My menu plan for the week this week is pretty basic; with cold weather (supposedly) setting in I’m still pretty focused on soups and hot meals. I’ll use the barbecue until it’s too cold to stand outside with the food.

Saturday Villa Souvlaki.
Sunday Leek, potato & carrot soup
Monday Bucher’s block steak with smashed herb potatoes and steamed green beans
BBQ chicken breasts with barley risotto
Wednesday Soba noodles, stir fried vegetables, chicken & peanut sauce
Thursday Whole wheat tortellini & marinara sauce
Friday Curry Lentil Soup

My favorite lunch is soup and sandwich. Naturally this takes a bit more preparation than I’m use to, so Saturday I’ll make broth from the roast chicken I’ll buy and Sunday I’ll turn it into soup. The leftovers of that (and the leftovers of last Friday’s stew) will give me the soup — and the remainder of the chicken and butcher’s block steak will give me the sandwiches that I crave.

Monday’s meal sounds impressive – but with the help of a gas barbecue – it’s quick and easy. Smashed = mashed in my books.

Barley risotto is one of those elegant recipes that always tastes good and looks even better. It’s got a nutty flavor that I’m coming to prefer over the Italian rice-based risotto which is more classic.

Wednesday’s recipe doesn’t really have a name — it’s more a list of ingredients; but it’s tasty none-the less. I use soba noodles because they’re made from buckwheat (more fiber, better taste and interesting texture to hold the sauce).

The tortellini is store-bought and frozen. I saw it Saturday and had to try it. The sauce is the last of my home-made marinara sauce (made a month ago and kept frozen). The combination makes a nice, quick evening dinner.

La Commensale has a whole line of soups available. They’re about twice the price of a good can of soup, fresher — and with less salt (although they still have more salt than homemade). We enjoy them as they are relatively healthy vegetarian ready-to-eat meals.