5-Day Meal Plan by Linda
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Including "Dovetail Tips" for Big Time Savings!
This menu is dedicated to busy parents and picky kids, and to those who love fresh herbs. The "bonus recipe" is for those who don’t have a picky kid to try to please.
Time-Saving and prepare-ahead suggestions from Linda
Again, on Sunday, I start cooking for the week. When I have a night with the family, I don’t like to spend it in the kitchen. I’ll also mention short-cuts I may consider in order to save time. The main problem with using short-cuts in cooking is cost. The recipes I’ve chosen are pretty easy and quick.
Sunday, prepare and refrigerate (or freeze) Herbed Toast Fingers, while you’re fixing Sunday dinner. Slice your carrots for Monday’s dinner, bag and refrigerate. If you are using fresh bacon for the bacon “bits” in Wednesday’s Old-Fashioned Green Beans, cook it today; cut it up, bag, label, and freeze. Otherwise, invest in a large bag of bacon pieces. Hormel has the bags and they’ll last months in the fridge (HORMEL® Premium Real Crumbled Bacon). They are the best-tasting that I’ve found, next to real, freshly fried bacon.
Cook the meat for Friday’s Lasagna in a Bun; add the garlic powder and dried Italian seasoning during the last few minutes. Place in a heavy-duty freezer bag, label, and freeze it. It will defrost faster if you don’t add the spaghetti sauce before freezing.
Prepare Thursday’s Cheesy Garlic Bread and Tasty Apple Slaw. Refrigerate. The Banana Split Bars make enough for two meals, if you can keep the kids from getting seconds. If you are using fresh vegetables for Thursday’s Home-Style Chicken Dinner, this would be a good time to do it. Bag and refrigerate. (Don’t cut up any potatoes yet.)
And for those that do not have a day to prepare ahead, the dovetailing tips below will save you lots of time as you go!
Download these recipes into your Cook'n software. Then, you can save time and money by using your Cook'n software to make a grocery list!
Herb Chicken with Roasted Garlic
Cheesy Mashed Potatoes
Maple Glazed Carrots and Apples
Herbed Toast Fingers
Dovetailing Tips: When you cut green onions tonight slice enough extra to use on Tuesday! Also, if you plan to use regular potatoes rather than new potatoes in the Italian Potato Salad, you can pre-cut them as long as you store them in some cool water to prevent discoloration. You will already be cutting potatoes tonight anyway and these two little steps will save lots of time tomorrow!
Prepare Tuesday’s Italian New Potato Salad. It will be better after the flavors blend. To save time, use a plain instant mashed potato mix and prepare according to directions. Add the “extras” from the Cheesy Mashed Potatoes recipe and serve it like you worked all day on it.
Impossibly Easy Ham and Swiss Pie
Italian New Potato Salad
Dovetailing Tips: Use the green onions and potatoes you pre-cut and you are already well on your way to this simple meal!
I use my blender to quickly mix all but the vegetables for the Impossibly Easy Ham and Swiss Pie. Then pour it over the ham and cheese and bake as directed. Take a tip from Vita-Mix: put a couple of drops of dishwashing liquid into your blender right after using; add hot water to within 3-4 inches of the top, cover, and blend. Rinse and it’s clean.
Hot Dogs ‘n’ Crescents
Old-Fashioned Green Beans
Banana Split Bars
Bonus Recipe: This recipe is a more grown-up alternative for Wednesday's menu!
Pesto Raviolo with Chicken
Dovetailing Tip: If you are using walnuts in your Banana Split Bars chop extra for the Maple Butterscotch Brownies on Friday. Then you can just toss in that great flavor.
If you are opting for the "bonus menu" for the main dish tonight you will be grating parmesan and you might as well grate more for Friday's Lasagna on a Bun!
Take a tip from the recipe name Hot Dogs ‘n’ Crescents and use a refrigerator biscuit or crescent roll package. Make sure the package makes enough rolls for your serving size. Regarding the relish, my kids always want to add their own “other stuff” (ketchup, mustard, relish, etc). I would NOT put the relish in the rolls/biscuits before baking, but I'd still put the cheese on and bake as directed. Put foil or parchment paper on your cookie sheet to avoid burned-on cheese mess. For the Old-Fashioned Green Beans, use a bag of frozen beans and the prepackaged bacon-bits (not the ones in the shaker bottle for salads). I'd reduce the water to ¼ cup and watch the pot a little more closely.
Home-Style Chicken Dinner
Cheesy Garlic Bread
Tasty Apple Slaw
Dovetailing Tips: You will be grating cheddar cheese tonight. As long as it is out, grate extra and toss it in a plastic bag. It will be ready to use tomorrow night on your Lasagna in a Bun!
For refrigerated (not frozen) Cheesy Garlic Bread, bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bread is hot. If it’s frozen, follow the time on the recipe, which is 30 minutes.
You can save a little time on Friday by making the Maple Butterscotch Brownies tonight, but I warn you, they’ll smell too good to leave for a day!
Lasagna in a Bun
Green Salad or vegetable of choice
Maple Butterscotch Browniesv
Dovetailing Tips: Tonight use the walnuts, cheddar cheese, and parmesan cheese you already prepared and enjoy a quick, delicious dinner!
To prepare the Lasagna in a Bun, remove the frozen ground beef, flex the bag, work out your frustrations (Pound on it, etc, that’s why I recommend a heavy-duty bag!) OR defrost it in the microwave and pour the partially frozen meat into your skillet; heat/thaw on medium to medium-high heat. Add the spaghetti sauce and cook until heated through. Continue as directed.
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