Sunday, July 16, 2006


My mother-in-law visited for lunch today. Below is the menu I used:

Grilled lemon/garlic chicken
Tiny tomato salad with feta
Couscous with Summer Squash from Bay Tables
Ice Cream

For the Grilled Chicken my husband marinated the chicken in lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, and pressed garlic then threw it on the grill.

The tomato salad is composed of assorted cherry tomatoes (red, orange, and yellow or you could use larger tomatoes and cut them smaller), feta cheese and julienned basil drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil and finished with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

While the couscous rested in boiling stock (for 5 minutes), I diced and sauteed one small zucchini and one small yellow squash in olive oil and toasted a handful of almonds. I, then, tossed the couscous with the squash, added some of the basil from the tomato salad and garnished with chopped, toasted almonds.

I scooped coffee ice cream from the freezer for dessert.

Yes, my husband had to light the grill and turn the chicken once or twice and I had to pick the squash, tomatoes, and basil. but for the most part the meal was prepped, assembled and cooked in less than an hour. The presentation was colorful, the flavors complemented one another, and the textures were varied. The best thing was the low stress and grand and delicious finished product.

We enjoyed visiting and Princess left to go to the Delta for a couple of days.


zilla said...

Hmmm. You're not looking for a job are you? Because I could so use some help planning a weekly dinner menu, and you've clearly got what it takes. You make food sound fun again. I miss finding culinary arts fun! I hate planning meals. Yours are simple, yet sound divine!

meredith said...

That sounds lovely!! I so enjoy your blog although I don't get to visit often. I also have a Kitchen blog, visit me at

wisteria said...

Thanks! I enjoy cooking and love beautiful, tasty food but don't want to be tied to the kitchen. I have saved many recipes over the years, most of which are quickly prepared. The thirty minute meal is my goal on most days. I do enjoy a few grueling recipes just to keep my skills fresh and guests intrigued, but for daily food I look for my inspiration in fresh ingredients which is why I love to garden. I go out there and look around and see what is ripe, and that is what I make. If you don't garden, the local farmer's market provides the same inspiration because if you find it there it is at its seasonal best.

If I get burned out and nothing sounds good, I take a break and don't cook for day or plan something my husband will cook - like grilled food. Then, I peruse cookbooks or magazines to get re-inspired.

I am not a planner. My sister plans meals a month in advance and does a big shopping day. I seem to waste food if I buy ahead like that. I prefer to have a well stocked pantry of basics and choose what to cook each day based on what is fresh and what we want. Does this sound stupid? I know it goes against most of the home management books.

mull-berry said...

This website was brought to my attention just a couple of days ago, so I will share:

They give you a week's menu and grocerly list. You just shop and cook. Sound too good to be true?

Then somewhere else I picked up on a mom saying that they really only eat the same 15-20 meals. So she put them on a rotating schedule for variety and cooks from that.

As for me, I like to buy enough food for about 3-4 dinners, then squeeze in 2-3 more days with leftovers or take-out. I agree with a well-stocked pantry of the basics.

wisteria said...

I love the idea of planning ahead, but I can realistically only do a week. Anything more than that is just wasted. How can you know what you might want. I know that sounds a bit hedonistic for a family environment, but if you teach your children to eat what their bodies crave and only the best then your children will not battle weight issues later. OK I still have that TAB thing to conquer, but the idea is there.

When we go to ballet in the city each week starting in the fall, we do some pantry shopping in the city. Our local grocery is improving, but lacks many of the basics I require. When we do weekly shopping I try to plan a little, but in that plan I never can account for how much is left over. If we have a lot of left overs I try to create different meals using the half of roast chicken, pork loin, etc. If we have left overs then the things I planned for later in the week are canned.