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Welcome to the first of many week-long menu plans! You'll notice that many of my plans will include recipes that have similar ingredients or, better yet, make creative use of leftovers to help minimize your grocery list and the amount of time you need to spend in the kitchen on those busy weeknights.
You'll also notice that I only have dinners planned for Monday through Friday. I'm a realist. I know that we're all busy and the chances of you actually getting to a home-cooked meal every weeknight are low. So feel free to rearrange plans and postpone as needed to fit your busy life. Go pick up take-out when you need to save your sanity and save one of these for the weekend. Managed to actually make each of these throughout the week? Great job! When you're at a loss for what to make over the weekend, go treat yourself to a dinner out - you earned it!
Final note. I don't know how big your family is. You're going to want to look through the recipes and adjust amounts as needed - make sure you adjust your grocery list accordingly. Keep in mind that for plans that call for leftovers, you'll want to make sure to make more than enough of the original recipe to create leftovers. Essentially, any time I'm doing something in a crock pot, I'm making at least twice what I need so I have leftovers.
Meal Planning on Pinterest
I typically plan out the menu for my week on Pinterest. I have a board called "This Week's Menu" and I update it over the weekend or sometime before I plan on doing my grocery shopping. By pinning all of the recipes in one place for the week, it's just a few clicks to get the ingredients added to my grocery list (I use Google Keep), and a quick click each day to find my dinner recipe.
Menu for the Week
I love to put this one together the night before and combine the ingredients in a large freezer bag. In the morning then, all you need to do is spray a crockpot with nonstick spray, dump the ingredients in and hit on.
Serve over white rice with lime juice and cilantro and top with guacamole (mash together 2 avocados, salt, pepper, cayenne and lime juice. Mix in 1/4c. chopped red onions or diced tomatoes).
As I mentioned above, I love repurposing left-overs for quick and easy weeknight meals. All you need to do for tonight is heat up some of that left-over pork and rice and spoon the pork into store-bought taco shells. Add some of the Mexican Street Corn Salsa on top and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Serve next to some of the leftover cilantro rice from yesterday.
Wednesday: Steak with Chickpeas, Tomatoes and Feta
For more delicious and simple recipes browse the selection at Real Simple.
This is one of our favorite and easiest weeknight meals. A few minutes and a couple simple ingredients and you have restaurant-worthy dish. Again, if you want to plan ahead, make some extra steak and save for a steak salad for lunch or a weekend dinner.
Thursday: Kale and Gouda Stuffed Chicken Breasts
We always buy chicken breasts in bulk and wrap individually to freeze. This way it's easy to take out just what you need to thaw and you always have it on hand for an easy weeknight meal.
Spruce up your boring chicken breast with this Kale & Gouda Stuffed Chicken recipe. Serve over white rice. Don't worry about the rest of that bunch of kale going to waste, it will come in handy tomorrow!
Keep the kale train going with this easy pasta night favorite! Garlic, shallots and parmesan make for a flavorful avenue to get that healthy kale in your diet.
Note: This may seem like an incredibly long list of ingredients, but the majority of items you should already have in your freezer, refrigerator or pantry. If you don't, go stock up so you don't need to add them to your grocery list every week. Once you get these items stocked up, the only things you should need to add to your grocery list are those listed in the "Additional Items" section.
- 3-4 lb boneless pork butt
- 1 1/2 lb of 1-inch thick strip steaks
- 3 white/yellow onions
- 1 red onion
- 3 shallots
- 2 jalapeno
- 1 green pepper
- 4 plum tomatoes
- 1 bunch of kale
- 1 package of mushrooms - whatever type you like
- taco shells
- fresh or frozen corn
- Cotija cheese
- Feta cheese
- Gouda cheese
Staples (Items you should have in your fridge/pantry all the time)
- Chicken Broth - Several boxes/cans
- garlic - always have 1 or 2 heads on hand
- chili powder
- smoked paprika
- bay leaves
- olive oil
- canned black beans
- red wine vinegar
- orange juice
- lemons/lemon juice
- limes/lime juice
- instant white rice
- chickpeas (garbanzo beans) - several cans
- boneless chicken breasts (buy in bulk and freeze)
- thin spaghetti/angel hair pasta
- parmesan/parmigiano cheese