#MomsDinnerHacks #MomsSavingTime #KidFriendlyFood
I shared my ‘weekly dinner blueprint’, explaining the ‘daily dinner hack’ I’ve used for over a year to save at least one or two hours of time each week cooking family dinners and I’ve received several requests for more sample menus and recipes.
I’m delighted to share more, because after all, food is my favorite hobby!
The menu below is what I’ve been cooking this week. Once you learn the basics of the plan—what to keep in your pantry and freezer, what sized meals to make on the weekend vs. weeknights, you’ll find it surprisingly easy to ‘cook this way’ instinctively. I’ve documented my steps, but now I rarely cook with recipes, unless I’m experimenting with something new.
Most of the recipes are my personal recipes, however, there are a couple of dishes where I’ve linked to excellent recipes online from sources I trust that mirror the cooking processes I follow.
I like to ‘start’ the week of meals on a Saturday when I have more time to cook a ‘2X – feed my family twice’ meal and also grocery shop if I haven’t had time during the week (which happens often).
What we’re eating for dinner this week:
- Saturday (2X ‘feeds your family twice’ meal)
- Sunday (Another 2 X ‘feeds your family twice’ meal)
- Monday (Saturday meal part 2 – leftover roasted chicken + bonus use for some of the chicken stock, if you made some from Saturday’s roast chicken).
- Sweet potato & corn soup (with bone broth from the chicken you roasted Saturday if you’ve made it…no judgment if you haven’t). Served as soup for the grown-ups, the veggies are skimmed using a slotted spoon and presented ‘on the side’ for the kids/non-soup eaters in your home).
- Roast chicken pieces – warmed in the soup for a few minutes (easy, no extra dish needed), skimmed from the soup with a slotted spoon, cut into chunks and served ‘on the side’ for the kids. Serve chicken in the soup for the grown ups or over a simple salad (spinach leaves, tossed with a balsamic vinaigrette and capers).
- Tuesday – (Sunday meal, take 2)
- Lasagna redux
- Cut grape tomatoes, cucumbers (I’m in love with the little organic Persian cucumbers at Trader Joe’s right now) and carrots served ‘on the side’ for the kids (serve the same veggies over baby spinach leaves w/balsamic vinaigrette & a few pitted Kalamata olives thrown on top for the grown-ups)
- Wednesday – Quick 1X meal (serves your family one time)
- If there’s still more chicken from Saturday, use the remaining leftover chicken for burritos for grown-ups & serve cheese/hummus quesadillas + chicken & veg on the side for the kids. If you are new to burrito making, I found a nice step-by-step picture guide on how to wrap the burrito on The Kitchn, a recipe site I like.
- If there’s no more chicken, use sautéed ground turkey to stuff the burritos (warm olive oil or coconut oil in a wide saucepan over medium high heat, add ground turkey and season with cumin, a dash of paprika, turmeric, a little orange juice, salt, pepper, garlic. Stir until it’s cooked all of the way through, about 8 – 12 minutes.)
- Thursday – Quick 1X meal (serves your family one time)
- Pork tenderloin over cous cous, with sautéed-frozen corn & frozen peas on the side (dressed up with a handful of baby spinach leaves, and rinsed grape tomatoes — drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil & salt/pepper to taste at the last minute).
- Over cous cous (use the package instructions for cooking time – typically about 9 – 10 minutes for Israeli style, which is what I like to use the most – quick cooking, i.e. ‘instant’ cous cous takes even less time.
- To make the water a bit more flavorful without wasting precious chicken broth from your freezer, I like to add one whole garlic clove (peeled but not smashed) into the water, a generous shake of cumin, turmeric & kosher salt, 1 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil – sometimes I float one whole chili pepper in there – shhhhh, please don’t tell anyone — the kids don’t think it’s too spicy, but if they knew I put a hot pepper in there, suddenly it’d be ‘too spicy’… but I digress…
- Friday – (1X weeknight quick meal – feeds your family once.)
- Roasted whole fish – stuffed with rosemary, lemon slices & scallions. This Food52 recipe (one of my favorite food sites) is cooked over potatoes and is very close to my preparation
- Notes on the fish: I check the fish for ‘doneness’ at around 20 minutes if they’re small. My suggested modifications to this Food52 recipe: also insert lemon slices & scallions (spring onion) into the cavity of the fish. Sometimes I’ll adapt to a more Asian flavor, if you’d like to try that just omit the rosemary & use ginger slices instead and substitute soy sauce for the salt to coat the fish.
- Wheat bread toasted and spread with hummus for the kids.
- Sautéed peas & zucchini (frozen peas, sautéed in a little olive oil with thinly sliced rounds of zucchini, salt & pepper to taste) + raw cut carrots for the kids.
I’d love your thoughts. Do you typically cook with recipes or from memory? Again, the goal here is to make home made, healthy meals you feel happy about while also streamlining the amount of time you spend preparing, shopping, cooking and cleaning up the aftermath.
If you try anything from this menu, please let me know in the comments how it worked out for you or if you have any questions.
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