Dinner Planner: Week of February 15th

Pamela Salzman's dinner planner week of February 15th

I am enjoying a three-day weekend in Palm Springs for the President’s Day holiday!  It’s lovely to spend some quality time with my family and take a break from the kitchen for a short bit.  But that doesn’t mean I am not planning my meals for the week.  Since it is Lent, I will try to remember to plan for a non-meat or fish dinner on Fridays.  If I forget, just move things around on your own so that the meal plan works for you.

Here’s my dinner planner for the week with some ideas for how to prep ahead:

Meatless Monday:  Roasted vegetables and black bean enchiladas verde (can do this traditionally or in casserole version to save time)

Tuesday:  Moroccan chicken with dates (can be done in slow cooker or stovetop), basic quinoa, and shredded raw beet salad (will use this recipe but possibly use all beets, no cheese)

WednesdayBaked wild halibut in parchment with cilantro and ginger, stir-fried cauliflower and broccoli, rice if desired

Thursday:  Slow cooker chicken tacos, Mexican chopped salad (sub radishes for cucumbers), avocado or guacamole (I will offer the kids tortillas, but a lot of the time I eat the chicken in a lettuce leaf or put it on top of my salad.)

Friday:  Black bean burgers with smoky red pepper sauce, baked carrot “fries” (use this recipe as a guide if needed for the fries.  I am going to use coconut oil for roasting.)

Saturday:  Shredded grass-fed beef brisket with brown rice/quinoa pasta, roasted cabbage

SundayCassoulet with turkey (or pork) sausages, green salad with Everyday Salad Dressing #1

How you can prep ahead (which doesn’t mean you must, just some ways you can relieve some of the prep right before dinner):


Make stock for Moroccan chicken, shredded brisket and cassoulet.  Here’s a recipe for veggie stock and for chicken stock.

Make beans for Mexican chopped salad (pinto), Burgers (black), and Cassoulet (Cannellini or Great Northern).  Freeze beans and defrost night before.

Make Mexican chopped salad dressing, dressing for beet salad and salad dressing for Sunday green salad

Juice lemons for Moroccan chicken on Tuesday

Make rice for Tuesday and Wednesday (I don’t make my rice early, but it’s helpful if you get home from work late and it’s already done.  Just reheat with in a pot with a few tablespoons of water.)

Salt chicken for Tuesday (I like to do this.  Do not salt a kosher chicken, though.  Check out this post here.)

Make tomatillo sauce for Monday

Dice and roast veggies for Monday


Make enchiladas or casserole version in the morning and refrigerate it for that night

Shred beets for salad on Tuesday


Cut broccoli and cauliflower into florets for Wednesday

Wash and dry salad greens for Thursday and Sunday


Toast pepitas for salad on Thursday

Chop cabbage for salad on Thursday

Make smokey red pepper sauce for Friday


Start slow cooker for chicken tacos in the morning

Cut carrots into “fries” for Friday

Make and form black bean burger patties, refrigerate


Make brisket and sauce for Saturday

Sunday morning:

You can assemble the whole cassoulet and refrigerate it.  Can even be done the day before.

Previous Dinner Planners:

Week of January 4th

Week of January 11th

Week of January 18th

Week of January 25th

Week of February 1st

Week of February 8th

Dinner Planner: Week of February 8th

dinner planner | pamela salzman

I decided to post this week’s dinner planner a day earlier in case you are shopping today for the Super Bowl like I am.  I figure I can get what I need for the first half of the week and then do another shop at the farmers market mid-week to fill in the blanks for the rest.

Some of my cooking class students have said the weekly dinner planner has forced them to sit down on Sundays and get organized for the week, even if they don’t follow my menus exactly.  So great!  Which brings me to this week’s tip about how you may want to customize this week’s menus.

