Monday is my shopping day so I plan my menu to go until Mondays and begin on Tuesdays. Obviously, you will plan your menu dates for what works for you. My current menu layout is basic and allows for you to write in what day the calendar will begin a new week on and add in numbers.
Here is my monthly menu plan template. I fill this in and record my menu for the week on here. I keep in a clear plastic sleeve on the refrigerator. feel free to change it how you like. I hope you can use it.
1. Roasted chicken (salt roasted), rice and vegetable.
- the chicken is roasted using the salt roasting method: rinse, clean chicken to personal standards. very generously salt the chicken in every crevice ( in wing creases, leg creases, neck cavity and body cavity) do this on the skin and not under it.
- truss the chicken. (simply take some butchers twine and tie the legs together so that they are not flopping all over) next bend the wings back and tuck them in behind the chicken so they are close to the body.
- chicken is cooked breast up, add a bit of salt to top of chicken since you shook it all off. Bake at 400. a roast chicken usually takes an hour but wait until it reaches an internal temp of 165 degrees.
- plain rice is fine but why not spice it up a bit? make it with broth instead of water. maybe add some herbs or peas.
2. Meat loaf, Potato (baked or mashed), Salad.
- meat loaf is easy and awesome, you can use this opportunity to use up left overs. add any rice or vegetables left from last night. chop the vegetables small so that they blend in well
- first add you meat to the bowl, any kind of ground meat will do. Add some egg, bread crumbs, salt and pepper. this is basic. it will do but do you really want it to just do? give it some pizazz! dried thyme and oregano are nice. Add mustard powder or some dijon. a dash of worcestershire sauce, some Tabasco or cayenne.
- Form loaf on a lined baking sheet. I have a silicone mat that i love to death! nothing will stick to that sucker.
- place meat loaf on the middle rack of a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees.
- You may wonder when is this loaf of meat done? good question, its done when its done. your loaf size will differ from another as will your oven. invest in a thermometer and periodically when you are wondering if its done just stick it in and see. I have a thermometer that i can stick into my food item and it has a cord on it that connects to a reader that i can stick next to my oven. it has a timer and will tell me when my food reaches the desired temp. SWEET…
- It’s up to you if you like a topping on your meat loaf. I’d have to say that the best topping is what ever you feel like at the moment. try slathering the top with ketchup about 2/3 of the way through cooking. if you like a gravy, just make a brown gravy. for a brown gravy just make a roux. A roux is just equal parts of fat and flower, use what ever fat you like: butter, bacon fat, lard. what ever floats your boat. let your roux cook for a minute, stir stir stir. When your ready slowly add in your stock, beef or chicken or what ever you have available to use. Whisk constantly while adding in the stock. bring it to a boil and turn down. No exact measurements here, i’m incapable. Cooking is feeling for me. if your gravy isn’t thick enough, use corn starch. just get some cold water in a bowl, just a bit. add a spoon full of corn starch, mix until dissolved.
3. Taco salad.
- I like chicken, here is my recipe. saute some onions, i cut them in half moons (google it) this allows them to break down during the cooking process and lend the most flavor. I add some roughly chopped garlic to the sauteing onions and when this is done put it in the crock. add some tomato paste, bay leaf, salt and pepper, stock (just level with chicken), oregano, pinch of cayenne, paprika, cumin. if you have some on hand throw in some cilantro and parsley. Here is a link to a recipe that has an enchilada sauce which has for ever changed the way I cook mexican food. Seriously, this has influenced me and taken my food up a notch. it seems simple but will knock your socks off! its a great base to allow your creativity to flow. http://www.thegardengrazer.com/2012/03/black-bean-spinach-enchiladas.html
- let this cook until the meat easily shreds. take remaining juices and reserve for rice. add some oil to a skillet and add the rice, cook a bit and pour in the chicken juices (everything, bay leaf and herb stems). add enough for the rice recipe, bring to boil, turn to low and put on lid. cook until done.
