Using A Rotating Seasonal Menu Plan
Last month I got a little too addicted to Instagram.
A few of you asked to see the rotating seasonal menu plan I mentioned, so that’s what’s up today!
First of all, I firmly believe that everyone should go with the flow of whatever type of menu planning style suits your lifestyle best. So, feel free to take my ideas and run with them in whatever direction you want. 🙂
I have four sets of seasonal menu plans that I rotate every three months or so.
I only plan out breakfast and dinner for each day because we always eat leftovers for lunch. Breakfasts actually stay fairly consistent throughout the year, and I use a basic pattern each week. It goes like this:
The “hot cakes” category includes pancakes, waffles, french toast, and the occasional dutch baby pancake.
The “eggs” category is fairly self explanatory~ fried, scrambled, omelet, frittata, you get the point. There are endless choices really.
Oats are either plain porridge, baked oatmeal, or the occasional batch of soaked granola.
Smoothies are yogurt and whatever frozen fruit we have on hand, and I usually make some muffins to go along with the smoothies.
The seventh breakfast each week is usually a “fend for yourself” breakfast. 🙂
Dinners are much more varied and change with the seasons.
Winter dinners include lots of soups, meats with rich sauces, and plenty of starch.
Spring brings more fresh greens and a slow influx of berries into the mix.
In summer, we eat mostly marinated grilled meats, cold salads (pasta, chicken, egg, regular lettuce salad with lots of toppings), cold soup (gazpacho), and fresh veggies from the garden.
Fall is full of apples, pumpkins, and the gradual return of heartier fare.
(Now, having said that, there are quite a few of our family’s favorite meals that we eat all year around.)
The easiest way to explain exactly how our rotating seasonal menu works, is to just show it to you, so here you go!
Here is a sample week from each each seasonal menu.
- Lasagna, sauteed frozen spinach, chard or kale, Italian cheese bread
- Roasted chicken with mashed potatoes, broccoli and gravy
- Chicken tortilla soup with cilantro, sour cream, avocado, sauerkraut and tortilla chips with salsa
- Chicken tacos or burritos or southwestern egg rolls
- Swiss steak, rice, salad
- French onion soup and sourdough bread
- Meatloaf, butternut squash, roasted potatoes
- Pasta with fresh peas, carrots, and Parmesan cheese
- Asian salad with chicken, sugar snap peas, the last of the winter oranges, and bread
- Sun dried tomato crusted chicken with parsley wine sauce, mashed potatoes, and sauteed foraged greens
- Crock pot roast with carrots, potatoes, and gravy
- White chicken chili and cornbread
- Hot roast beef sandwiches
- Beef or fish tacos
- Beef or chicken kebobs, grilled eggplant, and rice
- Chicken salad sandwiches and fresh tomatoes with vinaigrette.
- Gazpacho, sourdough bread, and fruit salad
- Burgers, coleslaw, oven fries
- Teriyaki chicken and fried rice
- Steak, green beans, corn, tomatoes, and bread
- Steak chopped salad with leftover steak, blue cheese, candied walnuts, veggies, and balsamic dressing
- Meatloaf, sauerkraut, mashed potatoes
- Roasted chicken, roasted white and sweet potatoes, sauteed spinach
- Steak stir fry stew with rice
- Chicken soup and bread
- Chicken enchiladas and salad
- Baked potato bar
I think the quickest way to get started is to make a master list of your family’s favorite dinner meals.
Write down every favorite recipe you can think of and save it to refer back to whenever you are creating your menus.
I like to have a column for main dishes, and a separate one for side dishes that we love.
My personal favorite method of creating seasonal menus is to create a few weeks worth of menus, then repeat it a couple times with a few tweaks for the rest of that season. Then, as the weather, and available produce and fruit begin to significantly change, make a new set for the next season. Once you have done this four times, you have a year’s worth of menus that you can keep using over and over, and adjust as needed.
I like to try a new recipe every couple weeks, so I leave one meal blank every other week. I also like to do huge batches of whatever I am cooking, and freeze the excess for a later meal. This method of bulk cooking makes it where I only have to actively cook dinners about 2/3 of the time. If I was even more diligent about it, I could do more freezer meals, and reduce my cooking time even more. I will dig deeper into bulk cooking in my next post!
Let me know in the comments what you think of this kind of seasonal rotating menu plan!