Meals for a Month: October [Change: It’s inevitable…]

In most areas of my life I prefer order, lists, and structure.  It’s quiet ironic, actually, considering most of my adult life has been spent earning a living in creative capacities. Yet, I don’t quiet fit the stereotype of creative types. Actually, I don’t fit many stereotypes, but I digress.

Even though my natural bent is for systems & strategies, there’s a little streak inside of me that greatly appreicates spontaneity,  last-minute and flying by the seat of my pants, specifically when I am in my kitchen. You see, my kitchen is my creative space. It’s where I am free to try new things and make mistakes, take risks and not look back. Yet, I still like to have a plan. Recently, I’ve discovered my current menu-planning strategy was a bit too confining.  I needed more freedom and flexibility. Change was clearly in order.

I love to cook and spend copious amounts of time in my kitchen. However, since I home school my kids and work, every meal can’t be a creative conquest. Sometimes, it’s just about getting dinner on the table. Therefore, ease of preparation is just as important to me as nutritional content. Maybe more so since my husband often helps prepare dinner. I want to keep the help happy! 🙂

Personally, I’ve found organization to be essential. Maintaining a list of what I have on-hand  (or need to purchase) in my pantry, fridge and freezer provides me the tools to create nutritious and (hopefully) tasty meals for my family and friends. Along with favorite cookbooks and family recipes,  I have begun to rely heavily on my Pinterest boards. Going so far as to re-organize them into specific food categories. Overkill for some people, but necessary for me and how I plan and operate.

When meal planning, I try to include both family favorites and new recipes. Each week, I have nightly themes for the entrée, such as seafood, poultry, beef/pork, meatless, soup, breakfast for dinner and, of course, leftovers. (These categories correlate to my Pinterest boards, which speeds up the menu-planning process.) Below, I’ve listed a variety of meals in each category that we can select to prepare for dinner each evening. Will this new meal plan provide a simple structure that doesn’t squelch creative freedom and flexibility? We’ll see! 🙂

Meals for a Month: Octover 2012

Soups

Taco Soup with toppings (Olives, Cheese, Sour Cream, Tortilla Chips, Green Onions & Tomatoes)

Clam Chowder and Caesar Salad (Homemade Croutons)*

Black Bean & Pumpkin Chili with Bread

Crock pot Vegetarian Lentil Chili and Cornbread

White Bean and Sausage Soup (Everyday Food, page 113) with Rosemary Bread

Seafood

Salmon Burgers, Quinoa & Spinach Pilaf, & Sautéed Normandy Vegetables

Toasted Sesame Ginger Salmon, Couscous Pilaf & Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Tuna Croquettes, Not Your Mama’s Mac ‘n Cheese, and Green Beans

Blackened Tilapia Baja Tacos, Black Beans (cook in pressure cooker), & Mexican Street Salad

Shrimp and Cheesy Grits and Spinach Salad

Beef/Pork

Crock Pot Roast Beef & Veggies, Quinoa & Roasted Broccoli

Homemade Meat-Lovers Pizza & Veggie Tray w/ Dip

Bolognese Sauce & Pasta, Green Salad

Beef Tacos (add lentils, too), Spanish Rice, & Refried Beans (cook in pressure cooker)

Bobotie (Traci’s South African dish), Green Beans and Buttered Corn with Dill

Poultry

Yellow Chicken Curry, Basmati Rice, & Sauteed Vegetables

Jada’s Jambalaya, Sautéed Green Beans and Corn

(Almost) Mom’s Chicken ‘n Dumplings, Southern-Style Green Beans

Chicken Lettuce Wraps  and Fruit Salad

Meatless

Sloppy Lentils, Brown Rice & Roasted Broccoli

MujadaraMoroccan Carrot Salad with Paprika and Cumin & Cauliflower

Mama’s Pot of Beans with Pickled Peppers and Cornbread

White Beans and Kale over Quinoa

Moroccan Cauliflower and Lentils

Breakfast for Dinner

Biscuits and Egg Gravy, Sausage & Fruit

Waffles of Insane Greatness, Scrambled Eggs & Fruit

Bacon and Vegetable Quiche (pie crust recipe) and Fruit

Soaked Oatmeal Pancakes, Bacon & Fruit

Leftovers

5 dinners, plus lunches

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