I am the world’s worst about making daily grocery store trips, discovering half-empty boxes of pasta in my freezer, and leaving those beautiful veggies aging in the crisper right before my eyes. I’m always telling my family we need to cut back on waste, especially now that we are really trying to take stock of what we eat and especially when time and funds become more limited.
That’s why it’s so important to me to take a little bit of time on Sundays to plan meals for the week ahead. I found this great menu plan on the Kraft website to help plan and figure out dinner ideas for the week.
Wouldn’t it be nice to know you had plans in the works for a chicken casserole, a lasagna recipe, a slow-cooker recipe, a Mexican casserole and cheesy broccoli soup? I know that makes me happy!
As a bonus, Kraft created a super-handy printable shopping list (click to open it in a new tab) that covers everything you need.
So without further ado, here’s the schedule:
Taken from the Kraft website:
Monday: Go shopping, then make Chicken & Broccoli Rice Bake.
When broccoli, cheese and chicken get together in a casserole dish, the result is always a comforting, crowd-pleasing dish. If you’ve bought heads of broccoli, cut all the florets tonight to make Friday’s soup a snap. While this guy’s baking in the oven, roast or poach the rest of the chicken breasts for Thursday’s dinner—don’t worry about shredding it tonight, because that’s easier to do when it’s cold. This recipe makes 6 servings, so if you have leftovers, reheat it at lunchtime on Tuesday.
Salad on the side is a nice way to round out any meal, so take time tonight to prep your lettuce and salad veggies for the whole week so you only have to do it once. Cut your carrots and celery tonight for Wednesday’s, Thursday’s and Friday’s recipes, and use any extra for your salads. Same goes for the chives for Wednesday’s recipe and the cilantro for Thursday.
Tuesday: Better-Than-Ever Cheesy Meat Lasagna
Who doesn’t love lasagna? Not my family! This recipe calls for extra-lean ground beef and low-fat cottage cheese, making it secretly better for you than a regular recipe. Go ahead and cook the whole box of lasagna noodles—you’ll only need half for tonight, but you’ll use the rest on Thursday. This recipe makes 9 servings, so your young children’s playdates could stay for dinner. Leftovers will have you looking forward to lunchtime the next day.
Wednesday: Slow-Cooked Pork Stew with Dumplings
Get over the midweek hump with the help of your trusty slow cooker. Simple dumplings made with stuffing mix are the perfect companion for juicy pork tenderloin in this creamy family favorite. With 8 servings, you can easily feed a crowd or save some for Thursday’s lunch.
Thursday: Green Chile-Chicken Lasagna
Make Thursday night a fiesta with this easy Mexican-inspired casserole. Sure, you’re using the chicken you cooked Monday and the lasagna noodles from Tuesday, but with cilantro, green salsa, Mexican cheese and fresh tomatoes, this dish will be a nice change of pace for your taste buds. Again, leftovers are perfect for lunchtime the next day.
Friday: No-Cream Creamy Broccoli Soup
How do you get kids (and, um, adults) to eat their veggies? Puree them into a creamy soup and add cheese. This simple soup comes together in a flash thanks to all the veggie-chopping you did on Monday, and it’s surprisingly thick and hearty thanks to the addition of instant rice. By using milk instead of cream and Parm instead of cheddar, you can have your cheesy soup and eat it too! And with 8 servings, you’ve just solved what to eat at lunchtime (or dinnertime) on Saturday.
A few tips for making your own weekly menus:
1. Prepping on the weekends is a must: If you have tons of veggies to cut and separate for meals, try doing that on the weekends and then bagging up until you need them.
Try to cut up as many ingredients as you can once you go shopping or as you begin to use them during the week. Doing something once is always easier than doing it over and over all week.
2. Cook once but serve twice: Find recipes that use ingredients that can quickly be turned into a different meal later in the week. I love buying a pork butt and having shredded bbq sandwiches one night and then Pork Carnitas another night.
3. Don’t buy in bulk when it comes to veggies: Some stores sell veggies and fruits in single servings. Things like onions, broccoli, etc, I only buy them for each recipe. This way there is no waste or rotting food left in the refrigerator.
Now that you have a few ideas, I would love to hear about your meal planning tricks.
Got any other meal-planning tips or tricks I should know about?