My friend Mark Conley is a follower here, (and also a purty durn good guitar maker and educator, too!) After our last post on slow cookers, he asked this million dollar question about practical meal planning,
‘It is just me and my wife most dinners. Is this practical for us? I don’t like making massive amounts of food!’
Thank you, Buddy, for asking, because we seriously need to cover this stuff. The answer is yes, it’s not only practical, but it makes more sense than most other plans. Here’s why
M and I live with just our two critters, so all our cooking is for two. We cook throughout the week, of course, but what we make is often determined on short notice – By what looks good, sounds good, or comes in a flash or inspiration. We typically have one day off together, Sunday. Our ritual is coffee in bed, then breakfast in town, followed by shopping.
Generally, the center piece of that trip to the grocery store is one thing around which we’ll generate several meals. As y’all know, we’re omnivores, so that’s often chicken, pork, or beef – We buy a whole bird, or a large roast, and cook that on Sunday, and then enjoy several meals thereafter.
If you’re not doing something similar, you really should be – It’s far more efficient than coming up with something out of the blue every night, and it makes cooking much easier, which is imperative when you both work long hours as we do. Having a main course protein already cooked or ready to go is key. And it needn’t be meat, for that matter – tofu, cheese, and beans will all provide what you need and are just as delicious as fleshy stuff.
Of course, to do this right, you need a lot of good stuff, staples like fresh veggies and fruit, potatoes, pasta, tortillas, beans, oils and vinegars, and the like – And especially as we roll into the cold months, there’s nothing at all wrong with having a decent stable of canned and frozen goodies. We keep decent, organic cheese pizzas on hand, as well as frozen pasta, veggies, and fruit – A combination of bought and stuff we put up during the growing months. Add a decent rack of spices, herbs, and seasonings, and you’re good to go – Inspiration can strike at will.
Here’s a basic rundown in what we did with two of those primary proteins throughout the week, including alternate meals to break up the pattern and keep things interesting.
Whole organic, free range Chicken.
Sunday – Roast chicken and veggies, green salad.
Monday – Pizza with chicken, tomato, jalapeño, and fennel.
Remaining chicken pulled from bones. Carcass into a stock pot with remaining roasted veggies, and fresh mire poix, for stock – Refrigerated overnight.
Tuesday – Mac and Cheese, green salad.
Stock clarified, refrigerated.
Weds – leftover Mac & Cheese, (’cause it’s even better the next day!)
Thursday – Chicken soup, made with a 3 bean medley, tomatoes, onion, sweet peppers, green beans, peas and corn.
Friday – Chicken tacos with red mole, (frozen in an ice cube tray, so super fast to prepare), fresh lettuce and pico de gallo.
Saturday – Free for all leftovers.
Second Run – Local, choice sirloin roast.
Sunday – Roast beef and root veggies, fresh green salad and local sour dough.
Monday – Roast beef hash for brunch.
Tuesday – Beef nachos with onion, tomato, jalapeño, sharp cheddar, fresh salsa and sour cream.
Wednesday – Big ol’ garden salads and sour dough.
Thursday – Beef Chimichangas with fresh pico de gallo and sour cream.
Friday – Open faced cheese sandwiches with fresh veggies.
Saturday – Free for all leftovers.
Now granted, this isn’t anything magical, but it’s incredible tasty fare that’s good for you, and none of these meals take more than 30 minutes to prepare. When we get that Sunday plan done, it’s just a matter of what sounds good through the week, and sometimes meals are chosen predominantly for ease of prep.
If any of these particularly float your boat and you want a detailed recipe, just pipe up, and we’ll make it happen.