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Menu Planning, Spring 2016

Menu Planning session Spring 2016 - Getting Started

It is time for my annual spring menu plan! I don’t know why I’m inspired to share a menu plan every spring, but it has been happening regularly. 

See? 2013, 2014 and another 2014. Last spring, 2015, all I could think about was newborn granddaughter Ella!

I have to confess, I have not been menu planning since Christmas. I also have barely done the cooking! Between 5 weeks of travel and health-related energy issues (not complaining, just sayin’ — I’m alive with all my senses; it’s good!) my hubby has been doing the cooking when we aren’t picking up ready-to-eat or going out. 

But my mother-in-law Pat is coming! I’m always inspired to cook for company. She is the LEAST person likely to judge anyone about anything, IMO, so that isn’t the reason I’m getting back on the cooking bandwagon. Last time she stayed with us, we went out a LOT. This time, with some new recipes in mind, I’m ready to cook and I know she’ll likely lend a hand and it will end up being good times together. 

Besides, hubby works evenings all week ;) hahaha

Once I gathered up all my menu planning needs (note: coffee, treat, magazines, my form) I followed my process. Place people’s schedules and the weather. Add recipes. Fill in the blanks. Make grocery list as I go. Why weather? Because of grilling outside. Which means hubby cooks by default ;) I have my ways. 

Menu Planning session Spring 2016_0005

Menu Planning session Spring 2016_0003

I must have a crush on foodiecrush.com right now, because the first two recipes that popped to the top of my mental list were both from there. Yum. I didn’t even look in the magazines I’d rounded up! I did remember the mini lemon cakes from the April 2016 King Arthur Flour catalog. Probably on their website, too. If you go there, you’ll find a goldmine of recipes! 

Here are the foodiecrush website pics. Realize that it looks much more appetizing in person; not that pretty on your device seeing my picture of a computer showing her picture of the food. Wow. But still! Yum. 

Menu Planning session Spring 2016_0004

The chop salad will be tasty and easy to chomp. I’m adding some cheese tortellini into the marinade with the chickpeas (aka garbanzos.) I’ll probably skip the packaged salad topper product, but will toast some pine nuts to add instead. Always keep pine nuts in your freezer; they come in handy! So tender and mild and cute. 

As for the Turkey Meatballs with Polenta and Marinara … well, I’ve been daydreaming polenta the last couple weeks, so this will take care of that vague craving for a little while at least. I’ll get the meatballs made ahead and frozen; the rest will be a snap. I don’t use instant polenta, by the way. Using regular polenta gives you better flavor and texture. The flavor is much more delightful to me if I first toast the dry grain in a dry stainless steel pan until that roasty corn aroma floats up — mmmmm! The final dish doesn’t taste like raw cornmeal as some polenta (untoasted) has, at least to me, in the past. Hope mom-Pat likes it! 

Then there are the remaining halibut portions in our freezer from a half-halibut I picked up last year. Lotta fish. Love it, but of course we keep forgetting it and/or saving it for special. Time to use it and share it! And of course, no spring menu plan of mine would be complete without a shout-out to asparagus! Washington-grown asparagus! Support local!  I *heart* fresh asparagus! 

Menu Planning session Spring 2016_0002

And there we are, for this first part of MIL Pat’s visit. Maybe next week I’ll find something from my magazines :) 

It’s a short menu plan, but I feel so much more prepared. If you want a guideline to how I create a workable weekly menu, check out this post. Now, just to get the dusting done before she comes this time…  (and oops, that didn’t happen.)

Side note — if you want the smallest, cheapest, and easiest coffee brewer ever, check out my Coffee Brew Buddy, $3.74 on sale at Cost Plus World Market. It’s the thing on top of my mug in the top picture. Quick pour through, no filters, rinsable, and the size of a coaster. Plus it’s a net-like thing, so you could use it to catch your guppies of you can’t find the fish net. ;) 

Happy spring! 


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