Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Drafting Dinner: Meal Database

I’ve been planning our weekly menus for a while now; however, I still find that there are times I get “stuck” on what to plan for each week. I’ve decided to work on compiling a list of meals we frequently eat and enjoy so that I can refer to the list to make menu planning even easier. I’m categorizing my meals in lists below; some meals may appear on more than one list. At least twice a week we eat a meal that I can make ahead of time – either in the slow cooker or that I can simply pop in the oven when it is time to cook it. (Writing this list out has also reminded me of some meals that we enjoy that I haven’t made in a while!)

Make Ahead Meals

  • Chicken enchilada casserole
  • Beef enchilada casserole
  • Roast
  • Country style steak
  • Chicken spaghetti
  • Lasagna
  • BBQ chicken quarters


  • Taco salad {ground beef}*
  • Beef enchilada casserole {ground beef}*
  • Hamburgers (we usually go bunless and add awesome toppings like caramelized onions, bacon, and sometimes for me, a fried egg) {ground beef}*
  • Warm, toasted roast beef sandwiches
  • Roast
  • Beef fajitas
  • Beef fajita quesadillas
  • Pasta with meat sauce {ground beef}*
  • Hobo dinners {ground beef}
  • Taco soup {ground beef}*
  • Grilled steak
  • Stuffed bell peppers {ground beef}*

*For recipes that use ground beef, sometimes I substitute part or all of the ground beef with ground turkey.


  • Chicken enchilada casserole*
  • Chicken spaghetti*
  • Baked chicken breast
  • Crispy yogurt chicken
  • French fried onion chicken
  • Chicken fried rice
  • Chicken pot stickers
  • Chicken pot pie (drop biscuit or regular pie crust)*
  • Chicken and dumplings
  • Chicken fajitas
  • Chicken fajita quesadillas
  • Chicken and sausage jambalaya
  • Chicken enchilada soup
  • BBQ chicken quarters

*I make homemade chicken stock about once every six weeks. When I make the chicken stock I also freeze portions of the cooked and shredded chicken. I then use that shredded chicken in many different recipes. (By the way, the trick I saw on Pinterest about using your KitchenAid stand mixer to shred chicken does work! It works best with warm/hot chicken)


  • Pulled pork
  • Grilled pork chops
  • Pork tenderloin


  • Breakfast for dinner
  • Pizza
  • Stuffed bell peppers {could be stuffed with ground beef and cheese OR breakfast sausage, cream cheese, and shredded cheese}

Favorite sides

  • Grilled corn
  • Grilled asparagus
  • Grilled squash
  • Roasted broccoli or roasted broccoli and carrots
  • Roasted asparagus
  • Sautéed green beans
  • Sautéed broccoli or sautéed broccoli and carrots
  • Sautéed squash
  • Sautéed cabbage
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Mashed potatoes
  • German potatoes (still trying to master these!)
  • Crash hot potatoes
  • Coleslaw
  • Asian coleslaw salad
  • Rice
  • Couscous
  • Cornbread stuffing (if I’m feeling ambitious)



We really don’t eat much seafood, but I would really like to implement eating more fish in our diet regularly. Hopefully I can add some favorite fish recipes before long!