November is like the old October, isn’t it? Saturday, we were outside at a soccer game in t-shirts and shorts. Sunday, we bundled up for the same field in jeans and sweaters. Brrrr! We got in one last night on the grill this weekend… thinking that will be it for a while.
This month, I’ll start off each meal plan post with a nod to my favorite kitchen product (or two), offering gift ideas for those who love to cook. I can’t imagine not starting this Kitchen Gift Guide without the two listed below.
Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 5-1/2-Quart Round French Oven, Cherry
When my husband gifted me the Le Creuset Dutch Oven a few years, he really didn’t think I’d keep it. The “centsible” (borrowing Kelly’s word) side of me wouldn’t actually spend that kind of money on a kitchen item, right? 8 years later, you bet I kept it! I truly feel that, and I’ve added more Le Creuset to my kitchen with the goal of eventually replacing all of our kitchen pots and pans with this line. Dutch Ovens, made of iron cast, are excellent for browning and braising. I use them for all of my soups (that I don’t make in a slow cooker). They’re extremely heavy, and their lids give an excellent seal when you’re cooking (to keep the hots inside.) If you want to invest slowly, like I do, then try to start with a Dutch Oven because it can be used as a multi-tasker, even replacing a frying pan. The size and shape mentioned here are ideal for a family of 5 who likes to entertain. The oval shape offers enough room to cook a whole chicken, and the size will allow you to cook with leftovers or fill for a party.
Cuisinart PSC-650 Stainless Steel 6-1/2-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker
There are a lot of choices when you’re looking at Slow Cookers (also known by the brand name, Crock Pots), and my experience can’t tell you which is amazing versus, well, not, beyond those I’ve owned. In fact, my first was pretty lousy, always burning on the bottom, so when I was looking for a new one 2 years ago, I very specifically searched for a cooker that had a ceramic pot which cleans better and can go in the dishwasher (though mine rarely does because it’s heavy.) I also wanted a Slow Cooker that was programmable. I can set this at 10 am for 6 hours, and it will auto-switch to “keep warm” at 4, so that we can eat it at 6 and not worry about the food being overcooked. If you’re a busy family person, then you will thank me for advising you to add this to your kitchen, helping you to make warm, healthy meals for your family year-round, no matter your schedule. Generally, Slow Cookers range in price from $50 through several hundred. The Cuisinart PSC Stainless Steel Programmable Slow Cooker (featured here, the one I have) is on sale for $99.95 (a savings of over $85) today.
November Meal Plan–4 weeks of dinners for your family
November Week 1
- Monday: Salmon Macaroni & Cheese with Caesar Salad
- Tuesday: Drunken Pork Tenderloin with Apple Salad
- Wednesday: Leftovers
- Thursday: Crockpot Honey-Sesame Chicken over rice with pineapples and string beans
- Weekend: Crispy Baked Fish with sugar snap peas; Lasagna Soup
November Week 2
- Monday: Slow Cooker Italian Herb Chicken (made with McCormick spice packet) and Caesar Salad
- Tuesday: Parmesan Baked Salmon and Wegmans’ Roasted Cauliflower & Delicata Squash with Baby Spinach
- Wednesday: Turkey & Bean Chili
- Thursday: Leftovers
- Friday: Pizza night
- Weekend: Huevos Rancheros & Slow Cooker Tuscan Pot Roast
November Week 3
- Monday: Herb-Cheese Stuffed Salmon with a side of Broccoli & Cheese
- Tuesday: Steak Salad with Roasted Red Pepper Relish
- Wednesday: Chicken, Fennel & White Bean Soup (Slowcooker)
- Thursday: Leftovers
- Weekend: Easy Chicken Enchiladas; Cream of Sweet Potato Soup with salad
November Week 4
- Monday: Slow-Cooker White Bean and Kielbasa Stew
- Tuesday: Honey Soy Glazed Salmon with Spinach and Peppers
- Wednesday: leftovers
- Thursday: Thanksgiving
- Weekend: Thanksgiving leftovers: Turkey Reuben with Cranberry Sauce; Thanksgiving Empanadas; leftover Thanksgiving Soup