- warm some tortillas and place in bowl, add rice, chicken, if you like beans then add them. Lettuce, cheese, pico (tomato dice, jalapeno dice, cilantro, lemon juice, salt and pepper). guacamole, we like plain yogurt instead of sour cream. sky is the limit, do whatever floats your boat!
4. Manicotti pasta, Italian salad
- Surf the internet for a manicotti filling you like. I did this one and we really liked it: http://www.recipegirl.com/2011/02/21/spinach-and-cheese-stuffed-manicotti/
- Stuff the raw manicotti pasta with the filing and pour over spaghetti sauce. top with cheese and bake covered and at the end take off foil cover and brown the cheese a bit. this is similar to lasagna but better because it is so much easier to make.
- for the italian salad: dice up some romaine lettuce, use canned three bean salad, tomatoes, banana pepper, olives, salami, cheese. top with favorite salad dressing. We love Opa brand ranch dressing.I tried to model this salad after the one from Mary’s Pizza Shack. I miss Mary’s, unfortunately we don’t have one here in Utah so I have to make due.
5. Sweet and spicy chicken served over raw cabbage with white rice.
- here is the recipe I used for the sweet an spicy chicken. Click on the link to the Asian BBQ sauce, BOY it is yummy! I didnt use the whole recipe, I ended up putting it in the freezer and using for a second dinner late on. I heartily recommend. http://www.laurenslatest.com/grilled-asian-sweet-and-spicy-chicken-skewers-over-brown-rice/. After marinating the chicken and putting on skewers, I grilled on the BBQ. I served this with white rice topped with shredded cabbage and placed the skewers on top. it is simple but fancy.
6. Chicken Parmesan, Kale Cesar salad.
- I pounded my chicken breasts thin, seasoned with salt and pepper and then coated with seasoned (salt/pepper) flour and next dipped in beaten egg seasoned, and finished by dipping in the flour again. Fry the chicken in a bit of oil, enough to go about half way up the chicken.
- Boil pasta noodles of choice, I used linguine.
- place chicken in baking dish, top with marinara, place cheese on top of each piece of chicken (I used mozzarella and Parmesan). When sauce is hot and cheese is melted and browned, place pasta on a plate and ladle sauce on top then place on a piece of chicken. You can do this recipe a thousand ways, this is how I did it. feel free to be creative. its yours so do it your way.
- Here is a great recipe for a ranch dressing that doesn’t use mayo. http://wellnessmama.com/2875/easy-ranch-dressing/ Just add some anchovies (I like the paste in the tube) and some lemon juice.
- cut up your kale how ever you like and add some thinly sliced red onions, toss with a bit of the dressing (what ever is a good amount to you. Plate a good serving size and add some sliced tomatoes and top with a bit of grated Parmesan and fresh ground pepper.
7. chicken Alfredo, bread, salad
- Alfredo is something that sounds hard but is really very easy.
- first, set some water to boil for the pasta. Then, season your chicken with salt and pepper and grill it (save a pan, use the BBQ). Next saute some finely diced onion and garlic until the onion becomes translucent, don’t let it burn. Fourth, pour in your heavy cream and add some butter. OH YEAH! let the good times ROLL! let this simmer a bit and add your chicken back into it. add some pepper, wait on adding any salt.
- grate some Parmesan cheese and place it in a bowl large enough to accommodate your sauce and pasta.
- when your sauce has lightly simmered for a bit, turn off the heat and pour over your grated cheese your placed in the bowl. (WARNING: don’t put cheese into the skillet because if you do this, especially if the heat is on, the cheese will adhere to the pan and you will be scrubbing.) stir the sauce and cheese up to melt and combine. at this time taste it and add any salt you may need. add your pasta and toss together. now you are ready to serve.
- place on a plate and add some grated Parmesan to the top.
- this recipe is very versatile. I like to begin it by rendering bacon and then saute the onion and garlic in the bacon fat. add the crumbled bacon to the top with fresh grated Parmesan. Be fancy and use pancetta.
- serve your alfredo with some warm french bread and a green salad or Italian themed salad from above.