I hope you are all enjoying this “kind of” new menu plan format I have been posting these last couple weeks. The purpose of my menu plans is not so much for you to follow them exactly but instead show you how to take recipes and plan them ahead of time. Of course, if you want to follow them please do. However, I know we all have different tastes, schedules, and leftover ingredients that need to be used up so let menu plans serve as a guide to your own.
Each Sunday (sometimes Saturday) I have been preparing the menu plan and posting pictures of the process on the SMK facebook page. This week I posted the actual menu plan prior to making it so everyone had the recipes in hand as I started. I am going to try to do this regularly. My goal is to teach and hopefully inspire you to do this for yourself. It does take some time to prepare foods ahead of time but the time you save during the week, in my opinion, is totally worth it.
This week’s menu plan is relatively simple to prepare ahead of time and would make a good menu for those of you just starting out. Keep in mind the make ahead suggestions are just that – suggestions. Sometimes, it goes as planned other times you have to switch things up a bit. For example, today I was in full swing cooking our meals and was so close to being done when I realized I did not make the black bean and rice quesadillas. I have no clue how I miss that because I was referring to the plan I typed out for all of you. But I did. Anyway, instead of stressing about it I decided the quesadillas were an easy enough meal to make the night of so I just skipped it. Plus, I had rice for the recipe cooked so in reality the hardest part of the recipe was done.
If you are not able to get it all done that is fine – do what you can. My advice would be to prep the meals that would be the biggest pain (ex. chicken fried rice) to make during the week and leave the easy stuff out (cheeseburger wrap). Or maybe just focus of breakfast. Whatever works for you.
You can print out the menu plan with grocery list and make ahead instructions here.
1 ounce cheese
Bell peppers and hummus or ¼ raw almonds
For more snacks ideas to bring to the office check out this Cooking Light article.
Turkey Fried Rice (you can use chicken or turkey – I am using chicken)
Meatball Subs (you can use beef or turkey – I am using beef)
Make Ahead Instructions
Let’s get started.
Two recipes this week call for cooked brown rice – the chicken fried rice specifically calls for 1 day old rice so cook the rice a day or two before you do anything else. If you have a rice cooker – which I highly recommend you do- this is very easy to do. If not then you will need to cook it the old fashion way.
Moving onto the next day…
If you did not purchase premade pizza dough then assemble and start the ingredients for the pizza dough. Place in bread machine. When it is done (about 2 hours) place in freezer bag and freeze.
Next start the breakfast burritos. Most likely, you will be prepping your menu in the morning and at some point family members will want to eat so it will be helpful to have those going.
While the sausage is cooking for the burritos – which usually takes about 7-10 minutes – turn the oven on and start prepping the ground beef for the meatballs. Cook the meatballs. They only take around 15 minutes. As the meatballs are cooking continue putting the burrito filling together. After the filling is done set aside for about 15 minutes to cool.
By this time the meatballs should be done. Set them aside also for about 15 minutes to let cool.
While these items are cooling start the ground beef filling for cheeseburger wraps. This filling only takes about 15 minutes or so to prepare. After it is done set aside to cool.
As the cheeseburger filling cools place the meatballs in a plastic bag then fill, wrap, and freeze burritos. I recommend freezing a bag of shredded mozzarella alongside the meatballs just to make sure you have what you need the night you eat these.
Next place ground beef for cheeseburger wraps into a freezer container or bag and freeze. You should also freeze this along with tortillas/wraps to make sure you have them when ready to eat. The rest of the ingredients (cheese, lettuce, and condiments) will stay in the refrigerator.
Do a quick clean up.
Prepare the filling for black bean and rice quesadillas. While that is cooking shred rotisserie chicken for the greek salads. Put the chicken in the refrigerator for now.
After the quesadilla filling is done let it cool then store in freezer container or bag and freeze. Again, freeze the tortillas alongside this filling to make sure you have them the night of.
Now start the chicken fried rice. I usually make this on its own because it does take multiple steps and some paying attention to. However, you can cook this recipe in its entirety and freeze so when you want to eat it during the week all you have to do is warm it up. After it is prepared, place into freezer bags or containers, and freeze.
At this point breakfast and dinner are done.
Clean up real quick.
Now let’s quickly put together the greek salads. I will make these into mason jar salads. To do this I will layer starting with dressing then tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, chicken, cheese, and lettuce. Pitas will be kept on the side. If you choose to put into other containers then just leave the dressing out. Store the salads in the refrigerator.
Last thing to do is prep snacks. Cut up the cheese and vegetables, place in containers, and store in the refrigerator.