Just a precursor… I do not plan meals for the weekends. Why? Well, due to kid sports, family events, and/or random spontaneity, dinnertime is usually the first thing to go on a schedule. That being said, leftovers are a key player during the weekend, and we usually go out to eat at least once a week… and, we tend to do it on the weekends.
I tend to range from one extreme to the other as far as my meals. Some take a lot of effort, some take none. My hubs is gone at least 2 evenings each week, so therefore, I don’t go “all out” on meals when it’s just the kids & I. Sorry kids, it’s not that mommy doesn’t love you… but I also realize you’d be just as happy with PB&J when daddy is gone!
I do a lot of cooking ahead, so I don’t spend a ton of time each day in the kitchen, because really, who has time for that?! So, some of these items below are already hanging out in my freezer.
We eat a lot of chicken, so I tend to cook chicken each Monday in my crockpot. It can either be kept whole (breasts), or it can be shredded. Either way, I portion it out, and put it in freezer bags. Easy peasy!
Tilapia with Orzo Salad
What you’ll need for the Tilapia:
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tomatoes, chopped
1/8 cup White cooking wine
3 dashes lemon juice
*If your fish fillets are frozen, be sure to thaw them.
*In a large frying pan on medium heat, go around the pan twice with Extra-Virgin Olive Oil.
*Add in garlic.
*Put your fillets on top of the garlic. Season with salt/pepper.
*Add in cooking wine.
*Add in lemon juice.
*Add in tomatoes.
*Cook fillets until they are turn white in color.
What you’ll need for the Orzo Salad:
1 bag/box Orzo
4 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 Tbsp. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 lemon, juiced
1 bunch asparagus, chopped into 1” pieces
1-2 tomatoes, chopped (you can substitute cherry tomatoes, if you like)
*In a large pot, bring water to a boil & cook orzo according to the directions on the package. The last few minutes when orzo is cooking, blanch the asparagus in the water along with the orzo. (this will save you dirtying another pot!)
*Drain orzo/asparagus, and put into a large bowl. (I use my largest stainless steel mixing bowl!) Add in tomatoes.
*In a smaller bowl, combine lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, salt & pepper (to taste), and whisk together until blended. [You will want this to be a bit saltier than usual — it will be spread out amongst a lot of pasta.]
*Pour lemon juice/olive oil mixture over the pasta/asparagus/tomatoes. Mix well.
*This salad can be served warm OR cold. It’s yummy!!
Pizza on Garlic Bread & Salad
What you’ll need for the Pizza:
1-2 long loaves of Garlic Bread (depending upon the size of your family)
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
*Any other pizza toppings you enjoy (Pepperoni, mushrooms, sausage…)
*Preheat oven to what the package of Garlic Bread calls for.
*Assemble your “pizza” on each half of the garlic bread. Once done, cook according to the package. Instant pizza!
What you’ll need for the Salad:
1 bag of salad mix (or head of shredded lettuce)
veggies of your choice
What you’ll need for the Carnitas: http://www.skinnytaste.com/2010/03/mexican-slow-cooked-pork-carnitas.html /Tacos:
Tomatoes, chopped (or, salsa)
1 can refried beans
1 can green enchilada sauce
2.5 lb pork shoulder blade roast, lean, all fat removed (I had a 6 lb. roast, and just doubled this recipe, so I’d have some to put in the freezer!)
6 cloves garlic, cut into sliver
dry adobo seasoning (I used Goya)
3/4 cup 99% fat free chicken broth
2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (to taste)
2 bay leaves
(I might suggest that you prepare the meat the day before your meal… it takes a while to cook in the crockpot. However, it can be done on the stovetop as well — still takes a bit though)
Season pork with salt and pepper. In a medium sauté pan on medium-high heat, brown pork on all sides for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Using a sharp knife, insert blade into pork, cutting small holes and insert garlic slivers. Season pork generously with cumin, adobo and garlic powder all over.
Pour chicken broth in the crockpot, add bay leaves and chipotle peppers. Place pork in crock pot and cover. Cook low for 8 hours. After 8 hours, shred pork using two forks and combine well with the juices that accumulated at the bottom. Remove bay leaves and adjust salt and cumin (you will probably need to add more). Let it cook another 15-30 minutes.
*Mash 4 avocados in a bowl
*Add garlic salt, to taste
*Add 3-4 dashes of lime juice
*To make a bean mixture, heat the can of refried beans & green enchilada sauce together.
*To assemble carnitas/tacos, in a tortilla, put some of the bean mixture, meat, lettuce, tomato, cilantro, guacamole… however you like!
Jenni’s “Wicked Good Clam Chowdah” http://hokefamily.blogspot.com/2012/02/jennis-wicked-good-clam-chowdah-and-yes.html
What you’ll need for the “chowdah”:
4 cans minced clams
6 strips bacon, chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cups clam liquor (liquid in the can) + 1-2 cups water
2 cups diced potatoes
1 tsp salt
dash of pepper
2 cups milk
2 cups half & half
*instant potatoes (if you wish to thicken soup afterwards)
What you’ll need for the Chicken Spaghetti:
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
3 cups cooked spaghetti (I just used the whole box)
4 oz. Velveeta, melted
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
1 can Tomatoes & Green Chilies
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Obviously some of these recipes may not work for your family, so feel free to substitute whatever you like.
I started meal planning because my youngest constantly asks “what’s for dinner???“, and I usually have no idea. This way, he can look at the calendar on the fridge and either jump for joy or sulk because it’s something he doesn’t like. ha!
Have a great week, my friends!