A couple of weeks ago The New York Times’ Magazine was devoted to food, specifically kids and food. For many of us this is a touchy subject. There are a thousand opinions out there on what kids should eat and how to get them to eat more. One of the magazine’s articles that caught my attention was Virginia Heffernan’s public confession “What if You Just Hate Making Dinner?” In it, she admits that not only does she hate to cook, but she hates cooking for her kids. Frankly, I thought it was pretty brave, but some others thought otherwise.

Since my primary goal in starting this meal planning blog was to help readers cook more frequently for their families her article struck a nerve. I get it. Not everyone likes to cook. I don’t like to knit or really make any crafts at all. If crafting was required for survival my family wouldn’t make it. But, cooking is different. We all need to eat and the more healthy it is the better.

I hope that rather than making you feel guilty about not cooking for yourself or your family that this blog has at the most inspired you and at the very least helped you. Even for me, cooking and especially meal planning, can be a chore. With this in mind, this week’s meal plan is super quick and easy. The maple dijon chicken take about 5 minutes of active time and uses ingredients you probably already have, while the butternut squash polenta is a bit more challenging, but still easy enough to make on a weeknight. Hang in there and remember it is 100% okay to order pizza sometimes!

Something spooky to get you into the Halloween spirit!

Something spooky to get you into the Halloween spirit!

Meal #1: Maple Dijon Chicken Thighs + Roasted Green Beans and Potatoes
Meal #2: Skirt Steak with Arugula + Roasted Cauliflower
Meal #3: Butternut Squash Polenta with Sausage and Onion
Meal #4: Fennel and Garlic Shrimp + French Bread

Your grocery list, excluding the usual pantry items: 

red or yukon gold potatoes – 6 medium
green beans – 1 lb.
arugula – 1 bunch
cauliflower – 1 head
onions – 2
garlic – 1 head
fennel bulbs – 2
butternut squash – 1 small
rosemary – 1 bunch
fennel seeds (optional)
French bread
fine polenta (not quick cooking) – 1 cup
Parmesan cheese (if you don’t already have it)
maple syrup (if you don’t already have it)
dijon mustard (if you don’t already have it)
rice wine vinegar (if you don’t already have it)
boneless, skinless chicken thighs – 2 lb. (approx. 2 per person)
skirt steak – 1 1/2 lb.
sweet Italian sausage – 1 1/2 lb.
shrimp – 2 lb.
Pernod (optional)