So here's a sample of menu planning. It's a little stream-of-consciousness. But that's the way I roll.
Do you have a system? Maybe I should be learning something from you.
Leftover fresh produce from last week: a tiny head of broccoli, a huge bowl of coleslaw, a head of lettuce (on rapid decline), avocados, 1 jalapeno.
Household staple fresh produce I am almost never without: Onions, garlic, carrots, and potatoes.
What was cheap this week: ancient red sweet peppers (thinner flesh than bell peppers, but similar taste), tomatillos, tiny Indian eggplants, celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, corn on the cob.
Reading my list I think, there's got to be a Mexican dish in there (tomatillos, tomatoes, sweet peppers, jalapeno, and avocado lend themselves to Mexican), and I should make a salad (lettuce, broccoli, cucumbers, and tomatoes can do salad).
I also defrosted a chicken yesterday, so that's gotta go on the menu ASAP.
Thursday is hot, so crock pot the chicken. And corn is best right away. Might as well use the coleslaw up. Add mashed potatoes, and put some barbeque seasoning on the chicken. American classic. Done.
Sunday is a business meeting potluck. Sandwich theme means condiments, toppings, or sides. I like to bring veggies, because I care if they're there. How's about pickled stuff... Pickled carrots and dill pickles.
Salad something to use up the lettuce. Leftover chicken for the protein. Some kind of bread? Oh! Pasta salad instead. On a bed of lettuce. With some of everything vegetable and leftover chicken and a balsamic vinaigrette. That's Friday.
Something Mexican with those tomatillos and the jalapeno. That would be tasty with Mexican rice and refried beans. Maybe ground beef or tortillas, too. But I don't have any cilantro, so that limits things a bit. How about Avocado and Roasted Tomatillo Soup? With rice and beans? Yes. Tortillas, yes. Ground beef, no. Beans will be enough protein. Let's schedule for Monday, because we have people coming over.
Indian eggplants. I did curry last Tuesday, so maybe a Chinese preparation. Chinese needs rice, too, so it can't go the day before or after Mexican. No tofu in the house, so defrost pork chops. Stir fry. There are a zillion recipes for Chinese Eggplant. Just add finely diced pork. Saturday.
Still a lot of sweet peppers, probably. Italian. Pasta. Sausage? Sure. Pasta with sausage and peppers in creamy white wine sauce. Wednesday.
Main dish celery? A gratin? Those all have heavy cream. Maybe something with cheese instead. Google celery and cheese main dish, Braised Celery with Cheese and Onion Sauce is the third result. Ignore all the pretentiousness in the intro, it sounds tasty. Still, no starch, and only cheese for protein. And I'd have to adapt it to the crock pot, 'cuz it's too hot for the oven. Try Googling celery main dish recipe. New York Times article! Let's do Wild Rice Salad with Celery and Walnuts. Fresh fruit. Cheese cubes. What day is left? Tuesday?
Thursday- Crock pot bbq chicken, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, and coleslaw.
Friday- Mixed vegetable salad with chicken and balsamic vinaigrette.
Saturday- Stir Fried Chinese Eggplant and Pork.
Sunday- Quick picked carrots and dill pickles for business meeting.
Monday- Avocado and roasted tomatillo soup. Mexican rice. Refried beans.
Tuesday- Wild rice salad with Celery and Walnuts. Fresh fruit. Cheese cubes.
Wednesday- Pasta with sausage and peppers in creamy white wine sauce.