Menu Exploration

Whenever Tim and I sit down to plan our weekly meals it quickly becomes obvious that we have a knack for repeating our favorites – a lot. For example, nutritionally balanced pizza (topped with homemade pesto, mushrooms, olives, spinach, and marinara sauce):

And BBQ tacos (filled with homemade BBQ sauce, soy curls, caramelized onions, and black beans):

And yummy veggie burgers, like this beet burger:

Tuesday is grocery shopping day and I have a handful of new and exciting meals planned for the upcoming week:

1. Summer Squash Soup (from Color Me Vegan)
2. Sesame Lime Soba Noodles with Shiitakes and Snap Peas (from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan)
3. Cashew & Red Lentil Burgers (from Color Me Vegan)
4. Peanut Butter Pancakes (from Color Me Vegan)
5. Couscous & Veggie Medley (from Color Me Vegan)

I always insist on including recipes we’ve never tried into our meal plans, but laziness can sometimes foil that plan. Despite having two shelves stuffed with cookbooks (and a fat binder overflowing with recipes printed from food blogs), I never seem to use them to their potential. There’s simply no excuse!

Summertime is the ultimate season for menu exploration because the bounty of fresh produce is unbelievably exciting. I am twirling with glee for pea tendrils, basil, golden beets, squash, peaches, and fingerling potatoes. This weekend I am hoping to buy some pickling cucumbers and can a bunch of dill pickles (not that pickles are a meal by themselves, but they are a nice accompaniment to vegan burgers and sammies!). I made them a few years ago and they were a lot of work, but so worth the effort (especially since I had a pickle canning companion)!

The best part about trying lots of new recipes is the potential to create more and more favorites! If I was capable, I’d challenge myself to try a new recipe every day for an entire year, but that would require some serious commitment! How do you avoid repeating favorites?