Soups, Stromboli and Shredded beef

In an effort to continue moving forward, I am trying to continue my menu planning each week. Earlier this week I went to a lecture at the local library on menu planning. It was very informative. The librarian giving the talk is a home organizer and amateur cook on the side. Her home organizing company is called, tidylogic. She gave me some great ideas. The first, I had not thought of before. Start with organizing your recipes into one or 2 locations by type (and time, ingredients, etc as detailed as you have time for). This way when you sit down to plan your meals for the week, you can just write in recipes you want and then you have the recipes easily at your fingertips to find the ingredients to add to your shopping list. This way you also do not get stuck in the rut of make the same meals every week like I do sometimes!

There are many different programs out there either online, Iphone/Ipad apps, or through software you can purchase. Having tried a couple of them, I have realized that you just need to find one that works for you and can be customized. If it doesn't work for you, then you are not going to use it for the long haul.

Doing this recipe organization (or starting to) has reminded me of recipes that I have had for a long time and have never made. My basic menu plan for each week is:

Breakfast - cereal and yogurt
Lunch - sandwiches and fruit
Dinner: leftovers
Snacks: chocolate zucchini bread, apple sauce, crackers with peanut butter, cheese stick

B: eggs and fruit
L: quesadillas and fruit
D: Pasta/Rice (this is where you would insert your favorite pasta recipe)
S: yogurt, fruit, whole wheat gold fish with craisins

B: toast and fruit
L: sandwiches and fruit
D: Tex-Mex night (this is where you would insert your favorite enchiladas, chili, quesadilla recipes)
S: wholewheat banana muffins, apple sauce, crackers with peanut butter, cheese stick

B: oatmeal with fruit
L: sandwiches and fruit or leftovers
D: Baked potatoes/sweet potatoes with soup (slow cooker day)
S: yogurt, fruit, whole wheat gold fish with craisins

B: cereal and yogurt
L: chicken nuggets/fish sticks with sweet potato fries or peas
D: Pizza
S: apple sauce, crackers with peanut butter, cheese stick

B: Eggs and fruit
L: leftovers/soup
D: Pasta/Rice
S: yogurt, fruit, whole wheat gold fish with craisins

B: wholewheat pancakes with fruit
L: leftovers
D: Roast (slow cooker day)
S: apple sauce, crackers with peanut butter, cheese stick

Using this plan, I plug in recipes based on what I have already on hand and what is on sale at the grocery store.  For example, shrimp is on sale one week so I will make my pasta or rice dish on Tuesday with shrimp.

Last week I made a corn chowder for soup night, Stromboli for pizza night and a shredded beef with sweet potatoes, onions and brown rice for Roast/Slow cooker night.

The corn chowder was the same recipe as I made lobster chowder before, just minus the lobster pieces :)

The Stromboli was inspired by an episode of the Chew last week when Michael Symon made a pizza roll. I used Trader Joe's garlic and herb dough with jarred tomato sauce, shredded mozzarella and turkey pepperoni. Tim, Paul and I liked it, but Neil did not (he's not eating much of anything these days!) and Karina told me that next week we have to make a flat pizza because she doesn't like the roll :) This picture is not of the finished product. After I cut into it I saw the dough was still raw inside so I had to put it back in the oven. It definitely takes longer to cook this way.

For the shredded beef with sweet potatoes, onions and brown rice I put a London Broil steak frozen in the slow cooker with a can of healthy choice cream of chicken soup, couple of cups of water, Worcestershire sauce, a little vinegar and Trader Joe's Everyday Seasoning. I diced the sweet potatoes and onions  and sauteed until mostly cooked then added a little water and closed the lid to let the steam finish cooking the sweet potatoes on low. I seasoned them with salt, pepper and Trader Joe's Everyday Seasoning. I made the brown rice in the rice cooker with chicken stock. When the steak was read, I took it out to rest and then poured the liquid through a strainer and reduced it. To make a good gravy, I added a little brown sugar and a bay leaf along with the water and cornstarch for thickening.

I use the leftover sweet potatoes to add to grilled cheese sandwiches and quesadillas. Here is a good quesadilla recipe I found for black bean and sweet potato quesadillas. I used the leftover gravy to flavor the stock for lentil soup along with turkey bacon, onion and carrot. My husband also brought leftovers for lunch for a couple of days.

Today, Thursday is soup night, so I am making my old standby, Butternut Squash Soup. The only difference is I added a little ginger to it and when it came time to put the stock in I moved everything to a slow cooker to cook all afternoon and stay safe and warm while I go pick up Karina at school.

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