Today was a pretty good day in the realm of food reform — the FDA began two days of hearings to investigate the possible link between artificial food dyes and behavioral problems in children, such as ADHD.  While the UK and the European Union have already outlawed the dyes (along with a host of other additives we still allow into the American food supply, in abundance), the official stance of the FDA has always been that there’s no conclusive proof that artifical dyes in food causes any sort of harm to consumers.  The fact that they are finally willing to re-examine that opinion is good news for eaters all over the nation, for sure.

However, in the midst of my inner celebration about this particular turn of events, a co-worker of mine today mentioned something that I can only refer to as a certain Sign of the Apocalypse: His sister’s brand-new oven has something called a “Chicken Nugget” setting.  That’s right — next to bake and broil is “chicken nugget,” much the same way you might see a “popcorn” setting on a microwave.  Disturbingly, a quick Google search implies to me that any such range may also have a “pizza” setting.  My response: “How about something useful to a daunted home cook — like a ‘perfect roast chicken’ setting or a ‘lovely braised dinner’ setting?”  Of course, I couldn’t help but snort as I offered those suggestions.  I’m optimistic about the state of food and cooking in the U.S., but I’m not naive.

Sigh.  At least it’s meal plan day!  That always makes me feel better.  Here are all the things I’ll be making in my (chicken-nugget-settting-free) oven this month.

Friday, 4/1: Fend night (yeah, I know.  I hate when months start on Fridays, too.)
Saturday, 4/2: Whole-wheat pasta with pancetta and peas, salad, crusty bread
Sunday, 4/3: Orange braised chicken, salad of wild rice and roasted vegetables
Monday, 4/4: Salmon blts, fruit platter, veggie chips
Tuesday, 4/5: Slow cooker — veggie pot pie with cheesy puff pastry crusts
Wednesday, 4/6: Pork with red peppers and sweet potato gnocchi, greens
Thursday, 4/7: I’ve got a rehearsal, so I’ll leave a chicken, broccoli, and rice casserole for the guys with some fruit
Friday, 4/8: Dress rehearsal.  Good thing it’s fend night!
Saturday, 4/9: Performance evening — slow cooker meatball subs for the whole family before I head out the door.
Sunday, 4/10: Sunday Roast Chicken Dinner (to restore my sanity!)
Monday, 4/11: Whole wheat pasta with beets and goat cheese, green salad, crusty bread
Tuesday, 4/12: Slow cooker — Midwest chicken-lentil soup, cornbread
Wednesday, 4/13: Panini, fruit platter, and antipasto salad
Thursday, 4/14: Turkey tacos
Friday, 4/15: Fend night
Saturday, 4/16: Fish supper
Sunday, 4/17: Ham and cheese stuffed shells, roasted vegetables, bread
Monday, 4/18: DIY wraps and salads, fresh fruit
Tuesday, 4/19: Slow cooker — French dip sandwiches, veggies
Wednesday, 4/20: Shrimp oreganato over whole wheat pasta, roasted broccoli
Thursday, 4/21: Frittata, sweet potato fries, fruit
Friday, 4/22: Fend night
Saturday, 4/23: Vegetarian chili-mac casserole, salad
Sunday, 4/24: Easter Sunday!  I’m still deciding on what we’re doing and what we’ll eat — more to come on that later this month.
Monday, 4/25: Calzones and sauteed greens
Tuesday, 4/26: Slow cooker –West Indies chicken, rice, fruit
Wednesday, 4/27: Spinach and mushroom quesadillas, salsa, corn and rice
Thursday, 4/28: Breakfast for dinner
Friday, 4/29: Fend night
Saturday, 4/30: Linguine with clams, salad, garlic bread

As always, feel free to ask questions or leave comments if you’re interested in one of the recipes.  Have a great month!