If you are hosting a party, you might be faced with some leftovers on Monday.  We have a small crowd at our house, so usually leftovers get taken care of at breakfast and lunch on Monday.  It’s going to be 80 degrees on Sunday, so I am opting not to do the typical chili menu.  This year I am doing an Italian theme, with a vegetarian antipasto board to start which will include crudités, creamy white bean dip, roasted peppers and roasted artichoke hearts, olives, cheeses and breads and my vegan queso dip without the beans and corn.  I might also make this warm spinach-artichoke dip.  Then we’re doing homemade pizzas, this chopped salad, meatballs and rolls for sandwiches.  Millet and almond butter blondies plus mini lemon yogurt cheesecakes (from this month’s cooking class) are for dessert plus whatever my friends bring.

Here are some ways you can use leftover Super Bowl eats:

  • salsa and guacamole are great on scrambled eggs, in breakfast tacos, quesadillas and in this chicken and avocado soup recipe.  Throw some leftover tortilla chips into that soup, too.
  • casseroles, like enchiladas, can be transformed into soup.  Trust me!  Place in a pot and add enough chicken stock to make it soup-like and reheat.  Totally delicious.  Check out my instagram post when I took leftover cassoulet and made it into cassoulet soup.
  • chili is obviously delicious the next day, but if you don’t have enough for a full meal for the family, make some baked potatoes or sweet potatoes and reheat the chili as a topping.
  • crudités, if they look a little dry for a salad, can be chopped and sautéed for a soup, frittata or a fried rice.
  • stale bread and cornbread can be made into croutons for soup or salad.

Here’s my dinner planner for the week with some ideas for how to prep ahead

Meatless Monday:  Homemade ramen noodle soup and hard boiled eggs and veggies, veggie potstickers (I’m going to buy the potstickers frozen); see notes above for how to use Super Bowl leftovers.

Tuesday:  Chef Jonathan Waxman’s roasted chicken and lemons with salsa verde from Food + Wine, roasted cauliflower, salt and vinegar potatoes

WednesdayTuna patties, green salad (I’ll probably add red cabbage, radishes and carrots), Everyday Salad Dressing #2, and avocado toast

Thursday:  Grilled/broiled rosemary and garlic lamb chops, quinoa with spinach, feta, pine nuts

Friday:  Pantry pasta (this is a flexible recipe geared to use up whatever you have in the fridge/pantry,) sautéed greens (I am thinking kale)

Saturday:  Butternut squash and wild rice soup

VALENTINES DAY: Chicken pot pie, green salad with heart-shaped carrots and beets.  A special dessert would be nice, too.  Flourless chocolate cakes or the raw cookie dough truffles I am posting on Tuesday would be perfect!


How you can prep ahead (which doesn’t mean you must, just some ways you can relieve some of the prep right before dinner):


Make stock for ramen soup, butternut squash and wild rice soup, and chicken pot pie.  Here’s a recipe for veggie stock and for chicken stock.

Boil eggs for ramen soup, if using, and refrigerate.

Make salad dressing for Wednesday and Sunday green salads

Wash and dry salad greens for Wednesday

Prep cauliflower florets for Tuesday

Salt chicken for Tuesday (I like to do this.  Do not salt a kosher chicken, though.  Check out this post here.)


Make the salsa verde for Tuesday


Shape the tuna patties, cover and refrigerate (can be done in the morning)

Marinate the lamb chops for Thursday

Cook quinoa, if that will help you.

Wash greens for Friday


Cube butternut squash for Saturday soup

Wash and dry salad greens for Sunday

Sunday morning:

You can assemble the whole pot pie and refrigerate it, then bake it later in the day.   The pastry can even be made the day before.

Previous Dinner Planners:

Week of January 4th

Week of January 11th

Week of January 18th

Week of January 25th

Dinner Planner: Week of February 1st

dinner planner | pamela salzman

February already??!!  Indeed.  And lots happening this month, from Chinese New Year and the Super Bowl to Valentine’s Day and President’s Weekend.  So much to celebrate and eat!  I hope you have been finding the dinner planners helpful.  Many of my students have been talking about it in class, commenting that they are spending less money at the grocery store and wasting less.  Amen!  When you go to the store with a plan, you buy what you need.  And it is helping many of these ladies stick to their new year’s resolutions of cooking more and eating better.  Yay!  That’s the idea.

