Meal Planning: Easy Meals for Busy Nights

Although I am the quintessential food snob fairly particular about my food, my home has become fuller and busier over the years, and thus, my cooking habits have had to change. I no longer have hours to spend leisurely crafting a gourmet meal. That is for another season of my life. Although I love to cook (and eat), I find that I have to make the most of every minute in the kitchen. So, my recipe repertoire has drifted toward easier, quicker fix meals, or abbreviated versions of favorite meals of the past.

Last week I cooked like a crazy woman, filling my freezer with the makings of 30+ meals in a practice known as “freezer cooking” or “once-a-month cooking.” But, notice that I said, makings. Not all my meals are “heat and serve,” but they are close. Instead, they are meals with easy prep, based on homemade convenience items.

  • Precooked meatballs are added to crushed tomatoes, green olives, and seasonings for a quicker version of Boules de Picolat.
  • Shredded beef and pan gravy are combined with a quick seasoning of dill, salt, and pepper and served over mashed potatoes, creating a filling, stick-to-yer-ribs kind of dinner.
  • Cooked pintos join forces with 25-minute Mexican Rice and some yummy toppings, resulting in a Duded Up Beans and Rice.
  • Sliced and marinated chicken is sauteed quickly with fresh veggies and served over rice for a speedy stirfy.

Good homecooked meals are not hard to come by. It just takes a little advance planning and forethought. You don’t have to do a big cooking day to make this happen — though it helps. All these meals are pretty easy on their own.

Weekly Meal Plan
Turkey Enchilada Casserole, Beans, Rice, Salad
Boules de Picolat, Boiled Potatoes, Green Beans, Baguette and Cheese
Shredded Beef, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Steamed Carrots, Biscuits
Turkey Pot Pie, Green Salad
Beans and Rice with Toppings
Pizza and Salad
Chicken Stirfry

What’s a quick cut that you take toward easy meals? I’d love to know what to add to my bag of tricks.

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  1. I experimented this month with chicken last week. Cooked 10 lbs of chicken quarters in my crock pots and then shredded it and put equal amounts among 7 quart bags. I'm planning to use this shredded chicken through the month in Chicken and Dumplings, Chicken & Rice casserole, Chinese Chicken Fried Rice, Chicken & rice Soup, Chicken Noodle Soup, Chicken Cordon Bleu casserole and to top our pizzas. We'll see how it turns out. Should make for quicker cooking meals.

  2. I actually prefer to prep ingredients ahead rather than make a whole meal to freeze. It really does make life easier when the ground beef is already browned and the vegetables are already diced, LOL!

  3. Money Funk says:

    Oh, the Boules de Picolat sounds really good and something my family would probably like. Thanks for the new idea to me. 😉

  4. Rona's Home Page says:

    Your menu look delicious.

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