Okay, this week has been a HUGE test. I prepped for about 1.5 hours last Sunday and I was testing to see if it was worth my time/effort. My goal is to create easy, healthy meals for busy weeknights. Everything is budget friendly AND dinner can hit the table in less than 30 minutes. I also want to have better lunches ready for Ricky and I, so I tried mason jar salads, leftovers and soup.
Verdict: It was a LIFESAVER.
So, here’s my plan. I’ll share six meal ideas for the week, plus a few lunch suggestions AND a shopping list. We’re going to try this for a month. EVERY bit of feedback would be great. Please comment on what you like, dislike and what I can change! Obviously you can swap out any meals your family might not like, but everything is quite kid friendly! I do my shopping and prep on Sunday, but I’ll try to post this by Saturday afternoon so you have as much time as possible to prep.
On the menu:
More details below for each meal–some have links for recipes. All ingredients will be included on the shopping list! If you already have the item on hand, woohoo! I generally use the same types of ingredients and nothing too crazy, so one grocery stop is possible! I tend to do Aldi first, then pop over to Meijer for any additional items not found.
- Slow-cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup + sandwich/wrap
- Prosciutto wrapped pork tenderloin, baby potatoes and green beans
- Taco Night: Turkey Tacos with Mexican Rice, beans
- Salmon + Veggie Medley, brown rice
- Chicken + Broccoli with Potstickers
- #PizzaFriday: Bacon + Leek was on our menu, but do what you want!
- Lunch: Mason Jar Asian Salad
- Each week I’ll share a new salad idea, plus suggestions for leftovers from meals!
- Shred rotisserie chicken and store in container.
- You’ll use this for the tortilla soup and mason jar salads.
- Make Slow-Cooker Tortilla Soup
- Hard boil 8 eggs for mason jar salads and quick breakfast options (optional)
- QUICK TIP: add 1 tablespoon of baking soda to make them easier to peel
- After eggs are done, rinse out pan for brown rice. Cook 2 cups of brown rice with 4 cups of water + chicken bouillon.
- Mason jar salad time! I set up a station and once you’ve chopped, it’s quick and easy. See recipe below for Asian salad.
- Wash lettuce.
- Shred 2 carrots and half a head of cabbage
- Chop: one red pepper, peapods, cucumber and any other salad fixings you like.
- Make pantry salsa in a chopper.
- In the morning, quickly mix up the marinade and pour over pork tenderloin in a zippy bag.
- Preheat oven to 425. Wrap the marinaded pork in prosciutto. If you can’t find it, bacon is a perfect sub! We get ours at Aldi.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, until cooked through.
- Boil potatoes in water for 20 minutes, steam green beans.
Chicken & Broccoli with Brown Rice & Pot-Stickers!
If you follow me on IG, I tend to post about this recipe quite a bit. It is SO tasty and whips up super quickly. Leftovers are perfect for a lunch or two!
For the full recipe, check it out here on Gimme Some Oven. We serve it up with brown rice and store bought chicken pot stickers–so much healthier than take-out.
Salmon w/ Brown Rice & Quick Veggie Medley
Depending on the week, we get either fresh or frozen salmon. We’ve been super impressed with the pre-packed frozen kind from Meijer. In the morning, take the salmon out of the freezer to thaw in the fridge. Leftover salmon is great for lunch on a salad OR with extra brown rice.
To make the veggie medley, chop a zucchini, carrot and green pepper in large matchstick shapes. After the salmon is cooked in the pan, add EVOO and quickly sautee the veggies, seasoning at the end with lemon pepper.
Serve with brown rice! We occasionally will add a side of cottage cheese with fruit too, if we’re super hungry.
Lunch: Asian Mason Jar Salad
Jumping on the mason jar salad bandwagon! I was SURE they would be soggy by the end of the week, but I had 5 amazing salads this week. This one I could seriously eat every day, though! I enjoy the almonds for a crunch AND they’re so healthy! Cases of the quart sized mason jars are under $10 for 12!!
The key to the mason jar salads is you put the dressing at the bottom with things you want to marinade and NOT get soggy. I put chicken, almonds and cabbage at the bottom of mine. The cabbage also acts as a barrier, so the dressing won’t seep even if it get’s knocked over in your car/bag on the way to work.
Ingredients listed in order of layering, starting at the bottom. This is for ONE jar. Set up a station and make 5-6 at once on your prep day.
- 1/2 cup shredded chicken
- 1/4 cup chopped almonds
- 2-3 tablespoons Asian Sesame dressing
- AT THIS POINT: take a fork and mix everything in the dressing
- 1/2 cup cabbage, pressed down
- 1/4 cup layers of: red pepper, green onions, cucumber, shredded carrot, top with shredded romaine lettuce, push down to pack it in.
- Add lid and store in fridge!
- When serving: I top with Salad Toppers Asian mix and occasionally a bit of extra dressing
Turkey Taco Night w/ Mexican Rice
You can make the rice on Sunday, or on taco night! While I love brown rice, I use white for Mexican. It has a better texture, in my opinion! The pollo y tomate cubes are found right by the stock–they’re less than $1!
For our taco nights, we make up turkey tacos, refried beans and serve with rice. Salsa and guac are also served on the side with baked chips. For lunches, leftover meat can be used for a taco salad. If putting in a mason jar, add salsa with the meat at the bottom, top with the rice and layer beans, cheese and lettuce at the top. YUM!
- 1 cup white rice
- 1 cube pollo y tomate
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 1/2 jalapeno
- 1 handful cilantro
- 1 onion, sliced
- 1 jar tomato sauce (8 oz)
- 2 cups water