Do you need a busy mom meal plan? If getting dinner on the table is one of a bazillion things on your to-do list, then maybe. If you also draw a blank when you sit down to plan your meals for the week, then probably.
Shoo away #momguilt – no cereal for dinner tonight! And prove that “mom brain” never existed in the first place.
A savvy use of leftovers gives enough structure to provide you with ideas but allows for variety. It automatically includes batch cooking. And technically it covers three days so that half the week is taken care of with an optional structure for two more days.
To prep for the week, choose a cut of bone-in meat or fish, a vegetable, and a plain side. Here’s a peek at how we do leftovers along with some examples.
- Day 1: Cook meat or fish, make a salad featuring the vegetable and make the side. Double or triple what your family normally eats in one meal when making the meat and side recipes.
- Day 2: Use the bones to make broth, then use the broth as a base for your soup including the vegetable and the side. The bone broth can be made via stovetop, slow cooker, or pressure cooker.
- Day 3: Use the leftover meat to make a meal with already cooked meat and more of the vegetable. Examples include a curry, stir-fry, or hash.
Prime rib roast, carrots, and mashed potatoes
Slow roasted prime rib
Roasting meat may seem time-consuming and labor intensive. Especially if you haven’t done it before. But here’s a little secret: It’s one of the easiest ways to prepare meat. Rub on some salt and maybe spices, throw it in the oven and let it do its thing. Occasionally take a peek and baste with its juices. A prime rib roast is crispy on the outside, succulent on the inside, and full of flavor. Make sure to take into account the extra weight of the bones when choosing a cut, and calculate enough for three meals.
Classic mashed potatoes
Mashed potatoes – they are classic. What can be said about the smooth addictiveness of potatoes mixed with butter and salt? Make a good amount of mashed potatoes too, because this ordinary dish is going to get transformed in the next few days.
Shaved carrot salad
Carrots are in season all year round, making this a great salad for any time of year. You can peel the carrots to make ribbons or use a spiralizer for an even faster salad. With a touch of sweetness from dates, a nutty crunch, plus a dash of ginger and sesame, this ordinary vegetable is transformed into an exotic salad. While you are at it, peel extra carrots for tomorrow’s soup.
Carrot cardamom soup
What is cozier than a bowl of creamy thick soup? Using the broth made from the rib roast bones, throw in carrots to make a quick carrot soup. Ginger and cardamom add extra comfort, coconut milk makes it rich and satisfying, and just a tad of apple for a hint of tartness.
Smashed potato puffs
The potatoes are already cooked, so making these mashed potato ‘muffins’ consist of adding a few eggs, filling a muffin tin, and baking. Done! And who can argue with the crispy edge of baked mashed potatoes? If you like, you can cut up some leftover meat from the rib roast for added protein. While the potato puffs are baking, put together the carrot soup and supper is on the table in a jiffy.
Veggie-loaded shepherd’s pie
For the last dish, we’re going to mix the potatoes and meat in yet another way. Instead of using ground beef, cut up the meat from the roast, as many other shepherd’s pie recipes direct. This recipe suggests using what vegetables you have on hand. Because you have carrots, grate some of those in. The potato topping is already made, just spoon it on top of the meat mixture in a casserole dish (it will spread easier if you microwave it for a bit) and bake. Dinner’s ready!
Lamb chops, spinach, and cauliflower rice
Rosemary lamb chops
Lamb chops – so succulent, so tasty. The simple rosemary and garlic marinade increases the flavor and softens the meat for a meal you can’t wait to sink your teeth into. The recipe instructions are for grilling the chops, but if your grill is out for the cold season, you can cook them the same way on a skillet.
Cauliflower rice is made quickly with a food processor (or high-speed blender with water) and fried in a pan. You can serve it plain, if you like, or add in spices to flavor it, like extra garlic or curry spices.
Spinach mint salad with almonds
Lamb pairs perfectly with mint, making this a great salad to pair with the lamb chops. It’s a quick salad that doesn’t require you to chop three hundred cups of veggies. Just bright mint, crunchy almonds, and a simple lemon honey dressing. This week is when that huge bag of Costco baby spinach leaves will get used!
Using broth from the lamb bones will give this creamy spinach soup extra depth of flavor, even though the recipe calls for vegetable soup (it is on a vegetarian site, after all). You really can’t go wrong with whole milk, cream cheese, and shredded cheddar. The key to this bisque is warming up the cheese to its melting point.
Cauliflower, lamb, and spinach skillet
Ok, the actual recipe is a guideline for breakfast skillets, but this one-pot meal can be eaten any time of day. Throw in your already cooked cauliflower rice and chopped up lamb meat in a skillet with some fat, maybe add some garlic, pile on some spinach and stir until wilted. Ta-da! A new yummy meal made with already cooked elements – you know, leftovers.