Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Week # 1 - Time Saving Menu

Here we are at our first Time Saving Menu.  Have you read the time saving tips I gave you last week?  If not you can check them here :
saving time in the kitchen

You will find a lot of ideas and equipment to try that will make a big difference if time is an important issue for you, so make sure you consider some of these options carefully.

Meanwhile here again is your checklist so you won't forget anything while you're planning your food for the week. I'll repeat it with each menu for your convenience. Remember, I plan on Mondays but you can choose any day of the week that works for you.

All the recipes you need for this week's plan are already here on the blog. The link for each recipe is also provided under each day's menu for your convenience, so you can check the serving size and quantity of ingredients you will need before completing your shopping list. The recipes I will give you in blog posts the next couple of weeks will be used in the next plan.

NOTE :  One extra reminder this week.  Because this is time saving I will be using the Cioppino broth again next week so definitely make sure you make enough for at least two meals. 



 - Check your schedule and see which days will be very busy and which will be slower and schedule your meals accordingly. Decide on this week's crockpot day. Then plan which day you will make some basics, which day you will put aside for catching up, and which day is yours to relax. If you follow my schedule these days are all mandatory, but which days of the week you choose is up to you.

 - Check your fridge, freezer and pantry and complete your weekly menu. Remember you can substitute your own meals in my plans wherever that works best for you. If using my plan and adding or subtracting meals, change the checklist accordingly so you don't forget anything.  And remember to plan at least two meals for your freezer - the slow cooker one and one other. All my recipes that are suitable for freezing are marked with (will freeze).

 - Make your shopping list. Check ingredients for your menu plan recipes and add any paper, cleaning or grooming supplies you might need. If you check weekly specials in your local stores, do this now (you can do this online) and make a note of what you want to buy.



Monday - Mexican Scrambled Eggs. Mix in tomatoes, cheddar and hot peppers (optional) and serve with avocado slices, salsa and sour cream.

Tuesday - One-Pot Crock-Pot Chicken (will freeze)

Wednesday - Bean-less Beef Chilli (will freeze) with Monday's leftover avocado, tomato, salsa and sour cream.  Maybe a few naco chips?

Thursday - Cioppino (Italian Seafood Stew) (will freeze) with shrimp, mixed green salad

Friday - Chicken Cacciatorie (will freeze) and cauliflower "rice" or gnocchi

Saturday - Eat from the freezer or Eat Out

Sunday - Burgundy Beef (will freeze), creamy cauliflower (will freeze) or sweet potatoes, vegetable of your choice

I have given you a basic 7 day meal plan but I haven't give you amounts because it will all depend upon how many servings of each recipe you need for your family.

All the recipes for the meals in my meal plans you will find in previous posts. I have also noted which recipes can be frozen for later use with this symbol (will freeze). Make it your goal to cook at least two meals each week in double quantities so you can start stocking your freezer. (If you can do more so much the better. You will be ahead in no time!)

In all menu plans I have one day a week scheduled for a freezer meal, so be warned. The crockpot meal is always an easy one to double, then just choose one other one and you've met your minimum target.

You will notice that some days I ask you to supplement with a vegetable of your choice. This is because different people have different likes and dislikes. Also, I don't know what's in your fridge and what you need to use up. As a basic I always make sure I have tomatoes which can be sliced and served with most meals, and a couple of bags of frozen vegetables in the freezer.  

For more vegetable ideas check hereherehere and here.

I also don't give any desserts. Again, everyone is different and you can choose to either have or not have these depending on your particular situation. For me dark chocolate and red wine are staples. For you it might be berries and cream. 

If desserts are a normal part of your menu plans, for dessert ideas check herehereherehere and here.

 As I said before nothing here is written in stone. Use my suggestions as guidelines. Use what works for you and discard the rest.

Remember,  my plan is all about doing the least amount of work for the most reward. If you follow it then yes, you will have to do some work, but very likely not nearly as much as you're doing now. You will be eating healthy delicious meals. You will be more relaxed because you will always have time to catch up, regardless of what happens. And most of all, you will have time to relax and enjoy your life. And in the end isn't that what it's all about?

 “Life isn't about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.”   - George Bernard Shaw

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