Monday, July 31, 2017

How to Menu Plan - Side Dishes

My method of menu planning is to have a list of possible dishes to choose from that we like and that I have ingredients on hand for.  Before going to the grocery store this week, I did a little inventory of what I had on hand and made a list of ALL the possible things I could make for side dishes.

Butter Beans Cooked With Ham Bits

I was surprised at how long the list was and I could have thought of more, but was in a hurry to get out the door.

Here's what I came up with:

Green Beans cooked with ham bits
Butter Beans (Lima) cooked with ham bits
Three Bean Salad
Fruit with cottage cheese
Black Eyed Peas
Great Northern or Pinto Beans
Chips and Salsa
Broccoli and cheese
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Sweet Potato Casserole
Deviled eggs
Fruit Salad
Broccoli, rice and cheese casserole
Brown Rice cooked in chicken broth
Tomato Sandwich
Sliced Tomatoes
Fried Okra

Sweet Potato Casserole

Just having things to choose from makes menu planning so much easier.  I put this list to good use for our lunch yesterday.  We had butter beans cooked with ham bits, sweet potato casserole and beef kabobs.  I found the sirloin steak for the kabobs at Food Lion marked down.

Okra, Cherry Tomatoes, Regular Tomatoes

I've been trying to use our fresh vegetables from our small garden as much as possible.  This includes vegetable soup, fried okra, BLTs, tomato sandwiches and more.


I buy the little vacuum sealed packages of ham bits, which I call seasoning meat.  Once the package is opened, I separate it into little packs the size needed for one pot of beans and then freeze them.  I wrap each pack in plastic wrap and put them in a freezer bag.

I usually have some pecans in the freezer and can take out just enough needed for the top of the sweet potato casserole.

For menu planning I don't assign a certain food for a certain day.  I just have a list of things that I could cook.  Usually on Sunday I try to cook a little bit a head for the upcoming work week for suppers and also things to take for lunch.

And I'm always open to that unexpected offer by hubby to go out to eat!  We don't do this too much because its so much cheaper to eat at home, but we do eat out occasionally.

What side dishes do you like to cook?


Little Penpen said...

Those are great ideas. Sides sometimes stump me and we get in the habit of eating the same ole thing. I do like the cans of fried apples, esp. in the fall. Baked french fries are always easy too. We eat a lot of baked beans and I buy the pork n beans when they are on sale and try to keep those in the pantry. I bought myself a notebook today and I'm not sure what I'm going to actually do with it, but I am thinking something for the kitchen. My mind is thinking 'cooking from scratch' or pantry recipes. I want to get better about keeping a stocked pantry; it's so nice when we can pull something together that we may not have even realized we had available.

Mary L. Briggs said...

We love sweet potatoes as a side dish, as well as white potatoes. We also eat a lot of green beans (fresh from the garden), okra, squash, and tomatoes. I love tomatoes sliced up on a plate as a side. I enjoyed seeing your menu choices. I love having bits of ham to add to things, too.

Laura Lane said...

Side dishes are not my forte. I wouldn't have thought of doing this. Now that I think about it...

green beans with onions and ham and potatoes all boiled together
scalloped corn
mashed potatoes
baked potatoes
corn on the cob
plain corn in a pan
dinner salad

Hmmmm... I need to give this some thought.

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