Here’s your menu for this week:

Continue reading

Dinner Planner: Week of January 25th

dinner planner 1/25/16 | pamela salzman

I hope all of you affected by this weekend’s blizzard are safe and sound.  Wishing you a speedy comeback!

In this week’s dinner planner, I wanted to share how I go about choosing recipes for my family’s meal plan.

  • Every Monday I choose a vegetarian meal for “Meatless Monday.”  But I always have at least one, if not two, more meatless meals during the week.  I will then choose 2 poultry, 1-2 fish and 1 red meat option, although I may only have 3 beef dinners over the course of 4 weeks.  Cattle production, even grass-fed, is disastrous to the environment.
  • Then I check my calendar for the week and look to see who is home for dinner each night and how busy I am each day.  For example, if my husband and I are out and the kids are home, I will choose one of the kids’ favorite dinners that I don’t personally love.  Or I might see that I am teaching a night class and I need a slow cooker meal that night or something that can be prepared ahead, like a casserole, that my family can easily pop in the oven.
  • I also look in the refrigerator and freezer to check the inventory and try to incorporate any perishable ingredients, such as fresh vegetables, quickly so they don’t go to waste.
  • You can also arrange the meals to use more perishable ingredients earlier in the week, such as fresh fish or berries.  I find this strategy to be more relevant in the summer months or when the produce is more delicate.  Winter fruit and veggies are quite hardy!


Taking a look at this week’s suggestions, check the refrigerator for veggies for the shrimp dish on Tuesday and Thursday’s meal since those are flexible.  I am also using frozen fish right now since fresh wild fish is not in season. Vital Choice is a great, high quality option for wild halibut and salmon.  The best value is the “5 lb Bulk Pack of Random-Size Portions” boxes of wild halibut.  I wanted to also note that I do eat as seasonally as possible.  There have been a lot of cruciferous vegetables and winter squash on the menu lately.  This will continue until early March when we will see English peas, sugar snap peas, leeks and asparagus come back into season.  But no tomatoes or cucumbers in the salads until June!


Monday:  vegan mac and cheese (I use spelt macaroni, but use gluten-free pasta if you need to.  I also use butter, but Earth Balance or avocado oil will make this vegan), roasted kalettes or Brussels sprouts (400 degrees with olive oil or coconut oil, salt and pepper until tender)

Tuesday:  shrimp and mixed veggies with coconut-basil sauce, brown rice (I might use cauliflower, shiitakes, bok choy and carrots — you can also make this without shrimp and just add some seared, cubed tofu instead.)

Wednesday:  tasty turkey burgers (or grass-fed beef burgers) with sautéed onions, sprouted grain buns or lettuce leaves, oven French fries or sweet potato fries, kale salad (I’ll probably add red cabbage and dried cranberries.)

Thursday:  homemade teriyaki* chicken with brown rice (or cauli-rice) and veggies (I will probably use broccoli, carrots and green cabbage.)

Friday:  wild halibut in parchment with cilantro and ginger, orange-braised cabbage on barley from mynewroots.com

Saturday:  Beef stew with root vegetables (on top of egg noodles or cauli-mash, if you wish)  I haven’t posted my recipe for beef stew, but this one from The Kitchn looks similar to mine.

Sunday:  slow cooker vegan sweet potato and black bean chili, green salad with radishes, red cabbage and carrots with Everyday Salad Dressing #2

*I haven’t posted my teriyaki recipe, but basically I use 1/4 cup mirin, 1/4 cup soy sauce/shoyu, 1/4 cup sake and 2 Tbs. maple syrup + a little water if the shoyu is rich.  I simmer it all until it thickens up a little.  Sear boneless, skinless thighs on both sides in a skillet, pour a little sauce on top and bake in a 400 degree oven until cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.  Then I use a little of the reserved sauce to drizzle over the veggies.  This isn’t a thick sauce, so if you want it thicker, dissolve 2 teaspoons arrowroot powder or cornstarch in 1 Tablespoon of water and add that to the simmering sauce.  Let me know if you have questions about this.  You can always use your favorite, additive-free teriyaki sauce instead of making your own, but there aren’t many good ones out there!


