Weekly Menu Planning – September 2023

I don’t think she goes by a recipe - depends on how many people she was feeding and how much ground beef she had. I know she puts an egg in it, too…

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Cooking for 1 at the Jersey Shore

Sunday: homemade French Onion Soup from the freezer https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/french-onion-soup-recipe-1939059
Monday: Pork cutlet with white wine lemon sauce, leftover mixed veg, corn on the cob
Tuesday: leftover ratatouille (from freezer) over farro https://www.skinnytaste.com/ratatouille-with-farro/
Wednesday: Tuesday leftovers
Thursday: linguine carbonara

That’s as far as I can think into the future at this point.


I have been cooking off the cuff and relying on some frozen TJ’s entrees, especially the Asian stuff, to form the basis of meals. Bleh. I really want to reduce our grocery budget but it is hard lately to plan meals around what we have. I have a giant ham in the fridge that’s a month past it’s “expiration” date and I’m nervous to open it. And then there’s the problem of my kiddo just needing a separate meal sometimes for us adults to eat what we want. Extra work.

Dinner ideas:

Tonight: I made pollo guisado with schmaltzy brown rice. I’m starting to brown rice so long as it’s made in the IP. Liked this dish, too.

Mon: Japanese curry with tofu, carrots, onion, and maybe Japanese sweet potato. Rice. Probably scallion pancake to supplement for the kiddo.

Tue: small batch of ham and white bean soup with some warmed ciabatta? If I’m brave enough to finally open the ham, what with it being an eternity between two people, and all. Kiddo will have a little bit of the soup, screened for vegetables :joy: with short pasta.

Wed: kid soccer and I’m going out for trivia, but the food there is bad. Thinking about slinging together American goulash and green salad before we disperse.

Thurs: TJ’s frozen cacio e pepe with sliced ham and sauteed garlic spinach? I dunno why I even bought this. Kiddo will need something else (hopefully leftovers) as not sold on either gnocchi OR ham. Whatever veg looks good.

Fri: assorted dumplings and bagged Japanese fried rice, to make freezer space. Or more likely we’ll go out for tacos.

Sat: Greek Festival. Hoping to eat a big lunch there and then scrounge for dinner.

Sun: croque-madames? Bechamel is sounding good right now. Must be this vaguely fall-ish weather coming in.

Yeah, not very well planned but :woman_shrugging:t2:. Non a lot of veg on hand except for lettuce.


I find ham freezes ok, so once you open it and deem it fit for consumption, you might just break what you don’t need down into pound or so chunks and freeze it for some other meals…unless your freezer looks like mine right now and would rebel at one more thing being crammed in there :laughing:


Pretty much, but where there’s a will…


Wasn’t there someone on here who referred to fridge/freezer Tetris?


I’ll keep searching then! I tend to have bad luck when I improvise meatloaf. :joy:

For anyone interested, the recipe is from How Can It Be Gluten Free by ATK. The non-GF version is online - http://recipecircus.com/recipes/PLThomas/MEATS/America39s_Test_Kitchen_Meatloaf.html
Key differences are that the GF version does not include hot sauce and uses 1/3 C instant mashed potato flakes instead of saltines. It calls for 1lb pork (mixed in first) and then 1lb beef, and no bacon. We liked the meatloaf but did not care for the glaze, which fortunately I only put on half!


For gluten free breadcrumbs I have used pulverized rice Chex in the past. There tends to always be a box lurking and the family will eat them. My sil is gf so I don’t go through gf supplies very quickly


I’ve been meaning to try that, but hesitant because the GF breadcrumbs I’ve tried are rice-based, and they make everything gummy. The potato flakes worked well, though! (I used these.)

Love Boursin for other uses, but did not really like the “TikTok Pasta” using it and cherry tomatoes – we ate that but will not make again.

My dad’s recipe calls for 1 egg beaten and “enough oatmeal to absorb the egg” for 1 pound of ground beef. It’s usually 1/4 - 1/2 C. Add 1 T milk if mixture is too dry.

This “veggie packed meatloaf” recipe calls for 1/4 C bulgar for 8 oz. meat, plus all the veggies and I successfully used oatmeal instead. Walnut is the most noticeable flavor in the final product so you might call it “walnut meatloaf”. It has a lot of prep steps and my recipe notes say it was quite a project to make.

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Actuals for Sept 11 week, cooking for 2 in MN but much abbreviated since I was in WI Monday (with niece and family) and in IA Fri-Sun (with my classmates for our 50-year reunion). My husband did great with his YOYO (you’re on your own) meals from fridge and freezer, using up frozen meatballs, many reheats of the chicken/sweet potato meal and a 5 oz. tub of fresh spinach. I was able to stop at my favorite apple orchard Sunday on the way home, and stocked up on freshly picked Ginger Gold variety. Also few Paula Red, Wealthy and Honeycrisp. Some will mix-match for a Dorie Greenspan Marie Helenes cake.

