March Seasonal Meal Plan (Aka that awkward space between Winter and Spring)

I am taking a little bit of a left turn here in that 1) this post will not have pictures (*gasp*) and 2) I am wanting to work on making a list of seasonal meal plans.

My goal, of course, will be to cook (all) and photograph (some) of the recipes and I may post those later (and maybe on film … who knows 🙂 )

But for now I am just going to post a suggested list of recipes for March. My goal here is to have a meal plan that meets our family’s needs, uses seasonal produce, requires minimally processed ingredients, and is affordable. (This is a tall order.)

The reason I am doing this is that I can’t seem to find a meal plan that quite works for us. I have tried e-meals and I love it in theory but no meal plan quite fits what I am looking for. My favorite two I have tried are Simple Gourmet and Mediterranean. My only problem is they both seem to call for out-of-season produce which is 1) a bit more expensive and 2) gross (mealy tomatoes, anyone?) … Now this isn’t entirely true, they do use some seasonal produce as well and it is fairly affordable as well, however my past week called for strawberries (not available for 6 more weeks) tomatoes for 3 different meals (not available for 8 more weeks) and apples (whose season really ends in October, although this isn’t a huge deal since apples store fairly well, but you won’t find them at great prices anymore either).

Other meal plans are simply too exotic for our family, or use too many processed foods, or too many ingredients/flavors/ethnic dishes we don’t eat or like.

So all of that to say: I thought I would try giving meal planning a go and see what happens.

My goals:

  • Food must be as seasonal as possible (although vegetables that may store well can be used past their season. For example we receive a huge amount of sweet potatoes from family during the winter and they are still fresh in the cool storage I keep them in.)
  • Ingredients must be minimally processed
  • I cannot buy 200 items a week for different dishes
  • Fairly family friendly (and trying to include at least one or two quick meals or slow cooker meals a week)
  • 5 recipes a week, 2 breakfast options, and either incorporating dinner recipes into lunch or adding lunch recipes as well
  • Not too many leftovers for our family of 2.5 (a nearly 3-years old doesn’t count as a full portion yet, right?)

So here we go (Scroll down for recipe links):

Breakfast This Week: Whole Wheat Unsweetened Banana Muffins

Dinners This Week:

  1. Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes & Frozen Peas (Birthday Dinner)
  2. Beef & Mushroom Burgers & Sweet Potato Fries
  3. Broccoli, Cannellini Bean, & Cheddar Cheese Soup with Whole Wheat Rolls
  4. Baked Honey Garlic Chicken Drumsticks & Cheesy Broccoli & Potato Mash
  5. Herbed Chicken & Mushrooms with Artichokes & Lemon-Thyme Butter

Breakfast:

Whole Wheat Unsweetened Banana Muffins

Changes I will be making:

  • ground flax seed instead of wheat germ
  • add walnuts

Dinners:

1. Meatloaf with mashed potatoes & frozen peas. Recipe for a friend’s birthday.

  • Italian Meatloaf
  • Mashed Potatoes (Cooked russet potatoes, mash, add butter, milk, some parsley, garlic powder, salt, and pepper).
  • Frozen Peas

2. Beef & Mushroom Burgers & Sweet Potato Fries

  • Burger Recipe
  • Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns (or store-bought)
  • Sweet Potato Fries: Slice sweet potatoes into fry shapes (thinner = cooks faster) toss with oil (coconut or olive oil), salt, pepper, and a bit of cayenne pepper. Bake at 450 for 20-30 minutes, flipping them once.
  • Fry Sauce: Mix 2 parts mayo with 1 part ketchup. Add a small amount of vinegar and any seasonings desired (salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, paprika are all good options)

3. Broccoli, Cannellini Bean, & Cheddar Cheese Soup with Whole Wheat Rolls

  • Soup (And I am going to use the reader suggestion of starting by sautéing one onion and a few cloves of garlic):
  • Rolls (or store-bought … I will freeze this recipe into several batches to have handy in the future)

4. Baked Honey Garlic Chicken Drumsticks & Cheesy Broccoli Potato Mash

5. Herbed Chicken & Mushrooms & Artichokes with Lemon Thyme Butter

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