Prep ahead Strategy (obviously you can make everything ahead and reheat it, but it’s better if you can prep ahead and cook day of)

Sunday prep day:

You can actually make the mac and cheese up to the point of baking and refrigerate it.  Bake the next day.

Prep kalettes/Brussels sprouts (wash, dry and trim — store in a bag or container)

Prep veggies for shrimp dish

Wash, dry, de-stem and chop kale for salad

Make dressing for kale salad

Make stock for beef stew all day — refrigerate overnight and freeze until Friday.  Defrost overnight.

Make teriyaki sauce and refrigerate


Soak brown rice all day (maybe make extra to have on Thursday)


Make salad dressing for Sunday

Wash and dry greens for Sunday


Previous Dinner Planners:

Week of January 4th

Week of January 11th

Week of January 18th


Dinner Planner: Week of January 18th

Happy Sunday!  I hope you are all having a great weekend.  Welcome to Week 3 of the Dinner Planner series.  If you missed the first two, no big deal.  Just jump in anytime for inspiration in planning your dinners for the week.  Here are the past two in case you want to take a peek.

Dinner Planner Week of January 4th

Dinner Planner Week of January 11th

Dinner Planner: Week of January 18th | pamela salzman


My tip this week is actually something I shared in this past Friday Favorites post.  I use a shopping list pad every week to help me create my grocery list.  I like it because it’s already organized by category.  Sometimes I decide what I want to make for the upcoming week by checking the refrigerator and seeing what I need to use up, usually in the vegetable department.  I also check the freezer for inventory of stock, beans and grains.  Then I pull all the recipes and go through each one, writing down all the ingredients needed.  I usually use leftovers for the next day’s lunches.  I do have a rough plan for breakfasts, though.  I check to make sure I at least have eggs, oats, bread, almonds for almond milk, yogurt, fruit and nut butters.


Monday:  winter minestrone with white beans and kale, whole wheat naan pizzas (I buy whole wheat naan breads at Whole Foods and everyone makes his/her own pizza.  I am perfectly fine having a bowl of this hearty soup for dinner, but the kids like to have something extra.  Place in a 400 degree oven and bake until warmed through.)

Tuesday:  chicken and vegetable curry, basmati rice (make extra rice and use it for the soup topping bar on Friday, if desired)

Wednesday:  wild salmon patties, parsnip “fries”, mixed greens salad with Brussels sprout leaves, walnuts and Everyday Salad Dressing #2

Thursday:  roasted veggie Buddha bowl (probably broccoli, cauliflower and carrots) with quinoa and lemon turmeric tahini dressing (lemon -tahini dressing recipe plus a pinch of ground turmeric)

Friday:  chicken and avocado soup with topping bar: tortilla chips, avocado, salsa, rice, poached chicken, lime; quesadillas

Saturday:  Swiss chard frittata, mixed greens salad with red cabbage, carrots and radishes and aged balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper

Sunday:  unstuffed pork chops from 100daysofrealfood.com or Italian pot roast with porcini mushrooms from Giada de Laurentiis, noodles, steamed broccolini


Do ahead prep (if you want):

Sunday prep

Salad dressings

Lemon-Turmeric-Tahini Dressings

Soak and cook white beans for soup

Wash kale for soup, greens for salads

Make stock for soups

Wash Swiss chard for frittata

Cut veggies for Tuesday and Thursday

Freezer-friendly (make extra and freeze for a rainy day):

Kale and White Bean Minestrone

Chicken and Vegetable Curry

Cooked rice and quinoa

Chicken Stock

Dinner Planner: Week of January 11th

dinner planner, week of January 11 | pamela salzman

Welcome to Week 2 of the Dinner Planner!  I am so encouraged by all your comments on Instagram and Facebook this past week!  Thank you for sharing your feedback with me and others.  It seems like this new weekly post is helpful for many of you and I’m so happy bout that!

