garbanzopalooza

A blog by ordinary people about living an extraordinary life

Menu Variety: Keep it fresh, keep it interesting

We all go through it.  Preparing dinner 4, 5, 6, 7 nights a week eventually leads us to becoming bored.  We feel like we are preparing the same meals over and over again.  We get in a recipe rut!  So, how do you break out of that rut?  Here are some ideas that I have for keeping your weekly menus interesting and busting out of those ruts.

Spring is here, and with spring comes a new season of fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs.  Stop by your local farm stand, farmers market, even produce department, and see what is new.  Avocados are coming into season, which means they should no longer be hard as stones.  Locally, here is New England, vegetables like arugula, chard/kale, asparagus, pea greens and various herbs are coming into season.  Our menu this week contains many of these fresh, local ingredients.

Make a vow to try a new recipe at least once a week.  I know it is easy to make the same dinners every week.  You know how long they take, how they taste, what ingredients you need to have.  But there are so many recipes out there that you have never tried.  How do you find these recipes?  They are all around you.  They are in the food magazines you see at the store.  They are in the Wall Street Journal you read on the way to work.  Your friends have them.  And there are countless cooking shows out there sharing great recipes every day.  Heck, there are probably hundreds in those cookbooks on your bookshelf. (couple of my favorites below)

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Make a change in your diet.  Meghan and I followed a pescetarian diet for more than a year.  We actually prepared a lot of vegetarian meals.  One challenge was to make vegetarian versions of things we enjoyed before: cauliflower buffalo “wings” was one attempt, but there were many many others.  I think you will be surprised at how creative you can become if you take a staple out of your diet.  We have since added beef and pork back into our diets (and some turkey, still no chicken), but we continue to make many vegetarian creations, including a couple dinners this week.

So, here is our weekly menu plan.  Most of these dinners can be made in about 30 minutes (Wednesday is crock pot day).  Lunches are leftovers or salads (which can really open up your creativity in utilizing ingredients).  I will share our successes, and some of our failures.  Happy spring, and happy dining!

Sunday: Mushroom and kale tomatillo sauced enchilladas

Monday: Steak tips, broccoli salad and lemon-parmesan oven-roasted potatoes

Tuesday: Portobello burgers, salad

Wednesday: Slow-cooker turkey pot roast

Thursday: Chili beef noodles

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