My weekly meal plans have a few requirements: they need to contain a make-ahead breakfast and lunch, they need to have at least one freezer-friendly option, and they need to coincide with the randomness still in my freezer/pantry.
I began really meal-planning thanks to the inestimable SkinnyTaste, and if you’re looking for easy, delicious, inexpensive family meals that are always, always good, check out Gina’s weekly dinner plans.
I needed options a little more conducive to my non-family-feeding lifestyle, so I’m branching out, and here are the results! Each meal takes about 30 minutes or so to make, and is conducive to both wine drinking, loud music, and kitchen dancing. I’m currently obsessively listening to Lord Huron’s Strange Trails because I like to be approximately two years behind the times. But also because it’s awesome.
I’ve added notes about the order I prefer to cook things in, thinking about my own needs / inherent laziness.
Breakfast: Mini Ham & Cheese Quinoa Cups from Iowa Girl Eats
They’re tiny frittatas, but with quinoa and zucchini cutting down on the calories. Ham, cheese, sold. I don’t have a mini muffin tin, and I’m constitutionally disinclined to purchase more kitchen items after moving for the seven hundredth time, so, I’m taking Iowa Girl’s advice and cooking them a little longer in a standard tin.
I’ll chill/freeze & nuke for breakfast all week.
Lunch: Lightened Up Derby City Chicken Salad from My Skinny Sweet Tooth
This is really the best of chicken salads, though I will be adding tarragon and subbing pecans for walnuts. This makes it more Kansas City than Louisville, which is usually best. I’ll eat this for lunch on top of mixed greens like you buy in the big plastic box and usually waste half of. But since this salad is really only good for 2-3 days in the fridge, I’ll have to eat it all fast.
While you’re roasting the chicken for lunch, I recommend going ahead and roasting the chicken for the forthcoming taquitos, too! Or, smarter yet, buy yourself an already roasted chicken.
Chicken & Cheese Taquitos from Happy Money Saver
These conveniently also require roasted and shredded chicken, so it’s almost like a two-fer. And at the end of it you have a number of tiny rolled tacos. These have jack and cream cheeses, so I don’t see how they could be anything but the best. They also freeze in a lovely fashion – freeze before you bake, then you can bake straight from frozen (my favorite).
I’m going to eat these with a simple romaine, black bean, corn, & jack salad using this creamy lime dressing I found on the Food Network by Googling “creamy Mexican dressing.” Google truly answers all.
Shrimp with Roasted Peppers & Feta from Real Simple
This looks so simple, and yet pretty darn tasty. It’s shrimp and jarred roasted red peppers topped with feta and baked for about 20 minutes. I might add artichokes and their marinade because Skinny Taste taught me that baking things in this marinade mixture is heavenly.
I’m going to serve this over cauliflower rice so it feels fuller without actually being any worse for me because (see title): dumb. I am most happy when my plate is full, and there’s a whole book (Volumetrics) about how this is human nature, so there.
Balsamic Bacon Turkey Burgers from Daily Dose of Pepper
Burgers mean so much to me. Especially when they’ve got tomatoes and pickles and red onion and mayonnaise on them. If they can have bacon inside and be made from turkey so that my pants still fit, too, then why not. I discovered several years ago that, while there is no true substitute for an all-beef burger, a sufficient quantity of my burger joy was based on the bun/topping that I was almost always just as happy to eat a veggie burger so long as it had all the good stuff on it. My truest loves are emulsified foods (mayonnaise, hollandaise, bernaise), so I suppose this makes a kind of sense.
Anyway, these burgers look smartly designed, and are pan-fried then baked, so I don’t have to try to compensate for the grill I don’t have.
I’ll be halving this recipe and eating these wrapped in a few of the romaine lettuce leaves from the taquito-accompanying salad, and pairing them with some kind of frozen sweet-potato fry.
A cumulative shopping list for all recipes includes the following (items marked with a * are included in my sides and/or additions):
Salad & dressing:
- S & P
- olive oil
- sour cream*
- red wine vinegar*
- romaine lettuce*
- jack cheese
- black beans*
- chicken breasts
- cream cheese
- salsa verde
- chili powder
- onion powder
- garlic powder
- small corn tortillas
- ground turkey
- balsamic vinegar
- Worcestershire sauce
- red onion*
- sweet potato fries*
- jarred roasted red peppers
- feta cheese
- cauliflower rice*
- marinated artichokes*
- greek yogurt
- salad greens*
- sharp cheddar