Friday, November 9, 2012

Why Didn't I think of That?!

Last Saturday, I read an amazingly practical post from Judith of Whole Hearted Home. (here) She wrote about meal planning, grocery shopping and her game plan for doing those things. And one of her ideas was a total "ah-ha" for me.

Make a list of 30 meals your family regularly eats. So simple. So helpful.

(before I go any further, I would recommend checking out Judith's blog. She has the heart of a Titus 2 older woman. "teach the younger women to love their husbands, their children and their homes." That's how she writes her blog. You may just be encouraged)

This is what I find happens when I go to make my two week menus...I hit a brain fog, and can't remember what in the world we eat. 'Cause obviously we DO eat-week in, and week out.

So, I tend to rely on about 15-20 old stand-bys, until I get bored out of my gourd, which then causes me to start perusing cookbooks for new recipes.

My personal library of Cookbooks. I use them all...
How much more convenient to have a list of 30-40 meals that my family regularly eats, as well as where they are found, and what odd ingredients they take? Odd would be things that I don't have in the house week by week. Or simply the amounts, so I know if I have enough cheese to cover macaroni and potato soup.

I've done this on a small scale for new recipes I want to try. But this is going to be helpful for everything.

Then, when it comes to menu planning I can pick a variety, revisit some forgotten favorites, and work in some new recipes to try.

Here is my list. I've included links for recipes I have shared. I'll be popping it in a spreadsheet so I can easily add to it. *denotes new recipe
Found this beauty for $2 at Goodwill. Perfect for a November cup of tea.

1) Chicken Scarpariello (here)- chicken thighs, cherry tomatoes, brats, cremini (fwnd)
2) Chicken Coq'au'Vin- chicken thighs, red wine, pearl onions, white mushrooms (fwnd)
3) Green Chile Skillet Chicken- bschk, green chiles, fresh cilantro, ch. tom (fwnd99)*
4) Slow Cooker Latin Chicken- thighs, chipotle chilies adobo sauce, black beans, roasted red pepper,
2 lbs sweet potato, fresh cilantro (fwnd119)
5) Greek Lasagna- lasagna noodles, feta, shrimp, fresh parsley (fwnd 219)*
6) Chicken Enchiladas (here)- bschk, salsa, tortillas, cheese
7) Poppy Seed Chicken(here)- bschk, sour cream, poppy seeds, butter crackers, cream soup (f-it, e-it)
8) Sausage Tomato Soup- sausage, gr pepper, salsa, m cheese (f-it, e-it 64)*
9) Pot Roast- beef roast, cream soup, carrots, onion soup mix, wine
10) Shepherd's Pie- gr. beef, cream soup, potatoes
11) Mac'n'cheese- pasta, 6 c cheese (red check)
12) Sloppy Joe- gr. beef, tomato sauce, ham. buns
13) Pulled Pork- pork, buns, wine, tomato paste
14) Sausage & Saur Kraut- (self explanatory)
15) Beef Stroganoff-beef roast, mushrooms, cream soup, s cream (f-it, e-it 74)
16) Porky Pine Meatballs-gr. beef, tomato soup (red check)
17) Lasagna-noodles, m cheese, p cheese, cottage cheese, sauce
18) Spaghetti- gr beef, t sauce, t paste, gr. pepper
19) Burritos- gr. beef, y cheese, tortillas, t paste, brown gravy mix, taco seasoning, chili beans
20) Meatball Sub Casserole- meatballs, m cheese, sp sauce, cr cheese, fr bread (f-it, e-it 83)
21) Tuna Casserole- tuna, pasta, cream soup
22) Pork Pitas- pork, pitas, gr. pepper, mayo, lemon juice
23) Scalloped Potatoes & Ham- ham, potatoes, milk, cheese
24) Chicken Marengo- chicken, gr pepper, mush., egg noodles, black olives (f-it, e-it 99)
25) Chicken Angelo- chicken, mushrooms, m cheese (f-it, e-it 102)
26) Chicken Scallopine- chicken, mushrooms, bacon (f-it, e-it 104)
27) Edie's Paella- bsch, it. sausage, black, pinto, gr. northern, fr rosemary (f-it, e-it 107)
28) Spinach Pesto(here)- spinach, chicken, pasta, pine nuts, p cheese, olive oil (f-it, e-it 128)
29) Pork Tenderloin- pork, pepper, mushroom, t sauce, pasta,
30) Spaghetti-t. sauce, t. paste, gr. pepper, noodles, gr beef
31) Champagne Chicken(here)- chicken, shallots, linguine, champagne, tarragon
31) Pasta, Chicken, Feta, Kalamata,
32) Orecchiette w/ Spicy Sausage(here)- pasta, sausage, spring onion, ch. tomatoes, par. cheese, cr. mushrooms
33) Souvlaki-pork, onion, peppers, soy sauce, lemons
34) Ravioli- ravioli, apples, walnuts, par. cheese,
35) Chicken Chili (here)- chicken, gr. tabasco, cream, gr. chilies, gr. n beans, black beans
36) Mixed Bean Chili (here)- chicken, bl beans, pinto, gr. northern, salsa
37) Stuffed Chicken(here)-thighs, feta, cr, cheese, kalamata olives
38) Chicken Provencal- bschk, bacon, wh wine, kal. olives
39) Mediterranean Chicken-bschk, kal olives, cherry tomatoes,
40) Pork Tacos- gr. pork, mango, red onion, fr. cilantro, chipotle in adobo, mj cheese, lime juice, lettuce
41) Chicken Soup-thighs, carrots, egg noodles
42) Bean Soup-Ham bone, navy beans, carrots
43) Pea Soup-ham bone, peas, carrots
44) Charro Beans-dry pinto, bacon, gr pepper, Mexican beer, cilantro
45) Beef Rogan Josh-beef, Rogan josh seasoning, yogurt, tomato, cucumber
46) Chicken Curry-chicken, t paste, yogurt, fresh ginger, tomato, cucumber
47) Golden Chicken-chicken, green olives, lemon, rice
48) Beef Pie-gr beef, potato, veg., gravy or cream soup, pie crust
49) Chicken and rice (here)- chicken, rice, cream soup, onion soup mix
50) Chicken Tacos-chicken, corn, black beans, limes, cilantro
51) Potato Soup(here)-potato, dill, sour cream, y cheese, bacon

