Food & dining

‘My Kitchen Chalkboard’ offers families ideas for planning a week’s menu in advance

To keep her nightly chaos in check, Leigh Belanger writes out weekly meals on a kitchen chalkboard so her two boys know what to expect. And she, in turn, has a plan. A local writer (and former Globe contributor), editor, and cook, Belanger is founder of Salt & Lemons, which teaches how to plan, shop, and cook for families. All of this evolved into “My Kitchen Chalkboard, Seasonal Menus for Modern New England Families” (Union Park Press, $35), in which Belanger explains how to take your budget, time, and the season into consideration; the book is organized by the month. You make a recipe one night and then you might have pieces to create something for another meal or two. Or batch cook a few things for the freezer. “No shame in playing freezer roulette on a regular basis,” she writes. For May, she offers penne tossed with pea pesto (the pesto recipe leaves you some for another dish) or roast salmon with snap peas and potatoes (Day 2 incorporates the salmon and peas with soba noodles and bok choy). Belanger is a delightful writer who understands your nightly pain. She and her husband have one fussy eater and one adventurous one. After a lot of planning, she says, “Predicting what your family will actually eat is similar to predicting the future. I can’t say I’ve solved the riddle, or that my children eat everything I make — they certainly do not. But I try to strike a balance of satisfying my own needs as a cook and eater with flavors and dishes that won’t totally gross out the boys.”



Sheryl Julian can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @sheryljulian.