In Good and Cheap I share the tip “buy foods that can be used in multiple meals.” It’s an essential tool for making the most out of cooking at home. So I thought I’d expand on that idea today.
Here’s a very broad, weekly plan for making dinners, based on a few key ingredients and a bit of large batch cooking upfront. I’m not going to give exact quantities here because it depends on your appetite and the size of your family, but I hope this is helpful. I’m also not going to share lunch and breakfast plans either, because many people eat those meals away from home, but I’ve shared a few ideas for lunches and breakfast at the end for those wanting more.
Let’s call it Burrito week.
Make salsa. Since it’s winter you’ll probably want to use canned tomatoes, but you could use tomatillos or fruit or whatever suits you.
You’ll use these 3 things over and over again this week.
Dinner: serve the beans, vegetables and salsa in bowls with a fried egg on top.
Tear up some lettuce, mustard greens or even kale for a big salad. Make a simple vinaigrette or maybe add a little sour cream or salsa to the dressing. Add beans and roasted vegetables, maybe add a can of corn to the mix. Think this taco salad.
Roast a chicken (page 121 of Good and Cheap), grill some fish, or marinate and fry some tofu. Top with salsa and a squeeze of lemon or lime. (Obviously this depends on how many people you are cooking for, but you get the idea,)
Serve with some rainbow rice and beans.
Breakfast for dinner! Scramble some eggs with scallions and salsa (if you need directions you can follow the general method for Tomato Scrambled Eggs on page 15 of Good and Cheap) and serve with the roasted vegetables and toast.
You’re tired, it’s the end of the week. Just assemble the burritos again. Add a bit of avocado, extra vegetables or maybe some cheese if you have them.
Make Jambalaya from the random bits of leftover vegetables and throw in the leftover chicken or fish.
- simple bean and cheese burritos
- stuff some lettuce or kale leaves with rice and beans
- make black bean soup from onion, garlic, bell pepper, canned tomatoes and black beans
- leftovers for breakfast
Okay, I hope that was helpful. I know meal planning can be intimidating, but you just have to give it a try. You’ll discover it’s a habit like anything else. Once you have a few things you feel confident making and shopping for you can modify them slightly as the seasons change or as your taste dictates.