Sunday’s Left-Over’s = Monday’s Mains
Are you a busy mom or parent who struggles to prepare delicious weekly meals for your family? Are you finding yourself grabbing Subway take-out or throwing in a pizza more often than you would like? I know I have been there and I have done that on more than one occasion. Then, I discovered meal planning. Sunday’s left-over’s = Monday’s mains.
In a previous blog, I talked about how I grew up on big Sunday meals and how that would lead into a few meals for the week. I have been incorporating that into my family traditions and I must say. It is a lifesaver.
Left-over’s in their most visible form are called memories. Stored in the refrigerator of the mind and the cupboard of the heart – Thomas Fuller.
My husband has coined Sunday as my ‘Sunday Prep Day’ now. If I need to get food items, I do that in the morning after church then I spend the afternoon preparing Sunday’s yummy meal and anything else that would be required for the first few days of the week.
Prior to Sunday, I sit down and plan out 6 meal options for the week. I sift through cook books, online recipes, or pinterest. I have a grocery list app that I use and any items I do not have in my pantry or fridge, I add to the app. I often go back to the grocery store about Wednesday to pick up a few more fresh items, but generally, I get all my groceries on Saturday or Sunday so I can then prepare delicious meals for the week.
I usually need 3 slow cooker meals due to my work schedule plus I am home Tuesday mornings so I have that to prepare that evenings meal and I am home Wednesday afternoons, so I can cook fresh that night.
Side note: During the week, I don’t get home until around 5:30 pm or so and usually we are quite hungry by then, so I have adapted to finding many yummy slow cooker recipes for those days I am later getting home. A slow cooker, crock pot, instapot, or power pressure cookers can be a vital accessory in your kitchen for anyone who is busy with work or kids and just needs a delicious meal waiting for you upon your arrival.
A Sample Weekly Plan:
- Sunday: Chicken dinner with potatoes, carrots, brussels sprouts
- Monday: Hot Chicken dinner with St Hubert sauce and left over vegetables
- Tuesday: Slow cooker chicken cacciatore
- Wednesday: Fajita Bowls
- Thursday: Beef Daube
- Friday: Take-Out
- Saturday: Burgers and salad
Here is what I did last Sunday:
I cooked 2 fryer chickens each with a different seasoning on top. The first chicken was for Sunday’s meal and the second was for Monday – hot chicken with St Hubert sauce. I had also done extra vegetables so all could go in the oven when I was home for lunch. I then set the oven to come on to warm the items about 45 minutes before I would be home.
Tuesday’s, I am home in the morning. I need to use my slow cooker that day, so I often have a recipe that I prepare in the morning and turn on to cook all day. A half hour of morning prep leaves me with a delicious Tuesday dinner. This Tuesday’s is Chicken Caccitore.
Wednesdays, I work only in the morning so if I need any other fresh items, I head to the store during the day and I am home all afternoon to come up with a fantastic meal. One meal option my entire family loves is Fajita Bowls (or Burrito Bowls) . They are packed full of vegetables and chicken (or use beef if you prefer) and Mexican spice. We love Mexico, so it brings that vacation feeling each time we devour it.
Since I have Wednesday afternoons free, I use that tine to prepare what I will be making for Thursdays dinner. Again, a slow cooker is required for me on Thursdays, so I prep all my ingredients for that meal on Wednesday and when I am home for lunch on Thursday, I throw it all in the slow cooker – turn to high – and it is smelling delightful by the time we are home that evening.
Fridays, we often get take-out as a fun meal or I have made breakfast for dinner.
This past Saturday, we BBQ burgers and had a lovely ‘summer’ meal in the middle of winter.
- Don’t make meals difficult if you don’t have the time. There are plenty of options that are so delicious yet simple to make.
- Plan meals around similar seasonings or vegetables so you are not buying out the entire grocery store. One big Sunday dinner can have the option for 1-2 days of left over meals depending on what you are making. I often search out online – what to do with chicken leftovers? Or, what to do with Ham leftovers? These simple searches give multiple simple receipe options for week day meals.
- Don’t be afraid to try something new. It may be a new family favourite (or a complete bomb), but how will you know. We have had plenty of laughs out of some of my bombs.
- An hour of planning can provide days of food options – chopping vegetables a head of time and putting in ready to go containers in order to immediately put in slow cooker – put all spices into a sealed dish the day before to save time the day you want to put together your slow cooker meal. Just throw it in on the day.
- Plan each day specifically with meat option and vegetable side in order to save time and money at the grocery store. I find whenI don’t do this, I wander the store picking up random items that I don’t’ necessarily use and have to go back to the store multiple times just to get what I actually need.
- Price match or look at the weekly fliers before heading to the store. This will also give you meal planning ideas especially if a roast is on sale at Walmart, or whole chickens are on sale at the Grocery store. (another money saving tip).
Regardless of what you plan, make it fun. If you are stressed or become stressed you will not enjoy the process or the meals. As stated earlier, an hour of planning can make the world of difference in how your week is laid out. Not only will it save your time, ease your stress and possibly save your money – but it will allow you and your family to eat delicious home cooked meals most days of the week. And if you are sticking with also eating as a family (as per a previous blog post), nothing is better than enjoying a home cooked meal with the ones your love.
What are some meal planning tips or ideas that you have? Do you have a go-to recipe? Or a go-to money saving tip? I’d love to hear about them.