Nearly every week, I sit down on the weekend with a pile of cookbooks, a calendar for the week, and a pad of paper for my grocery list. The result generally looks like this:
Monday: Chicken Tortilla Soup from Fix It and Forget It Lightly
Tuesday: Citrus Pan Fried Tilapia from Mediterranean Cookbook
Wednesday: Eggplant and Bean Curry from Thai Cookbook
Thursday: Spicy Broccoli Fritatta from 29 Minutes or Less Cookbook
Friday: Spaghetti and Meatballs from my brain
Unfortunately, that well-planned out list can be easily derailed. For example:
Monday, at 4 pm I'll realize that I forgot to defrost the chicken for the tortilla soup, let alone put all the ingredients into the crock pot in enough time. I'll decide to make my default dinner of spaghetti and meatballs instead.
On Tuesday, in the hopes of getting back into the swing of my list, I'll actually make the tortilla soup. It's delicious. So far, not so bad.
On Wednesday, I'll realize that both the citrus pan-fried tilapia and the eggplant and bean curry sound hard to make (since they were both recipes I'd decided on the spur of the moment to try), and I'm not in the mood for the broccoli fritatta. I'll rummage through the cabinets and fridge until I realize I can put together a stir fry with things we've got lying around, as long as I don't mind cutting up the chicken while it is still frozen. A minor flesh wound ensues. Nonetheless, I manage to put a dinner together using ingredients I had been saving for other meals.
On Thursday, I'll spend 20 minutes wondering how I could make a broccoli fritatta without any broccoli (since I used it for the stir fry the night before) before I realize there's nothing to do but make a difficult recipe or call J to bring home some carryout. I call J.
On Friday, I realize that I've already used my take-out dinner card for the week and despair at the lack of meals I have any interest in cooking. After double checking every storage area in the kitchen to see if anything I'd like to cook has magically appeared, I decide to try the eggplant and bean curry. J comes home while the meal is cooking to tell me that not only did he have Indian food for lunch and is therefore not really in the mood for more curry, but he also overdid it a little at the Indian buffet (because it really is good stuff) and is not even remotely hungry. I end up eating saltines with peanut butter along with LO, and package up the curry in the refrigerator, where it will remain until it has become a science experiment, at which point we will throw it out and consider also throwing out the tupperware it is stored in, thereby certainly putting us behind in the entire money saving aspect of meal planning.
I tend to do better with dinner planning when I choose recipes that are either easy or part of my repertoire. And even though I know this about myself, I still find myself perusing the lesser-known recipes and the "interesting" cookbooks. Apparently, Emily doing the planning seems to think that Emily who will actually do the cooking likes a challenge, which is simply not the case. Clearly, this is another way that night guy can really make things difficult for morning guy.
Next time you see me with my nose a cookbook of ethnic/special dietary foods that requires a specific set of kitchen tools which the average American does not have, do me a favor. Slap me silly. I'll thank you for it.