February in New England is a pretty hit-and-miss month. The weather can be anywhere on the spectrum from downright horrible to (as it is now) unseasonably warm, and rarely does it settle right in that sweet spot of picturesque, snow-covered sledding paradise. Everybody’s usually over their holiday cheer and hanging their hopes on the fifty-fifty shot that some chubby rodent will make his appearance, arbitrarily convincing folks that the winter doldrums are nearly through. Even Valentine’s Day, with its sunny, mushy declarations of love and goodwill, can’t possibly stop the gloomy, snarky, sick-of-these-four-walls disposition that settles over the East Coast in February.
For my part, I just sort of shut my eyes and wait for the month to be over; knowing that it’s a few days shorter than its counterparts helps, as does focusing on the reality that once February has come and gone, I’ve got preparations to make for P.’s birthday in late March. But when it comes to meal planning for this month, I usually find that my well of inspiration is running rather more dry than usual. There’s no change to the fresh produce situation anywhere on the horizon; there’s not enough significant climate change to make the heavier winter dishes impractical; and there’s been so much cold-weather cooking already that scarcely anybody cares about those winter braises, stews, soups, and comfort dishes anymore. Other people get sick of February, but I get sick of February COOKING.
Nonetheless, I managed, of course, to put together the requisite 29 days of meals, accounting in there for out-of-town guests, the Super Bowl, and several choral rehearsals for myself. Hopefully March will be a more inspiring month somehow, with its tantalizing promises of the approach of spring; but in the meantime, at least I think I’ve got a menu the family will enjoy.
Wednesday, 2/1: Whole wheat macaroni and cheese, roasted broccoli
Thursday, 2/2: DIY Salad platter and homemade muffins
Friday, 2/3: My folks are coming to town. Instead of fend night, we’ll have spaghetti and meatballs from the slow cooker and a salad.
Saturday, 2/4: Mom’s bringing a brined turkey (because yes, that’s how my family rolls — we come bearing poultry). J. wants some traditional fixings with it — cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, probably some butternut squash.
Sunday, 2/5: Super Bowl Sunday! This is a BIG day in our house. We’ll do it up right, with a bunch of tailgate-style munchies (still TBD).
Monday, 2/6: Lemon-herb marinated chicken and sausages with potatoes, greens
Tuesday, 2/7: Slow cooker — Asian pork lettuce wraps
Wednesday, 2/8: Pumpkin soup, whole-wheat cheese biscuits, fruit
Thursday, 2/9: Farfalle with wild mushroom sauce, salad
Friday, 2/10: Fend night
Saturday, 2/11: Salmon curry over rice, baked samosas
Sunday, 2/12: Milanese-style pork cutlets and risotto, sauteed broccolini
Monday, 2/13: Chicken with goat cheese and marinara, fettucine, salad
Tuesday, 2/14: Slow cooker — turkey chili, guacamole, cornbread (I know it’s Valentine’s Day, but I’ve got rehearsal and thus no time for major dinnertime merriment. We’ll celebrate some other way.)
Wednesday, 2/15: Fend night (I’ve got a performance tonight)
Thursday, 2/16: Homemade pizzas, salad
Friday, 2/17: Lamb burgers, vegetable “fries”
Saturday, 2/18: Spanikopita casserole, fruit
Sunday, 2/19: Sunday roast chicken dinner
Monday, 2/20: Shrimp oreganato over angel hair pasta, salad
Tuesday, 2/21: Slow cooker — California chuck roast dinner
Wednesday, 2/22: Tomato-poached eggs, garlic greens, toasted baguette
Thursday, 2/23: Grilled chicken cheesesteaks with peppers and mushrooms, fruit, vegetable platter
Friday, 2/24: Fend night
Saturday, 2/25: Shepherd’s pie and salad
Sunday, 2/26: I’ve got a late afternoon/evening rehearsal, so it’ll be a slow cooker lunch. Dijon chicken stew with kale and crusty bread.
Monday, 2/27: Kid’s choice night (this went over so well when I tried it in December that I decided to bring it back once a month).
Tuesday, 2/28: Slow cooker — broccoli-cheese soup, crackers, fruit
Wednesday, 2/29: Spaghetti marinara and salad
That’s it! Feel free as always to ask questions, comment, request recipes, etc. You can also join the conversation over at the RRG Facebook page if you haven’t already done so — it’s a great community of people who are always have some sort of interesting dialogue!