Easy Weekly Menu Plans for Singles
Nutritious Make-Ahead Meals
Planning a weekly menu and shopping and cooking from it is a great idea. It saves you time and money and will lead you to less 'take out' meals, so better nutrition. Someone mentioned this is too much turkey for one week - and they're probably right (I just love it). But at the bottom of the article are ideas for other make-ahead meals, so you could mix them up a bit.
To save time, money and the planet, freeze your extra meals in Pyrex glass containers. This way you can thaw and reheat your meal in either the oven or the microwave. Glass is safer than plastic and won't melt when that left-over spaghetti sauce gets too hot.
Here are some that work for me (well there are two of us, but I think they apply)
*additional info added 7/22/08: Purchase a hand blender. I recently bought a Cuisinart cordless 200 watt hand blender and it's fantastic for making nutritions smoothies and dips! I throw some Avacado, onion, parsley, garlic, salt/pepper to taste - I also added some swiss chard leaves and chives in one batch. Within less than a minute you have a healthy, delicious veggie dip!
Fruit smoothies are excellent snacks or make a great breakfast. Add 1/2 cup milk (I use soy), 1 cup orange juice, i banana, 3-5 strawberries (or 1/2 cup blueberries) and 2 ice cubes and create a quick, easy and healthful breakfast. It takes only a few minutes to make. I also add 'Alive' protien-nutrition mix. Also, whole frozen fruits can be used instead of ice cubes.
A hand blender is easier to clean, takes up less space and easier to use than a traditional blender. Make sure to get one powerful enough to go through ice cubes and frozen fruits.
TURKEY 101 - if a whole week of turkey is too turkifying for you, freeze some of the cooked turkey to use later on. Here are suggestions for the leftovers.
1 Boneless turkey breast - cranberry sauce - stuffing mix
On Sunday make a 'Thanksgiving dinner' with the turkey breast and cranberry sauce and stuffing (also green bean casserole if you like)
Monday - leftovers
Turkey Sandwich: Whole grain bread, slices of turkey, cranberry sauce (the jellied works best for sandwiches) and lettuce.
Turkey Salad: 1 cup cubed turkey breast, 1/2 cup chopped celery, 1/2 cup chopped apple, a handful of seedless grapes, a 1/4 cup of nuts (walnuts, almond, pecans, sunflower seed - whatever you like best) , 2 Tbs. Salad Dressing (I use Miracle Whip). Toss together. This is two servings so you can have it for 2 meals. Serve on lettuce leaves.
Turkey and Rice casserole: 1 cup chopped turkey, 2 cups prepared rice (brown rice is much healthier) , 1/2 cup frozen peas, several dashes of parsley, 1 small can of gravy or cream soup. Cook the rice in chicken broth if you have it. Once it is cooked, stir in the canned soup or gravy (or you don't have to use either for a lighter dish), stir the frozen peas into the mix and simmer just a few minutes and cover and let sit for about ten minutes - this way the frozen peas will be hot and cooked, but still firm and 'fresh tasting'.
Turkey soup. One can or carton of either chicken or vegetable broth, 1/2 cup chopped celery, 2 tsp of dried chopped onion or 1/2 cup fresh onion sauteed in a bit of olive oil;, 2 cups of chopped turkey (or whatever you have left), the rest of the frozen peas, 2 finely chopped carrots, (so they'll cook quickly), salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until the celery and carrots are tender but not mushy. For extra nutrition, add 1/2 cup Quinoa at the end and simmer for another 15 minuts and let sit for 20 minutes. Brow rice is also another great way to stretch the soup and make it more hearty.
Turkey Roll-ups: Flat bread, 1/2 chopped onion and sweet peppers, avacado slices, tomato slices. Place ingredients on Flat Bread and fold two sides in and then fold in the remaining 2 sides to form a pocket. Chopped apple and/or celelry are delicious in the turkey roll ups as well!
For desserts: buy some fresh berries (strawberries, blueberries hold up best), 1 ripe nectarine, 1 cup fresh or canned pineapple, 1 kiwi. Mix 2 cups of berries, 1 pitted nectarine chopped in chunks, 1 cup pineapple chopped or cubed, 1 kiwi pealed and sliced or cubed. Mix this all together and sprinkle with a tbs of sugar if you wish. You can also squeeze a little lemon or lime juice over the mixture. Stir together and store in a tightly sealed container - this should keep about a week. Serve over pieces of cake (make a Jiffy Mix yellow cake - it only makes one round layer) and top with whipped topping, or sprinkle the fruit over cooked oatmeal, Quinoa or cold cereal for breakfast.
2 meals Turkey dinner
1 turkey sandwich
2 meals Turkey & Fruit salad
2 meals Turkey casserole
2 ,meals Turkey soup.
This should get you through the week with several dinners and lunches all from one turkey roast.
Oven 'fried' fish.2 - 3 pieces (4oz) Orange Roughy. Place a glass baking dish with 1-2 TBS of coconut oil (adds a wonderful flavor, but you can use any veg oil) into an oven and heat at 400F. Meanwhile mix 1 cup breadcrumbs, dried parsley, a dash of salt, black pepper and a pinch of cayenne pepper together on a plate. Roll the fish portions in bread crumb mixture until coated on all sides. Carefully place the fish in the hot baking dish. Turn the heat down to 350F and bake about 20 minutes, or until the fish flakes with a fork. The fish will have that crispy coating without all the fat. Coconut oil that is organic and properly processed is good for you and adds a wonderful flavor to fish and chicken (and yes, turkey). This will make 3 meals when served with cole slaw (I cheat and buy from the deli) and fresh veggies (asparagus goes great with this) and a slice of whole grain bread or a roll.
Make ahead salad: Buy organic or locally-grown veggies when possible. Chop a sweet bell pepper, 1/2 a red (purple) onion, 1 small pickling cucumber and mix together. Add juice from 1 /2 a lemon, and 1 tbs of olive oil. Store in an air-tight container (glass is best). During the week place some fresh spinach or lettuce in a bowl, add 'marinated' veggie mixture, and some chopped fresh tomato. It's best to store tomatos at room temp. If they get colder than 55 degrees F, they lose their flavor. This way you do most of your veg cleaning and chopping ahead of time and can quickly put together a fresh salad.
I also make meatloaves three at a time and freeze 2. You can get two dinners and several sandwiches from one meatloaf. I use some ground beef, but also ground turkey or chicken so I eat less red meat. You can also add TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein) - a soy product that will add nutrtion and cut the fat of regular meat-meatloaf. TVP tends to take on the color of whatever is in the meatloaf - once it turned pink from the catsup and looked like 'raw meat' so I now soak it in a little Worsteshire sauce or soy sause to give it a 'brown' or cooked-meat color.
Make a pan of Lasagna and freeze single servings.
Make a crock pot of chili, bean soup or split pea soup and freeze individual servings.
The less you have to shop, cook and clean up the happier you'll be and the less you'll have to worry about 'what's for dinner or lunch?" Having healthy, home-cooked meals prepared really helps on those long days when you come home exhausted and are tempted to just order a pizza!
Invite a friend or two over and make up your meals together and it will be more fun and seem less of a chore.
A good-quality food processor is a wonderful tool for cooking, especially in large beatches. You can chop all the veggies for soup or grate a pound of cheese in seconds
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