School is starting up, and that means it's time to scramble together a weeknight meal plan.
Not only does a weekly meal plan help save time, it helps save money as well. It's much easier to create shopping lists when meals are planned out in advance and you have basic food needs "in stock."
Whether you plan weekly, bi-weekly or monthly is up to you and your family schedule.
Planning lets you get creative. Look for food holidays or events to wrap into your meal plan. Have a fiesta on Cinco de Mayo, or keep it simple with a weekly "Taco Nights." We have "Pizza Night" every Friday. This works great for a fun meal all of us enjoy. I make the pizza crust while we wind-down, and then I let the kids top their own small pizza.
"Slow Cooker Night"
If you know you are going to have a busy day with no time to prep, throw ingredients into a Crock-Pot before you head to work. By the afternoon, you've got a hearty meal ready to serve when everyone gets home. Ideas for slow cooker meals are endless.
One of my favorites is Pollo Verde Stew. It's spin-off of one of my fave recipes from SimplyRecipes, a site with a wealth of good food ideas.
Pollo Verde Stew:
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs
3 cans of tomatillo salsa verde
2 medium sweet yellow onions chopped & sautéed
6 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped & sautéed
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped & split
2 tbs. cumin
2 cups water
Salt and black pepper to taste
Shredded cheese, fresh chopped tomatoes and sour cream for topping
Large slow cooker
Place first seven ingredients – but only half the cilantro – into a slower cooker, cover and turn on low. Cook for 6-8 hours. If the liquid cooks down and too much and the dish starts to look dry, add a bit more liquid.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with toppings over tortilla chips, as tacos with fresh corn tortillas or over rice. I also love it over quinoa, a wonderful grain rich in nutrients.
Twinkle VanWinkle was born in a small town in Mississippi. A life-long lover of music, media and food, she grew up following those three things along her path. She has almost 20 years of professional cooking under her apron strings, feeding thousands of friends, family and other folks while working in restaurants and bakeries in Oxford, Miss. She baked 300 apple pies for the "Oprah Winfrey Show" and appeared on "The Best Of..." in the same year. Along with producing dynamic entertainment content for LIN Media, she is a mother, musician and social media fanatic.
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