Monday, September 18, 2017

Year Long Menu

Leave it to me to modify a plan.  I don't think I can ever follow directions exactly because I always think of something that can work better for our family or just plain better all around.

Even with recipes, I don't think I ever just follow the directions, the main exception being baking.  I just don't mess with that because you can screw it up in a heartbeat - ask my son.

Anyway, the premise of the year long menu is to plan out your dinners (at minimum), breakfast and lunch if you are really ambitious.  I chose to go with dinners.

Then you basically have to decide on seven categories.  I did it by meats - beef, chicken, pork, fish.  We are doing 2 beef nights, 2 chicken nights, 1 pork night, and 1 fish night with the last night for out-to-eat or eating leftovers.

Others have done styles for their categories - Spanish/Mexican, Italian, Asian, Comfort, Pizza, etc.  That did not work as well for us, so we defaulted to meats.

I brainstormed last night and came up with 24 beef meals, 24 chicken meals, 12 pork and 12 fish.  That is 3 months of meals (average).  The main idea is then to just repeat it - you would essentially only eat 1 meal 4 times per year.  Which is not bad for variety.

However, I KNOW we are going to add recipes to the mix.  So, I am putting together a master spreadsheet and giving each meal a name and where the recipe is located (if I need a recipe).  Given this, we are going to start with 3 months and see how we feel about repeating or adding in something new.  The good thing is if we are busy - then we can just repeat.  If we feel creative, we can try something new.

I am not using this menu as the end all be all - moods change, you forget to go to the store, someone gets sick, you have to suddenly go out town - the list of possible derailments are long and not very distinguished, but the basic plan is there, so on Sunday, there are no excuses.  We have it available.

Here are my meal ideas - I am not putting sides with them because it depends on what is at the farmer's market that week and what is on sale.  Sides are not difficult though - some beans, rice, or pasta and greens - viola!


Now, we just got our side of beef, so all this will come from a no antibiotic, grass fed cow.

Beef Tacos
Taco Bake
Sloppy Joes
Sweet and Sour Meatballs
Spaghetti with meat sauce or meatballs
Cajun Dirty Rice
Hamburger Soup
Cajun Meatloaf
Stuffed Peppers
Pot Roast
Chipped Beef Sandwiches
Beef Stroganoff
Grilled Steak (with various rubs)
Steak Fajitas
Steak and Pepper Stir Fry (asian)
Steak Skewers
Beef Tips and Gravy
Vegetable Beef Stew
Potatoes, Sausage and Green Beans
Sausage Pasta Stir Fry (with onions and peppers - so good!)
Barbeque Sausage


Chicken Tacos
Italian Grilled Chicken
Mexican Grilled Chicken
Barbeque Chicken
Vegetable Chicken Soup
Breaded Chicken Tenders
Cheesy, Broccoli Chicken Rice Casserole
Chicken and sausage Skewers
Tuscan Chicken Pasta
Chicken Stir Fry (asian)
Baked Garlic Butter Chicken
BBQ Chicken Pizza
Grilled Chicken Salad
Pesto Tortellini Chicken Salad
Chicken Picatta
Chicken and Stuffing
Chicken Divan
Chicken Fajitas
Chicken and Dumplings
Chicken Noodle Soup
Bone-in Chicken and Vegetable Bake
Bacon-Wrapped Chicken
Chicken Tetrazzini
Mustard Chicken


Ham Steaks
Ham and Potato Soup
Pork Stroganoff
Lemon Pork Piccata
BBQ Pork Chops
Pork Stir Fry (Asian)
Pork Carnitas
Pork Roast
Cajun Pork Loin
Red Beans and Rice
Zuppa Toscana (italian soup)


This is a little harder for us because we have not eaten much fish, but we are going to give it 12 weeks, if it does not work, we will blend it with a veggie night.

Grilled Salmon
Breaded Tilapia
Orange Roughy
Breaded Cod
Grilled Tuna
Baked Trout with lemon
Blackened Mahi-Mahi with lemon butter sauce
Striped Bass (need recipe)
Grilled Halibut
Grilled Red Snapper
Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya (probably a little fish in there as well)
Mystery fish  - this will depend on how well the rest of this has gone - worse case, we go out for shell fish (I refuse to cook shellfish at home after getting violently ill one time) or we simply make Fish Tacos with Tilapia.

There you have it!  I am glad to have this much done.  I now need to put it a calendar type of form.

What about you?  Do you think you would try a year long menu?  Maybe 3 months like I did?


  1. That's a nice master list. I never thought of using pork in Stroganoff, thanks the the idea!

    I don't know if I could commit to a 1 year plan though.....3 months ok. Since I buy meats on discount it would only work as long as I had the appropriate proteins stockpiled in the freezer so 1 year commitment would prolly not work.
    But it's a good idea and you can riff off of it.

    1. It is wonderful too and made mostly in the crock pot. Here is the link.

  2. You are ambitious! we end up repeating half our our meals weekly LOL. So, I guess I don't see a point in that working for us. haha.

    1. Yeah, we are still cooking for 4. So, I think it might work for a family better. I like a lot of variety and so does my son. Hubs and daughter could eat the same thing over and over. Really, for this list - it took maybe 30 minutes - I wrote all of favorites. Just some weeks, I cannot seems to come up with even one!

  3. Years ago when cooking for my family of six every Sunday would be a large family meal, (Minnesotan country cooking) where I would rotate roast beef, ham, chicken Or turkey (usually roasted with dressing) then maybe pork or beef cut. Then one to two meals could come off from that main meat and leftovers froze used for several other meals. Amazing what you could make, sometimes up to five meals when say the ham was getting down such as ham and potatoe soup or quiche etc. (after scalloped potatoes and ham, everything omelettes etc. etc). usually every week one type was on sale or I pulled from the freezer. Now I'm in my 60's and a meal is peanut butter toast as I live alone. :) Enjoy this time of cooking. I do have family meals on Tuesday evening now but it's simple things to get grandkids and parents fed as it is a short stop from off the school bus to sports 4-5:30, lucky as I now have 12 grands!

    1. WOW! That is wonderful that you have 12 grandchildren! Congratulations! Yeah, I do that with the larger cuts of meats, but it is just us 4 99% of the time. The older 2 boys don't live with us any more. Peanut Butter Toast was my breakfast this morning! Feast for the Gods!

  4. I think this is a great idea, but with my hubbies comings and goings, it wouldn't be feasible for us. Just curious, how do leftovers factor in?

    1. I have tried to cut down the size for just 4. But, if we have leftovers, we eat them at lunch. Sometimes the bigger cuts of beef or ham do have LOTS of leftovers, so we typically cut them up and create either another dish and just delete the next day or it is used over a couple of lunches. I truly believe this is better for families than couples. I know when my husband and I go for a weekend, we eat much differently - like 2 times a day, finishing earlier.

  5. Since I am deathly allergic to all mammal products, I just skipped to the chicken. I will eat fish but never plan to.

    I do eat a bit of pork and rarely have a little bit once a month. I keep the EPI pen handy.

    I can eat the same thing for days. And there is just me, so this would not work. Plus, I eat what is on sale and/or what I have frozen that was on sale.

    I cannot imagine having some meals only a few times a year. Spaghetti would be missed as would chicken dishes. I use a bit of ground pork and lots of zucchini in beef.

    It is quite an impressive list.

    1. I am quite happy that none of us have food allergies - other than my raw broccoli allergy. I can eat them cooked though, so I do.

      Sorry you cannot eat beef - it is my favorite! Pork is my second favorite.

      Thank you - we are working hard!