{January} Meals for a Month


New year, new menu plan. Not forgetting to mention that I almost completely fell off the menu planning wagon during the month of December. December is always a super-full month, and we had quite a bit going on between work, music performances and fun family and friends events! Nevertheless, it’s time to get going again. For me, menu planning really does help me get dinner on the table, especially those evenings that I work. Not to mention, having a plan truly does save our family a lot of money when it comes to food.

A couple of weeks ago, when I was planning this menu, I almost forgot that I’d be out of town for a quasi-work trip. Let me clarify: It’s only a quasi-work trip because although I will most definitely be working (thanks to my mobile office: satchel full o’ files and my handy dandy laptop.), in reality, I am merely tagging along so I can hear my super-awesome husband speak at a conference! And y’all know when you go out of town, there’s all sorts of lists to make and things to plan and prepare….and food to use up! Because if you don’t you come back to…..A GIFT!

I know you know what I’m talking about. At one time or another, you all have received the gift of which I speak. You know it: the stinky fridge gift. It’s that funky, nasty, moldy, gross food that you forgot to use up before you hit the road. Uh-huh! Ain’t nobody got time for that mess. In order to make sure I didn’t come home to that nice little stinky surprise, over the last few days, I declared it to be an eat-whatever-is-in-the-fridge-night for most every meal. Therefore, we have been eating some interesting combinations for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And ya know, some weren’t all that bad. But others? Well, bless my poor family’s hearts! And I mean that in the most sincere way possible, not in the Sassy Southern way! Remember, I’m southern, I know all about the real meaning of that particular phrase!

Seriously, my family has been ever so gracious to eat whatever I put in front of them. So much so that there is practically nothing, nada, zilch left in the innards of the refrigerator. You think I jest, but if you were to look into my fridge, you wouldn’t see much. In fact, other than the goodies that I purchased for a shower I am hosting after church tomorrow, about all you would find is a few eggs, a bag of carrots, two or three apples, a grapefruit, a container of plain yogurt and half a carton of almond milk. Oh, and condiments, lots and lots of condiments.

Basically, it’s empty! I mean it’s one thing when your kids say, “There’s nothing to eat!” But when you find yourself saying that, it’s not good! And we all know what that means! It means I am going to have to make a serious grocery run when I get home!  Yea?!?!?! Costco will be seeing my face! The Shopping Queen, I am not, so I will have to make sure I select non-peak hours for that little adventure!  I mean, my family has to eat, so I will be brave and take on the Food Zoo for their sakes.

Although my fridge may be bare, both my pantry and freezer are full. Therefore, the January’s menu primarily consists of items contained therein! So that’s sort of makes me wonder: How long could we go without a trip to the grocery store? Hmm…maybe I should find out! Nah, the kids need their fruits and veggies. Actually, we all do. My tribe goes through a serious amount of produce each month. So, I won’t get away with not shopping for too long after we return home.

Anyhoo, here’s what we might be eating the month of January! I say might because even though the planner-me is thrilled by this plan (both the creation and execution), the rebel-me deviates from the plan quite often! I find it’s rather freeing to kick the plan to the curb. And, well, since my Word of the Year for 2015 is FREE, I might as well continue to go with that theme, eh!? 🙂

You’ll notice that some of the recipes are mine, but most are recipes that I found online and include ingredients that I have on-hand in my pantry and freezer! Some, we eat and enjoy all the time. Others, we have never tried before, and may not try again depending upon how they turn out. Let me know if you try any of these and what you think.

Clam Chowder, Creamy Tomato Soup,  Mama’s Pot of Beans*,  Chicken Noodle Soup (substitute turkey)

Meatless Meals:
Mujadara,  Penne with Roasted Tomatoes, Garlic & White Beans

Moroccan Chicken Thighs w/ Lemon & Olives*Chicken and Dumplings (substituting turkey),  Herb-Roasted Chicken Thighs, Slow Cooker Sticky Drumsticks*

Red Curry Poached Cod, Roast Cod w/ Garlic Butter,  Butter-Basted Halibut Steaks with Capers, Crawfish Étouffée, Cajun Shrimp Caesar Salads

Crockpot Pork Tenderloin*, Crockpot Roast Beef w/ Vegetables* Homemade Chili-Cheese Hamburger Helper, Swedish Meatballs, Spaghetti with Meatballs and Red Sauce*, Grilled Steaks, Pasta Carbonara, Kale, Sausage, Lentil Skillet

Freezer Meals:
Turkey-Sausage Gumbo, Taco Soup, Caribbean Dump Chicken Meals

Vegetables,  Side Dishes & Salads:
Roasted Broccoli, Green Beans, Sugar Snap Peas, Carrots, Roasted Brussels Sprout, Green Beans, Baked Potatoes, Sautéed Kale w/ Garlic, Corn, Honey-Dill Carrots, Parmesan Roasted Butternut Squash, Couscous Pilaf, English Peas, Quinoa, Various Salads, Brown Rice, Veggie Tray w/ Hummus

Pancakes, Smoothies, Hot/Cold Cereal, Eggs/Bacon or Sausage, Fruit with Cottage Cheese, Baked Oatmeal, Homemade Muffins and Fruit, Sweet Potato Scones, Biscuits and Gravy, Toad in the Hole,  Shakshuka, Breakfast Bread and Fruit, Toad-in-the-Hole, Slow-Cooker Steel Cut Oats* (use homemade pear butter)

No-Knead Bread, 30 Minute Rolls, Maple-Bacon Sugar Cookies, Pumpkin Bread, Banana Bread/Muffins, Zucchini Bread

Quinoa Bites, Veggies and Hummus,  Sliced Apples and Peanut Butter, Monkey Plate (fruit), Granola Bars, Cheese, Energy Bites (NaNa’s recipe), Smoothies, No-Bake Cookies

*Crockpot Recipe


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