Weekly Dinner Planning - 12/2018 - The Holiday Madness Edition

On bad days, 5:00 p.m. rolls around and panic strikes the heart: oh, no - what’s for dinner?! Either something is cobbled together from fridge and pantry, snacks are inhaled over the sink, or takeout saves the night. It happens.

But then there are days when all the pieces just fall into place. When careful planning is brought to fruition with exciting, balanced, varied menus and plenty of leftovers for future meals. Who wouldn’t like more of that?

This discussion is for the planners and aspiring planners among us. What dinners do you have on tap this week? If you have recipe links, feel free to share them. And because life rarely follows a script, how your good intentions work themselves out in reality can be reported in the “What’s for Dinner” thread:

So, what have you got planned?


Thank you for making this thread! I can’t wait to read about everyone’s thought process. Tonight’s dinner won’t be wildly inspirational. Simple sausage, broccoli, possibly beans over pasta. But it is hearty and will produce enough for dinner tonight, plus lunch for everyone tomorrow.


Chicken breast sliced thin, with mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, sautéed in evoo+butter and a splash of white wine.
Repurposed roasted potatoes turned into some sort of “home fries” with green onions.
Some sort of green salad.
Tomorrow night is fish tacos with one of the grandkids. Then ice cream sundaes.


These are great! I was actually thinking we would post for the whole week, as here:

Before anyone accuses me of copying :joy:, I actually started one of the first menu-planning threads on Chowhound in 2009. It didn’t get much traction at the time.


I’ve OD’d on carbs (esp tortillas and bread) lately. Here’s my loose plan for the next few days:

Thurs (tonight) - Sam Sifton’s miso-honey chicken (new recipe), cauliflower-Jasmine rice pilaf, and probably roasting a fennel bulb with the chicken, plus buttered peas (from frozen) for lack of fresh veggies. Sorry for the subscription-only link; I saved the recipe before they made that change.

Friday - dinner date with friends; we eat so early these days that waiting til 8pm will be a feat - definitely some kind of snack beforehand :joy:

Saturday - probably something easy like frozen dumplings and homemade egg-drop soup

Sunday - I’d like to get golden chickpea soup in the Crock Pot before heading out for photos with Santa (and hopefully a really good hot chocolate). Seared tofu? Veg. sides TBD - need to get to the store

Monday - assuming I can get salmon and Japanese pickles, salmon ochazuke

Tuesday - hamburgers and baked beans sounds good right now. Probably cole slaw, too.


I’m not very organised, but since we will be leaving for Christmas mid next week, it’s time to empty the fridge. Husband is on vacation starting tonight, need to include lunch…super busy too with work, not much time for fancy cooking.

Friday lunch
• left over dinner veal liver - onion confit + a green salad

Below is an outline, I have the ingredients in the fridge
2 meals
• potatoes with cheese meal + mushroom for meal 1 and cabbage something for meal 2 (I guess I’ll find inspiration with the cabbage thread)

1 meal
• chicken ballotine + 3-4 turnips - anybody has good turnip recipes please share!

1 meal
• turkey noodle Chinese or japanese + leftover vegetables
note that the turkey was intended for the cat, he loves tartares (without sauce), but the filets were too big, so we are there to finish the remaining.

1 meal
• smoke fish + mussel sauce + carrot ?

2 meals
• husband said he wants to make pizza - so probably Monday - ingredients available, fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, all the leftover cheese, ham

2 meals remaining, maybe some eating out?!


This sounds great. What seasonings do you use, @PHREDDY?

My plan for this week mostly went down the drain…

Thurs (tonight): Late dinner of what’s-in-the-fridge, which luckily for me is chicken tikka from a jackson heights visit with a friend earlier (she drove, or I’d never venture there on a weekday) with naan from the freezer. Cabbage slaw on the side.

Fri: Current plan is to use either king oyster mushrooms or white mushrooms I bought earlier. King oyster mushrooms usually mean yakitori/teriyaki for me, but I bought the other mushrooms intending to try a cabbage mushroom bake, so let’s see which one I’m feeling more.

Sat: Whatever I didn’t do on Friday. Possible social derailment by visiting friends and having dinner with them.

Sun: Maybe Marcella Hazan’s smothered cabbage, or the simple butter/pasta prep suggested by HO’ers on the cabbage thread.

Mon - Wrapping up before I leave to visit family. Fridge/freezer clean out amid all the packing. Leftovers.

Tues - Donezo! Mom’s cooking for a while. Phew.


IF ends Sunday… My plan is to ease back in and by dinner have a small portion of a roasted lamb shank with lemon potatoes, Greek salad and purchased pistachio baklava for dinner with my wife.

