Menu Plan Monday ~ Week of March 22
Spring Break is over and spring is in the air here in Texas. We’re prepping for the final sprint to summer and even though it seems like 10 weeks is a long ways away, I know June will be here before we know it. Over the last few weeks I’ve completely decimated my freezer stash so now it’s time to restock. This week’s menu includes four recipes that I can make in big batches to replenish the freezer. I’ll do the same next week and we’ll be nicely squared away for the rest of spring. This week I’m making three different kinds of freezer-friendly dishes:
- Casseroles that only need to be thawed and heated. These are perfect for nights when I’m home later or not home at all because the family doesn’t need me to put a pan in the oven and set a timer. Throw in a quick back of steamed veggies and dinner is done.
- Meats that I freeze in their marinades so they are ready to toss on the grill or in the oven after they thaw. Storing the meat in the marinade helps protect it from freezer burn and it absorbs the flavor from the marinade as it thaws on the counter.
- Meatballs that have 101 uses in the kitchen. From pizza toppers to sandwich filling to appetizers on a skewer, meatballs are a versatile freezer friend that I like to keep on hand. While I prefer to make my own because I know exactly what’s in them, and can take advantage of grocery store sales on ground meat of all kinds, I have been known to buy a bag or two at SAMs club when I don’t have time to make them myself.
What I like best about making extras of my freezer-friendly main dishes is that it takes hardly any extra effort at all. While I do have to use large containers and take the time to properly freeze and label the food, it still takes less time to make four batches of any recipe at once than it would be total time to make those same four batches four different times. With all of that said, this week’s menu is shaping up nicely.
- Monday: Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic Vinegar with long grain and wild rice and steamed broccoli
I love “the other white meat” because it gives us a break from chicken but is still very healthy. I’ll make 2 extra tenderloins and freeze them in their marinade.
Tuesday: Greek Pasta with Bison with cucumber and tomato salad
As I’ve mentioned before, I buy bison when I can instead of hamburger because it’s healthier all around. This pasta casserole will reheat nicely and is a fun twist on the traditional ground beef and pasta dinner. I’ll make two extra casseroles for my freezer stash.
- Wednesday: Pineapple Chicken Tenders with lo mein noodles and grilled vegetables
Who doesn’t love food in a stick? My family certainly does. I’ll make four batches of this recipe, freeze two, and cook two. I’ll use the leftover cooked chicken in a fried rice on Saturday night.
- Thursday: Mexican Style Meatballs with cilantro rice and black beans
Meatballs in a Mexican-inspired sauce over rice are fun and unexpected. I’ll make four batches of the meatballs without the sauce, freeze two, and cook two. I’ll use the extra cooked but un-sauced meatballs in meatball sandwiches on Sunday night.
- Friday: Make your own pizza night
I was inspired by last week’s Life as Mom Frugal Friday post to have a pizza night this week. This is a fun family activity for a Friday night because everyone gets in on the fun making their own pizza. If the weather is good we’ll probably grill our pizzas and eat them al fresco on the porch.
- Saturday: Chicken fried rice
Wednesdays chicken becomes quick fried rice with leftover rice from Thursday, a can of pineapple tidbits, and a bag of frozen peas and carrots. Add a few dashes of soy sauce and dinner is done.
- Sunday: Meatball sandwiches with a tossed green salad
To bring the Italian restaurant home, I reheat the meatballs I made on Thursday night in some jarred pasta sauce. I line sub sandwich rolls with fresh mozzarella, spoon on the meatballs, and run the whole thing under the broiler for 5 minutes or until the rolls are heated through. A nice salad plus a nice glass of wine for the grownups rounds out dinner nicely.
Entry filed under: Menu Plan Monday.