in Canada

  46. Wow, what a fantastic Farmy Fellowship feast of dinner ideas 🙂 What’s for dinner often depends on what was for dinner last night. So, yesterday I marinated in soy sauce, honey & Chinese black vinegar a small filet of pork and roasted it with a mix of chopped root veges -potato, pumpkin & white sweet potato- with a coleslaw side (Celi inspired). This morning before I cleaned up the breakfast dishes I chopped half a pumpkin & a big piece of garlic which I’ll stir fry with stock, fish sauce, chili & sesame oil. And I also chopped mushroom, red capsicum, green beans, snowpeas, eschallots and microwaved corn cobs (1 for dinner 2 for the freezer) to which I’ll add tofu & noodles and the leftover pork for a stir fry dinner and freezer leftovers. At lunch time I saw peanut butter & coconut milk in the pantry so decided to make peanut sauce to go with it.

      • Oh, and about tortillas-wraps. We always keep some in the pantry / freezer. They are filled with any leftovers & toasted in a frypan (like a toasted sandwich) or filled with any leftover veges/meat/savoury-bolognaise mince & rolled, placed in a baking dish and topped with homemade/tinned tomatoes, cheese and baked ie enchlladas. Or if in a hurry they can be filled with grated cheese. rolled & microwaved for a side to soup 🙂

  47. Darn! I’m late popping in. This is such a good one. I have the same problem ALL the time. I often ask friends because, frankly, I get so bored with the whole what-to-make-for-dinner thing. And like you, part of my brain always chimes in with a “why me??” even though my husband cooks a lot. He’s much better than I am! I also have lost passion for cooking because everyone in the family likes or needs something different. I feel like I run a restaurant instead of a house. It’s worse than American politics. Impossible to make everyone happy and comfortable. Italian traditionalist vs. gluten and lactose free vs. just-fill-me-up-please. Argh.

    • Thankfully I am married to a man who cooks seldom but eats everything put in front of him. I am sure he could not tell me the next day what he ate, but he never complains.. In the winter though when he is not working (this has not come about yet though) but in the times off work he cooks every other night.. Thai or soup. Works for me!! c

  48. When my bipolar symptoms are in full swing, I can’t cook. It makes me really anxious. I can’t even think about it. So I have to stock a lot of frozen, ready-made, microwave meals. When I’m better, I like to cook, but I can’t count on that enough to shop ahead of time. It’s sort of a nightmare.

    • It does sound like a nightmare however it also sounds like you have systems in place which allows you to manage the nightmare as much as you can. Good for you! You are doing well today then I think? c

  49. I plan as far as what to eat the next day, not much beyond that because some days we want meat and potatoes and gravy and veg, and other days we want something lighter like soup. I made soup yesterday from leftover (frozen) Christmas ham, leftover boiled potatoes, white beans, carrots, celery, one leek, and some shredded (nearly limp) cabbage at the end. It’s more like clearing out the fridge than cooking. 🙂

  50. You are amazing Celi! Menu cards .. I want to live with you! I’m so lucky .. Hubby and his dad are doing most of the cooking at the mo. I know spoilt aren’t I! 😃

  51. Garlic Spagetti – big salad with lots of grapefruit, dates celery onions and walnuts-with all the grapefruit no need for a dressing- and a home baked loaf of bread…maybe some cookies or a tangerine for dessert. I like your idea for recipe cards.! I am sure John’s soup was delicious! Cheers!

  52. Well, we had “out” for dinner. We tend to eat out so much now. Hubby has decided he no longer likes my cooking….. He prefers candy, ice cream and crap (sorry for the language) to my balance meals that is low on beef and higher on vegetables. He has always been a beef and potatoes man – but I just don’t feel good when I eat that way. And he hates left overs.

    So we had blackened Red Fish at our local seafood joint. And since he is balking at all my cooking my grocery run yesterday was to the local farm stand (that isn’t really a farm stand in that they sell DOLE and other commercial fruits and veggies) so my week will be variations of vegetarian with some soups mixed in. He can fin for himself.

  53. Wow – you certainly had an amazing response!! Here’s my suggestion – ‘Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Sweet Potatoes’. You don’t need a tagine – you can simmer it on top of the stove. I’ve gotten a lot of hits on this – it’s delicious, easy and healthy! The ingredients include chicken thighs, sweet potatoes and dates – and a few lovely spices such as cardamom. On the same page is a link to my ‘Never Fail, Always Delicious Armenian Rice’. And, if you if wanted to get really into it, I have a recipe for ‘Khobz’ a flattish sort of Arabic bread which only has to rise once. Here’s the link to for the Moroccan Chicken Tagine. http://myyellowfarmhouse.com/2015/02/03/moroccan-chicken-tangine-with-sweet-potatoes/ ++ I get a lot of dinner ideas from my rather large collection of cookbooks. But, now that I live alone, I don’t have that White Noise in my head anymore. And I don’t cook nearly as much as I used to when I had a family to feed – and I do miss it. ; o )

  54. I’m pretty late to the table here C. Pun intended! 🙂 We always have rice and pasta in the house so with both you can really use up your leftover veggies and meats. Even a can of tuna, sauteed in some olive oil, garlic, onions, olives and or a can of diced tomatoes when not in season make a great quick pasta sauce. Shred some nice parmesan on top and Yum! And of course a few seasonings. all those little bits of leftovers in the fridge? Throw them in a wok or large frying pan…stir fry and pop over rice. If there’s meat involved in that, we usually marinate it in a little soy sauce and sesame oil or whatever you have and like. Quick and easy. Even frozen peas works good to if you’re doing fried rice. We’re not very good at fresh green salads in the winter months, so we often roast root veggies to go along with whatever we’re having. Beets being our favorite roast veggie!
    Roast chicken on Sunday becomes a meal or two the following days. We are lucky that we are near Puget Sound, so we crab, clam and oyster so those lovelies are in rotation too, in season. One thing we don’t know much about are curries and your John’s Tai recipes that I would love to have. Do you think he would share it?

  55. I have my own weekly meal planner and a white board in my kitchen to ensure smooth functioning on weekdays and a special menu for weekends.Good to know so many people do the same thing .Loved your post.

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