Thursday, June 7, 2012

Menu Planning: More practical ideas

Sometimes while planning menus, I get really inspired and it is quick and easy. Other times I am stumped.

But one thing that has helped is to categorize each meal by type in my mind.

1. Chicken
2. Beef/Venison
3. Seafood or Fish
4. Vegetarian (I try to do 2 per week)
5. Pork
6. Turkey
the list could go on....

Or you can categorize this way:
1. American/ Home-style
2. Mexican
3. Oriental
4. Italian
or any other style/type of dish

You don't want to leave out the fact that you need: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks, & Drinks.

Thinking in these categories when I start to plan always gets my brain rolling. If I can't think, I usually go to the internet and type, for example, "oriental recipes".
Or you could type "oriental vegetarian" to be more specific, or even go further than that and type "frugal oriental vegetarian recipes". The possibilities are endless.

Another idea is to flip through cookbooks or magazines. One thing I have done in the past and still do sometimes is to get a new cookbook from the library each time I go. I love getting vegetarian cookbooks. Vegetarian isn't as hard or weird as it seems. This seems like a "no-brainer", but you easily turn just about any recipe into a vegetarian meal by just leaving out the meat. I did that very thing with the recipe mentioned below. Michael and the kids love it!

You can categorize this one : "Meatless Mexican" (by the way... Mexican is easy to do meatless! Think... bean burritos, etc). It is good either way but I almost always leave out the hb meat.

Click below to go to the recipe:
Tortilla Chip Pie

She has a lot of great recipes.

I always keep the spices mentioned in her recipe stocked in my cabinets. So usually all I have to buy for this is cheese, beans, tomato sauce and chips. I try to cook all the dry beans asap after grocery day and freeze them into portions so that I can fix these types of dishes quickly.

P.S. I hardly ever add ham hocks or meat to my beans. They just don't require it. Most of the time, I only add 1/4 cup each of dry garlic, onion, and a couple tbsp of salt or bullion cubes and they are always good.

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