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Meal-Plan Problems Solved!
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When things are good, we cook. When things are bad, we cook. We cook because we’re hungry, we cook to feed the people we love, we cook to comfort people, we cook because it’s our turn to host the football team dinner, because someone we know is convalescing, because our sister is coming to town. We cook to get a leg up on the week, because the chicken breasts in the fridge won't be good tomorrow, because our son is starting school the next day, and because we are throwing a dinner party for no reason other than we want to hang out with our friends.

I will be cooking for every one of these reasons this month alone. And more reasons will come up that I don’t even know about yet. While some nights dinner will be a developing story (like when I have to figure out what to do with the gorgeous Italian loot from the latest Arthur Avenue expedition or when I'm inspired by a surprise care package of whole grains), in general, some planning is in order.
 
Come, let’s make some food.

 

This pretty, sweet and gentle old-school Chinese-American favorite comes together in about 20 minutes. Rice, of course, white or brown, on the side.

Click here for the recipe.

Are you ready for this? (Bum bum ba ba bump bump bump) . . . if you use bottled sauce, you just need to add pork. Or be a superstar and make your own sauce (which is so easy). Serve the pulled pork on rolls, and maybe make a slightly unexpected side of Roasted Broccoflower and Shiitake Mushrooms with Rosemary and Garlic, which goes beautifully with the pork.

Click here for the recipe.

Plump shrimp, crisp-tender broccoli, and a tangle of udon noodles.  We love udon noodles; this is my family’s adopted soul food.

Click here for the recipe.
 A vegetable-centric dinner is a good thing to work into the rotation on a regular basis.  I love the combo of Baby Pattypan Squash Gratin, Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Tapenade, and Green Bean Nicoise Salad.  Color, taste, texture, the whole shebang.
People coming over? Show off a little (but stick to a budget, and don’t make yourself nuts). Start with Herbed Roasted and Raw Tomato Salsa with Olives and tortilla chips. Centerpiece: Chicken Thighs Stuffed with Mushrooms (between the crackling roasted skin and the juicy thigh meat is a savory, creamy cheese and mushroom stuffing). Pair this up with some simple sautéed kale (oh, c’mon, you know kale is delicious). Add a loaf of Spinach Parsley Pesto Garlic Bread if you’re feeling it. Make some plain quinoa. Finish with Pear Tart Tatin and whipped cream (or buy some ice cream, all cool). 
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE . . .
See More Recipes on TheMom100.com
If you have meal-planning gripes, questions, or things you want to suggest, come hang out with me on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter!

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