By: Andrea Westervelt
HAPPY 2019! After the business of the holidays, it’s time for some regular cooking. I’ve kept my January meal planing calendar pretty realistic: healthy the first week, and then I sort of slide into our regular semi-healthy fare. I love winter cooking: easy stuff to assemble and bake in the oven or cook in the crockpot. I know people love the grill, but give me low-maintenance oven cooking that warms up my cold house any day. You can tell by my calendar that Tuesdays are my busy days- dinner has to be ready to eat right away, so those are all my crockpot meals. No Instant-Pot at my house- so I’m keeping it old-school with the Crock-Pot.
January Meal Planning Calendar
So are you wondering what to buy at the farmers market in the winter? Although many farmers markets are seasonal, some do go year round, even up in the north-east where I live. Often vendors still have many staples and cold storage crops (think potatoes and squash). At our favorite market, the meat vendor is still always there since all of his product is frozen anyway. When we go, I stock up on onions, potatoes, meats, and visit the bakeries and prepared food vendors. There is no better place to get a “home-cooked” soup, or freshly made pasta.
January Meal Calendar Recipes
-lemon/chicken/quinoa/spinach skillet: I LOVED this recipe! Super easy, one pan and healthy:
-cauliflower soup: I love this recipe from the Pioneer Woman. The dollop of sour cream is what makes it extra delicious.
-chinese hotdish: I’m going to try this recipe from Molly Yeh. My family loves all these flavors so I’m hoping it will be a hit.
-pasta with butternut squash: My family does not love squash. I actually turned the zucchini boats from my october menu into a pasta dish and everyone loved it, so I’m hoping the same trick will work for butternut squash. I’m planning on trying this recipe. I think the bacon will help too.
-homemade fish sticks: I use the recipe from the cookbook: The Homemade Pantry by Alana Chernila. The kids eat them with ketchup, but sometimes I turn them into fish tacos with a quick coleslaw.
-kale and mushroom strata: I’m trying to find ways to cook with mushrooms more. I’m hoping this kid-friendly recipe from Smitten Kitchen will help.
-roast beef sliders: We make these a lot!! I mean: basically it’s like cheeseburgers. I base it off this recipe, but I don’t use an “au jus” seasoning packet (so many weird ingredients in there), I just mix some onion powder, garlic powder, sesame seeds and pepper with the Worcestershire sauce for the topping, and those same things into some beef broth for the dip. Also the “grown-up” side will have onions, and the kids side won’t.
-crockpot mango chicken: I sort of make this up: pour some mango juice on the bottom of the crockpot. Add chicken, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and a little cumin. Top with jarred mango salsa. You can add fresh mango chunks too. Serve with coconut rice: which I make by mixing leftover rice from when we order chinese food with a can of light coconut milk and wam on the stove. Top with flaked coconut if you have it.
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