Kim shared How I Meal Plan for An Entire Year All At Once a few weeks ago, and it was life changing! Now that we’re trying to limit our trips to the grocery store to once or twice a month, I followed Kim’s advice and created a meal plan for the year and then go in monthly and adjust as necessary, based on what we have remaining in the fridge, and new recipes that I’ve tried and want to incorporate. Here’s 10 tried and true dishes on the menu for April.
April Meal Plan
1. Jamaican Curry Chicken with Potatoes + Rice and Parmesan Garlic Green Beans
Curry chicken is a staple in a newar weekly meal in every Jamaican household and it’s relatively simple to make. I use curry powder, chopped onion and something to bring the heat like red pepper flakes or Sriracha. Oh, and it is best when it marinate overnight … but in a pinch, I can season in the morning and cook in the evening.
The recipe linked is probably the closest to how I make it, but this dish is actually even more pantry friendly. The must haves are canned Dark Red Kidney Beans, Rotel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chiles + Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning. Of course, there’s also the sausage, we almost always get Hillshire Farms Smoked Beef Sausage. I’ve found the secret over time to to low simmer for at least 30 minutes to get the starchy taste out of the beans, and to smash a good bit of the beans against the side of the pot with a spoon to thicken the sauce.
3. Burgers & Brews with a Salad
It’s been warm enough to get the grill going these past few days, so our weekend tradition of burgers & brews on a Saturday night is back! I’d like to say we’re using fresh ground beef … but nah – right now we bought a box of frozen beef patties, and that’s what we’re working with. What do you like on your burger? I’m a pepperjack cheese, lettuce, tomato and ketchup girl. But my husband likes mayo and mustard too … and of course the teenager wants no veg on his.
4. Spicy Sausage Pasta with a side of Mixed Vegetables
This is a particular favorite with my kids. I pretty much follow the recipe exactly except that I use Hillshire Farms Smoked Beef Sausage (same as in the Red Beans & Rice recipe) and make it with Bowtie pasta. The mixed vegetables is from a bag of frozen vegetables. We buy a bog bag of Birds Eye California Blend.
I always use bone-in pork chops because the boneless version is easy to overcook and be really dry. Sometimes I add a little BBQ sauce to leave a rich smoky flavor. This is one of my favorite quick meals to make because the meat doesn’t need to be marinated, and the seasoning added is minimal.
6. New Orleans Gumbo with Mixed Vegetable
I’ve made this a handful of times and it’s a hearty stew that’s another favorite of our family. I follow the recipe almost exactly except for reducing the broth used by half, otherwise, it’s more like a soup and less like a stew.
This is by far the easiest meal to make … lemon pepper seasoning and a little salt. Shove it in the oven at high temperature for about 10-15 minutes – then broil it for 5 minutes or less. That’s it. My husband loves this dish so much that he requests it all the time.
My son makes this for us all the time, and to be honest, he makes it the best of all of us.
Another simple, quick and easy meal to make. I use store-bought sauce – Classico Four Cheese (Red) Pasta Sauce is what’s in our pantry currently.
10. Chicken Soup
It’s still cool enough to have soup, although we’re primarily saving this for lunches these days. I always use sweet potato in my soup – and sometimes I “cheat” and will add canned pre-made soup as a starter. We still believe in the restorative power of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup!
In addition to the recipes above, there are a few recipes I’ve saved to try out and incorporate next month if my family likes it. Where do you get your recipe ideas from? Blogs, magazines, cookbooks?