July 26, 2012

Warm Months Menu

I don't know what the weather is like where you are, but right now we've been (not) enjoying temperatures above 100 degrees EVERY DAY.  Most of the time it's 105 or higher with the heat index taking it up another few notches.  It's hot.  Crazy hot.  So hot I miss the Texas heat.

And because it's hot I'm trying to avoid turning on my oven.  Ever.  Once it's on my kitchen feels like a, well, oven, and I'm miserable.  So, I've come up with a Warm Months Menu.  One that we will use while the weather is hot.  It tries to incorporate recipes that don't require the oven and instead relies on the crockpot, stove top (quickly) and/or lots of fresh fruits and veggies.  Basically we'll use this for 5 to 6 months out of the year and then we'll switch to our Cold Months Menu (yet to be written).  By switching only twice a year, I'll be able to stock up on those items I truly need.  I can also do one big grocery shop for all the canned/frozen goods for the month.  Or for 6 months!  I'll only need to make quick trips for produce now and then.  Yippee!

We're trying to cut down on our meat consumption so we've scheduled it twice a week, for a total of 10 meals in the month.  Most of the recipes I have listed, we've already tried and liked.  Some are new and will (hopefully) become a part of our regular rotation or they'll get booted and I'll try again next month. For some meals I have multiple recipes - like 4 recipes for black bean burgers.  We'll try the first one and if we like it we'll stop there.  If it's blah, we'll try a new one the next month until we find one we like.  I'll try to post the new recipes we like so this index stays current with the actual recipes we're using.

I'm working on a master shopping list as well.  I'll post that when it's done.  It will mostly contain the canned/frozen/meat items that can be stored longer term (freezer or pantry).  The produce will not be listed since it will depend on quality and season and which week we'll be eating that certain meal.

Pretty much every dinner meal we serve includes fruit and at least one veggie, usually 2.  I may or may not go back and add those in to each meal plan....I may just go by what's available at the store and (hopefully) my garden.

Meat recipes:
1.  Tacos - ground beef w/taco seasoning, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, cilantro, sour cream, avocado or guacamole, salsa, sweet hot chili sauce

2.  Hamburgers (or other "fire" foods - we have a Friday Fire every week) - we will probably try various different kinds of burgers

3.  Cafe Rio Salad (made in crockpot and rice cooker)

4.  Pasta Salad - we'll vary what meats we put in as well as the sauce we use - Italian, mayo-based, chicken, pepperoni, etc.

5.  Make Your Own Rice Bowls (rice cooker and meats either in crockpot or stove top - can also make up a large batch of meats and freeze in meal-sized portions for later months, or freeze leftover meats from other meals)

6.  Enchiladas Verdes

7.  Banh Mi Vietnamese Sandwiches (we may vary this with other types of sandwiches)

8.  Pad Thai - I actually have several recipes for Pad Thai to try.  I'll post the one we like best once we find it!

9.  Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad (we may alternate other types of restaurant knock-off salads - Asian, Southwestern, Shrimp & Bacon, etc)

10.  Eat out or Birthday Dinner - we have 6 people in the family, on the non-birthday month we'll go out to eat, on a birthday month we'll have a special birthday dinner chosen by the birthday person

Vegetarian recipes:
1.  Fried rice (make rice in slow cooker then finish on stove top or try a crockpot version) - use whatever veggies available

2.  Lo Mein

3.  Bean Tostadas - same ingredients as tacos listed above, with possible additions of rice, corn, whole beans, can use refried pinto or black beans

4.  Falafal (stove top, crockpot or toaster oven) - I have a bazillion falafel recipes Pinned.  Will post our favorite when we've tried them all.

5.  Make Your Own Salad with corn on cob or other "big veggie"

6.  Baked potatoes (in crockpot), salad

7.  Black Beans and Quinoa

8.  Breakfast (pancakes/waffles/french toast/toast w/eggs, smoothie, fruit, etc)

9.  Quinoa burgers - Again, I have a ton of recipes Pinned.

10.  Quinoa salad w/black beans, avocado and cumin-lime dressing

11.  Peanut Butter Noodles

12.   Out Chinese Spring Roll salad

13.  Navajo Tacos - I'll try to get this recipe posted soon.

14.  Smoothie with fruit to eat on the side, raw veggies and non-baked treat like homemade Lara Balls - we'll have this twice in a month

15.  Leftovers

16.  Black bean burgers (stove top or toaster oven) - several recipes to try

17.  Quesadillas, salsa, chips, Texas Caviar

18.  New recipe - two times a month, until we find our "keepers"