Today I want to discuss leftovers and planning for leftovers.  As I mentioned in last week’s planer, everyone will have different needs, preferences, number of people for whom to cook, etc.  This dinner planner is just a guide, but ultimately you’ll have to look at your calendar and decide what is best for you.  I don’t usually use dinner leftovers for another night, because I try to make only enough for our dinner with minimal leftovers.  Whatever leftovers there are get packed up for school lunch the next day or my lunch if I eat at home.  Sometimes I even repurpose leftovers into breakfast, like cooked rice and vegetables can get turned into a Rice Bake, Italian Fried Rice or a Frittata, for example.  Cornbread on Monday will be offered at breakfast Tuesday with yogurt and fruit.  Of course many foods freeze well, too.  Think about freezing soups and stews, grilled or roasted chicken, grains and lentils.
There are more options and permutations on this planner than I can efficiently write about without begin overwhelming.  But just to give a few ideas, you can easily serve the Vegetable Chili over the course of two nights — one night in a bowl and one night on top of a baked potato or sweet potato.  You can serve with or without garnishes like tortilla chips, avocado, radishes and cilantro.  Cheese and sour cream are certainly options, too.  You can make a double batch of roasted squash on Tuesday and use it the next night in a salad.  All the grains can technically be cooked a few days in advance and reheated if you are really short on time at the end of the day.  Although soaking grains and legumes not only maximizes digestibility, it cuts down on cooking time, too!  If you have leftovers of the lentils and sausage, add stock to it the next day and turn it into a soup.  Throw the leftover sautéed cabbage in there, too.

When choosing vegetables for the rice bowls on Friday and the maple-mustard roasted veggies, see what you have in the refrigerator and need to use up.  If you do want to make the broccoli stalk soup on Saturday, then buy broccoli for the rice bowls.

Monday:  Vegetable chili, cornbread, (optional) green salad with Everyday Salad Dressing #2

Tuesday: Broiled filet of white fish or baked fish depending on what I can find that looks good  (here’s a good basic recipe for baking a white fish — I use white wine instead of sherry), butter lettuce salad with shaved fennel and Parmesan(optional if you’re DF) with Everyday Salad Dressing #1, roasted winter squash such as Delicata OR use leftover chili on baked potatoes or sweet potato for a leftovers meal

Wednesday:  Lemon-thyme chicken cutlets, sauteed kale, herbed barley (cook barley in plenty of salted water, like you would pasta, drain tender barley and toss with a little butter or olive oil and a handful of minced fresh herbs like parsley and chives)

Thursday:  Smoky braised lentils with turkey sausage, sautéed cabbage (you can use purple cabbage if you have some from last week)

Friday:  Forbidden rice bowls with roasted veggies (broccoli – save the stalks for tomorrow’s soup), avocado, sesame seeds, soy-ginger dressing* (basically this is a rice and veggie bowl:  take a scoop of forbidden (aka black) rice, add roasted veggies, avocado, sesame seeds and drizzle with dressing.)

Saturday:  Broccoli stalk soup, slow cooker pulled bbq chicken sandwiches or serve pulled chicken over baked potato or sweet potato (unless you did that another night earlier in the week)

Sunday:  Onion Braised Beef Brisket, Maple-mustard roasted vegetables (when deciding on vegetables, see what you already have in the fridge)

*Here’s an easy and basic soy-ginger dressing that would be good here:

3 Tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar

2 teaspoons pure maple syrup or honey

2 ¼ teaspoons organic shoyu or gluten-free tamari (I like Ohsawa brand)

3/8 teaspoon ground ginger

3/8 teaspoon dry mustard

1 ½ Tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1 ½ Tablespoons unrefined extra-virgin olive oil


Sunday prep:

Make all salad dressings for the week

Soak and cook beans for chili if not using canned

Wash greens for salads, as well as kale

Prep winter squash for Day 2 and refrigerate

Wednesday prep:

In the morning, soak barley for the evening (optional, but makes the barley more digestible)

Prep cabbage

Cut veggies for rice bowl

Make stock for soup


soak lentils prior to cooking for maximum digestibility


soak forbidden rice prior to cooking for maximum digestibility


Make brisket for next day


Freezer-friendly:  chili, cornbread, broccoli soup, pulled chicken, cooked grains and lentils, brisket

Dinner Planner: Week of January 4th

dinner plan week of January 4 | pamela salzman

Happy new year to one and all!  I hope 2016 is off to a wonderful start for you and your families.  January 1 signifies a fresh start to many, although I do think we have many opportunities to wipe the slate and start anew, including every morning!  But if you have made any resolutions and they involve improving your health, then I will assume more cooking at home is in store for you.

