My family’s favorite holiday is fast approaching! We're a bunch of foodies and Thanksgiving is considered a high-holiday around here.
It's easy to get off track with homemade meals given all the excitement in the air, but I won't be thwarted! I rely on my menu plans more than ever in the latter part of the year.
This week, I’m all about menus whose ingredients can serve double-duty in next week's holiday meal as well – like chopped onions and even mashed potatoes. They can be prepped for this week, but also used in recipes for Turkey Day.
Meal Plan for November Week 3
1 Pasta with Butternut Squash Parmesan Sauce: Even though we’re a homeschooling family, we still often have social activities that take us out of the house for the better part of the day. With blogging, homeschooling, troop and other volunteer meetings, Mondays are the craziest of all.
We usually do "Meatless Mondays" in our house not only to alleviate wallet-strain, but also because meatless meals tend to be somewhat easier to prepare on these busy Monday nights.
Today, I’m going with cost-efficient pasta and butternut squash (frequently on sale this time of year) and making this Pasta with Butternut Squash Parmesan Sauce. The heartiness of the butternut squash sauce more than makes up for the lack of meat, and it makes a fantastic fall meal when paired with a garden salad and this Cheesy Bread.
Cut up some extra onions when making this dish and use them next week for your Thanksgiving Day menu!
2 Jim's Famous Hamburger: Because I deprive my husband of meat on Mondays, I feel an obligation to make up for it on Tuesday. This week, I’m appeasing my carnivorous husband with Jim’s Famous Hamburger. Normally, I cook these patties on the grill, but since we’re into the chilly months now, I’m whipping out my trusty cast-iron skillet and cooking them on the stovetop.
Adding these Easy Refrigerator Pickles is a must. The first time I tried this recipe, I ate an entire jar by myself. I totally gave myself a stomachache, but that’s not important. They were worth it.
Kettle-style chips or oven-baked sweet potato fries are the best way to round out this classic meal. (And while you're making the fries, throw a few extra sweet potatoes in the oven to bake -- now you're all set for your sweet potato casserole next week!)
3 Pressure Cooker Chicken Adobo and Rice: It was our Army life that introduced us to Filipino food, and it’s also Army life that motivates me to plan this Pressure Cooker Chicken Adobo and Rice for Wednesday’s supper. We have a military event scheduled this night (military life is full of ceremonies and events like this!), so I’ll need to prepare something for the kids to eat earlier in the day and that my husband and I can eat later.
This Chicken Adobo is a traditional Filipino meal, and my kids love it. I serve it with lumpia (Filipino spring rolls) and everyone is excited for a different twist on dinner. You can find pre-made lumpia in most grocer’s international frozen food sections.
4 Slow Cooker Chinese Pulled Pork: This recipe was made for sandwiches, but I love serving mine with a heaping spoonful of Perfect Mashed Potatoes and a side of this Classic Coleslaw.
Did you know that you can freeze mashed potatoes? You can! I love to double my recipe and store a batch in the freezer for busier days – or for our upcoming Thanksgiving dinner. Just put them in the fridge to thaw overnight and bake in the oven for 20 minutes to warm through.
5 Shrimp Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce: Friday night is Fun Family Night in our home. We love to invite our neighbor and her kids over since she’s doing the single-military-mom/wife thing now, too. In our community, it’s all about helping one another out when our loved ones are away on deployments and isolated assignments. We all know it’s only a matter of time before we’re back in the same boat, so we, “do unto others,” you know?
Tonight we’re getting the kids into the kitchen and having them make us these Shrimp Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce for dinner. Teaching children how to cook, and setting them loose to create in the kitchen, is a tasty way to raise kids who cook.
These colorful spring rolls cultivate a little healthy competition, as well. Challenge your kids to see who can roll the neatest roll the fastest. You’d be amazed at how well those little hands can work. We’re also letting them take charge of dessert with these Chocolate-Covered Pretzels, as well.
By the way, if you have nut allergies, substitute the peanut sauce with sweet chili-sauce or mix half banana sauce and half sweet chili sauce for a unique dipping condiment. (Look for banana sauce in the international food section at the grocery store.)
Now that I’m through this week, I’m putting my game face on for the big show. What’s on your menu for Thanksgiving? Do you even celebrate it, or do you plan something more low-key?