Monday, February 16, 2009

How many days

I just recently found the blog Serious Eats. Very recently they had a discussion on what 20 dishes you need to know inorder to feed your family well for a month (figuring in eating out and pizza once a week). The discussion then came up, not to learn 20 dishes but to learn techniques which would open the door to lots of dishes.

When I first saw the title I thought.... 20 dishes would be boring! Not only that I'd have to have more then 20 because eating out and buying pizza is a rarity with my family size. I tend to think along the lines of categories when planning my meals. I try not to have pasta near another heavy starchy meal, a type of meat more then one day in a row, mixing meat heavy and non meat dishes evenly. Of course it's not always perfect, nor can I follow my rules all the time. Still I think it helps.

So I got to thinking....What would my monthly menu look like? Categories (and ideas that fall into those categories would include... (note...some meals fit multiple categories) I've included a link to the LOK recipe section for each category, when available, to give you more ideas.

Pizza...because I'd make it, not buy it

Convenience...because we wouldn't normally eat out...chicken nuggets, pizza rolls, snack night

Pasta...alfredo, goulash, pasta with sauce, raviolis, lasagna, baked ziti, mac and cheese

Rice...spanish rice, fried rice, taco bake, cheezy broccoli rice,

Beef/Venison...steak, hamburgers, beef and gravy, bbq beef/sloppy joe sandwiches, stir fry, tacos/fajitas

Pork...ham, chops, loin roast, bbq pork, stir fry, ribs and kraut,

Poultry...roast, lemon chicken, bbq, stir fry, bbq sandwiches, dump chicken, chicken and gravy, fajitas

Seafood...baked, broiled or fried (fish, shrimp, scallops), shrimp scampi, sauteed scallops

Sandwiches...lunchmeat/subs, grilled cheese, tuna, egg salad, egg, blts, tomato (summer favorite)

Soups and Stews...chili, beef stew, scalloped potato soup, broccoli, tomato, bean, veggies, and tons more

Casseroles...chili corn dog casserole, tater tot, shepard's pie, pot pie,

Non Meat/Vegetarian... salad (green, pasta, potato, mac), bean burritos, quesadillas, nachos, baked potato bar,

Breakfast... eggs and sausage, breakfast burritos, breakfast casserole, french toast, pancakes, waffles, egg mcmuffins, cereal, oatmeal

And you can't forget using your Crockpot on those really busy nights.

So there are 14 categories above, that's half the month taken care of! Pick two dishes from each category and you're done. Of course you're going to have some categories more then others. We tend to do pizza at least every other week, not once a month. Breakfast is almost every week lately since we're getting a lot of eggs from our chickens. Seafood is something I'd love to do more often but moneywise, isn't always doable. When you think broadly though, there are TONS of options to make meals interesting and easy.