I’ve been making weekly menus since I first got married in 1995. I couldn’t fathom going to the grocery store and not knowing what I’d need for the week or how other people did just that. It’s somewhat ironic that the menus fell by the wayside while I was in culinary school, but understandable when you consider that I worked until 5pm and usually ate a Lunchable or some such in the car on the way to classes that started at 5:30pm and went to 10:30 or 11 at night, four days a week.
With so many ingredients on the no-list due to their high FODMAP content, it was a bit of an adjustment when we first started cooking this way and I still get asked exactly what we eat, as if the restrictions are abject deprivation. While I do miss asparagus and broccoli from time to time (for instance), I think we do okay keeping a variety of foods in rotation so that we don’t get bored with any one ingredientÂ or flavor combination.
So here’s what the last week looked like.
Monday: Chicken Florentine with Whipped Sweet Potatoes
We had a partial package of gluten-free spaghetti in the pantry so I added that just to round out the meal, and added a couple of parsnips in with the sweet potatoes. Florentine on a menu, of course, just means “with spinach” so what else you add is completely up to you, but some cherry tomatoes cooked just til bursting adds some nice color to the dish.
Tuesday: Dinner with friends at Momo’s
On the first Tuesday of each month we get together with folks from the TNG (Tallahassee Nerds & Geeks) meetup group at a local pizza place for “Beer & Cheer.” Momo’s in known for their incredible pizzas, with slices as big as your head, but thankfully they have a good salad selection. I forgot to grab a picture, but I ordered their Buffalo Chicken Salad with oil and vinegar dressing while Todd got a calzone and cheese sticks.
Wednesday: Pineapple Pork with Brown Rice and Green Beans
The combination of Todd working late and some extra vegetables leftover in the crisper turned the brown rice into Fried Brown Rice (though I didn’t add a scrambled egg into this batch) with Sweet and Sour Pork (the sauce made with water, gluten-free soy sauce, a big of raw sugar and thickened with an arrowroot slurry). The pork was dredged with rice flour and seasoned with 5-Spice Powder and it really made all the difference.
Thursday: Corn Chowder
I had a commitment after work, so this was the perfect night for a slow-cooker soup so supper would be ready when we got home. Quick enough to prepare on the stove under normal circumstances, it works just as well in the Crock-Pot.
Friday: Dinner out at Old Mexico Restaurant
We don’t normally go out twice in one week unless our schedules are abnormally hectic, but since we were headed up to Thomasville to spend the night at the new house and get some projects done and the kitchen is bare, we use this as an excuse to try out some of the local restaurants to find our new regular haunts. I ordered the Chiles Rellenos and, yes, they are battered and fried and this means I knowingly ate wheat products.
Hypocritical of me? Not really. The thing about the Low-FODMAP diet/protocol/whatever you want to call it is that it’s not meant to be super-restrictive forever. It’s good to re-challenge foods over time and, sometimes, you just want what you want. My outlook on it is that if I follow a Low-FODMAP diet 99% of the time, the fewÂ times I “splurge” with a High-FODMAP option, I won’t generally have as severe of a reaction as I would if I were constantly eating High-FODMAP since the effects are cumulative. Did I have a small reaction after this dinner? Yes. Did I regret it? Not in the least. It’s about choices, and this was the choice I made and planned for this week.
Saturday: Dutch Baby Pancakes with Strawberries and Sausage
Breakfast for dinner is a favorite of ours and usually fits into our menus each week. Todd’s fond of omelets and hashbrowns on his breakfast nights while I tend towards the breadier options. These were made using my go-to Low-FODMAP flour blend and they cooked up just fine with the substitution–something you’re never sure of unitl you try it. Saturday was a particularly good night for these since they (the Dutch babies) don’t keep well and we didn’t need to worry about having leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch.
Sunday: Shrimp &Â Orzo with Minted Carrots
There was much rejoicing in our home when we found a wheat-free orzo pasta on the grocery store shelves. We love it so much that we frequently keep a spare bag in the pantry just in case the next time we look for it, it’s gone. We’re devoted to our orzo and this shrimp dish is a favorite from the pre-FODMAP-awareness days–making it with rice just isn’t the same.
Planning our menus in advance helps us keep from having back-to-back chicken or beef nights, usually allows for a vegetarian options, and almost always includes a shrimp or fish dish. We get variety with the convenience of not having to stop for “just one more thing” each night or dread coming home to cook each night.