This month, you can look forward to meal plans from Marta Rivera. Marta is a trained chef, mom of twins, and Army wife – and she is also one of our Simply Recipes recipe testers!
November is in full effect! Also in full effect are the numerous commitments that literally drive us away from our kitchens and the comfort of great home-cooked meals.
Setting the stage for creating wholesome dinners for my family is very important to me. The ability to plan out my meals, prep the ingredients, and cook them quickly means I don’t have to feel guilty when outside activities fill up our schedules.
I also save prep time for future meals by creating menus that use ingredients more than once. For instance, this week, you’ll find peas in two different dinners. (Also exciting to a chef like me is finding these dual-use items on sale!)
I like to make sure my Monday meal is quick, fast, and meatless to save a bit of money. For meals later in the week, I check the grocery stores sales flyers to see which cuts of meat will be on sale. When you're doing your own shopping, look for sale ingredients that are versatile such as chicken or ground beef, and substitute them in your recipes to give you some variety.
Meal Plan for November Week 1
1 Turmeric Cauliflower Curry: My Meatless Monday meal is substantial and filling for our busiest day. I usually serve this Turmeric Cauliflower Curry with naan, but this week I’m switching it out for pita bread. I’m adding a salad, which I'll double up so I have some leftover for tomorrow’s meal.
This 30-minute meal is a life-saver on those days where your schedule can be overwhelming. For me, Mondays are totally those days.
2 Swedish Meatballs: Whenever I make meatballs of any kind, I double the recipe and freeze half for later. Freezer-meals are the unsung heroes of my kitchen -- I’ve literally danced in front of my freezer after realizing I had a batch of meatballs already prepped and ready to cook. (I’m a simple girl, really.)
These Swedish Meatballs are such a huge hit in my home. Adding the leftover salad from last night’s meal and a side of Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes means dinner is done in a flash.
3 Weeknight Chicken Biryani: The first time I made this Weeknight Chicken Biryani, my son walked in on me trying to hide while eating it. I explained that it was a recipe I was testing, but the bowl-sized “sample” gave me away.
Since this recipe is ready in under an hour, it’s the perfect way to shake up the mid-week meal. the exotic flavors of spices and golden raisins are perfectly paired with naan bread and Cucumber Mint Raita. Leftovers are great for the next day’s lunch (which is another we save money around here).
4 Shrimp and Artichoke Pasta: It’s usually later in the week that I begin craving lighter fare for our dinners. This Shrimp and Artichoke Pasta is filling, but not too heavy. I usually pair it with this Easiest Ever Garlic Bread for a quick meal to bring the week to a close.
5 Slow Cooker Taco Soup: Fridays are party days! Well, not really, because I got kids and all. But we do try to plan a fun family activity to celebrate making it to the weekend. This Slow Cooker Taco Soup served with tortilla chips, guacamole, and sour cream is perfect for grazing, which is what we tend to do on chill nights. Adding these S’mores Cookies will complete the busy week perfectly!
What about you? What’s your favorite way to save money on weeknight meals?