Menu Planning |

Menu Planning, Part 2

Posted on Posted in Recipes

A few weeks ago, I shared my new technique for meal planning with you.  I don’t use this technique every week, because sometimes spontaneity in cooking is the way I relax.  However, during weeks that I realize that I have a lot of leftovers and/or perishable ingredients, planning ahead can save me a lot of time and money.  This particular week, I spent less than $20 on groceries for all meals (and feeding 2 people for dinner most nights)… and it was mostly on cheese for various meals.  Oops.  By planning ahead, I also made sure that I had enough leftovers for lunches and I could prep things in bulk, like chicken, to use in meals the rest of the week.

Menu Planning |

  • On Monday, for lunch I had Pho leftovers from over the weekend.  That night, I cooked 6 chicken breasts- one I seared, butterflied, to eat right away; the other 5 I baked (straight from frozen) to almost-done to be used in meals the rest of the week.  I only almost-cooked them so they wouldn’t overcook when reheated later in the week (if using chicken in cold dishes, please cook to doneness!)  I also made Spinach and Artichoke Dip (I had all the ingredients except the ricotta and cream cheese) with tortilla chips that I made from left over tortillas.  This provided me with a nice side for dinner as well as snacks and lunches throughout the rest of the week.
  • Tuesday, I used a bit of that leftover cream cheese on a pumpkin bagel (that I impulse-bought at Trader Joe’s) for lunch.  For dinner, I made skillet pizzas, using the chicken I had cooked the night before, some mozzarella and ricotta left over from the spinach dip, and some other toppings I had lying around the kitchen.  Actually, the pizza dough was some I had frozen months earlier as well!  Pizza is a great way to use up random veggies that don’t have a place anywhere else.  Also, the dough was enough for 3 personal pizzas, so I had enough for 2 lunches later that week left over.
  • On Wednesday, leftover pizza was lunch.  For dinner, I made a dish with the leftover chicken, some broccoli I already had, and some premade fresh ravioli that I got with a coupon at Wegmans.  I tossed in the olive oil/garlic sauce to pull the meal together, and it was surprisingly delicious!
  • Thursday, I ate leftover spinach dip for lunch.  That night, I had an online exam (it was a weird experience), so my boyfriend ordered take-out for me.  It was very sweet!  (There were also leftovers from that that we ate for lunch over the weekend.)
  • Friday, I had leftover pizza again.  Dinner was on my own, so I used up some more frozen spinach, the rest of the ricotta and mozzarella, and some not-so-great marinara for stuffed shells, which were delicious and made enough to freeze and use for dinner on Sunday and lunches the whole next week!
  • Saturday was a fun day in Princeton, topped off by grocery shopping for the following week (which, I’ll admit, was more than $20) and homemade margaritas!
  • Sunday was a very busy day fueled completely by leftovers.  I had to work, go to Mass, write a bunch of blog posts (you’re welcome), and go to a Riveters game, so I’m glad I had some healthy options to rely on!

I'd love to hear your thoughts!