Make Meals for the Entire Week
Coming up with meals everyday can be mentally taxing for parents. Out this tip as a times saver – cook up a bunch of food and then spread it throughout the week.
1. Buy a large packet of chicken breast or chicken thighs, usually there’s 12-14 breasts/thighs, you can also use tofu/paneer as well. If you family is larger than a family of 4, get two packets. Also buy taco size tortillas, flatbread/naans and a box of pasta if these are not pantry staples.
2. Divide out the chicken evenly with the number of family members you have and place the chicken portion in a separate sealable gallon size bag. For example, if you have 12 chicken breasts in the packet and you are a family 4, that means 4 pieces of chicken go in 3 separate sealable gallon bags.
3. Pick out 3 different flavor profiles such as Mexican, Indian, Italian. If you have some marinades that are staples, feel free to use those. Personally, I use Taco Seasoning, Tandoori Masala and an Italian Seasoning in my rotation. In each sealable bag, drizzle a good glug of Olive Oil or even Avocado Oil, sprinkle on your seasoning of choice. I usually do a little extra since the recommended amount isn’t enough of a flavor punch. Here’s my tips to enhance each flavor profile:
a. Mexican, in addition to Taco Seasoning, I add a fresh squeeze of lime, extra black pepper, a dash of ground cumin, a sprinkle of smoked paprika.
b. Indian, in addition to Tandoori Masala, I add a few tablespoons of yogurt, a fresh squeeze of lemon juice, freshly minced ginger and garlic. c. Italian, in addition to Italian Seasoning, I add freshly minced garlic, grated Parmesan, freshly cracked black pepper and if your family likes it spicy, a little sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes. If you order pizza and get those small packets of Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes, this is a great time to use them up.
4. Once all the chicken is marinated, place chicken in the fridge any where from 2-4 hours or even overnight.
5. As chicken marinates, cook up the pasta per directions on the package, rice and warm up the black beans through.
6. Cook up all the marinated chicken with the following:
a. Mexican Chicken – chopped yellow onions and chopped bell peppers
b. Indian Chicken – chopped red onions
c. Italian Chicken – chopped broccoli
7. Here’s what your meals look like for the week:
a. (Monday): Mexican Fiesta Night – chop up the chicken with the Mexican flavor profile and use it as either tacos or use it for quesadillas. Serve with black beans and rice. Go low carb and throw the chopped chicken onto a bed of lettuce, or small mini sweet peppers/broccoli/zucchini for low carb nachos.
b. (Tuesday): Indian Pizza – chop up the chicken with the Indian flavor profile and use a small portion of the pasta sauce and spread it on the flatbread/naan, sprinkle on your favorite cheese (mozzarella would work), sprinkle on the tandoori chicken and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese melt. Garnish with fresh chopped herbs like cilantro/green onions or even red onions. Spice it up with a sprinkle of crushed red peppers.
c. (Wednesday): Italian Pasta Primo – chop up the chicken with the Italian flavor profile and broccoli and toss with the cooked pasta. Serve with a salad and dressing of your choice.
d. (Thursday): Fusion Night – if there’s any leftovers from the prior nights, here are some options:
i. Tandoori Chicken Quesadillas
ii. Mexican Pizza Night
iii. Fried Rice
e. (Friday): Enchiladas – use the de-boned rotisserie chicken that was kept in the freezer and warm it through with left over veggies like bell peppers and onions, create a mixture and use either corn or flour tortillas. Place a couple tablespoons of filling and roll the tortillas and place them in a baking dish. Cover the enchiladas with either the beans and sprinkle on a generous amount of cheese or if you have canned enchilada sauce, use that and top with cheese and bake until cheese is melted.
f. (Saturday): Leftover Day – there might be leftover Italian Pasta or if there’s any leftovers, use them up in a salad form, rice and chicken or even making a soup. This day should be used to clean out the fridge and start the process all over again with creating meal prep for the following week. For healthy alternative, use the zucchini in noodle form or even cut up the zucchini and any leftover chicken can be placed on top and baked in the oven with beans and cheese.
g. (Sunday): This day is saved for either ordering in, getting carry out, or making something fun and easy like breakfast items for dinner.