September recipes

I think it’s funny that a lot of my friends think I’m super organized when it comes to meal planning. The truth is that for about nine months of the year, I am scrambling around at 5 p.m. trying to scrape together various cans of this and whatever meat I can find in the fridge to come up with something edible before my kids start eating “chip sandwiches” because they are so hungry. (Yes, they do think that putting potato chips between two slices of bread counts as a meal.)

Many days, my husband will save the day by picking up some meat for the grill. At least once a week, I justify calling Papa John’s since it’s right around the corner, and they can cook dinner in less time than I can.

Finally, I hit rock bottom. I get mad at myself for not planning. I kick myself for not going to the grocery store. I scream at myself for my empty pantry. And when I get mad, I go overboard. I overcompensate by creating huge meal plans, cooking in bulk, freezing up a month’s worth of meals. And THAT is the part that you usually see here on the blog.

I’ve noticed from reading my own blog, that I tend to do this right around the time school starts. I also seem to get organized around Jan. 1 and then again right before summer starts. For those three months of the year, I am totally organized and my family loves me.

Well, I went on a meal-planning rampage this weekend. We were in the car for 12 hours, driving to and from a funeral. During the drive, I went through two of my favorite cookbooks and marked all of the recipes I want to try. Being the complete geek I am, I then tracked down those exact recipes on the web sites of the companies that published the cookbooks, and I e-mailed them to myself.

When I got home, I entered them into my profile on allrecipes.com. That’s when I discovered allrecipes.com has a ton of new features which I have never used! I signed up to become a “supporting member.” This means I can organize my recipes into meal plans by dragging them onto a calendar. I can also assign them to shopping lists, and print out exactly what I need to buy for that meal plan. I can save my menus, making it easy to repeat them later. I haven’t had this much geeky, obsessive excitement since I bought the game “Myst” for my first Macintosh computer back in 1992.

I found enough new recipes to complete my meal plan for both September and October. This means I could have TWO full months of organization before my life falls back into disarray.

In the past, I think I have overwhelmed myself with my meal planning by assigning myself a new recipe every day of the month. This time, I decided that every other day I would throw in a no-brainer. These are the foods I cook all of the time anyway. I usually have the ingredients. They require no thought and very little effort. But I still have to put them in my meal plan to remind myself what I’m supposed to cook that night.

A few people on Facebook asked me to share this list, so here goes. I am majorly motivated by words of affirmation, so let me know if you would like to see my October list, as well.

All of the recipes (other than the sloppy Joe and chili) are from one of two cookbooks: “Best-Loved Slow Cooker Recipes” or Pillsbury’s “Fast & Healthy Cookbook.” In other words, you can either make them in the crock pot or they are quick recipes.

They also are all “family friendly” to some extent. With the exception of two of the recipes, which are risky, I’m fairly certain my family will eat them.

Finally, this menu does not purport to be healthy, low-cal or fat free. The recipes include tons of sour cream, cream cheese and red meat. Side dishes around here are usually green beans, carrots, corn or fruit cut up into slices. It’s not fancy, but hopefully better than we would get from KFC or Papa John’s if I didn’t cook.

Well, I’m off to the grocery store to use the shopping list generated from my meal plan! In the meantime, let me know your meal-planning secrets. How do you decide what’s for dinner every night?

My September Menu

Hamburgers on the grill
Cream Cheese Chicken with Broccoli
Spaghetti
Curried Pumpkin Vegetable Soup (with salad for those who won’t try it!)
Tacos
BBQ pulled pork sandwiches
Pizza (frozen, home made or delivery)
Italian Beef
Rotisserie Chicken (from the grocery store deli)
Chicken Club Wraps
Sloppy Joe sandwiches
My Favorite Chili
Hot Dogs/ Chili dogs
Company Pork Chops
Honey Mustard Chicken Wings
Pancakes with chocolate chips
Chicken and rice in crock pot
Hamburgers on the grill
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Spaghetti
Round Steak
Tacos and/or bean burritos
Beef with Apples and Sweet Potatoes (I’m not sure about this one, but I want to try it!)
Pizza
Caribbean Chicken and Pineapple Salsa
Rotisserie Chicken (from the grocery store deli)
Chicken and Apple Clams
Sloppy Joe sandwiches
Turkey and Twists in Tomato Cream Sauce

aug2011emily

8 Responses

  1. How do you make your pulled pork, Sues? I usually just pour a bottle of BBQ sauce in the crock pot with the pork, but I'm going to try to add a few other ingredients this time! 🙂

  2. * Place a pork roast (1-4 lbs. depending on how much you want; it can be anything: a Boston Butt, or I always use a pork loin roast, b/c the crock pot makes it SO MOIST, you don't miss the fat) in a crock pot, and pour a can or two of any carbonated beverage over the roast. [I've used coke, orange drink, root beer, mt dew, etc. I think the key is the carbonation tenderizes the meat.]* Season with a few dashes of your favorite seasonings, (salt, pepper, etc. I just use Lawry's Seasoned Salt,) and cover the exposed pork with a layer of your favorite barbeque sauce. (Drench the whole thing, if you like, but just make sure the sides not covered by the beverage are coated, so they don't get tough & dried out.)* Cover and cook on high 6-7 hours.* After cooking, remove and shred the pork.* Either pour your favorite barbeque sauce over the meat, or use it for dipping, if you want a less saucy taste.I blogged about it here, too: http://castleblake.blogspot.com/2011/06/camp-que.html

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