november-30-pics-123planning our Thanksgiving menu

It seems like every week menu planning gets put to the back burner and by the time I get to it (usually the last minute on Sunday night when I’m exhausted), I stare at the blank page with menu planner’s block.

There are a lot of good menu planning resources out there and I don’t pretend to be the first to come up with any of these ideas. That being said, after evaluating the rhythm in our home I have found something that works for me. In this season of my life I am finding that if I need to do something once I’m going to need to do it again. That goes for food preparations such as chopping vegetables or browning meat ahead of time. It also works for menu planning.

During the summer and early fall months when we are getting a steady stream of fresh produce I like to wing my meals more often than planning them. What we eat is most often determined by what is available at the farmer’s market, in our CSA basket or even in our own garden. Now that winter is setting in and we aren’t getting any new produce I can more meticulously plan out our menus, which will save me time next week when I draw a blank again.

I wrote before about menu plan mapping. After evaluating what we have on hand and what we are wanting to eat during these colder months, I am making a few minor adjustments. Soup is now on the menu twice per week.

Since we are eating from the pantry, I have taken a basic inventory of the things we like to eat regularly – frozen meats, fresh, frozen and canned vegetables and fruits and dairy products. From this I know exactly how many roast chickens, cabbage salads, and beef roasts we will be eating between now and the end of the month. Then I simply fill in the blanks with the things we have plenty of – beans, grains, dried fruits, nuts and seeds.

My husband could eat the same thing over and over again and be completely content. I, on the other hand, really enjoy variety. Even if we are eating legumes a few times a week, I’d like for them to have a different flavor here and there. In order to accommodate these desires I will take our two week menu plan and repeat it for the following two weeks, changing up the soup combinations or throwing in a breakfast for dinner option. This way my husband gets to eat his beans (which he loves) and I get a bit of variety.

Week one.

Sunday
Breakfast: eggs, fruit
Dinner: roast chicken, basic millet, braised balsamic cabbage
Prep: soak pinto beans, start chicken stock in crock pot

Monday
Breakfast:millet with dried apples & milk
Dinner: pinto bean bowls with cheese, tomatoes & garlic; braised cabbage
Prep:thaw beef, soak millet, soak oats, bake coconut bread, make yogurt

Tuesday
Breakfast: baked oatmeal, coconut bread
Dinner: chicken curry over millet, roasted squash
Prep: grind & soak oats for biscuits, make extra millet & squash, place farm order

Wednesday
Breakfast: baked oatmeal, coconut bread
Dinner: italian meatball & spinach soup, oat biscuits
Prep: soak pinto beans

Thursday
Breakfast: baked oatmeal, milk, coconut bread
Dinner: fried beans & greens, autumn millet bake
Prep: cook beans (extra for chili & rice and beans), blend batter for cornbread

Friday
Breakfast: leftover autumn millet bake, milk
Dinner: chili & blender batter cornbread
Prep: thaw whole chicken for Sunday, prepare crock pot recipe

Saturday
Breakfast: leftover cornbread, eggs
Dinner: crock pot beans & rice
Prep: none. rest.

Week two

Sunday
Breakfast: eggs, fruit
Dinner: roast chicken, brown rice, green beans
Prep: soak beans, soak oats for granola

Monday
Breakfast: breakfast rice with milk and dried fruit
Dinner: black bean bowls with fixings
Prep:bake granola

Tuesday
Breakfast: granola with milk or yogurt
Dinner: chicken pot pie, roasted squash
Prep: soak lentils, grind & soak flour for bread, thaw beef, start sunflower seed sprouts

Wednesday
Breakfast: granola with milk or yogurt
Dinner: lentil soup, Irish soda bread
Prep: bake bread, prepare french toast b4 bed

Thursday
Breakfast: crock pot french toast
Dinner: meatloaf, coconut flour popovers, peas, carrot & sprout salad
Prep: soak navy beans, blend cornbread batter

Friday
Breakfast: eggs, leftover popovers
Dinner: navy bean soup, blender batter cornbread
Prep: thaw whole chicken for Sunday, prepare crock pot roast, make bread

Saturday
Breakfast: cornbread with apple butter, milk
Dinner: crock pot beef roast with veggies
Prep: none. rest.

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