Friday, October 31, 2014

SkADaMo and Writers' Menu Begins

November 1st means an extra hour of sleep, thanks to Daylight Savings Time. Or will you use your hour to flesh out your picture book ideas?

Why not try a new challenge? Have you heard of Linda Silvestri's SkADaMo (SketchADayMonth)?

Zoot Suit Newt, by Linda Silvestri

Stay tuned to her blog, Sketched Out, for wacky animal puns and details of her upcoming drawing events.

Welcome to Writers' Menu 2014!

Here are your meals for the week. 
I hope the planning I've put in helps you take care of your family  
and fill your notebook with seeds of picture book ideas. 

If this is your first visit, you'll find tips and instructions on How Not To Starve During PiBoIdMo
You'll find past make-ahead meals and shopping lists here.
All the ingredients needed for this list can be found on yesterday's post.
Just a reminder that most recipes can be found in their original states on my Writers' Menu Pinterest Board.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or constructive comments.
Note: The numbers in [brackets] correspond to the dates on the meal planning calendar.
I've made a printable version of the information below, in case you don't want to keep referring back to this post.

Writers' Recipes November 1-10

[1] Roast Chicken
Whole Chicken, About 1 lb per serving plus about 2 lbs
1 Lemon per chicken

  • Remove giblets from thawed whole chicken. 
  • Rinse and pat dry. Cut lemon in half. 
  • Place halves inside chicken cavity. 
  • Place whole chicken in slow cooker. 
  • Sprinkle with seasonings if desired. 
  • Cook in slow cooker on low 6 hours. 
  • Internal temperature should read 165 degrees F. 
Complete the meal:
I recommend Stovetop Stuffing, cooked carrots, and a fruit cup. I often add dried cranberries [Day 4] into the stuffing mix.

Note: Cut up leftover chicken and store for use on Day 4.

[2] Spaghetti and Meatballs
Pasta sauce
16 oz Frozen meatballs, or less

Really guys? Follow the directions on the package.
Complete the meal:
Serve with garlic bread and melon slices.
If you make your own Garlic bread , you can try this recipe from IowaGirlEats
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  • Slice a demi-loaf of French or Italian bread into 1/2″ slices being careful not to cut all the way through the bottom crust. 
  • Melt a couple Tablespoons butter in a small dish then add garlic salt and Italian seasoning
  • Brush the seasoned, melted butter in between the slices to get everything covered. 
  • Wrap the loaf in foil. 
  • Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes. 
Don't forget to thaw tomorrow's Broccoli soup in the refrigerator overnight. Remember to start the potatoes an hour earlier.

[3] Creamy Broccoli Soup
soup base
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 cup half and half
garlic salt
1 cup shredded Gouda Cheese
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
salt and pepper

  • You should have the soup base pre-made in your freezer. (If not you'll find the recipe here.) 
  • Thaw base in refrigerator overnight. 
  • Heat base to boiling. 
  • Meanwhile, in a large pot over medium heat, melt butter. 
  • Whisk in flour. Cook and stir 3-4 minutes. 
  • Whisk in just the liquid from the base. Thicken, 1-2 minutes. 
  • Add vegetables , half and half, and dash of garlic salt. 
  • Mix slowly until heated through. Remove from heat. Add cheeses, salt and pepper to taste. 
Complete the meal:
Pair with baked potatoes. Top with sour cream or butter.
Never baked your own potatoes?
Wash potatoes. Prick skin with fork. Rub with a little butter if you eat the skins. Wrap in aluminum foil. Bake in 375 degree F oven for about 1 hour.

[4] Chicken Salad
Salad greens
tomatoes pieces
sliced carrots
sliced cucumber
chopped green pepper
shredded cheese
dried cranberries
chopped walnuts
leftover chicken from Day 1

Throw it all together. This salad is best with an Italian or vinaigrette dressing. 
Picky eaters? Try one of these remedies.

  • Sprinkle with a little sugar before serving.
  • Relabel your usual dressing bottle (Gilly Wateror Skele-Growanyone?)
  • Surf the dressing aisle for an unusual flavor. 
  • Let them mix and match the ingredients above, like a buffet. 
  • Try salad shakers. 
  • Challenge their taste buds by allowing them to eliminate only 2 of the salad ingredients. 
  • Play Veggie Ninja: Set a time limit. Have them spear different combinations of ingredients on their forks each time they dip in. Bonus points if the bowl is empty when time's up.
Note: Remember to thaw tomorrow's meatloaf in the refrigerator overnight. You may want to make tomorrow's Tomato and Cucumber salad today, and let it marinate overnight.

[5] Meatloaf
If you've been following along, you should have a meatloaf in the freezer. If not, try the recipe I inherited with my grandmom's cookbook.


