Eating with the Season: Winter and Summer

Here are 2 sample menus, for a week of frugal winter and summer meals. Spring and fall are transitional seasons; early spring menus will be more like winter, late spring menus will be more like summer. This reverses itself in the fall. After selecting sides, snacks, and desserts from the lists below, these menus meet the recommended daily servings for Americans based on the USDA Food Pyramid.

If you are a diabetic, reduce the amount of grain/fruit/carbohydrate servings and increase the vegetables and protein.  A good source for low carb information is About.Com Low-Carb Diet Resources and Blood Sugar 101.  Find Low Carb recipes at Linda's Low Carb Recipes.

Meats: 2-3 servings/day; 1 serving equals 2-3 oz meat or 1/2 cup of cooked beans. 1 egg or 2 tablespoons peanut butter or 1/3 cup nuts equal 1 ounce of meat.

Milk group 2-3 servings/day, 1 serving equals 1 cup of milk or yogurt; or 1-1/2 ounces of natural cheese; or 2 ounces of processed cheese

Vegetable group: 3-5 servings/day; 1 serving equals 1 cup of raw leafy vegetables; cup of other vegetables, cooked or chopped raw; 3/4 cup vegetable juice

Fruit group: 2-4 servings/day; 1 serving equals 1 medium apple, banana, or orange; or cup of chopped, cooked, or canned fruit; or 3/4 cup fruit juice

Grain: 6-11 servings, 1 serving = 1 slice of bread; or C cooked grain, rice, pasta

Frugal Winter Menus


Breakfast: Omelets and fried potatoes, yogurt/fruit, juice, toast

Lunch: pot roast

Dinner: hot beef sandwiches,


Breakfast: Biscuits & gravy, juice, hash-browns

Lunch: Sloppy Joes, potato soup or cabbage soup

Dinner: Enchilada casserole,


Breakfast: Pancakes, sausage, yogurt/fruit

Lunch: spaghetti, garlic toast

Dinner: pork steak delight,


Breakfast: Oatmeal and muffins, peanut butter, juice

Lunch: Soup, deviled roast beef sandwiches,

Dinner: Redneck Salisbury Steak


Breakfast: biscuits & gravy, eggs, yogurt, juice

Lunch: Beans and cornbread

Dinner: Shepherds pie


Breakfast: Breakfast tacos, juice, yogurt

Lunch: Chillaquilas

Dinner: Bob's Vegetarian Sauce/Pasta


Breakfast: Redneck Eggs Benedict, fried potatoes, juice

Lunch: beef, rice or potato and vegetable stew

Dinner: chicken fried steaks

Suggested Winter Sides:

Select one side for lunch and 2 or 3 sides for dinner, one dessert and one or two snacks, per day

  • refried beans
  • Spanish rice
  • carrot salad
  • tortilla chips
  • potatoes
  • cabbage
  • carrots
  • rice pilaf
  • baked winter squash
  • baked sweet potatoes
  • roast turnips
  • tomato/corn casserole

Suggested Winter Snacks and Desserts:

  • Raisin pie
  • Cherry cobbler
  • granola
  • yogurt
  • Brownies
  • canned fruit,
  • popcorn
  • dried fruit
  • bread pudding with raisins
  • hot peanuts
  • custard
  • popcorn with peanuts
  • pudding
  • dried apple slices and peanut butter
  • chocolate cake
  • bean dip
  • sweet potato pie
  • sweet potato muffins

The story of this food.

  • On the Saturday before this week starts, the family would have baked potatoes. Extra potatoes would be baked to provide hash-browns for Sunday and Monday mornings and for potato soup lunch on Monday.
  • The Sunday pot roast provides lunch, then hot beef sandwiches for dinner, and chopped beef for the sloppy joes and enchiladas, with some broth and fat leftover for the beef stew later in the week.
  • On a day off, make the bread dough for the week, granola, yogurt, and any specialties like banana or zucchini bread. Pancakes, french toast, hash browns, scrambled eggs, and cooked breakfast meats all freeze very well, so if mornings are a rush, you can make "breakfasts for a week" and freeze them in small freezer containers for warming up in the morning.
  • Chop leftover roast finely and make deviled roast beef for sandwiches. Make enough rice pilaf for the Monday dinner to also serve the Wednesday dinner.
  • Hamburger cooked for the Tuesday spaghetti sauce can provide meat for the Wednesday soup and sandwiches, Thursday's shepherds pie, and Saturday's beef stew.
  • Leftover pork steak rice pilaf can be mixed with the potatoes for Thursday's shepherd's pie.
  • Saturday's beef stew accepts leftovers from previous meals (beans from Thursday, pot roast remnants from Sunday, shepherds pie, pasta sauce, etc.
  • Make enough mashed potatoes for Thursday's shepherds pie for Saturday's dinner. Leftover mashed potatoes from Saturday can become potato pancakes on Sunday morning or potato puffs for one of the other meals that day or the next.

Frugal Summer Menus


Breakfast: Omelets, breakfast salad, juice, toast

Lunch: Smoked brisket

Dinner: Brisket sandwiches,


Breakfast: Sliced tomatoes, eggs, toast or biscuits, juice

Lunch: Deviled brisket sandwiches

Dinner: Spaghetti or other pasta & meat/tomato sauce


Breakfast: Breakfast tacos wth tomatoes

Lunch: Tortilla rollups

Dinner: Crockpot roast,


Breakfast: Yogurt, fruit, whole wheat pancakes with peanut butter

Lunch: Ground beef or buffalo patties

Dinner: Grilled pork chops


Breakfast: Tomatoes, eggs, sausage patties, rice pilaf, juice

Lunch: Cheeseburgers

Dinner: Grilled shishkebobs (beef or pork),


Breakfast: Breakfast sandwiches (bacon, egg, tomato), juice

Lunch: Cheese salad sandwiches

Dinner: Vegetarian spaghetti sauce and pasta,


Breakfast: Granola, yogurt, fruit, juice, toast, peanut butter

Lunch: Summer squash sandwich spread sandwiches

Dinner: Cheesy Hamburger-noodles,

Frugal Summer Sides

Select one side for lunch and 2 or 3 sides for dinner, one dessert and one or two snacks, per day

  • cooked greens,
  • corn on the cob,
  • corncakes,
  • potato salad,
  • pasta salad,
  • cheese,
  • sliced tomatoes,
  • flat bread,
  • sliced cucumbers and yogurt,
  • Coleslaw,
  • green salad,
  • cottage cheese,
  • broccoli,
  • summer squash,
  • cooked summer greens,
  • stuffed jalapeno poppers,
  • grilled summer squash with fresh herbs,
  • corn on the cob,
  • summer squash cooked in olive oil with onions, garlic, fresh herbs,
  • |Breads and grains: bread, rolls, biscuits, cornbread, corn cakes, flat breads

Frugal Summer Snacks and Desserts:

  • peaches and yogurt,
  • chocolate/berry frosty,
  • Cookies,
  • fruit and yogurt,
  • berries and shortcake,
  • frozen banana frosty,
  • Pudding,
  • Peanuts/pecans,
  • Chocolate pancakes with pudding sauce,
  • carrot/celery sticks,
  • sliced almost any summer veggie and ranch dressing,
  • peach or berry cobbler,
  • smoothy/frosty, peanuts and pecans

Robert Waldrop

Better Times Almanac Home | Better Times Website Index