Thirty days of fresh spring dinner ideas for family! A full month of Spring Recipes with seasonal ingredients and flavors to get you excited about the changing seasons!
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If you’re anything like me, meal planning is essential to the routine. Having home cooked, nutritious meals on the table every night is very important to our family. Without a meal plan, I tend to fall into the trap of grabbing take-out, or throwing something together at the last minute that ends up not being super nutritious.
What Foods are Popular in the Spring
I love to cook seasonally with whatever items are currently in-season or rather coming out of the garden. Right now, however, it is the end of winter and in Ohio, there is a whole bunch of nothing coming out of the garden at the moment. However, I love to incorporate spring flavors into my cooking, especially as the seasons are changing!
Some of my favorite foods to include in my spring dinner ideas for family meal plan include fresh herbs, greens, peas, lemon, and squash. I also love breaking out the grill and smoker more often as the weather warms up, especially as the grills aren’t covered in snow anymore. Nothing says spring and summer time like the smell of the grill firing up! We are also working on growing our berry patch. Berries are another great spring staple item for breakfasts, desserts, or just a handful on the side of a dinner plate.
Not only can these items be grown on the homestead in the spring, but they will also begin decreasing in price at the grocery stores as they come into season. If you don’t have a garden or the ability to grow your own food, cooking seasonally with produce from the grocery store is the most economical option for feeding your family.
How to Meal Plan
The process of meal planning is somewhat personal to your lifestyle and food preferences. My process looks like this:
- Determine if there are any ingredients in the house that need to be used up quickly (produce about to go bad, leftovers, pantry items with upcoming expiration dates, etc.)
- List out any cravings or specific meal ideas you want to make
- Understand the upcoming schedule (travel days, late night sport games or events, etc.)
- Fill in the calendar with meals that make sense with what’s already on the schedule and what needs to get used up the quickest
My favorite way to meal plan is by using the notes app on my phone, and eventually transferring to our large family calendar. I love this calendar that I purchased last year and will be purchasing the updated one this coming summer. I also use these Papermate InkJoy gel pens that are my absolute favorite. The calendars come in several different prints and colors so you can easily find one that fits your design preferences! Bonus: the rest of the family can access the calendar and check to see what we are having for dinner on any given day, and sometimes (just sometimes), it reduces the number of times I hear that question, “what’s for dinner?!”…worth it!
Meal Planning Tips for Family Dinners
Many people shy away from meal planning because it feels restrictive. I am here to tell you that meal planning has been one of the most freeing routines for me. I spend about an hour planning out meals for the entire month and then I don’t think about it for another month.
At the beginning of the week, I look at my meal plan and pull out all the frozen meat to defrost in the refrigerator. Mondays are my leftover nights, and therefore, I don’t typically need any meat for Monday. Everything is then ready to go for the rest of the week. Also, if I want to swap meals throughout the week, I can! Sometimes, I plan everything and no one wants to eat what I planned so we just make pancakes and eggs and it all works out fine.
The meal plan is there to make life easier, not bind you to a permanent decision that makes you miserable. Obviously, it should work for you and, hopefully, take some stress out of your daily dinner prep!
On to the Meal Plan!
For those of you that are just looking for some inspiration and want to see the quick and dirty meal plan all laid out: Here it is! Also, if you would like to download and print the Spring Dinner Ideas for Family: April Meal Plan, click on the image to go to my Canva page and download the image. However, if you would like links to recipes, keep reading!
Below, I have linked the recipes I use. Some of these meals are tried-and-true favorites in our house. Additionally, I aim to add one fruit and one veggie to every plate. I don’t plan those out ahead of time unless there is a specific side that I want on a particular night. For the most part, I keep several fruits and veggies (fresh, canned, or frozen) on hand for dinner every night.
We always have leftover night after the weekends. We tend to eat leftovers for lunch during the week, but they seem to pile up over the weekend for some reason. However, we don’t always have leftovers. In that case, I will usually make something super simple like breakfast for dinner, melts, snack plates, or pull out a freezer meal.
For the Steak Stir Fry on April 2nd, I do not use a recipe. I dice up whatever beef I have on hand like cube steak, skirt steak, or any delicious cut of steak. I purchase frozen bags of stir fry veggie mixes and add my favorite asian flavors like garlic, ginger, coconut aminos, and soy-free teriyaki.
For any recipe that calls for soy sauce (or any soy product) I will always substitute something else or leave it out completely. Coconut Aminos are a fantastic soy sauce replacement though, if you are looking to cut soy out of your diet.
Lastly, for the Enchiladas on April 19th, I don’t follow a recipe. I simply brown ground beef, add taco seasoning, roll it up in tortillas, pour over a can of enchilada sauce, sprinkle cheese overtop, and bake until they are warmed through. Super quick and a family favorite!
Meal Plan and Recipes Linked
April 1: Pineapple BBQ Meatballs with white rice
April 2: Steak Stir Fry with ramen
April 3: Leftover Monday
April 4: Asian Sticky Slow Cooker Ribs
April 5: Brown Sugar Garlic Chicken with white rice
April 6: Pulled Beef Tacos
April 7: Pizza Friday (homemade, frozen, or take out)
April 8: Chicken Tortilla Soup
April 9: Easter Ham, Mashed Potatoes, and Broccoli Casserole
April 10: Leftover Monday
April 11: Salsa Verde Chicken and Rice Casserole
April 12: Meatloaf muffins potatoes carrots
April 13: Creamy Tuscan Sausage Pasta
April 14: Honey Mustard Chicken
April 15: Asian Meatballs with white rice
April 16: Grilled Chicken and Lemon Cucumber Cous Cous
April 17: Leftover Monday
April 19: Enchiladas
April 20: Honey Garlic Chicken with white rice
April 21: Pizza Friday (homemade, frozen, or take out)
April 22: Italian Sausage and Peppers hoagie rolls
April 23: Steak and Salad
April 24: Leftover Monday
April 25: Southwest Chicken Bowls
April 28: Burgers and Oven Fries
April 29: Carbonara
I hope you found some inspiration for spring dinner ideas for your family! Also, as we get into spring, I hope you find the time to get outside and enjoy the changing weather! I encourage everyone to grow some food, even something as simple a small pot of herbs in a window!
Additionally, If you are interested in gardening or growing food from seed, I highly recommend checking out my gardening for beginners post. I also have lots of information about growing food from seed in this post here! It is never a bad time to get started on your journey of self-sufficiency.
I hope you enjoyed this peek into Life at Metzger Acres!