In The Kitchen Meal Plans

Simply Recipes 2018 Meal Plan: December Week 1

Welcome to December! Here's what we've got cooking for this week's meal plan: braised lamb shanks, roasted broccoli salad, chicken and dumplings, and more. Happy cooking!

Meal Plan for December Week 1

This month, we welcome back Marta Rivera for more of her meal plans. Marta is a trained chef, mom of twins, and Army wife – and she is also one of our Simply Recipes recipe testers!

December is here and with it comes veggies that are primed for using in your meals this month. I’m incorporating a few of my favorites: beets, kale, sweet potatoes, and of course cranberries.

After Thanksgiving, stores are looking to unload any additional inventory of cranberries, so you may be able to find them at great prices. Freeze them in freezer bags, unwashed, for up to a year and use them throughout the off season.

  • Lamb Shanks with Butternut Squash

    Lamb Shanks with Butternut Squash
    Elise Bauer

    Squashes of all sorts are in season during the colder months, and butternut squash is one of my favorites for flavor and versatility. I’m braising these Lamb Shanks with Butternut Squash and adding a side salad. I'll make this comforting meal on Sunday to serve on our busiest day of the week: Monday. It never disappoints.

  • Roasted Broccoli Salad with Feta, Barley, and Pomegranate

    Roasted Broccoli Salad
    Sally Vargas

    Besides being crazy busy with events and commitments, the holidays can be very indulgent. All of the rich foods and sweets can catch up to a girl in her mid-*ahem*- let’s not go there... Lighter recipes that are still filling can break up the food comas you’re bound to fall into. This Roasted Broccoli Salad with Feta, Barley and Pomegranate clears your conscience so you can enjoy more enriched recipes later in the month.

  • Chicken and Dumplings

    Dumplings recipe ladled in a bowl.
    Elise Bauer

    Chicken and Dumplings translates to “straight up comfort food” in my book. A bowl and pot make this a busy-cook friendly meal as well. A well-rounded, one-pot meal? Yes, please!

  • Pasta with Butternut Squash Parmesan Sauce

    Butternut Squash Pasta Dish
    Elise Bauer

    Butternut squash will be selling like hotcakes at this point of the season. Pick up a few and roast them to puree. The puree will freeze beautifully for six months to a year and can be used in recipes like this Pasta with Butternut Parmesan Sauce. Any time I’m making pasta, I simplify dinner by having the family pitch in and make a garden salad to go alongside it.

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  • Pastelón (Puerto Rican Plantain "Lasagna")

    Marta Diaz

    Home is never farther away for a soldier than during the holidays. For my soldier husband, Puerto Rico is the best place to be during the festive season. I’m going to make him a meal that is the closest thing to dinner at his grandmother’s house. This Pastelón is another hearty, comforting dish that tastes even better the next day.