This month, Summer Miller is back and excited to share her family's meal plans for December. Happy holidays, everyone!
I need a handful of things to keep my sanity in check during the month of December. The first is nourishing food that gives me enough energy to make it through work, family activities, holiday shopping, and decking the halls.
The second is food that is at the ready. I’m talking quick and healthy, one-pot, slow cooker, and pressure cooker meals – a.k.a my saving graces.
Third, I need a few recipes that provide a little extra because there is always a neighbor, teacher, family member, or good friend who needs additional love around the holidays. It’s nice to have food to share.
And finally, if I’m being honest, a stiff drink doesn’t hurt for those late-night gift-wrapping marathons.
Hopefully, this month’s meal plans will provide a little bit of all those things so the merry makers among us can spend time enjoying those closest to us.
On the menu this first week of December: nostalgia.
This week's meal plan features a few classic dishes from my childhood. Sausage and peppers were part of my mother’s weekly meal rotation when I was growing up. She knew she could count on us to eat every bite, and we always did.
The same is true for Sloppy Joes. They were a regular when I was a kid, and they're a regular in my house now, too. I know everyone will eat them, and they require little mental effort on my part. Fridays are meant for finger food, so a healthier version of fish and chips is the perfect way to round out the week.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t add a few favorites from adulthood. I wasn’t introduced to the flavors present in both the Moroccan Spiced Sweet Potato and Chickpea Stew and the Curried Chicken Thighs until I ventured from my childhood home. Now, the rich flavors from other cultures and cuisines regularly grace my table, and love sharing them with family and friends.
Meal Plan for December Week 1
1 Sausage, Peppers, and Onions: Sausage and peppers are a great one pan-meal for a Monday night. Load these up on hoagie roll, then save any leftover sauce to toss with pasta and eat for lunch the next day! Serve with Kale Caesar Salad to complete the meal.
2 Moroccan Spiced Sweet Potato and Chickpea Stew: This is the stew that keeps on giving. It’s vegan and gluten-free but will satisfy anyone who comes to the table. Serve it over rice or couscous to help it go the extra mile. It tastes great the day you make it, but it tastes even better on days two and three.
3 Sloppy Joes: Everyone in my house loves sloppy joes, which is why they are always on the dinner rotation. Serve them with the “ready in no time” pressure cooker baked beans.
4 Crispy Curried Chicken Thighs with Wilted Greens: Curry powder makes this paleo and gluten free dish full of flavor. Two pans, and dinner is on the table in 30 minutes. With the greens wilted right along with the chicken thighs, this is an easy all-in-one dish.
5 Sheet Pan Fish and Chips: I'll skip the vat of oil and pull out my sheet pan for these fish and chips. Finger friendly fare! Toss it in the oven then whip up some homemade tartar sauce to serve alongside.
BONUS! Gift Wrapping Cocktail of the Week: Coconut White Russian