Monday, July 16, 2012

Summer Menu # 1

Here is my second set of seasonal food menus - this time for the summer. In these plans I am incorporating many of the foods that are plentiful this time of year.  Also, because it's usually so hot, my goal with these menus is to get you out of the kitchen, which is why there are a lot of barbecue recipes included.  

But don't forget the slow cooker. A great time saver, it can also be a great friend in the summer as it doesn't generate much heat and keeps your kitchen cool. And because it's portable, you can always use it in any outdoor area where you have an electrical outlet.

If there is any recipe that you don't want to use, you can always search the recipe list for a replacement.

Here again is your checklist so you won't forget anything while you're planning your food for the week. I'll repeat it with each menu for your convenience. Remember, I plan on Mondays but you can choose any day of the week that works for you.

All the recipes you need for this week's plan are already here on the blog. The link for each recipe is also provided under each day's menu for your convenience, so you can check the serving size and quantity of ingredients you will need before completing your shopping list. The recipes I will give you in blog posts the next couple of weeks will be used in the next plan.



 - Check your schedule and see which days will be very busy and which will be slower and schedule your meals accordingly. Decide on this week's crockpot day. Then plan which day you will make some basics, which day you will put aside for catching up, and which day is yours to relax. If you follow my schedule these days are all mandatory, but which days of the week you choose is up to you. 

 - Check your fridge, freezer and pantry and complete your weekly menu. Remember you can substitute your own meals in my plans wherever that works best for you. If using my plan and adding or subtracting meals, change the checklist accordingly so you don't forget anything. 

 - Make your shopping list. Check ingredients for your menu plan recipes and add any paper, cleaning or grooming supplies you might need. If you check weekly specials in your local stores, do this now (you can do this online) and make a note of what you want to buy.



Day 1 : Gaspacho with avocado and muffins, green salad with sliced ham or other cold meats

Day 2 :  Barbecue shrimp with lime, green salad

Day 3 :  Burgers in lettuce wraps, sweet potato fries

Day 4 :  Artichoke frittata, green salad

Day 5 :  Barbecue Chicken legs, green salad

Day 6 :  Barbecue steak, barbecue vegetables and salad

Day 7 :  Eat from the freezer or Eat Out

I have given you a basic 7 day meal plan but I haven't give you amounts because it will all depend upon how many servings of each recipe you need for your family.

All the recipes for the meals in my meal plans you will find in previous posts. I have also noted which recipes can be frozen for later use with this symbol (will freeze). Make it your goal to cook at least two meals each week in double quantities so you can start stocking your freezer. (If you can do more so much the better. You will be ahead in no time!)

In all menu plans I have one day a week scheduled for a freezer meal, so be warned. The crockpot meal is always an easy one to double, then just choose one other one and you've met your minimum target.

You will notice that some days I ask you to supplement with a vegetable of your choice. This is because different people have different likes and dislikes. Also, I don't know what's in your fridge and what you need to use up. As a basic I always make sure I have tomatoes which can be sliced and served with most meals, and a couple of bags of frozen vegetables in the freezer.  

For more vegetable ideas check hereherehere and here.

I also don't give any desserts. Again, everyone is different and you can choose to either have or not have these depending on your particular situation. For me dark chocolate and red wine are staples. For you it might be berries and cream. 

If desserts are a normal part of your menu plans, for dessert ideas check herehereherehere and here.

As I said before nothing here is written in stone. Use my suggestions as guidelines. Use what works for you and discard the rest.

Remember,  my plan is all about doing the least amount of work for the most reward. If you follow it then yes, you will have to do some work, but very likely not nearly as much as you're doing now. You will be eating healthy delicious meals. You will be more relaxed because you will always have time to catch up, regardless of what happens. And most of all, you will have time to relax and enjoy your life. And in the end isn't that what it's all about?

 “Life isn't about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.”   - George Bernard Shaw

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