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Your week of easy dinner meals please

  • m

I'm trying to go to the grocery store once a week, no more. I'd love to hear suggestions about how to make this manageable. I've also been a little dry on easy (1/2 hour prep & cooking goal) meals to make after work.

Things we've been making recently include:
baked fish, garden salads, fresh pasta with mushroom sauce, pasta with ground beef and veggie sauce, veggie & noodles with spicy peanut sauce.

Our meals are usually heavier on the veggies and lighter on the meats & fish.
Thanks for any input you can give!

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  1. my husband and i always keep a few things on hand, cooked and then refrigerated for use anytime during the week

    rice, turkey sausages (good for sandwiches, in frittata, in pasta), and big batch of soup (split pea, kale/chicken, pureed zucchini)

    we also keep a lot of more complicated meals in the freezer as a go-to anytime

    but even so, i find myself going to the grocery store 3+ times per week - i just like to!

    1. I used to go to the grocery store 3-4 times a week and finally gave up. My husband and I now sit down and plan our menu for the week and do all of our shopping on the weekend. It has made such a huge difference! Sometimes I make a mid-week trip for fish or something else that I can't really buy ahead, but it's a huge relief to come home from work and know that I have everything I need for dinner. Here is our menu for this week...
      Monday - bbq chicken, couscous, roasted green beans
      Tuesday - roasted halibut with pecan crust, sauteed spinach, salad
      Wednesday - chicken marsala with whole wheat pasta and sauteed peas
      Thursday - broiled salmon with mustard brown sugar glaze, wild rice, roasted asparagas with parmesan.

      We don't cook anything fancy during the week, but I think our dinners are pretty good, healthy and quick. Can't beat that!

      5 Replies
      1. re: elc515

        Beautiful This is exactly the type of reply I was hoping for. There are some great ideas here that I will take. How often are ithers going to the grocery store? Any others with weekly menus that are similarly doable?

        1. re: manga

          ok, let me try again with a proper dish list...

          flank steak, marinated overnight with garlic, chopped parsley, olive oil, red wine vinegar - broiled, sliced and served with black beans and rice

          frittata with turkey sausage, asparagus and cheddar cheese with toasty baguette, tomato salad drizzled with olive oil, salt pepper

          quick chicken stew with legs + thighs in tomato sauce, peppers, onions, carrots, spices, served with rice

          shrimp sauteed with garlic and tomato paste, doused with chicken broth, served with white beans and spinach

          tilapia baked/steamed in tin foil with white wine, tomatoes, onions, served on bed of spinach and rice on side

          1. re: manga

            We have been going to the grocery store once every two weeks for nineteen years now. Until recently that's all we went, but our dietitian chided us about fresh produce, so we've added a small trip between big shopping trips just to buy produce (and nothing else). We have a standard list of everything we buy, sorted by aisle and by store (we sat down and figured out which items would be least expensive at which store, and that's where we buy them). Then the night before we go through the list and check off what we need. Throughout the two weeks before shopping, if I run out of something I'll tell my husband about it and he adds it to the list. We usually stick very closely to the list, skipping aisles that we don't need anything in. We also drive up to Costco once a month (using the same sort of list and generally sticking to it).

            I have a huge pantry and two freezers (one large, one small) that make it possible for me to take advantage of the sales on meats (among other things). I also have a food saver, so I can repackage my meats more effectively and they keep a whole lot better in the freezer.

            That being said, I don't tend to plan meals out too much. During the week, I'm often very tired when we get home from work, and I just want something simple. That can range from chili to steaks and salad. On the weekends I tend to be a lot more elaborate in my meal prep.

          2. re: elc515

            Elc I would love your halibut recipe...thx so much.

            1. re: elc515

              Wow, that sounds like the perfect dinner menu for the week. All of the simple but delicious ingredients we love...I will definetaly add these meals into our weekly rotation! thanks!

            2. The original comment has been removed
              1. I too make my list on the weekend and shop for most of the week then - some weeks I make two lists, one for Sunday and one for Wed./Thurs. if I need fish or something like a pre-roasted chicken.

                This week:

                Tonight: Cod with white beans, white wine, tomatoes, EVOO and rosemary and arugula salad w/a bit of lemon juice and EVOO and a bit of asiago cheese.

                Tomorrow: Easy egg dish of some kind w/whatever's in the fridge - husband is traveling and it's just me and our daughter.

