Now that I’m a working mom, I find that I don’t have as much time to cook. I also don’t want to spend a lot of time cooking or thinking about cooking, because I’m either working, sleeping or spending time with FW. That’s why I’ve started planning meals* in advance. This way on Saturdays we can go to the West Side Market, pick up our ingredients for the week ahead, Sunday I can do some minor prep, and then we’re set for the week. It makes my life easier and helps when I get home and am too tired to even start to think about dinner. Some things that are working really well right now:
- Planning one meal as a freezer meal that takes little to no preparation. This works two ways – this means I plan a meal that I can freeze part of and also plan one meal from our freezer. I have a few meals in our freezer that I made when I was home on leave or that I make extra and freeze or even that my mom has given me – and having these once a week (or more!) has been a life saver.
- Planning one meal as a crock pot meal. I typically prepare the meal the night before so that when I wake up there is not much to do to prep. Mornings now are pretty crazy so not having to do much in the morning for dinner makes my life that much better.
- Trying one new meal a week and having at least one staple meal. Mondays or Tuesdays are usually “new meal day” because I’m the least tired. By the time Wednesday or Thursday hits, I’m too pooped to be creative and try something new. That’s when an old favorite or staple meal comes in.
- Not underestimating the power of leftovers! I try to make sure I cook a little extra – either to freeze for a future meal (see #1) or for lunches.
Disclaimer: While this is my fourth week doing this now, who knows how long this will last – and each week is different and flexible – but I thought I’d share with you what we have planned for the week ahead.
Anyway, if you’re wondering, here’s what we’re eating this week:
Sunday: Homemade pasta with broccoli rabe and sausage
B cooks dinner, based on this Lidia recipe
Monday: Braised veal breast tacos and taco salads
Saturday night we had braised veal breast with pearl onions (this amazing recipe) and we have tons of leftover veal – it will be sooo good with tacos! And then all we need to do is get the tortillas, beans, greek yogurt, avocado and cheese ready.
Tuesday: Slow cooker creole chicken and sausage
Last year I went to New Orleans at this time and bought a ton of creole and cajun spices. I came back, and when I was pregnant, I couldn’t stand the thought of those spices. I’m not pregnant anymore and can’t wait to make this! Going to modify this Pinch of Yum recipe.
Wednesday: Breakfast! Likely eggs and spinach and veggie burgers.
B has a soccer game Wednesday night, so a relatively light and quick meal is appreciated.
Thursday: Either freezer chicken rollatini (from my mom) and pasta OR chicken chorizo sweet potato veggie hash. It will be a game time decision based on how late I have to work and what we’re in the mood for. We may hold off on the freezer meal for next week!
If we do the veggie hash, it will be this recipe but with chicken chorizo on top.
Friday: Takeout! Sushi or buffalo chicken salads likely.
Saturday: Scary movie night with friends – B will make us some homemade pizza.
And thats it! Do you plan your meals ahead of time?