Monday, August 8, 2011

Simplifying Meals: Master Menu Plan

I've become pretty lax this summer with menu planning, cooking and grocery shopping. As I look to the fall and the demands on our time, I want to make the most of my time in the kitchen and at the grocery store. So, I need a plan that will be a guide with lots of room for flexibility.

We'll see how it goes, but here's what I'm thinking. There will always be a fruit and/or vegetable offered with each meal, and sometimes bread.

Master Menu Plan (I have it in an easier to read chart, but unfortunately it does not transfer with good results.)
breakfast - oatmeal & fruit
lunch - sandwiches
dinner - cook's choice
prep - make yogurt

breakfast - waffles
lunch - salad
dinner - chicken

breakfast - toast & eggs
lunch - mac & cheese
dinner - pasta or Mexican
prep - baking

breakfast - cereal or granola
lunch - snack lunch
dinner - beans & rice, potato bar or leftovers
prep - clean the kitchen

breakfast - free for all
lunch - quesadillas
dinner - pizza & salad

breakfast - muffins & smoothies
lunch - sandwiches or leftovers
dinner - grilling

breakfast - scrambled eggs or omelets
lunch - freezer or crockpot meal or dining out
dinner - soup
prep - make bread

Chewy Ginger Cookies

This is a new fave at our house. Recipe compliments of my sweet friend Kristel.

Chewy Ginger Cookies

Cream together:
3/4 C. shortening (I used Smart Balance sticks)
1 C. sugar
Then mix in:
1 egg
1/4 C. molasses
1 t. vanilla
Then add in:*
2 C. flour (I've used more than half whole wheat with good results)
1 t. cinnamon**
1 t. ginger
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. cloves (never added this as I never have it on hand)

When dough is mixed, roll into 1 inch balls and roll in sugar. Place dough balls on cookie sheet (no need to press down as they spread while baking). Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes. They will not look done, but as they cool they will firm up. Cool on cooling rack and store in an airtight container. Yield: 3-4 dozen


*I'm a recipe rebel and have a good mixer so I rarely do the wet bowl/dry bowl thing. I start with the wet ingredients, mix well and add the dry ingredients. If you prefer, do a wet ingredients bowl and a dry ingredients bowl, mix each bowl, then mix together.
**Tip: Costco cinnamon is awesome and economical.