I love this time of year. Although it is a little sad to see summer go, there is so much to look forward to. I love that everyone is on a schedule again. That being said, our people will be expecting dinner at a more regulated time, every night. What to make?
Once again, I go back to that well stocked pantry. It's a great idea when cooking, to make extra and freeze. It is much easier and energy efficient to make extra than to make that entire meal all over again, it's incredibly "green". It is a great relief when you've had a busy day to simply pull something delicious out of your freezer. You will be so proud of yourself! (I will too!)
I find it very necessary to plan ahead. No one wants to be thinking of what to make at 5 or 6:00 when everyone is starving! This makes for expensive trips to the grocery store, take out, eating out, or drive through. You will notice that each week I post a weekly menu. That's my plan for the week. I list what I'll be making on the left side of my note book, then I make my shopping list down the right side. I also do a quick inventory of what I have. It only takes a few minutes and can save you money. I also categorize my shopping list; dairy, meats, fresh produce, frozen. This way you won't be walking up and down the isles backtracking. (I've been known to wander aimlessly!) This will save you valuable time.
You will notice that I plan for four nights. We usually will go out one night a week. I may serve a leftover pasta with a salad or leftover chicken with a different side dish, like the Tomato Garlic Spaghetti. Using up your leftovers is also very green. I find it very painful to waste food, especially when there are so many who go without. If you have something you've made and you have quite a bit leftover, freeze it! If you don't know what to do with something or want ideas, by all means, EMAIL ME! I would be happy to help you.
When you sit down to plan your menu for the week, try not to overwhelm yourself with hugely complicated recipes. If you have some favorites of your own, plan for those, they're familiar and won't take too much brain power. Why not try something new once a week, if you love the recipe, put it into your rotation. Some of my family fav's are Parmesan Encrusted Chicken Breast, Simple Rigatoni with Meat Sauce, and Oven Fried Chicken, (listed in the right hand column under archived recipes) just to name a few. The Parmesan Encrusted Chicken and the meat sauce for the rigatoni can both be frozen. The following week you could just pull it out of the freezer:-)
I hope you are enjoying the beautiful weather. I am ready to crank up the oven for baking...get ready to put your apron on !