                Wed.: Pre-roasted chicken, salad w/dried cranberries, walnuts, bleu cheese and raspberry dressing - for husband and daughter - I'm going out w/friends.

                Thurs.: Pasta w/roasted peppers, Italian sausage, asiago, and lots of garlic. Broccoli on side.

                Friday: Pork chops w/spicy mango chutney, peas and potatoes.

                I'm doing less cooking this week but in no case do any of our meals take more than 40 minutes from the time I step in the kitchen to the time we sit down - it's completely possible to cook from fresh, whole ingredients and still eat this way!

                Resources - Cooking Light magazine has some decent ideas to riff off of, Martha Stewart's Every Day Food magazine does too. Eating Well magazine is great - as is their Healthy in a Hurry cookbook.

                Good luck!

                4 Replies
                1. re: gansu girl

                  These are wonderful ideas. I'm going to be several weeks ahead on my weekly plan at this point! Thank you. I really appreciate how healthy these menus are.

                  1. re: manga

                    our week is a lot like gansu girl's above. i always try & think of making a colorful plate of easy stuff.. keeps me on my toes.

                    today was potato volcano: little red potatos pan fried w.cheese, eggs & salsa on top

                    later this week is pork w. green beans and an already made plum sauce

                    pre-roasted chicken (made a whole chicken a while back & frozen extras in smaller serving containers) w. mushrooms and rice

                    usually have some sort of pasta w.veggies

                    also have found corn (or wheat flour) tortillas wrap pretty much any meat/veggie combo quite nicely quesadilla style. (not just fish tacos or cheese+beans, but think really fast lasagna by melting mozz & tomatoes & basil, green pseudo-pitas w. feta & olives... stuff like that). once you get comfy with the topping combos you can start to make your own tortillas of just flour & water and put them on a flat pan over the stove.. quick open-faced pizzas, etc..

                    if you want real recipes, there's a nice cookbook by eating well called 'healthy in a hurry' which specializes in < 30min meals (even soups in < 30min!). their cookbook eatingwell serves 2 also specializes in < 40 min meals. if you go to www.eatingwell.com there's a search bar at the top. type in any ingredient in your fridge you're bound to come up with something that's quick.

                    1. re: manga

                      You are so welcome - I'm a huge health nut but also LOVE food of all sorts - so try to stick "w/the program" thru the week so I can indulge on the weekends. Must work - have maintained a 40 lb. weight loss for over 16 years!

                      Another resource for you - a friend just sent me the link for "What's Cooking Weekly" - a weekly recipe resource (fee-based, but not too expensive) that includes recipes along w/their nutritional info. and shopping lists. For those w/kids it includes ways to get them involved in creating every recipe. Here is a link to a sample issue at their site:

                      http://whatscooking.info/sample/

                      1. re: gansu girl

                        Some of my favorite free sources for recipes are

                        www.foodnetwork.com

                        www.williamssonoma.com

                        www.epicurious.com

                        www.marthastewart.com

                        Also, (no flaming please!), but Rachael Rays site has some very good recipes.
                        www.RachaelRaymag.com

                  2. Here is my menu for the week:

                    Sun: fish tacos with homemade salsa
                    Mon: Piri-piri cooked fish with roasted cauliflower in Momofuku sauce
                    Tues: Zaatar chicken and roasted green beans
                    Wed: Grilled halloumi burgers
                    Thurs: pasta with whatever vegetables are in the fridge and roasted broccoli on the side
                    Fri: out to eat (guests coming to town)

                    I always have 1 night of fish and at least 2 nights that are completely vegetarian. I also make a lot of roasted vegetables because that is the easiest way to feed vegetables to my 4 year old ;-)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: brooklynmasala

                      I'm terrible about planning for the week. On Saturday mornings we shop for the weekend, when I'm usually cooking from the cookbook of the month. I never quite know when we might have dinners out b/c of my husband's work and b/c of where we live (NYC) it's very easy to pick up supplies for dinner. That said, I do usually have proteins in my freezer that I'll pull out the day before (no microwave). Our cheap and easy dinner consists of chicken sausages from Whole Foods, sliced into rounds and sauteed, then combined with sauteed onions, eggplant, tomato, other things that might be around, and served with a green salad and some cheese for dessert.

                      Edit - I do just cook for the two of us - and we have three markets and a butcher within about 3 blocks, so, except for seafood, it's not a big deal for us to do last minute shopping.