Help with a Week's Worth of Recipes
The deal is that I'm entering a couple of weeks of insane amounts of work and overtime at my job and I was thinking that this weekend, I could go to the market and buy groceries and cook/freeze a lot of stuff ahead of time so that I wouldn't come home late and frazzled and directionless.
Does anyone have any shopping lists/menu ideas they'd like to share? Nothing is off limits in terms of tastes/allergies, etc, although I'm always trying to eat healthfully. It seems that usually, I shop and then I'm stocked and inspired until about....Tuesday or Weds, when I fizzle out in terms of cuisine. By Thursday I'm dialing takeout pizza or Chinese, but I really don't like to do that often, and it's costly. Thank you!
A pan of lasagna is a wonderful thing to have in the fridge - it's filling and delicious - even cold I think! Homemade pizza with sauce, cheese, vegies (cooked eggplant slices, roasted peppers, sauteed onion) and turkey or beef meatballs is another favorite that will last a few days. Chicken, crimini, spinach and swiss cheese enchiladas are another good menu choice. My other standby is good old chicken divan.
All of these dishes can be made in lower fat versions, and can be rounded out with salad and bread, if so inclined - but are perfectly satisfying on their own, if you eat enough of them!
I find lasagne a little time-consuming and cheese-heavy, but a non-layered baked pasta can be quite easy and a little lighter. And it's just as easy to make two as it is to make one so you can "feed the freezer". Double a recipe or take a recipe meant for 9X13 and make two smaller ones for a smaller family.
I have been doing one with whole wheat pasta, tomato sauce (made from canned tomatoes and garlic), mozarella hot italian sausage, and rapini (chopped and blanched in the pasta water). Topped with a little parmesan and panko for crispyness. I buy pre-grated cheese for this purpose. I'm pretty slow in the kitchen but it takes me less than 90 min to do two 9X13s which represents at least 6 meals for DH and I.
I'm thinking of things that freeze well.
1. Large batch of pasta sauce, frozen in smaller containers that can be defrosted for a week night dinner. Make pasta, chicken, or eggplant parmesan. I just made a huge batch of homemade ravioli, froze it, and plan on making it for dinner periodically over the next few weeks.
2. Grill up a couple steaks, with enough for leftovers. Eat one, one night and thinly slice up the second on a salad the next. I do this all the time and it's so tasty.
3. Chicken fricassee, my husband's childhood favorite, keeps very well in the freezer.
First I have to say I love your screen name.
Second, I can completely relate--even though I work at home, I'm facing the same scenario (got a book to finish by the end of the month and I'm taking 4 classes). My solution is to build the week's menu (including breakfast and lunch) with an eye toward multiple usage, so that I can shop/prep/cook on the weekend or use leftovers from one meal for another (or two).
I make one enormous mixed green salad and put it into separate bags with a paper towel--that way that's done when it's time for dinner. Plus I chop up all my vegies and put them in bags so those are ready, too. And I'm going to slice up some chicken breasts so I can make a stir fry one night.
This week my "multi-meal" solutions are:
a big pot of stew (eaten as is one night, and I use some for a shepherd's pie for another night)
a roasted turkey breast (again eaten "as is" one night--probably Sunday--then for sandwiches and salads)
a roasted cauliflower and tofu thing that I love and my husband won't eat which I'll have for lunches
a big batch of multigrain "salad" (equal parts barley, brown rice and quinoa) with chick peas, feta cheese, kalamata olives, chopped celery/onion/red pepper/parsley with a mustardy dressing that I serve as a side dish with baked fish or have for lunch
Does that help?
I make a list on the side of my fridge that has all the dishes I have everything to make included are easy go to meals that require no thinking.
Potato soup / corn bread
Breakfast for dinner
Spagetti / slad
Roast chicken / salad
Leftover chiken for sanwiches
Tomato soup/ grilled cheese
Oh where do I begin!?
THANK YOU! I love so many of your ideas. Seldomsated, I love your lasagna idea. It's quick and cheap especially if I make it with veggies. Upstate, I hadn't though of that with steak. My H is a huge fan of red meat and I'm thinking that a salad with steak will make salad more appealing to him. Elizzie, I think you're superwoman doing all you're doing. Another thing I'd never thought of vis a vis salad was the separate baggies idea. In desperation I've used our local market's (Disgusting) communal salad bar at the end of the work day and that is such a better solution. By the way, I would wear shepherd's pie as perfume if I could, that's how much I love it. What a great idea for leftover stew. And lala...I think the last time I had tomato soup/grilled cheese in combo I was...eleven? It's been WAY too long and I love this combo. THANK YOU EVERYONE
I have been in this predicament before so I sympathize with you. Way to go for thinking ahead.
Here are a few of my favourites:
Chili (I make mine with ground veal- healthier and more tasty) Freezes well.
I made the chili one night for dinner and the next I might have it on a baked potatoe or a French stick if I was a change
Balsamic Chicken- I marinade boneless skinless chicken in some olive oil, balsamic and Italian spices, garlic and sometimes "Montreal Steak Seasoning" If I get lazy I use Kraft Greek Salad dressing and just add seasoning. Freezes well.
I bake chicken in some of the marninade (covered) and then use leftover baked chicken chopped up in salad
I also take some of the veal I use in chili and make meatballs. I either freeze them or cook them in tomatoe sauce for a few types of meal.
Lastly, I will take a pork tenderloin and marinade it in olive oil, Dijon mustard and maple syrup. I find it only takes 15 mins to cook and often times I'll cut up broccali really small, drizzle with oil olive and spices and bake it along side. A full meal in about 20 mins.
