Lately I’ve had folks asking about my menu plans and how I cook. I’ve written about it before so if this is a repeat, or you’re not interested, just skip over this post.
We rarely eat out, we prefer to eat at home. I try to do a lot of my cooking on one day. For a while, I did it on Monday but now I mostly do it on Sunday because I didn’t want to give up one of my sewing days cooking. Some weeks, the menu doesn’t lend itself well to the all day marathon of cooking. This week, everything is so easy that I didn’t do much yesterday. Some weeks it hardly takes me any time to cook. Some weeks it takes longer but it’s always my choice. I always look at the grocery store ads and try to incorporate fresh things that are on sale — such as broccoli, spinach, kale, etc. Other things that are on sale, such as chicken or roasts or canned goods, I stock up on those and freeze what needs to be frozen and stick other things in the pantry so that I rarely buy anything that isn’t on sale.
If you look over my menu, be thinking about how you would fix all this and save time. Mostly I cook things that can be used in several dishes. Here are the things I will do on this week’s menu:
- Spinach – We’re having Spinach Salad twice so I will wash the whole bag and cut the stems, them put it into a zipper bag. We will use part of it for each salad, as well as putting it on our sandwiches instead of lettuce.
- Spaghetti Sauce – There’s always leftover and this is what I cook down and use as pizza sauce.
- Eggs – The Spinach Salads each include boiled eggs, I use boiled eggs in my tuna salad and in the potato salad so on Sunday, I boiled a dozen eggs — 3 for each salad, 3 for the tuna salad and 3 for the potato salad. They will be cold and ready to peel when I am ready to use them.
- Chicken – For the grilled, I will grill more than we need because we have it for lunch. For the roasted chicken, I will roast a whole chicken and use part of it in a chicken salad on Monday of next week.
- Broccoli – I will steam twice as much as we need and the leftovers will be used in the cream of broccoli soup.
- Mexican Lasagna – It has black beans, corn, ground chicken, pasta — it’s a meal in one dish. All we need to add is a salad. Because we love borracho beans, I’ll serve them also . . yes, I know . . that’s two beans.
My main goal is to cook a few things that can be served as leftovers. If you don’t like “leftovers” per se, then divide the dish into two dishes. Take the hash brown casserole for example. Don’t bake the whole thing in one dish. Put half in a smaller dish. Bake it for Thursday evening. Put the other half in another dish. Stick it in the fridge and bake it for Saturday evening.
All this cooking may seem like it takes hours and hours but it doesn’t! You know that I only have 24 hours in my day. I spend a whole lot of hours in the garden, as well as a lot of hours in the sewing room. I don’t spend a ton of time cooking but we always have fantastic meals!
My menu for this week is:
Spaghetti & Meatballs
Monday: (Make White Bread)
Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Chicken Salad (using leftover chicken over spinach salad)
Spiced Apple Rings
Tuna Salad Sandwiches
Cream of Broccoli Soup
Pineapple Grilled Chicken
Hash Brown Casserole
Hilah’s Shrimp Tacos
Leftover Borracho Beans
Leftover Hashbrown Casserole
The way I cook won’t work for everyone and please don’t try to make my methods work for you unless it looks like something you would enjoy doing. If eating out several times a week fits your lifestyle or if you don’t like to cook . . don’t feel bad. For us, we almost always leave a restaurant saying “Dinner at home is so much better and so much less expensive!”