I am super excited to bring it to you. I've been planning weekly menus for years now and it saves so much hassle, time, money and there are not nearly so many left overs in the fridge either. You will not believe how much less discussions occur over what's for dinner!
I plan my menu everyday Sunday either behind my computer or with some recipe books. If I'm in a pinch for time, I just go back to my agenda and look through and choose stuff from there as well.
Eventually, I might put the menus in different levels according to time and preparation, but most of the menus, especially those during the week will be made in 20 minutes or less. If you find it takes longer than that, just give it time until ya get better acquainted with the system.
I must also share with you my experience with time saving. My biggest time saver is my stove. I use gas and it is truly my favourite method to cook. I would bet that is how I have been able to save so much time, control the heat of my food better and hence, prepare much tastier dishes.
Enough, blah, blah, blah....Let's get cook'n!!!
Monday: Fresh tortellini with tomato sauce
Fresh pasta may cost a bit more, but there is no comparison to that of dried. Choose any kind you like. Did ya know it cooks in less than five minutes?! What can be faster than that?! It is also much healthier, too because it isn't filled with all kinds of conservatives. Plus, there is such a variety out there. I always keep fresh pasta in the fridge on stand by because it's so versatile and fast.
You can make your own pasta, but of course, that is even more time consuming, but fun. The kids love to help make fresh pasta, though I don't make it often.
For the sauce you may choose to either dump a pot of your favourite tomato sauce to save even more time or use a can of diced tomatoes (choose one with onions, garlic and herbs if you like.) or throw some onions and garlic in a mini chopper and add to the tomatoes and bam! You might also like to add half of a bouillon cube or a teaspoon loose bouillon for more flavour.
Tuesday: Guiness Beef Stew
Follow link to recipe. It's super duper easy and hardly anything to prepare. I would think you can dump everything in a crock pot, let it cook all day while you are at work and it'll be ready when ya get home! Ya gotta love the crock pot when you have little time.
Wednesday: M-S-V (That's meat, starch, veg.)
On this day you can choose any kind of meat, starch or veg that might be laying in the fridge with nothing to do. Hehehe...Or the freezer. Choose something easy like sausages that cook up fast, a steak that's cooked in less than 7 minutes on the grill pan or maybe some fish in the steamer.
This is also a spot where you might say. I'm just too, busy, let's order pizza or Chinese take out. Keep your meat in the freezer to keep it fresh. If you're not sure you are going to use it in the first two or three days of purchase.
Thursday: Big Salad
A large salad is a great way to get rid of stray veggies in the fridge, basket or canned in the cabinet. Buy a green that you really like. I'm not a fan of Iceberg. When I stopped buying it, I started liking salads more. Try a Romaine, Rucola (my favourite) or even some Belgian endive. Mmmmm...Spinach is also absolutely delicious eaten fresh. Then add some chopped, cooked chicken either fresh or purchased. Bacon, tuna, anchovies...the choice is yours! Add olives, shredded cheese, beans, corn...You can do so much with a salad. If your kids are not a fan, then pull out the few veggies they will eat. Usually tomatoes, corn and carrots are ok with them.
You might also want to add a little bit of cooked pasta. It makes it more filling and will be great for the picky little ones!
Fun Food Friday: Cheeseburgers!!!!
Buy frozen patties if you prefer and to save time, buy fresh pre made patties from your butcher or grocer or, make your own. It's really, really easy and hopefully, Friday is a day where you have some extra time to cook something super yummy and fresh.
Hamburger, a dash of Worcester, an egg, some bread crumbs and herbs is all ya need! My hubby loves when I put 1/4 tsp of liquid smoke in there, too. Use a grill pan if you have one. It gets super hot. It's fast and is healthy, too!
Garnish any way you like. Sliced cheese, onions, pickles, lettuce tomato, bacon...MMM.....Don't give fries if you are using buns. A big delicious burger should be enough. Especially, if you are using vegetables as garnish.
Saturday: Brazilian Shrimp Soup/Gruyere, Bacon, Mac N' Cheese
It's no biggie you do not have this special kind of cheese, use the one you like, but make sure it is REAL and not processed. Cheddar is a great substitute.
Sunday: Pesto Chicken Salad/Fish, Starch, Veg
The first menu is all linked up. Get pre baked rolls, go to the bakery or make the rolls yourself. Don't be afraid to use all ready made pesto in the jar. It is usually healthy, too! It will save you some time.
For the fish, I often buy frozen, but of course, fresh is best. Rice goes great with fish, but don't be afraid to try some quinoa, polenta even mashed potatoes are yummy with fish and often favourite a favourite of the little ones. By all means, peel the potatoes and make them fresh! Peel, wash, cut, cook, drain water and add a bit of milk and butter to your liking of consistency and mush. It's really easy and cannot compare to the other junk. It's weekend! Make time to be in the kitchen. It really is important.
You could also use this spot to eat left overs, go on a picnic or have a day at your favourite restaurant. Sunday's meat should be in the freezer anyway, so it won't spoil, while you give yourself a break and maybe something nice to do with the family.
Staying home and eating real food is the best for you and the family. Remember, you are what you eat!
Check out these free printables if you think it might help as well. Click on the image.
Let me know if it would be totally awesome, if I made the list for you. It's a lot of work in the beginning, but if it will help you....I might also make printer friendly versions if this all goes well.
Have a great, healthy week of eating. You deserve it!!!