Menu Plan 9/14 – 9/20

I like to do a lot of things ahead when I can, such as make meatballs, meatloaf or marinate chicken in freezer baggies, so I can save time in the evening. Afternoons are always such a mess because of homework and the kids wanting to play outside. When I can cut out time and mess (and believe me, I am a messy cook!) from dinnertime, it is well worth the extra effort. Here are some things I do to save time and money:

When I find ground beef for under $1.50lb I buy about 6 to 10 lbs of it and then within 24 hours I get to work. I ration it into portions of meatballs, meatloaf, shaped hamburger patties separated by wax paper, taco or spagetti meat. The meatballs get cooked before freezing, so that they basically only get reheated. Once cooked, they are frozen on the baking sheet and thrown into a freezer baggie. The meatloaf is frozen into small loaves on a baking sheet and then once frozen I place them into a freezer baggie. The taco meat is cooked in a pan with onions, garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper and when cooled I separate into portions in freezer bags. Always label your baggies, or you will find yourself starring at your mystery food wondering what in the world this strange concoction is.

For Chicken Breast I do something similar. I cut up chicken breasts into chicken pieces for stir-frys. Cut the chicken into thin, larger pieces for grilled chicken sandwiches and place them directly in the freezer with the marinade. I also separate and marinade for santa fe chicken breast pieces (I will blog about this recipe later on…its delightful!) If you feel up to it its also great to have shredded chicken on hand as well. Throw chicken pieces in enough water to cover the chicken and boil for about 30 minutes to an hour. Keep the broth for later use. Remove chicken and shred. Store chicken in freezer baggies for later use in enchiladas, soups, or casseroles.

Enough chatter from me….here is my menu plan for this week of September 14 - see more enlightening recipes and ideas check out orgjunkie to see what other people are cooking up for din din!

Monday ~ Meatloaf, Mashed potatoes (make double batch for Wednesday), & corn

Tuesday ~ Individual Turkey/Chicken Pot Pies (make double pie crust recipe. For filling mix together frozen veggies, cooked chopped up turkey or chicken, cream of chicken, garlic powder, pinch salt, pepper, dash milk)

Wednesday ~ Meatballs, mashed potatoes, ikea graddass cream gravy, lingonberry sauce

Thursday ~ leftovers or optional meal; make easy no mushroom beef stroganoff (using leftover cream gravy from Wednesday) & egg noodles

Friday ~ Chicken & Veggie Stir Fry & Rice (cut up chicken was marinated in a freezer bag with teriyaki sauce, honey, garlic, salt, pepper, ginger, soy sauce when I bought it super cheap… throw them back into the freezer and pull them out as needed)

Saturday ~ Grilled BBQ Chicken, tomato salad (Place chicken in caserrolle dish with about 1 inch of water mixed with liquid smoke. Sprinkle chicken with seasonings such as adobo, seasoning salt, garlic powder, and paprika. Bake on 350* for 30 min in oven, then place on grill for a few minutes on each side to get that grill flavor and to glaze the bbq sauce)

Sunday ~ Margarita Pizza with Buffalo Mozzarella, simple & fresh tomato pizza sauce, and basil (for a quicker meal, use a refrigerated pizza dough)