Dinner Planner: Week of March 7th

dinner planner | pamela salzman

It is always such a joy when my daughter comes home from college for a visit.  We all really miss her and there’s nothing better than when our family is complete, especially around the dinner table.  Without getting too personal, this same daughter is also eating a grain-free diet for a little while to help with some digestive issues.  So my dinner plan for most of this week will be tailored to her needs while still being palatable to the rest of the family who is not grain-free.

You’ll start to notice a change in some of the ingredients used in the recipes as we transition into a new season with new produce.   Yay!  In my local farmers markets, I am seeing the beginnings of spring with asparagus, baby artichokes, peas and strawberries on the scene.

As usual, I am sharing a week’s worth of dinner menu ideas even though I don’t cook 7 nights per week, although I usually cook 5-6.  Take what is interesting to you and fill in with favorites from your repertoire.


Meatless Monday:  Baked falafel, whole wheat pita for the kids/lettuce for me, pickled radishes and onions (these need to be made at least a day ahead), tahini sauce, spinach salad with Everyday Salad Dressing #1

Tuesday:  Whole roasted chicken with onions and fennel or slow cooker whole roasted chicken, spring salad with avocado, cara cara oranges, radish, pistachios

Wednesday:  Stir-fried beef with cilantro and asparagus, cauli-rice or regular steamed rice  (I made this cilantro-beef recipe many years ago from The Produce Bible and it’s delicious, unless you don’t like cilantro.)

Thursday:  Turkey tacos, guacamole, salsa from the farmers market, Mexican black beans, cilantro-lime slaw

Friday:  Spinach and quinoa salad with feta and dill, roasted shrimp (toss peeled and deveined large shrimp with olive oil, salt and pepper and spread out in one layer on a sheet pan.  Roast at 400 for 6-8 minutes.)

Saturday:  Baked chicken cutlets alla parmigiana but using this caprese recipe for the cutlets and then baking with tomato sauce and mozzarella, roasted Yukon Gold potatoes (400 with olive oil, salt and pepper or a combo of olive oil and ghee, for 30-40 min) sautéed garlicky broccolini (blanche in boiling salted water for 4 minutes, drain.  Saute garlic and a pinch of chili flakes in olive oil.  Add blanched broccolini and sauté until warmed through.)

Sunday:  Spring green minestrone and whole wheat naan-pizzas (buy whole wheat naan at the market, top with whatever you like and bake on a pizza stone or sheet pan at 425 until warmed though)


What you can do ahead:


Make falafel mixture

Pickle radishes and onions

Make tahini sauce

Make all salad dressings for the week (Monday, Tuesday)

Salt whole chicken (do not salt kosher chicken)

Segment oranges for salad, if using

Wash herbs and salad greens (I keep herbs in glass jars covered with plastic produce bags in the fridge.  Clean, dry salad greens I store in reusable Neat-os bags, but resealable bags work fine, too.)

Make taco seasoning for tacos

Make stock for Sunday’s soup and freeze.  Here’s a recipe for chicken stock and here’s one for veggie stock.



Soak black beans for Thursday

Prep cabbages and carrots for slaw

Make dressing for slaw


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

Week of February 15th

Week of February 22nd

Week of February 29th

Dinner Planner: Week of February 29th

dinner planner | pamela salzman

I have a very busy week ahead of me with recipe testing and photographing for the blog, so I will not necessarily be following this dinner planner exactly.  But I think this is a great set of recipes for the week ahead.  In addition, my older daughter is coming home from college on Friday for spring break and I’ll be cooking whatever she requests.  I am SO excited to see her and to feed someone who isn’t tired of my food. 😉

I’ve had a lot of questions in my classes recently about slow cookers.  I love mine, which I’ve had for about 3 years.  I use it multiple times per week for cooking food, keeping cooked food warm, making bone broth and beans.  The one I have is the 6.5 quart All-Clad with ceramic insert which you can find on amazon.  If you’re looking for a more economical option, people seem to like this 6 quart slow cooker by Crock Pot.  I can’t tell if is NOT non-stick.  It doesn’t look like it.

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

Meatless Monday:  Butternut squash and chickpea stew (I serve this as is, but lightly sautéed greens is a nice addition if you need them.)

Tuesday:  Braised chicken with tomatoes, olives and capers (video here), polenta or pasta, sautéed garlic broccoli

Wednesday:  Split pea and barley soup (CPK recipe –  very good,) green salad with radish, red cabbage and carrots, everyday salad dressing #2

Thursday:  Brussels sprout tortilla/frittata and kale salad with creamy lemon dressing (sub avocado for the tomatoes)

Friday:  Mediterranean fish stew, crusty bread

Saturday:  Spaghetti squash with brisket sauce, roasted red onions and cauliflower (400 degrees, coconut oil, 25-30 minutes)

Sunday: Chicken adobo, brown rice, roasted asparagus (400 degrees, olive oil or coconut oil, 12 minutes)

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 chickpeas for stew

Prep broccoli for Tuesday

Make salad dressings


Prep brussels sprouts

Wash and dry kale

Make dressing for kale sald


Past 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

Week of February 15th

Dinner Planner: Week of February 22nd


dinner planner Feb22 | pamela salzman

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

Meatless Monday: Stir fried soba noodles with cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, and tofu (use this recipe as a guide and use whatever noodles or vegetables you like)

Tuesday:  Spice-rubbed wild salmon with millet-cauliflower mash, sautéed cabbage (slice cabbage thinly and saute in a little unsalted butter plus a pinch of salt — I’m addicted to this.)  This is a very quick dinner.

WednesdayBaked potato bar.  I like to put out things like the vegan “cheese” sauce from vegan mac and cheese, just cook it a couple minutes after bending, steamed broccoli, sautéed onions, and salsa.

Thursday:  Harira (one of my favorites!  Omit the chicken and sub 1 1/2 cups of chickpeas to make this vegan.)

Friday:  Veggie Fried Rice.  You can add cooked shrimp, chicken or pork if you like. Good recipe to clean out the crisper.

Saturday:  Deer Valley turkey chili.  I usually don’t make anything else, but a green salad is always nice.

Sunday: Short ribs with salsa verde from the Lucques Cookbook, polenta, roasted Brussels sprouts or a Brussels sprout salad

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


Prep (wash, dry, cut) veggies for noodle stir-fry

Prep cauliflower for mash

Prep cabbage for stir-fry and saute.  I would just take a handful for the stir-fry and use the rest for the saute.

Make vegan cheese sauce for baked potato bar and refrigerate.

Make brown rice for fried rice and refrigerate or freeze.

Make stock

Make black beans for chili and chickpeas for harira

Make salad dressing if making a green salad this week, including the brussels sprout salad


Blanche and spin dry Brussels sprout leaves for salad

Week of January 4th

Week of January 11th

Week of January 18th

Week of January 25th

Week of February 1st

Week of February 8th

Week of February 15th

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