Easy Menu Ideas For Every Occasion
You will find a huge assortment of wonderful menu ideas in this section of Cookingnook.com.
We have interesting menu suggestions for every kind of cooking and food, so if you are on a budget, looking for vegetarian or heart healthy menus, want easy dinner recipes for busy weeknights or dinner party menus, here is where you will find them.
Of course, feel free to browse the site and select your own easy menu ideas. And look for great menu planning tips below.
Holidays and Special Events
Menu Planning Tips:
1. First of all, decide how much time you have to cook.
For example if you are looking to put together menus for busy weekday dinners, make sure that the recipes you choose are quick cooking or can be put together ahead, then popped into the crockpot or oven when necessary.
If you have more time on weekends or when planning a dinner party menu, you can choose longer cooking recipes for those occasions.
2. Notice the spices and herbs that are common to the kinds of cuisine you are interested in cooking and select recipes that contain those or go well with them.
Here are a few examples:
Mexican recipes tend to use chilies, cumin and cilantro.
Italian food often contains basil, oregano, lemons, olive oil and tomatoes.
Chinese recipes often use soy sauce, as well as things like hoisin sauce and oyster sauce.
Thai recipes go with lemon grass and Thai basil.
Eastern European recipes often go well with caraway and dill and will pair well with potatoes.
Middle Eastern recipes use lots of chick peas, parsley and cinnamon and pair well with flat breads like pita bread.
East Indian food often contains cumin, coriander, lime leaves, curry powder and garam masala (a version of curry powder).
If you choose a recipe that contains oregano for example, it will probably go well with other Mediterranean style cuisines, but not as well with Asian flavors.
3. Use side dishes that go with that particular cuisine.
If you want to try an Asian themed recipe, for example, cook rice or noodles instead of potatoes. Asian countries tend not to use potatoes.
Eastern European recipes often combine with potatoes or plain noodles.
Mexican food is most often served with rice, either plain or cooked with tomatoes or chicken broth and cilantro.
4. Select recipes that seem like they will taste good together.
It is your taste buds you have to please, so go with a mix of recipes that sound to you like they will be good together.
5. Decide how many items you want to cook.
I always opt for a main course recipe, meat or fish based or vegetarian, plus a starchy side dish (potatoes, rice or noodles/pasta) and at least one vegetable (usually two) or one vegetable and a side salad.
If you don’t want to cook a lot of items, opt for a main dish recipe that already has vegetables in it. A vegetable quiche or frittata, a stew or main course salad are great examples.
Not everything you cook has to be a full blown recipe. Steamed vegetables with a touch of your favorite flavoring, salt or butter, are fantastic healthy side dishes.
6. Decide on dessert.
Dessert is optional of course, but I have included them in the menus in case you have a sweet tooth and want to go for it all.
Lighter desserts are sometimes more welcome after a heavy meal than cakes or pies. Lemon is a perfect flavor to serve in almost any form after a heavy meal, or something light and simple like a fruit salad or a homemade cookie.
Any way you do it, I hope these menu ideas keep you eating happily for a long while. Mark this page to your Pinterest and other bookmarking accounts (see the buttons below) so you can keep up to date on all the delicious additions to this menu planning section of CookingNook.com.