Grilling is great on Sundays

Donna’s Meal Plan for Week of June 9

My husband and I spent the Memorial Day holiday weekend in Sacramento with my sister Linda and her family. This gave us a lengthy real-life opportunity to talk at length about what’s on our mind these days. What was on MY mind was what my meal plan was going to be when we got back.

We’re pretty different – but at this stage in our lives, one of the things we have in common is figuring out how we continue to feel healthy as we get older. Linda has taken a proactive approach. She reads longevity experts like Peter Attia* and follows a lot of his advice.

I prefer denial. My attitude has always been if it ain’t broke, you don’t need to fix it – and as long as I feel okay, I don’t want to scratch the surface and learn that maybe I’m not. This served me well for fifty years. Then I reached Medicare age and decided, “hmmm… maybe it’s time to go in for a check-up.”

This went about as well as I feared, as the blood work and other tests turned up a whole plethora of ailments (to be expected when you’ve spent a lifetime ignoring the experts).

I’m not interested right now in going over the specifics of all of that. Suffice it to say that I now spend a great deal of my waking hours trying to follow the guidelines set down by all the doctors I now visit regularly.

“Healthy-ish” Living

I am just grateful for the relatively good health I’ve enjoyed to this point. The issues I’ve got are not so bad that they have too much effect on my day-to-day well-being. I still FEEL “okay,” even as my joints laugh at me.

A lot of my new regimen involves changes to my diet and exercise habits. Make that additional changes to diet and exercise, because this has been my only health focus since I hit puberty.

I mentioned to Linda that I take the time each week to put together a meal plan, and I use that to put together my weekly shopping list. She thought it would be interesting to see what that looked like. So this is the first of a recurring series of posts where I share what I plan to cook for dinner each week.

So here you go.

Meal Plan for Week of June 9, 2024


Grilled salmon
Green Bean & Potato Sabzi

My husband LOVES grilling, and over the years it’s become our Sunday night habit (at least, during the warm summer months). I’ll prep whatever needs to be cooked and then he takes it from there (usually with a glass of wine and some reading material).

I spritz the salmon with a little olive oil spray and plunk it down on a cedar plank, which has been soaked in water for about 30 minutes. I really like Penzey’s Northwoods seasoning* on salmon, but since being diagnosed with high blood pressure, I’ve had to reduce my sodium intake. So these days I liberally sprinkle the salmon with salt-free seasoning mix. My favorite is Penzey’s Sunny Spain*, which adds some citrus-y flavor to the fish without added salt.

Most weeks, we also do vegetables on the grill as a side dish, but this week I feel like a change. The Green Bean and Potato Sabzi is a quick and easy, Indian-inspired side dish that wowed us the first time I tried it, and it’s become part of our regular rotation. The secret of this dish is the addition of almond butter and lime juice. I also recommend you do not omit the sprinkle of chaat masala to finish the dish – it really takes the flavor from good to sublime.


Pressure Cooker Coconut Chicken
Roasted vegetables

We recently became a one-vehicle family (something I’ll talk about in a future post). One of the ways this works in car-dependent Los Angeles is a job that allows my husband to work at home most of the week, and a public transportation when he needs to commute. Those days are Monday and Tuesday, so I usually start the week with something I can make before I pick him up from the train station.

But this week, I’m using the Instant Pot to get dinner together AFTER we get home. We both enjoy Indian food, and this recipe sounds delicious.

Since this will be the first time I make this dish, I will not be modifying it much. If I decide to make it again, I’ll experiment with reducing the amount of oil and fat. The only changes I’m making this week is subbing low-fat coconut milk and omitting the salt. I’ve learned that if a dish is already heavy on flavors, we don’t miss the salt all that much.

If you see this on the meal plan again, you’ll know we liked it,


Dinner out

I take a painting class near downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday afternoons, so it just makes sense to meet the husband afterwards for dinner there. That way, I get to avoid our infamous rush hour traffic (and have a night off from cooking).


Spiced Chicken and Rice with Cardamom & Cinnamon
Roasted vegetables

This is another recipe that caught my eye this week, and it’s similar to the one I’m doing on Monday. Except that the cooking style is very different. And this one has no curry. Or coconut milk. So actually, the only real similarity is the reliance on cardamom as a flavor.

Again, as this is a first-time pick that’s heavy on seasonings, the only modification I’m contemplating is to omit the salt.



Friday and Saturday


We will have dinner out again or get takeout either Friday or Saturday, or possibly both – and hopefully, with friends… because that’s what weekends are for.

*Please note that NONE of the links in this post are sponsored. This is my actual meal plan for this week and the seasonings I’ve linked to are the ones I actually use.

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