One of the things we strive for when planning our menus is making everything fit together into one nice, neat little package. We look to use ingredients in different ways throughout the week so that we’re benefiting from the ability of do-aheads and being able to buy in bulk. We also benefit from a well-stocked pantry.
I’m in the midst of Scholastic book fair madness over at my kids’ school, and I apologize for being late. My menu, however, is filled with make-ahead meals for when – I don’t know – you’re going to be at school all morning and all afternoon and all night and want to leave something edible for your husband to feed the kids. In case you’re that sort of person, there are a few tips here for you. (I’m actually sitting in the midst of the book fair right this minute.)
This menu is tomato-heavy on purpose. It’s the end of the season, and it’s the perfect time to pick up a crate of tomatoes at the market as they liquidate their inventory.
Monday – Spaghetti and Meatballs with Homemade Tomato Sauce
Tuesday – Loaded Baked Potato Soup
Wednesday – Roasted Tomato Brie Tartlets with Almond Crust with grilled chicken
Thursday – Mediterranean Pasta
Friday – Chantrelle Mushroom and Kale Pizza
The Preparation Shortcuts:
1. Make the tomato sauce and meatballs ahead of time. When it’s time to start dinner, just pop them in the oven or in a pot on the stove. All you have to do is boil the water to cook the pasta and wait for the rest to heat up.
2. This baked potato soup can be made ahead and frozen or refrigerated. It’s heat and eat, and that helps. (Crickets)
3. Chicken on Wednesday can be added to Friday’s meal, and if you have a husband like mine, you’ll also be putting it on the pizza.
4. Again, pizza is a great catchall. I like to plan a few to make special, but then a garbage pizza with all the week’s leftovers is a fantastic way to use up those scraps and small pieces of meat that didn’t make it into lunches.
The Shopping List:
1 whole chicken
1 small precooked ham
1 bunch fresh basil
1 bunch fresh thyme
4-6 ounces chantrelle mushrooms
2 pints cherry tomatoes
6 1/2 lbs paste tomatoes
4 stalks celery
2 red bell peppers
2 poblano peppers
1 cup sour cream
1 mozzarella ball
6 ounces crumbled feta
1/4 cup heavy cream
8 ounces cheddar cheese
14-ounce can quartered artichoke hearts
8-10 pita bread folds
crushed red pepper
salt and pepper
Last week from Food for My Family:
Check out our compost pile (video)
Harry Potter Pumpkin Pasties
Harry Potter Party: Halloween Time
Spice Pumpkin Cake from Duncan Hines
Poor Man’s Mocha
Boss’s Day: Magnolia Bakery Delivers