I have an alarmingly short memory when it comes to things I know how to cook. I make something, like it and then promptly forget. I know I'm not alone. I know that lots of you out there are making the same things over and over. I think the worst part is that most of the time, its hard to even figure out a way out of the rut. Here's a plan that may help.
1. Make a List
Keep a some type of list of dishes you make. If you make something new that's good, write it down. My list is organized into categories: ground turkey, chicken, sausage, vegetarian. You can use any system that works for you: main protein, degree of difficulty, type of cuisine. But you know, having an unorganized list is better than no list at all.
2. Plan Your Meals
If you have a list of dishes you make, it's easy to pick five to get you through the week. Don't worry too much about the perfect combination for now. Just make sure that your plan isn't the same each week.
3. Introduce New Recipes
First off, you need to figure out where to get them, right? I bookmark recipes on blogs, on foodnetwork.com or epicurious. I have a stack of cookbooks too. Right now, I'm trying to deal with an old stack of Cooking Lights. I'm going through only a magazine a day and tearing out anything I think I'd make. But the key? Actually trying the recipes, and soon. That way, if it's no good, I can toss the recipe right away, and if it's good, I'll post it here (and then toss the recipe). Either way, I'm not going to keep storing torn out recipes indefinitely.
So here's next week's plan:
"Sporkie Pizza" - My family has never been much for chain restaurants, but we've certainly been in situations where a Bertucci's is about the best you can get. Our favorite pizza is a Sporkie, sweet italian sausage, ricotta, tomato sauce and mozzarella. Perfect to make at home, using turkey sausage so Ryan can enjoy it too.
Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
So far I've introduced you to two of my major cheats - using a meal out of the freezer and adding something to some chicken sausages. My other main cheat - breakfast for dinner. It's not like pancakes are no work, but they're a lot easier than other things I make. As a special bonus, these will use up the ricotta from last night's pizza, so no worried about it going to waste or spoiling before I get to it.
Rotini with Spinach, Cannellini Beans and Asiago Cheese - I just pulled this out of a Cooking Light magazine. I'm a sucker for a vegetarian pasta dish that has protein in it. I'm trying it for the first time, and if it work, I'll report back. If not, I can part ways with another piece of paper.
Butternut Squash Stuffed with Blue Cheese and Sausage - The blue cheese we bought last week for the Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches will be put to use. Such a delicious, warm meal for the end of the week.