what's for dinner?

I can't remember exactly when we started doing this but it was definitely a few years ago. It's a system that really works for us. Every Saturday, I sit down for about thirty minutes and I write up a menu for the week. I start by looking through cookbooks, culinary magazines or food websites.

When Gourmet was still in print it was my go to source for almost all my menus. Their Gourmet Everyday section was so inspiring. I literally wanted to make every recipe I saw. These days I find a lot of my recipes on Martha Stewart's website, Epicurious, or blogs like The Kitchn. Usually, I try out two to three new recipes each week with the others made up of long time favourites.

After reading a couple of Michael Pollan's book and Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals, our dining habits changed. Those books really made us aware of how cruel and destructive the industrial food chain is. While both Myles and I have been vegetarians in the past we now choose to eat meat in limited quantities and only from local sources that are antibiotic and hormone free and conscientiously raised. We also try to eat only locally grown, organic vegetables that are in season. That means no strawberries or asparagus for us in December! Have you read these books? Did you find they changed the way you eat?

Once I've drawn up the menu I create a shopping list that tells us exactly what to buy. This helps us purchase only the food we need and cuts down on waste.

Then it all gets written up on the chalkboard so I don't have to think about what I'm making for dinner when I get home from work. Last night, ratatouille was on the menu. I tend to think of this as a winter stew but actually zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes and peppers are in season right now.

I got to work chopping right away and about thirty minutes later our meal was ready.

I like to have a little protein with every meal so I usually add a little cheese to our ratatouille. We had some leftover goat cheese from the homemade pizza we made the previous night so I used that. I have to admit it was pretty delicious.

How do you tackle weekday meals? Any places you go for inspiration?