Monthly Cooking Themes!

Every week I make a menu (future post opportunity!) for the upcoming week, rotating my favorites, my husband’s favorites, some childhood classics, and whatever recipes on Pinterest recently peaked my interest.

However, every week, my mind goes blank when I think about what I want to make for dinner all week. This is despite the over 5,000 recipes (seriously) I have saved on Pinterest, and the dozens of cookbooks on my bookshelves (P.S. I collect cookbooks for the pictures.) What a conundrum for a girl that wants to make and eat all the things!

Beef barbacoa chimichangas and my signature guac for May Mexican month.

For 2018, I came up with a plan to challenges me to try new recipes, and to help end the never ending battle of “what’s for dinner this week.” I decided to pick one theme per month based on an ingredient/thing (potato..or burger), international cuisine (Mexican), or cooking method (crockpot). Once I pick a theme, I search my Pinterest and cookbooks and make a list of 5-10 recipes that fit that theme. The list of ideas helps with my weekly menu – usually 1 or 2 “theme” recipes per week, and fill in the rest with my normal stuff (mainly tacos). When I have to buy unique ingredients, I’m able to use them up in several recipes (less waste!). Some recipes I follow word for word, and some I use as inspiration to develop my own version.

These were my 2018 Themes:

  • January: Soup Month
  • February: Stuffed Meat Month
  • March: Italian Month
  • April: Asian Month
  • May: Mexican Month
  • June: Salad Month
  • July: Grilling Month
  • August: Burger Month
  • September: Pizza Month
  • October: Pasta Month
  • November: Crockpot Month
  • December: Potato Month

I did get sick of some of the themes (Asian, pasta, crockpot, potatoes) and others, I could have kept going (Mexican, salad, pizza). In May, I made a point to eat Mexican food almost every single day. I made 12 different salads in June, and they were so, so good. And pizza? Not once did I think, gee, I wish I didn’t have to eat pizza tonight. I made 9 varieties.

Breakfast pizza in a cast iron skillet with homemade dough,
fresh grated mozzarella, Parmesan, bacon, egg, fried shallot.  Drool.

It was so much fun, I’m doing the same for 2019, with a few repeats, and new themes as well! But the best part (besides gorging on so much amazing food) was hearing from friends that tried something new after I posted my culinary creations! January is soup month again – a.k.a. #soupdejanuary – stay tuned for February’s theme!

What ingredient/thing, international cuisine, or cooking method could you use for an entire month of meals?

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