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slow cooked pot roast

I’m using today’s post as a little look back at at my year in blogging here (although it lasted all of four months!), starting with this recipe for slow cooked pot roast at number five. It was part of my Mondays on Main St. series that I plan to kick off next week.

rosemary balsamic roasted chicken

Number four just happened to be one my favorite go-to meals, which is a recipe for rosemary balsamic roasted chicken.  So easy to prepare and was another feature at the Mondays on Main St. series.

avocado and cilantro hummus

Hummus is pretty popular around these parts and at number three, this easy to prepare avocado and cilantro hummus was no exception.  I adore cilantro so this was a particular favorite of mine.  Are there any cilantro lovers out there?

spinach basil pesto

Homemade pesto in any form is not only delicious, but extremely versatile. I used this spinach and basil pesto in eggs, spread onto Italian bread for panini and of course, tossed with hot pasta.  I can hardly wait until next summer when our herb garden will be full of cilantro, basil and parsley.

cinnamon baked donuts

I wasn’t too surprised that these delicious cinnamon baked donuts were the top post for 2014.  They are the perfect thing to make on a lazy Saturday morning.  We don’t have too many lazy Saturdays here (with getting everyone to their respective sports practices and games), but when we do I love to spend a couple of hours baking.

One last thing while you’re here…I’ve been thinking of working on a little menu planning to kick off 2014.

Lots of things go into a successful menu plan and I have to admit, I’m not the best at keeping it up.  Some months, I’ll plan a week or two and then just rely on our pantry for the remaining weeknight meals.

Some thoughts on menu planning:

Schedules: It’s important that our weeknight dinners match up with what is going on after school for my family.  There’s little sense in planning a dinner that will take me a couple of hours to prep and prepare if one child has indoor batting practice and the other has basketball practice.

Seasonal: I really only prepare dishes that make the most of in-season, fresh ingredients.  For one, they are less expensive which helps to keep our grocery budget in check.  And, two those same in-season ingredients taste so much better than a tomato that I’ve purchased in the dead of winter.  For those of you who grow your own garden, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Well-Stocked Pantry: There’s a fine line between a well-stocked pantry and one that overflows into other cabinets or the laundry room.  I’m in the process of updating the way I store items in our pantry and how to make the most of every single shelf.  While I subscribe to having lots of pasta, various grains, canned stock and dried spices on hand, it doesn’t help me much if I’m unable to find what I need or have an abundance of one item.  To that end, I’m careful with lots of bulk purchases, unless I know it’s an item that’s in regular rotation.

I’d love to hear how you approach the menu/meal planning process and how you keep things organized. There seems to be plenty of ways to approach it effectively and for the long term!

Happy New Year!

Allison {Main St. Cuisine}