Since I went back to work full time about two years ago, I’ve been striving to figure out how to make our extra-busy lives work smoothly. When I’ve had time to blog, a weekly menu plan is usually what comes out. I imagined that people were kind of bored with that until I received requests on Facebook to share my meal ideas. These are not fancy, but they work for our family. I can pre-cook them on Sunday, then quickly prepare a meal when we get home from extra-curricular activities. To adapt these ideas to the size of your family, either multiply the recipes or store them in single-serving containers and freeze what you won’t use for next time.
Here are my last two weeks of menu plans to give you some ideas.
I usually use a cheap jar of spaghetti sauce and then embellish it with fresh herbs and meat. I added oregano and rosemary from my herb garden, fresh garlic, Italian sausage and mini-meatballs. You can also make and preserve my Homemade Tomato Sauce in late summer if you’d like – it is heavenly! I haven’t gotten my act together to make it for the last few years.
Monday: Pinto Beans and Cornbread
This is one of our standard southern fare dinners, and it’s much more yummy than it sounds. Cooked in a crock pot with a ham hock, these beans are inexpensive and pack lots of flavor. I usually make way more than we need and freeze the rest for later. Click here for the recipe and a funny story about my introduction to this dish.
When I bring boneless chicken breasts home from the grocery store, I immediately butterfly it, and put it in freezer bags with marinade. I usually put 4-6 halves in each quart-size bag. This week, I left the Ginger Sesame Chicken in the refrigerator for Tuesday and froze the rest for later. The marinade recipe? Ken’s Steakhouse Asian Sesame dressing. Thanks, Ken!
Wednesday: Salisbury Steak
To save time and money, we buy a side of beef every year and keep it in our deep freezer. That guarantees that we’ll have the main ingredients for this dish on hand at any moment. I made about eight patties and then used the rest of the meat for mini-meatballs for Sunday’s spaghetti sauce. Click here for my dad’s famous Salisbury Steak recipe
Thursday: Parents’ night off
We always take the girls to Earth Fare for kids eat free night after dance classes. Win-win.
Friday: Left-over Clean Up!
Some of this week’s recipes use left-overs from last week. Waste not, want not, right? I didn’t get any fancy photos this week, but you can imagine these simple dishes.
Sunday: Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
Again?! Yup, suck it up, kids. We had much more sauce last week than we needed, so I froze several quart-size bags for the future.
We actually packed sandwiches to take with us in the morning. My 12-year-old has a volleyball game, so we’ll be eating on the go. Don’t worry, most of the time I don’t think ahead and have to stop at Chick-fil-A.
Taco Tuesday, si? I mashed up some of the pinto beans from last week to serve as “refried” beans. Then, I browned and seasoned some ground beef and put it in the fridge for quick reheating.
Wednesday: Red Beans and Rice
I actually have some time to cook on wednesdays, so I only precooked the brown rice which takes about an hour. On Wednesday, I’ll throw the smoked sausage, chopped onion, red beans, can of tomatoes, salt, pepper, and a little cajun seasoning into a skillet and serve it over the pre-cooked rice. (Random HINT: Fried rice is also better with rice that has been precooked and stored in the refrigerator for 24-hours.)
Thursday: EarthFare again!
Friday: Grilled Chicken.
This time, I’ll thaw the bag with the Italian dressing and soy sauce marinade that I made last week – two parts Italian dressing and one part soy. It’s the simplest marinade, but we always get huge compliments on it.
More Meal Plans!
Working Mom: How to Make a Weekly Meal Plan: Chicken Noodle Soup, Honey Soy Tilapia and more.
Make-Ahead Meal Plan: Meatball Sandwiches, Black-eyed Peas with Chow Chow and more.
Menu Polan for a Working Mom: Panko Crusted Tilapia, Breakfast Casserole, Crock Pot BBQ Chicken and more.