Hope this helps.
This is my quick "go to" dish. You put all the ingredients in a crockpot (I use pork tenderloin for a lower fat cut of meat). It makes a lot so I freeze at least half and it lasts a long time. You can have it over salad, in enchiladas, under cornbread (spicy is good), over rice, as tortillas/tacos.
I also make a dish where you cook pork tenderloin in a crockpot all day in teriyaki sauce, garlic, rice wine and red peppers, then shred before serving and add 1/4 c. creamy peanutbutter for a thai peanut pork. Delicious over rice (frozen brown rice from Trader Joe's - microwaves in 3 minutes.)
Veggie lasagna usually freezes really well
Make like normal lasagna except with spinach, tinned corn, white sauce and tomato sauce adn it comes out excellently!!!
Probably not the healthiest thing, but freezes well and is really nice with a huge salad....it's also fairly easy to make...
I make most workday meals in advance so I don't have to cook after a long, tiring day. Soups are nice for a quick winter meal. We have soup-and-sandwich nights occasionally which are easy and involve little preparation or clean up.
I make curries a lot because we both love spicy foods. These can be meat- or vegetable-based. Both freeze well. Reheated with a bowl of steaming rice or toasted naan or paratha and you have a feast.
I also roast largish pieces and we'll eat a couple of meals from them and freeze the rest for later. Last night we had our second meal of leg of lamb which I roasted last weekend. The rest of the lamb has been frozen. Sometimes the second or third meal will be a hearty salad, or a big panini.
I keep frozen Asian noodles for quick stir-fries. If you have a place that sells Chinese BBQ pork, you can also keep this frozen. The pork, tossed with fresh vegetables over noodles makes a great meal, far better than any takeout you'll buy. If you have a good Asian grocery, you'll also find frozen dumplings - usually a combination of meat (pork, chicken) with vegetables. These can be boiled or bottom-fried quickly. Add a dip and you're done. If you're more ambitious you can make these dumplings yourself fairly easily, and freeze for later use.
I have ragu bolognaise in the freezer, about 10 quarts of it. Reheated over pasta, it makes a good quick meal. Or it can be turned into lasagna bolognaise. I also make and freeze pesto by the quart.
Other pre-made meals which freeze well (based on what I've made recently): braised lamb shanks, Moroccan lamb or chicken with olives and preserved lemons, panades, roast chicken, BBQ ribs or pulled pork or brisket, most meals made with beans or chickpeas (chile, channa masala, pasta e fagiole).
We make a list of meals at the start of each week so everything is planned and we get the frozen stuff defrosted ahead of time and we don't end up eating the same thing for days on end. It takes a bit of planning, but once you get into the groove it will get easier.
In times like you're heading into, I make a tuna casserole (it's basically a tuna melt recipe modified to bump up my favourite flavours). It can be cut up and frozen in portions.
Walk in the door, toss a square in the microwave while you're changing -- you'll be eating in 15 mintues after you've walked in the door.
I also keep eggs on hand -- a boiled egg salad or scrambled eggs is a quick fix meal and eggs last at least 2 weeks.
I really like precooking chicken breast, slicing them, and putting them in baggies in the freezer for individual use. you can also make up a huge batch of pasta or brown rice and freeze it. Also, I make a huge pot of some sort of veggie soup with a chicken base and freeze that in small portions. For a quick soup, pop the frozen soup in the microwave or on the stove top, throw in some frozen rice and some chicken - meal!
Another favorite EASY meal is when I get home I pull out a large skillet and add some EVOO and some garlic then add 28oz can of diced tomatoes and some salt and pepper, take it down to a simmer and let it good for 20 minutes or more, stirring whenever you think about it (I cheat and have some of those frozen cubes of crushed garlic that I add right to the tomato). At the end of that time add some cream or milk or even butter and at least one can of tuna. During this time you take the frozen pasta out of the freezer (whole wheat stands up well to freezing) and then add that to your tuna/tomato mix. Add some parmesan and one of your pre-cut salads and you've got a wonderful meal. The whole things takes about half and hour and you don't have to stand over it.
I live and breathe by the weekly ads and my crock pot. I have to watch the amount of money that I spend on groceries but I still refuse to eat Kraft mac and cheese ever. I always try to plan menus around whats on sale for the week and try to get the shopping done at one time. Hope some of these help..
Chicken Fried Steak w/ garlic mashed
Crockpot sauce/sausage/meatballs, make extra meats and use for hoagies with melted mozz the next night.
Crock Beef Stroganoff
Companys Coming Chicken, made the night before
Crock Eye of Round with veggies
Crock Italian Beef Sandwiches with oven fries
Tomato and Corn Bisque and grilled cheese
Taco Night..I hate it, he loves it
Swiss steak with onions and carrots/roasted potatoes
Breaded pork chops in mush/roasted garlic sauce with mashed red skins
I always buy a large head of fresh lettuce, wash and bag it in a storage bag with damp paper towels so I have salad for the week.
Keep a couple of cans of Pillsbury Italian or French breads in the fridge.. simple but can make it a homey meal in 20 minutes.
I always get 10lbs of boneless skinless from the butcher and as I clean, trim and bag it, I throw some different marinades in each bag. Maybe some soy/teriyaki in one, italian dressing in another, cajun spices and a little olive oil in the next. As they thaw, they marinate themselves.
Same goes with round steak. Sliced in a bag with soy/garlic/ginger with Kung Pao noodles, another bag with peppers/onions/fajita spice for fajita night.
I also hit allrecipes.com for a whole bunch of the crockpot recipes. Hope it helps!