So as I sat the next Tuesday night, painfully trying to put together a menu and shopping list for the week, I realized that although I don't think twice about my standby's, they might be new to someone else. Someone like you. I immediately listed 15 off the top of my head, so proud of that, and then edited for variety to give you 7 days of maybe-different-than-you-always-make dinners. Fall always seems to bring tight scheduling, so it might be nice to have at least one week of meal planning done for you! A short word on that (meal planning). I've visited this before, but I know you don't want to go back in the archives. Here is how I kind of do it:
- I keep a file folder of all the scribbled weekly meal plans I've made over the last two years or so, so I often turn to that for ideas. The recipes you'll get this week feature often on those papers.
- I also usually try to do one slow cooker dish a week. I have a binder of crockpot recipes that I collect from everywhere - magazines, online, friends, cookbooks. Believe it or not, I have been trying new ones ever since Slow Cooker Week two years ago, and still don't have enough good ones for another Slow Cooker Week. But I keep at it. Once in awhile there is a gem. When I get seven, I'll let you know.
- One night is always leftovers. If there are no leftovers in the house, which is rare, it is hot dogs or pancakes or grilled cheese or whatever else can be thrown together.
- I subscribe to a few cooking magazines. When they come, I flip through and tear out recipes I like. Then I file them in a hanging file box. It's more fun to go through the file box than a cookbook because I already know I like every recipe.
- Spaghetti or pancakes every Monday night. On paper plates. Or else we would never have Family Home Evening.
- Finally, I have a new favorite cookbook - America's Test Kitchen's The Best 30-Minute Recipes. These guys make great magazines and great cookbooks and I have had a lot of success with this one, though I've only had it a few months. So I often pull one or two recipes from there. The ingredients are generally simple, they do not take long to make, and so far they've all turned out well.
Ashley's Black Bean & Avocado Salad
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 oz.) can corn, drained
1 red pepper, minced
1/2 red onion, minced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Dash cayenne pepper
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/8 cup olive oil
2 avocados, cubed
Salt and black pepper to taste
Combine first 8 ingredients (black beans through cumin) in a large bowl. In a small lidded container shake lime juice and olive oil until blended; pour over salad. Add avocados, salt and pepper just before serving and toss gently with clean hands. Serve with tortilla chips and some awesome drink, like Coconut Lime Chiller.
Coconut Lime Chiller
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup lime sherbet
1/4 cup frozen limeade concentrate (not thawed or diluted)
Lime slices and/or mint, optional
Place milk, sherbet and concentrate in a blender; blend until smooth. Pour into frosted glasses; garnish with lime slices or mint. Makes two servings.