All set for a couple hours of WC audit prep...tea, water, M&Ms, highlighter, bank statements, archaic computer
Okay, peeps, so these are all recipes we have had at least once-if not much more than that, in the past year. (except for the 3 new ones I want to try) And that doesn't include my summer recipes. We have quite a bit of variety in our diet. Using all these recipes, we could eat probably almost 2-1/2 months without repeating a recipe.

Moral of the story...we eat a ton of chicken. Probably well over half these recipes contain chicken. But its cheap. So, its okay. My family hasn't complained.

Now I am all ready to make my list on Monday. I can pick several recipes we haven't had in a while. Oh, except its Thanksgiving this shopping cycle, so that will be a bunch of traditional recipes, that only see the light of day this time of year.

I want to challenge you to make your own list of recipes. Try for 20-30 to work into a regular rotation. Pick 5 new recipes to try this winter and plan to work them into your menu once every week or two.

Here's a new one to get you started...

1 pound sausage ravioli
2 T olive oil
1/2 c walnuts, roughly chopped
1 crisp apple (such as Braeburn or Gala) cut into match sticks
1/2 c fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
kosher salt and black pepper
1/4 grated Parmesan

-Cook ravioli according to package directions.
-Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add walnuts and cook 4-5 minutes stirring often, until lightly toasted and fragrant.
-Add the apple, parsley, 1/2 t salt, 1/4 t pepper and toss to combine. Spoon over ravioli and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Quick (20 minutes total) and delicious. Serves 4.

Arrived from Dance Parties in the Rain, right during paperwork time. Perfect reward for sticking too it.

Have you ever made a list of regularly used recipes? How often do you try a new recipe? What recipe do you yourself find making over and over again, just because it is easy? 

Share your making a menu ideas in the comments so we all can learn from each other. Have a wonderful weekend!