Ready for the new school year: supper menus

Dinner or supper, whatever you call, you still gotta make it, serve it and clean it up. My week runs smoother with a dinner plan as well. Long ago, when my friend Jessica and I each had one or two kids apiece, we’d get together and do once a month cooking, inspired by the book by that name. Most of those recipes I don’t make any more–too processed and full of white flour, but the principle still stands: make a plan and you’ll save money and time. Look at your schedule, see what nights you already have plans, like church supper, a late soccer practice, dinner out with friends, birthday dinner and mark those off as nights you won’t cook; look for potlucks and nights you have to go somewhere and you’re committed to bring a specific item; and nights you’ll just be at home, wither with the family or having company over. Now you know how many nights in a month you need to plan for supper. I like to have a loose schedule for meals–the night we have soccer practice I’ll use the crock pot or have leftovers. Other nights of the week have a specific type of meal–soup & salad one night; dinner on the grill; chicken, beef, italian, mexican. You just have to look at your recipes and see what works for you. I also made a list of recipes that I serve seasonally. I have a larger number of grilled recipes in the summer when the weather’s hot than in the winter when it’s cold and wet. So, some of my recipes “freeze beautifully” as they say in Steel Magnolias and I will make a big batch and freeze for the next month or two. More of my summer recipes don’t freeze well, as they are salads or use lots of fresh produce. Here’s my favorite summery recipes to get you started. Note: these are NOT “freeze beautifully” recipes, just yummy for summer. They are pretty “grill heavy” meals because it’s still very hot here in Tennessee and I can hardly bear to cook that much inside and heat up the house. Once it gets cooler I”ll post recipes I like to freeze for later.

SALADS

  • Black Bean Taco Salad with Lime Vinaigrette–I double the dressing and add grilled chicken and avocado. Yummy!
  • Honey Mustard Chicken Salad– Again, I double the dressing and leave off the cukes
  • Mandarin Orange-Feta Salad-Old standard here–I grill chicken, slice and put on romaine with canned mandarin oranges, feta cheese, almonds and Good Season’s Italian Dressing.

CHICKEN

Best Lemon Chicken This is my go-to marinade for chicken. I don’t know why it makes the chicken so tender, but it does. And it only has to marinade 30 minutes! My mom found this recipe on the back of a package of chicken years ago. You can cut the chicken up on salads, serve on bun or in a pita, or simply with rice, potatoes or grilled veggies, or in Chicken Bruschetta.

Mix 1/4 olive oil, 1/3 cup lemon juice, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 2 teaspoons minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Reserve 1/4 cup for later. pour the rest over chicken and marinate 30 minutes. Grill chicken as you normally do, discarding marinade the chicken was in. When you turn the chicken on the grill, brush with clean, reserved marinade.

 

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