It’s ratatouille season!

I constructed this meal plan while on the 5-hour flight to Iceland; I had assumed it would take me a little while, but in fact, it pulled itself together in a flash.  My friend B.W. was peeking over my shoulder and shaking her head (admiration?  amusement?  Something in between, I think) the whole time, which ought to have distracted me.  But meal-planning, at this point in my life, is just habitual.  I think my hand would have kept writing even without my brain attached (and sadly, sometimes, probably has!).

The thing is, when summer really hits — I mean REALLY hits, which can only be signaled by the arrival of bountiful and fabulous tomatoes at the farmer’s markets — nobody should be spending a ton of time cooking.  Food is too easy at this time of year; everything tastes good just as it is, without lots of messing around, and besides, it’s too hot to want to make a lot of heat and fuss in the kitchen.  I almost never want to cook or eat a big-deal meal in July.  I’d rather be out in our backyard playing “family beach club” with the kids, or going to the ACTUAL beach, or…yeah, pretty much anything that will end up with me, J., and a lapful of sleepy, warm, sun-smelling boys.

So between the desire to make things quick and easy, and the fact that our seafood share at the market is still in full effect, this month was almost like a fill-in-the-blank exercise.  Some fish here…something simple there…it’s about as random and uncomplicated as a meal plan gets.  The only thing of real note on here is our “tea party” supper on the 19th — that’s B.W.’s birthday, and since she was watching me write the plan, she joked that we ought to have something quite special that night in her honor.  Since she’s British, I went ahead and planned finger sandwiches just as a little tease.  I’m sure she’s delighted.

Sunday, 7/1: Chicken under a brick, quinoa salad
Monday, 7/2: Fish supper

Maybe these? Maybe something else? We’ll see what Joe the Fish Guy has for me…

Tuesday, 7/3: DIY Salad platter and homemade pita
GF substitution: you could certainly make gluten-free pita, but it’s not a simple project.  I’d recommend cornbread made with corn flour instead.

One version of DIY salad night

Wednesday, 7/4: We’re going to do a good old-fashioned unfussy barbecue!  Burgers, potato salad, fruit…and we’ll see about the dessert. 🙂
GF substitution: Serve burgers on GF buns or simply on the plate, or grill up some chicken breasts instead.
Thursday, 7/5: Quesadillas, rice and beans, vegetables
GF substitution: I’ll serve my quesadillas on homemade whole-wheat tortillas, but you can use corn or millet tortillas just as easily.
Friday, 7/6: Fend
Saturday, 7/7: Market day, so it’s fish, of course!

This cod chowder with asparagus was a good way to use up our seafood share one week…

Sunday, 7/8: Grilled lamb, vegetables, and pita (I’ll have made a double batch earlier in the week and stashed some in the fridge to reheat for tonight’s supper)
GF substitution: Ignore the pita altogether this time and just have the lamb and vegetables, or toss them with rice, quinoa, or roasted potatoes.
Monday, 7/9: Risotto with tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella; salad
Tuesday, 7/10: Fish
Wednesday, 7/11: Chicken souvlaki salad
Thursday, 7/12: Stir-fry and brown rice
Friday, 7/13: Fend night
Saturday, 7/14: Fish!

Another good fish idea: Sauteed calamari and scallops with bacon, tomatoes, and spinach over quinoa or cous cous

Sunday, 7/15: Roasted garlic chicken pasta salad, vegetable platter
Monday, 7/16: Fish
Tuesday, 7/17: Homemade pizzas, salad
GF substitution: There are plenty of good gluten-free crust options out there; however, if you’re not a fan of any of them, why not put the sauce, cheese, and toppings over chicken breasts or even burger patties?
Wednesday, 7/18: Turkey and summer vegetable meatloaf
Thursday, 7/19: Tea party in honor of our dear friend B.W.!  We’ll probably make finger sandwiches — smoked salmon, cucumber with herb butter, and mini BLTs are favorites around here.  Round it out with fruit and vegetable platters, and it’s a fun, no-fuss dinner.
GF substitution: Make smoked salmon and vegetable pinwheels and stuffed cucumber rounds rather than sandwiches.
Friday, 7/20: Fend night
Saturday, 7/21: Fish, of course

This flounder was crusted with sesame seeds and served on a bed of stir-fried vegetables. So good and quick!

Sunday, 7/22: Grilled pork and herbed potatoes, vegetables
Monday, 7/23: Turkey tacos
GF substitution: Use all corn shells rather than flour tortillas
Tuesday, 7/24: Fish
Wednesday, 7/25: Beet and corn panzanella
GF substitution: You could certainly use a gluten-free bread for panzanella, but you could also make this beet and corn salad without the bread and toss with chunks of chicken or grilled salmon for a light meal.

Beet and Corn Panzanella

Thursday, 7/26: Honey-mustard skillet chicken, vegetables, fruit salad
Friday, 7/27: Fend night
Saturday, 7/28: Fish — what else?

Lettuce wraps are always easy — these are filled with shrimp, but any fish or protein would do

Sunday, 7/29: Sunday Roast Chicken with cold  sides
Monday, 7/30: Rosemary chicken salad platter
Tuesday, 7/31: Fish