My family’s Menus The Week Starting April 22nd

#MomsDinnerHacks #MomsSavingTime #LessDishesForMommy #KidFriendlyFood

I’ve asked friends, Mom’s at work and even moms at the playground…right now it’s an even split between ‘loved it’ and ‘so happy it’s over’.

How about you?  Did you enjoy the recent holiday? I’m so curious about this… my newest survey is all about holidays and stress… please take it if you’re inclined to weigh in.  Stay tuned for the results…in about 2 weeks.

I was (still) recovering from all of the extra baking and holiday activity last week and craved quick, simple everything.  A little bit of spring is making it’s way into the mix…a sugar snap pea here, a roasted beet there… more spring food soon as the weather improves!

A quick reminder about the rules of saving time with the dinner blueprint system:

  • Make bigger meals (that serve your family at least 2 times on the weekends)
  • Creatively ‘dress up’ leftovers so they don’t feel like leftovers
  • Weeknights, make quick dishes that cook in 30 minutes or less
  • Use as few dishes as possible (always)
  • One cutting board, one knife — limit heavy duty chopping projects during the week
  • Weeknights, use ideally one, at the very most two, pots or pans

I start my menu’s on Saturdays because a) I have more time to cook then and b) it buys me an extra day to visit the grocery store.

Saturday, I defaulted to the comfort roast-chicken meal.  This is something I do regularly, usually twice a month – because my husband loves it, my kids love it and the leftovers are plentiful and flexible.  I also like to keep chicken stock in the freezer at all times and it’s a bonus factor to roasting a chicken!

Yummy roast chicken
Delicious roast chicken – awesome weekend comfort food that will serve your family at least 2 times (depending on appetites & size of your chicken).

I roasted the beets right along with the chicken – more than we needed — to have extra beets for other meals during the week. We still had a little bit of yellow rice left over from the end of the week and I gave that to the kids (since my husband and I are happy to have chicken over a simple salad).

Saturday (2X feed your family twice meal):

Arugula, Snap Pea & Beet Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Sunday sauce is something I discovered many years ago in a cookbook. I love the concept – big, hearty ‘stew’ like tomato-based sauce that freezes well and can turn into a variety of leftover meals.  I’ve modified my approach for the slow cooker in recent years — it’s pretty easy and this time I experimented with short-ribs (instead of the usual flank steak).

So good Sunday sauce – mostly cooks by itself in slow cooker magic land. Make a huge batch & serve leftovers during the week or freeze.

Sunday (2 – 3X, feed your family two or three times meal):

  • Slow cooker Sunday sauce – with short ribs, Italian sausage & country style ribs
  • Paparadelle pasta
  • Steamed zucchini & eggplant (you’ll see I steam just about everything because I have a steamer basket and want to avoid using another pan. These veggies steam well quickly – a few minutes, braise in sauce well or even can be roasted in the oven for a short while easily).
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Steaming Zucchini & Eggplant Right Over the Cooking Pasta – Saves An Extra Pan!

By Monday, back to to the chicken.  So good… so simple and on Monday’s I’m always looking for something to quickly ‘assemble’ whenever possible. Grain bowls are fun for my husband and I, there’s a lot you can do to vary everything — the grain, the seasonings, the proteins… the addition of hot sauce…possibilities abound!  I use the same components of the meal for the kids, just deconstructed and served a la carte.

Monday – (1X feed your family once meal):

It’s back!  The Sunday sauce rides again… I did Pappardelle with it again because as I shared, I was still ‘coming down’ from the intense amount of baking and cooking that took place the weekend before.  The kids were delighted to have pasta twice in one week (not the norm) and it’s just super-awesome with the Sunday sauce.

Tuesday – (1X feed your family once meal):

img_6644
Pappardelle, Steamed Zucchini, Eggplant & Cut Pork from Sunday Sauce for the Kids
  • Sunday sauce take 2 (I actually also had enough for a third serving and put that in the freezer for a weeknight when things are crazy).
  • Paparadelle pasta
  • Beet, cucumber, grape tomato, carrot and spinach salad with balsamic vinaigrette for the grown ups
  • Same veggies as above, served a la carte for the kids – beets, cucumber, carrots & grape tomatoes
Spinach, Beet, Grape Tomato & Carrot Salads with Balsamic Vinaigrette

You’re going to see this dish turn up almost weekly — it’s very easy and i can change a lot of the components to make it ‘taste’ different. I knew I’d be traveling for work the following night so I made a ‘double batch’.

Brazilian-Style Chicken & Rice (Weekly Staple)

Wednesday – (2 – 3 X, feed your family two or three times meal)

  • Doubled Brazilian chicken & rice
  • Beets again over spinach, with carrots and cucumbers for the adult salads
  • Carrots, cucumbers and beets (for the beet eating kiddos out there)

Thursday night – (1X feed your family once meal)

I was traveling, the kids & spouse ate Brazilian Chicken & Rice redux.

Friday, the hubby had a work commitment, so I made a ‘use up the leftovers meal’ for the kids and I.  By making ‘3X Brazilian Chicken’ on Wednesday I still had plenty of rice (although the leftover chicken mysteriously disappeared in the night….)

Friday night – (1X feed your family once meal)

  • Leftover yellow rice (hubby ate all of the Brazilian chicken) dressed up with chia seeds — easy way to make the kids happy with leftovers
  • Sautéed mushrooms & onions to make it interesting (again) for Mommy.

Enjoy!  If you try one of the meals or the menu, leave a comment I’d love to hear about how it went or if you have questions.

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