That is where this new regular post will help you.  Every Sunday morning I will post a weekly dinner plan to provide you with inspiration as you create your meals for the week.  Believe me when I tell you, planning and organization is the KEY to eating healthfully.  I have been making a weekly dinner plan on Sundays for at least 20 years and it is the only way dinner gets made, given my schedule.  Knowing on Sunday what you are cooking for the week will also allow you to go throughout your day without the “dinner cloud” over your head.  You know the one that is always nagging,  “what are you going to make for dinner tonight?” “Should you start defrosting that chicken?” “Hurry and run to the market before after school pick-up!”

I will post a balanced variety of 7 dinners every week, although I assume most of you don’t cook every night.  No matter.  I don’t either since I usually take Saturday nights off.  Take the meals that you think work for you and build your own meal plan around them given your schedule and your family’s personal preferences.  Obviously there will be dietary intolerances and allergies to contend with, so feel free to leave me a comment if you need help making a substitution.

These are all meals I have made or would make for my own family, but there is a possibility I may not be following this dinner plan myself since I will have nights when we aren’t eating at home or I need to scrap my plan because I need to retest a recipe or I have leftovers from a class.  And that doesn’t do you any good if I am taking certain nights off that you aren’t.  I usually shop on Sundays (or Mondays if I’m not teaching a class.)  But I do shop during the week for my classes.  Before I started teaching, I would do a Monday supermarket shop and 1 farmers market visit during the week.  If you follow along with these weekly posts, you’ll also start to learn what’s in season.

I will attempt to provide do-ahead tips for Sunday and Wednesday prep days for those of you who do that.  You can also follow me on Instagram where I post my weeknight dinners, as well as breakfasts and anything else that’s inspiring me at the moment.  Happy cooking and here’s to your health!

Dinner Plan Week of January 4th

Monday:  lentil and brown rice soup, green salad with purple cabbage, carrots, shredded Brussels sprouts and toasted sunflower seeds, everyday salad dressing #2

Tuesday:  wild salmon with blood orange, beet and spinach salad, roasted sweet potato wedges

Wednesday:  Tandoori Chicken (I’ll make this with breasts and drumsticks), apricot couscous (or plain steamed couscous), sautéed beet greens (if you have greens from making beets last night) and Swiss chard

Thursday:  stir-fried beef and broccoli, steamed brown rice or cauli-rice

Friday:  turkey meatballs with marinara sauce and whole wheat pasta or spaghetti squash, roasted broccoli

Saturday:  orange-rosemary glazed chicken, millet cauliflower mash or cauliflower mashed potatoes, roasted carrots (see this post for how to roast carrots  — you don’t have to make the yogurt sauce)

Sunday:  cauliflower crust pizza, avocado Caesar salad or I might try this cashew Caesar dressing from January ’16 Bon Appetit

Prep ahead

Sunday prep:

Make veggie or chicken stock for lentil soup

Soak rice and cook for soup

Cook beets

Make dressing for Monday and Tuesday

Segment oranges

Wash lettuce for Monday and greens for Wednesday

Wednesday prep:

Bake meatballs, finish in sauce on Friday

Prep broccoli into florets

Make marinara sauce

Prep cauliflower into florets

Wash greens for Sunday

Thursday morning: soak rice for dinner

Friday: marinate chicken for Saturday


Consider making extra of the following to freeze for a rainy day:

  • lentil soup
  • cooked rice
  • baked meatballs
  • marinara sauce