  • Thaw in refrigerator overnight. 
  • Bake 350 degrees F for approximately 1 hour. Meatloaf should not be pink in the middle.
  • Top with gravy if desired.
Complete the meal:
Serve with mashed potatoes, broccoli, and a fabulous tomato & cucumber side from NotWithoutMyMom
Tomato & Cucumber Salad
2 c. Cucumber, chopped
2 c. Tomatoes, chopped
1/2 small Onion, thinly sliced (about 3/4 c.)
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 Tbsp. White Vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt
dash pepper
1 tsp sugar

Combine all ingredients, cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes, longer if possible.

Note: Don't forget to thaw tomorrow's fish in the refrigerator overnight. For milder taste, Place unwrapped fillets in shallow dish of milk. Cover with plastic wrap. Thaw overnight. Drain, and discard milk before cooking.

[6] Tilapia with Olives, courtesy BBCGoodFood
6 Tilapia or cod fillets, thawed
I large onion, roughly chopped
1 15 oz can black olives
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
Lemon wedges

  • Thaw Tilapia in refrigerator overnight. For milder taste, Place unwrapped fillets in shallow dish of milk. Cover with plastic wrap. Thaw overnight. Drain, and discard milk before cooking.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Heat 1 Tbl of the oil from the olives in an ovenproof pan. 
  • Tip in the onion and stir well, leave to cook 1-2 minutes. Stir again.
  • Add the tomatoes and some salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then add the olives.
  • Put the fish, skin side down, onto the sauce and drizzle over a splash more oil from the olive jar.
  • Bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes until the fish flakes easily with a fork. 
  • Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve straight from the pan, with lemon wedges for squeezing over.
Complete the meal:
This goes great with a side of couscous, some cooked carrots, and dinner rolls.

Note: Remember to thaw tomorrow's pork chops in refrigerator overnight. Start your crock pot meal in the morning, write until dinner time.

[7] Ranch Pork Chops, Thanks to StockpilingMoms.
6 boneless porkchops
1 Ranch Seasoning Dry Mix Packet
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup (plus 1 can of water or milk)


  • Combine all ingredients in slow cooker.
  • Mix Well.
  • Cook on low 4-6 hours.
Complete the meal:
Serve over egg noodles, with frozen or canned peas and corn.

[8] BBQ Meatballs, Thanks to the CountryCook.
16 oz Frozen meatballs
9 oz Grape Jelly
9 oz BBQ sauce


  • Combine Jelly and BBQ sauce. 
  • Place frozen meatballs in slow cooker. 
  • Cover with sauce. 
  • Cook low 6 hours.
Complete the meal:
Believe it or not, these meatballs are fantastic over rice, in a sandwich, or with noodles. The kids come back for thirds. Pair with applesauce and raw veggies.
Prepare carrot sticks, celery stalks, leftover cucumbers, tomatoes, and green peppers. Don't forget black olives, if you have any. Use a ranch dressing dip, or make your own with sour cream.

[9] Leftover Night!
Use up all the goodies you cooked all week, pull out a frozen entree, or send your family out to dinner so you can have a bit more writing time.

Note: Remember to thaw the bacon in the refrigerator overnight.

[10] Bacon and Eggs Breakfast Special
Optional scrambled egg mix-ins: salsa , hot sauce, cheese, onions, green peppers, mushrooms
Any leftover baked potatoes? Chop into small pieces and fry as hash.

Directions: My kids love breakfast for dinner. Serve scrambled, over easy, or omelet-style. Mix in any leftover veggies so you can start fresh this week.
Fry up the bacon and you're ready to eat! Serve with croissants and oranges. Bottomless pits fill up faster with a side of yogurt, additional fruit leftovers, or my secret weapon, chocolate milk.
Note: You can get a head start on next week by cooking the other half pound of bacon, draining, chopping, and refreezing in a plastic baggie.
Now I can sleep at night, knowing that thousands of PiBo families are going to bed with full tummies. If this is working for your family, I'd love to hear about it. Happy writing!


  1. Quite the recipe buffet, Joanne. My family should be so lucky - ha! Love to cook, but hate thinking what at the last minute (my usual mode!).

    1. I try this every year with my own family, but I hope this year some other participants will be eating healthier. You can't brainstorm when you're weak from hunger. Thanks for reading!

  2. Thanks, Joanne! Sounds yummy. I may have to try some of these recipes!

    1. I hope they make you writing life easier. And your family will thank-you. Good luck with your ideas this month! Thanks.

  3. I saw the words 'slow cooker' and thought that was a great idea. Throw everything in in the morning and it's ready by dinner!

    1. A third of the recipes for the month go in the crockpot. I hope they allow you to get more writing done. Thanks for your comments.


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