Heading into the holidays, I can get easily overwhelmed. I try to get ahead of the stress and plan ahead. This year, I’ve made up my dinner menus to carry me straight through to the new year. I realized that since I have to battle the same battle with picky eaters and my own desire to feed healthy meals to my family that many mothers face. I thought some of you might like to skip the meal planning this month and just share mine. So, I’m posting my monthly menu of family meals here with links to all of the recipes.
Of course, you’ll still have to do the shopping and cooking. Sorry, I haven’t figured out the trick to saving you that trouble. Hint: You can buy all the ingredients that can be frozen in one big trip at the beginning of the month and just pick up fresh ingredients in quick weekly trips (when you’ll be dashing out for your baking needs and last-minute gifts anyway). Also, given the hectic pace of December, you’ll find a lot of crockpot meals and quick and easy dishes to help you get dinner on the table even when you don’t have much time.
Some notes about the menu:
- Every Monday is meatless.
- Each week includes at least one fish dish (typically on Wednesday).
- I tried to vary the type of protein, cuisine, and cooking style during each week so that you won’t get bored having similar things (although in light of the season, I omitted grill recipes).
- Not all of these meals are going to score a 10 for health factor. I believe strongly in moderation. It’s much easier to live a healthy lifestyle if you allow yourself occasional indulgences.
- On night’s when the vegetable isn’t one that all the kids love, I also set out a small veggie platter (celery, carrots, red bell pepper, and mushrooms) before dinner for them to snack on.
- My husband and I like to eat leftovers for lunch, so I don’t have a built-in day for leftovers. If you know you throw out a lot of leftovers, omit one of the meals and insert leftovers as the meal.
- Due to the higher expenses associated with the holidays, I did not include ANY days for eating out. In an average month though, we eat out at least once or will order in.
- For ease and convenience (not to mention health and well-being), I use Uncle Ben’s Whole Grain medleys, Stove Top Whole Wheat Stuffing, and Barilla Plus pasta (I’m not getting paid to say that–I really do love them!).
- Also, for convenience, I mostly buy frozen vegetables so that: 1) I always have them on hand and 2) I don’t have to worry about using them before they go bad so I can adjust the menu more easily when needed.
2 – Corn Chowder, Salad
3 – Chicken Lo Mein
5 – Pulled Pork, Coleslaw, Steamed Corn
8 – Pot Roast with Vegetables, Baked Sweet Potatoes
9 – Stuffed Acorn Squash, Salad
11 – Parmesan Tilapia, Steamed Spinach, Wild Rice
13 – Fajitas, Spanish Rice
14 – Swiss Chicken, Green Beans
15 – Baked Kabobs, Corn on the Cob
16 – Artichoke Lasagna
17 – Chicken Noodle Soup
18 – Tuna Muffins, Salad
21 – Crockpot Ribs, Baked Beans, Coleslaw
22 – Gumbo, Brown Rice
24 – Beef Brisket, Mashed Potatoes, Peas
25 – Island Spice Pork Tenderloin, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Steamed Broccoli
27 – Roast Chicken with Vegetables, Stuffing
30 – Black Bean Fritters, Salad