Friday, March 25, 2016

Meal Planning (and a Recipe!)

You asked for it! How do I plan our meals? I start with an envelope!

On the right side I jot down meal ideas for the next two weeks. On the left I list the groceries needed. If you are a coupon person, you can slip the coupons inside the envelope.

I have several favorite recipes that I make often, so a couple of them are listed. I use lean ground beef often in meals - it's great because it doesn't create much grease when browned - no draining needed.

I also use cooked shredded chicken in lots of meals. I buy several large chicken breasts, put them in the slow cooker, add water to cover and salt/pepper. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Once the chicken is cooled a bit, I divide the chicken into freezer bags, smush out the air, and seal. Then a few good bashes with my fist and the chicken is shredded - no knife needed! I keep the chicken in the freezer for future meals. I have a Pinterest file specifically for recipes for cooked chicken. Oh, and I save the liquid from the crock pot - chicken broth! I can freeze this also.

Each week I try a new-to-me recipe - sometimes I'll find a win that will become a regular.

Do I plan a specific day to make each meal? NO! I just wing it. I save that envelope - hmm...what will I make tonight? I simply make one of the items that appeals to me that day. There are only two of us, so most of my meals have leftovers. Bonus! We are very good about eating leftovers. So each recipe usually feeds us at least twice.

Also, I also keep a couple of frozen pizzas and chicken pot pies on hand - for those days when there are no leftovers and I'm simply not in the mood to cook. I also keep a supply of frozen vegetables in the freezer (broccoli, peas, etc.) to put with a variety of meals. And I always have rice and pasta in the pantry.

Below is one of our favorite recipes - instead of cooking the chicken as called for in the recipe, I throw in some of my cooked chicken. I posted this once on my old blog, but it's worthy to post again!

If anyone is interested, I share other basic recipes using cooked chicken or ground beef.


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken cut into 1 inch pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups dried orzo (pasta)
3 cups chicken broth
8 ounces jarred or fresh basil pesto
2 cups baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
2 cups grape tomatoes (or halved cherry tomatoes)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese OR 2 ounces crumbled feta cheese

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add chicken, salt and pepper; saute until evenly browned, about 3 minutes. 

Stir in orzo and broth. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.

Remove lid; stir in pesto, spinach, tomatoes, and cheese.

Makes 6 servings.

1 comment:

  1. I use zip list on my phone as I always would forget my list! I agree about the frozen chicken breast! I have a bag for my dogs and one for us! Like your idea of the envelope but, again, I would probably forget it or lose it! Ha


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