Monthly Menu: November

Happy November! I hope you had a fun Halloween. My family made it to the pumpkin patch with one day to spare. I wasn’t sure it was in the cards for us this year, but I was pleasantly surprised that we were able to hold onto our tradition of racing through the corn maze and taking photos next to the height chart featured at the far end of the patch despite busy high school schedules.

My posts have dwindled down to just my monthly menu as of late. I’ve been working at my children’s former elementary school as a regular substitute teacher most days and Parker Posts has taken a backseat. Selfishly, having my monthly menu posted on the blog makes my own life easier. My family can easily see what we are having for dinner, click on the linked recipe and start prepping ingredients if I’m busy. Planning for the entire month in one sitting has eliminated the stress of having to think about what we are going to have for dinner on a weekly basis. Now, I only have to make a shopping list of the fresh ingredients we will need to buy at the beginning of each week.

This month’s meal plan is chock-full of quick and easy dinner ideas ideal for cool, crisp days. Comfort foods such as soups and casseroles are always at the top of my list during the month of November. One of the best things about the soups, sauces, and chilis that are our fall staples is that the leftovers can easily be frozen. I included a couple meals this month that take advantage of the leftover chili and spaghetti sauce that we made in October. I’m planning to make enough chicken enchilada soup and pasta e fagiole to ensure that I have a couple easy to prepare meals during the busy December holiday season.

Tip: When freezing soup that includes pasta as one of the ingredients, don’t include the pasta. The pasta will soak up the liquid and become soggy. Instead boil just enough pasta for that evening’s meal, place a serving of pasta in each bowl and ladle your soup over the top.

Use THIS blank monthly menu to customize a plan that best meets your own needs. 

Click HERE to print

Week #1

Creamy Mushroom Bacon Pasta: New to me

Chicken Enchilada Soup: Slow cooker meal, freezer friendly

Pork Tenderloin with Apple Cranberry Gravy: Family favorite

Calzone: Customizable, quick & easy

Recipe: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Divide a 1 lb bag of Trader Joes Pizza Dough into 4 even balls. Roll each ball into a 7″ circle. In a medium bowl mix 1 cup ricotta and 1 cup shredded mozzarella. Add in additional ingredients of your choice (mushrooms, sausage, pepperoni, olives, etc…) Place of spoonful of the cheese mixture on the center of each circle. Fold over and pinch the edges together. Brush with a mixture of olive oil, garlic salt and Italian seasoning. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden. Spoon heated marinara sauce over the top of each calzone. Tope with grated. parmesan.

Ham and Scalloped Potatoes: Family favorite

Tip: Spiral sliced quarter hams and pre-made packages of scalloped potatoes are easy to find in the grocery store right now due to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and ideal for easy meal prep. After a traditional ham dinner, I like to make rotini with ham, ham and bean soup or Denver omelettes the following week to use up the leftovers.

Balsamic-Glazed Sirloin w/ Farro Pilaf: New to me recipe

Week # 2

Rotini with Ham: Family favorite, quick & easy, make-ahead. This is one of my favorite meals to deliver to families that need a helping hand because they can bake it at their convenience.

Taco Cornbread Casserole: Mexican flavors and comfort food combined! This recipe is a winter Taco Tuesday staple.

One Pan Chicken & Rice: I love a meal I can make in one pan! I use my oval Le Creuset dutch oven for most meals that go from stovetop to oven.

Turkey & Stuffing En Croute: Easy. This seasonal Trader Joe’s item sells out quickly every year. It feeds our family of four and has been a hit ever since I first brought it home 3 years ago. I could eat the cranberry sauce by itself by the spoonful- it is SO good! I’m not big on buying prepackaged dinners, but this one is worth it if you are craving Thanksgiving flavors, but don’t have time to make an entire feast.

Maple Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto: Family favorite. The crispy sage topping on this risotto is the pièce de résistance. Stirring the risotto takes a little time. Save this recipe for a night that you aren’t in a hurry.

Lasagna Soup: This recipe is an especially popular with the sausage lovers in my household. I never seem to use an entire package of noodles when I’m making a batch of lasagna and this soup is a great way to take advantage of the few left over in my pantry.

Week #3

Birthday Dinner: It’s my son’s birthday today! Our family tradition is that the birthday person picks that night’s dinner.

Crispy Oven Taco: Quick & easy.

Skillet Pesto Chicken & Beans: Family favorite

One Pot Hamburger Helper: New to me. This healthier, homemade version of Hamburger Helper caught my eye on one of my favorite Instagram cooking accounts. I can’t wait to see if it tastes as good as it looks in the photos.

Grilled Cheese & Chicken Noodle Soup: Quick & easy. This is a simple meal that we usually always have on hand. It can be thrown together on a night when plans change or you find yourself at a loss for what to make for dinner.

Tip: Elevate your everyday grilled cheese sandwich with a smear of Trader Joe’s tomato jam.

Meatloaf: Family favorite, gluten free. My grandma’s recipe calls for oatmeal instead of breadcrumbs so that even GF friends can enjoy a slice.

Recipe: Combine 1 ½  lbs ground beef, ¼ cup finely chopped onion, 1 cup oatmeal, 1 tsp. salt, ¼ tsp. pepper, 1 tsp Coleman’s dry mustard, ¼ cup ketchup, 1 egg (well beaten) 1 cup milk, 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce. Shape in to a loaf and bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour.

Week # 4

Stuffed Shells: Meat free. Looking to add a little protein? I often substitute my left over spaghetti sauce in place of the marinara the recipe calls for.

Tip: Use leftover spaghetti sauce to top your stuffed shells.

Make Your Own Burrito: Customizable, quick & easy

Tip: Set out pre-cooked sliced chicken, microwaveable rice, black beans, shredded cheese, guacamole, chopped lettuce and salsa for a make-your-own burrito bar.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving leftovers: quick & easy. Is there anything more delicious than a sandwich made our of all your Thanksgiving fixings?

Chili & Baked Potato: quick & easy. Use any chili you have leftover from your October menu.

Pasta e Fagioli: this Olive Garden copycat recipe transports me back to my college years when we would go out for all you can eat soup, salad and breadsticks

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. THANK YOU for continuing to support my blogging endeavors these past few years. Your comments and emails always brighten my day!

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