Each month, I sit down and create a dinner menu for the following month. This serves several purposes. I'm so busy, sometimes I feel like I'm losing my mind. Knowing in advance what we'll be having for dinner is a lifesaver. It also helps me grocery shop as efficiently as possible. This lovely little family isn't made of money, and I love to coupon, so saving money is always an accomplishment.
This month just happens to be "clean out the deep freeze" month. Because I like to make large batches of food (make the mess once, ask The Man the clean it up once LOL), I freeze a LOT of food. So every now and then, it's a bit of an adventure to find things that have been sacrificed to the bottom of the freezer. It's also a good way to prevent losing food to freezer burn.
I've also adopted a vegetarian diet this month...and hopefully, it will continue...so you will find my vegetarian options in the menu. My decision was based, in part, on the fact that our babe doesn't eat meat yet, so I decided I wouldn't either. If it can sustain her healthy, rapidly growing body, it can sustain me. I won't get into the other factors that influence my decision, as most of them are probably fairly personal and possibly controversial.
So anyway, nothing fancy here...I firmly believe that true health comes from whole food...not "health food", so I hope you're not "dieting" :)
Sunday: Stir fry over rice - I'm slowly phasing out white rice around here. The Man and I aren't particularly fond of brown rice, so I've mixed a bag of brown rice into a container of white rice. As the supply diminishes, I will continue to add brown rice to the container with the hopes that eventually, our palates will adapt and the white rice will be gone. Time will tell...
Monday: Meatloaf (recipe below), mashed potatoes & salad - A mixture of ground pork and ground beef gives meatloaf (and meatballs, for that matter) a bit more dimension of flavor than just one type of meat. Therefore, I use a 50/50 mixture of the two. The mashed potatoes are always made with real, unsalted butter and milk, though sometimes, if I'm feeling especially indulgent, I'll use heavy cream. :) I know, I know...you're probably asking how this is healthy. The cream is definitely not the healthiest option, but I don't do it often. It's like a treat. And I would much rather use real butter than a laboratory concoction that resembles butter. We. Like. Butter. :) I will most likely have a salad for dinner instead of meatloaf...and probably some mashed potatoes.
Tuesday: Tacos/black bean and corn quesadillas & Mexican rice - Tuesday is almost always Mexican night at our house...and it's usually tacos. This week, I will make use of some pork shoulder I roasted previously and froze, with homemade taco seasoning (recipe below), for The Man. And I've been on a quesadilla kick lately, so I'll have a quesadilla.
Wednesday: Cheeseburgers/falafel & fries - Wednesday nights are almost always burger nights (we're pretty predictable people). The Man will have a regular cheeseburger with all the fixin's, and I will try my hand at making falafel. I love falafel, but I've never made it myself. This should be an adventure! (If it's good, I'll post a recipe.) I've also bought everything I need to make tzatziki...the store-bought stuff just doesn't cut it!
Thursday: Fettucini alfredo, salad & garlic bread - More Butter!! And Cream! And how about some parmesan?! Sounds like heaven to me! This is The Man's favorite meal.
Friday: I'm off duty! Friday is typically pizza night, date night, or leftovers, so I'm usually off duty anyway. I've been dying to recreate Papa Murphy's Chicken Bacon pizza...without the chicken and bacon, of course. The Man will have his with pepperoni.
Saturday: BBQ pork, macaroni and cheese & salad - More of the pork shoulder paired with homemade macaroni and cheese. I'm doing with pasta what I'm doing with rice...so I've mixed white and whole grain pasta to help us adjust. And again, I will have a Greek salad instead of the pork.
As you can see, we like comfort food, and I do what I can to make the dishes as healthy as possible without replacing ingredients with fake food. We don't do fat free, sugar free or low carb. Those foods are riddled with chemicals to replace the fat, sugar and carbs. And I just can't bring myself to feed my family fake food.
Ok, now for a few recipes...Mangia Bene!
1/2 lb lean ground beef
1/2 lb ground pork
1 packet onion soup mix (I cheat a bit here)
1 egg, beaten
1/2 c rolled oats
1/4 c ketchup
2 T A1 steak sauce
Combine the beef, pork, soup mix, egg and oats until everything is incorporated. Press evenly into a loaf pan.
In a separate bowl, combine the ketchup and A1. Spread evenly over the meat mixture.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes.
(equivalent to one packet)
3 T chili powder
1/2 T ground cumin
1 t granulated garlic
1 t granulated onion
1/2 t ground black pepper
1 t kosher salt (optional)
red pepper flakes to taste
Combine all ingredients.