In the spirit of full disclosure, melaniewinters.com is a compensated affiliate meaning we may make a small commission when you click on/purchase something through the ad-links in this post. This does not apply to the recipe links as these are just to take you to the blogs that the recipes can be found on and give proper credit to their creators.
Welcome back! Thanks for checking out this week's meal plan. For those of you who are new, the next few paragraphs are about my plans and some friendly reminders. You may want to check those out along with my tips for Pinterest meal planning and list-making on Google Keep. For those who have already read these reminders, scroll down for week two's fabulous recipes and grocery list!
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
This is such an easy recipe and great for those long days at work or when you're out running errands all day. Just throw some chicken and water in the slow cooker and let time do the work. Add a few ingredients right before dinner and you've got pulled caesar chicken ready for pitas, wraps, sandwiches, whatever. We usually chop up some romaine and tomatoes and use this in a pita one day and add some croutons or avocados and make spinach-tortilla wraps another day.
Tuesday: Classic Chili
Topped with sour cream, shredded cheddar and chives and served up with some toasted sourdough, this is one of our favorites over the long cold winter months. Leftovers are fabulous so we make enough to get at least two or three more meals out of this batch throughout the week.
Wednesday: Leftover Chicken Caesar Wraps with Peas and Pancetta with Lemon
This amazing side can be found on the fabulous blog, What's Gaby Cooking.
While I always imagine this recipe for Peas and Pancetta going perfectly with a seared pork chop, this week we're keeping it simple by pairing it with leftover caesar chicken. Repurposing left-overs by making one home-made element to complement them is an easy way to reduce food waste, minimize time in the kitchen and keep your menu interesting.
Thursday: Leftover Chili
Remember you can rearrange this plan to fit your busy schedule. Whatever your busy night is where you have no time to cook, plug in leftover chili. Save money by using up the leftovers instead of ordering take-out. Throw on some fresh toppings and enjoy a warm, home cooked meal with none of the work.
Friday: Creamy Tomato Risotto with Pan-Fried Barramundi (we substituted chicken for the fish)
This seriously delicious recipe is from Lindsay's always amazing blog, Pinch of Yum.
While we love fish, particularly barramundi (which we became acquainted with during our trip to the land down under), for the sake of minimizing our grocery list and using up our already purchased chicken, we decided to pair this amazing risotto with a pan seared lemon-garlic chicken breast. All we did was cut two chicken breasts in half to make four thin chicken cutlets, dredge in seasoned flour (flour with salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika) and cook in a preheated non-stick pan with a drizzle of olive oil and a couple tablespoons of butter. Add a splash of lemon juice and cook until the internal temp reaches 165 degrees.
But back to the risotto which is truly the star of the show. I'll admit that as I was cooking it, I frequently complained to my husband that this can't possibly be worth all the work. Risotto is a time-consuming process that takes focus and patience. It's not difficult, just long. But it's seriously so worth it- I'd make it weekly if I had the time.
Because this week was so heavy on the tomatoes with tomatoes in the pitas, wraps and of course, chili. I left the added chopped tomatoes out of this risotto recipe. I used the pureed tomatoes during the cooking process, I just didn't feel like added tomatoes on top of that. It was still seriously delicious, so just wanted to throw that option out there for you as well in case you find yourself needing a break from the acidity of the tomatoes.
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.
- Romaine Lettuce
- slider buns/pitas/spinach tortillas (pick based on how you want to serve your slow cooker chicken caesar)
- 1 package Jimmy Dean hot sausage
- sour cream
- shredded cheddar
- roma tomatoes
- sourdough bread
- arborio rice
STAPLES (ITEMS YOU SHOULD HAVE IN YOUR FRIDGE/PANTRY ALL THE TIME)
- Chicken Breast (buy in bulk, freeze what you don't need)
- Caesar Dressing
- Parmesan Cheese
- Dried Parsley
- Dried Oregano
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Dried Thyme
- Cayenne Pepper
- Ground Pepper
- granulated sugar
- olive oil
- Worcestershire sauce
- frozen peas
- Yellow Onions
- Chicken Broth (several boxes)
- canned Cannellini Beans
- canned Pinto Beans
- canned Dark Kidney Beans
- tomato paste
- 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 28 oz can diced tomatoes