This week, My wife enjoyed lentil soup, chicken soup and ginger carrot soup I prepared for her light meal week. With the cooler weather, she was craving soups.

Next week, I’m freezer diving to make room for holiday foods. No particular order:

Turkey meatballs with hoisin and stir fried veg
Pot stickers and wonton soup
Flatbread veg pizza
Salmon and pilaf
Fish and chips
…still digging!


Maybe a turnip gratin…? I suspect you have some cheese and potatoes around ;))
Or maybe as a bright slaw salad style?

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My cousin made turnip latkes once that were absolutely delicious! Like a rosti - nice and crisp on the outside, tender and not really turnip-y on the inside.


@Ttrockwood @Saregama

Excellent suggestions. Thx!! Personally, I would like to have gratin / rosti (temperature is dipping). Husband will probably like the turnip carrot apple salad… I will see :stuck_out_tongue:

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As a follow up till Monday , which is our “planning day”.
Generally we shop Monday, senior Citizen Discount of either 5% or 10% (Even though we are not 65 yet) and then plan our week. More often than not , the money we save we keep track of and at the end of a couple of months we blow it on a special restaurant a new appliance or a special bottle of wine.
In reality the Mrs. keeps track, but somehow I never see any of the $$$$ so it is just a theoretical savings that the Mrs. says I have… (Show me the money!!! lol)

Saturday… SIL birthday celebration , at the MIL apartment which is part of our home, because the MIL is under the weather with a lousy cold. I will prepare the happy hour the three other siblings responsible for meal, booze and desert.

Sunday…our 7 year old granddaughter stays over so on Monday, grandma can take her the Radio City Christmas show, (and because she has not missed a day of school this year, she gets to play "hooky"on Monday)…She has requested diner to include: sliced Asian marinated Flank Steak, Cauliflower with mac & cheese sauce, a salad of greens, sliced tomato, cucumber and Ranch dressing… of which I will gladly oblige.

Happy weekend all!


Finally made it to the Asian market and Aldi, so the remaining menu looks like this now:

Tuesday - salmon ochazuke, gai lan in black bean(?) sauce (or I make another trip to get oyster sauce)

Wednesday - turkey Italian sausage and olive pasta (pipette) with salad

Thursday - will turn rotisserie chicken carcass into either egg-drop soup to be served with potstickers or, if there is meat left, chicken and dumplings

Friday - turkey hot dogs with sauerkraut, baked beans, blue cheese wedge salad

Saturday - golden lentil soup and salad, maybe some kind of curried(?) baked tofu if I feel ambitious

Sunday - BBQ mini meatballs and rice, cole slaw

Monday - Christmas Eve! pork belly buns (gua bao)

Tuesday (Christmas) is as yet a mystery. Maybe nice steaks from the freezer, more blue cheese wedge salads, homemade dinner rolls?

Any of these meals could be pushed in favor of leftovers!


Let me tell you the granddaughter, insisted on helping with the Asian marinade of the flank steak…simply crushed garlic, black pepper, dark soy, honey…we did it , and then grilled on both sides for 2 minuets and then into a 250 degree oven for 45 minutes…It came out perfect… I have to say she definitely has the cooking genes…

This week…wife and granddaughter to Radio City Music Hall…Me…leftovers from Saturday SIL birthday.
Tuesday…wife having special with child # 5 (who moved last month) they are having pasta with chicken, which she taught him to make… for me McDonalds (no)

Wednesday we planed grilled Tuna with a green salad and a savory mustard caper infused vinaigrette, and some steamed potatoes.

Thursday Grilled Rib steaks, that I cut from a 7 pound rib roast with yellow rice and creamed spinach.

Friday…Fish…I am in the mood for ceviche…we will see

Saturday…Reservations at a Uzbek restaurant with one of the daughters coming from Washington DC.

Sunday…perhaps Chinese takeout for the daughter from DC who complains she never gets good “Chinese”


I give you credit for such a well planned out week. I can only seem to be able to plan for the moment most days. On occasion I plan on something to make later in the week. At the store I tend to buy what looks good or interesting and later think about how to use it. Even when we had kids in the house

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This menu makes me swoon! Wildly envious!

I had planned to contribute to this thread but in honesty after Xmas seems more likely. This week has already fallen off the track. Last night a friend and her baby came over for an impromptu pizza/play date.


BH made up an aggressive shopping list we will fill tomorrow to avoid food shopping until after Christmas.

I haven’t made my riff on Vernor’s / Grape Jelly meatballs for many years. But this year we agreed I would make enough to bring to HS#1s house on Christmas Eve, then DD#1s on Christmas Day. Beef candy!


Thanks. It is hard to put together a meal without planning these days :slight_smile:

When you don’t plan you can be surprised at the results. Often exceeding expectation. Expectations being the key.