This week’s blog post is by Christine Luken.
Summer is my favorite season and I’ve been in denial about its departure the past few weeks. But now that the kids are back in school, temperatures are cooling down, and even a few leaves are beginning to change, it’s undeniable that fall is right around the corner. As sad as I am to see the end of summer days filled with golf, pool time, and picnics, I’m ready for a change. So it’s time to shift gears into fall (my second favorite season, for the record) with my meal planning. Here are some of ways I’ll be switching things up.
- More Baking – I miss baking!! I love baking cakes, muffins, granola bars and cookies, but during the sweltering Kentucky summers, the last thing I want to do is turn on the oven and burden my already overtaxed air conditioner. When I bake, I usually make double batches and freeze leftovers. This means that on busy mornings, I can just pull out a couple of chocolate chip zucchini muffins out of the freezer and pop them in the toaster oven or microwave. My freezer is pretty bare of baked goods right now, so I’m anxious to restock. When I was on vacation in Michigan, I bought some freshly ground cardamom at a spice shop for my Plum Cardamom Cake. My co-op had some super ripe organic plums which I pureed and froze last month just for this cake. (See recipe below.) And with pumpkin season around the corner… My kitchen is going to smell fantastic!
- More Soup – I love homemade soup when the weather starts to cool down. It’s relatively easy to make and leftovers get frozen in individual portions for weekday lunches. I stopped buying canned soup last year due to the cost and the salt content. Once a month, during the fall and winter, I would make a huge pot of soup or chili with the intent of freezing most of it. Check out my blog post “More Soup for You!” for my favorite soup recipes!
- More Casseroles and Pasta – I was so excited to add back casseroles and other hearty pasta dishes that require the oven to my September meal plan! Pizza Casserole, Eggplant Rollitini, Firecracker Casserole, and Turkey Stroganoff will be served at my table in the very near future! The great thing is that most of these also freeze well (with the exception of the stroganoff due to the sour cream) so I’ll be putting some homemade frozen dinners in my stockpile. I’ve been collecting recipes on Pinterest to try as the weather cools off. This Mexican Chicken Casserole is on the top of my list!
So, how do you change gears when it comes to meal planning this time of year? If you’ve fallen off the meal planning wagon during the summer, now’s the time to jump back on!
Plum Cardamom Cake (Modified from original recipe in The Cake Mix Doctor Cookbook)
- 1 package of white cake mix
- 1 cup of Greek yogurt
- 1 cup of fresh, peeled and pureed plums
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- 2 Tbs. of Domino Light (or ¼ cup of sugar)
- 4 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon of ground cardamom
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mist a 12-cup Bundt pan with cooking spray and set aside. Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer for 2 to 3 minutes, until the batter is well combined. Pour batter into the Bundt pan and smooth with a spatula. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until cake is golden and just starts to pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove from oven and let cool for 20 minutes. Run a long, sharp knife along the edges of the pan and invert the cake on a serving platter.