Tues: Crispy breaded pollock fish strips (Schwan’s/Yelloh), (commercial frozen) cauliflower rice & broccoli with cheese, fresh orange
Wed: Quick Chicken soup made with frozen cheese tortellini and mixed veg. Salad. Toronto Jo recipe Biscuits from freezer
Thurs: Mexican Chicken and Sweet Potato skillet (Julia Pacheco recipe). Note also watch the quick video since the written recipe has several typo’s - not listing the onion you need and listing a clove of garlic never included.
Sun: Take-out pizza


I am fortunate that my husband (and honestly, the kids when they were around) understands the sweet deal he has and eats everything that he’s served without complaint though perhaps with varying levels of enthusiasm :slight_smile:


I love this. My husband has the same generous way. And since he offers to wash every single dish I dirty, I never complain about where he puts them after he’s washed them.



I like to think this is the case here, too. :smile: How quickly the leftovers are scarfed, or whether seconds or thirds are consumed, usually tip his hand.


I have to remind Mr Autumm on occasion to tell me if he doesn’t like something or I might make it again

Otherwise he’s pretty good about putting in menu requests but we are working on the seasonal concept. I’m not making pot roast in July. Sorry not sorry


Had a lovely time at Disneyland with my husband as a weekend getaway for our wedding anniversary. I’ve mentioned it here before, but our first date anniversary is more meaningful to us. However, any excuse to celebrate is a good one! Wish we were still at Galaxy’s Edge rather than back in reality. Going to pull a LOT from the freezer for the rest of the week.

For two adults in San Diego:

Breakfasts: Going to pull various leftover baked goods from freezer each day.

S - Su: meals out

M: (tonight) Lentil soup - vegetarian/soup or salad (going to let this count for both categories this week)

T: Chicken cordon bleu from freezer, spinach, garlic bread.

W: Random leftovers from freezer before an evening work event.

Th: Shrimp tacos or quesadillas - seafood

F: Kielbasa with TJs sweet potato gnocchi and peas Pasta with white bolognese - forgot I had some mirepoix to use up!

Have a good week!


Greetings, People.

Fall has arrived in our little corner of the world. Our garden is in its annual tamasic decline, and so are we. Only the salmon are running on full speed, and too quick to be caught, apparantly. We are enjoying the lull after a long, busy and happy summer (my favorite kind). Culinary thoughts are turning towards comfort food, and baking … lots of baking.

Cooking for two adults in the PNW:

FRI: Sopa de Fideos (rolled from last week). Plan to bulk it up with Spanish chorizo, black beans, avocado, corn kernels, and homemade tortilla chips

SAT: Lemony fish chowder – a riff on an Epicurious recipe which we really like. Crackers or bread.

SUN: DH practicing his rotisserie moves on the gas grill with a couple of chickens (on sale this week). We’ll see what comes of it, but whatever it is, I’ve offered to make cold-oil fries (rolled over from last week) to go with. Probably a salad, also.

MON: Shrimp scamp with orzo (NYT version). Some kind of salad.

TUE: Harvest dinner: Pan roasted pork chops. Roasted pumpkin. Sauteed apples. Baby peas.

WED: Leftover chili from the freezer. Homemade tortilla chips.

THUR: Leftover rotisserie chicken in some form.


If you find yourselves drowning in leftover rotisserie chicken, this is one of my favorite ways to use it up: https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/sheet-pan-pasta-bake-with-chicken-and-kale

Paraphrased because ugh paywall: (note this includes some of the edits I’ve incorporated over the years!)
Cook and drain 1/2 to 3/4 lb pasta (penne, gemelli, etc.) but reserve 1/2 C cooking water.
Mix 1 C panko, 1/4 C Parmesan, 2 T olive oil, s&p and set aside.
Toss a bunch of kale (stemmed) or a bag of baby spinach, a pint of cherry tomatoes (halved), and another 2 T oil and s&p on a baking sheet.
Mix pasta in the cooking pot with 1C sour cream, 1T Dijon mustard, half the reserved pasta water, s&p, and 3/4 C Parmesan. Stir in cooked pasta, 4 C shredded rotisserie chicken and 1 C shredded Italian cheese or mozzarella. Add more pasta water if needed.
Pour the chicken/pasta mixture on the baking sheet (on top of the vegetables) and top with another 1 C shredded cheese.
Bake at 450F for 5-10 min until browned and melty.


Thank you! That looks delicious. :yum:

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