Honestly, I try to be creative and come up with at least one new meal to try each week. But there are times when it just doesn’t happen. I take no shame in preparing basic meals and make them last 3-4 days! As long as there is food in the fridge, that’s one less thing for me to stress about on those busy school days!
Last weekend was one of those weekends when my meal planning was kind of weak. It must have been the Mother’s Day thing that I didn’t feel like being creative or productive at all HAHA. So instead I resorted to my staples:
- healthy chicken salad
- cottage cheese salad
- Slow Cooker Everything Chicken Soup that I raved about in this What I Ate Wednesday post 🙂
- big batch of turkey meatballs in tomato sauce + whole wheat pasta + sauteed zucchini was also on the menu but we still had a bunch of leftovers from the BBQ, so I set on the first 3 meals and called it good.
On Friday I went grocery shopping for the BBQ and our next week’s meals. For me, every Costco trip involves getting one or two rotisserie chickens. You can’t beat $4.99 per grilled bird, right?! As soon as we get home I shred the chicken and figure out how much needs to be saved for my meal and what needs to be put away in the freezer.
So on Sunday I shredded the chicken, chopped a bunch of veggies and got to work.
Healthy Chicken Salad
For my Healthy Chicken Salad, I mixed:
- 2 Cups of shredded chicken meat
- 2/3 Cup finely chopped celerey
- 1/4 Cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 Cup chopped walnuts
- 1/3 Cup Greek yogurt
- Optional: 1 heaping Tbsp mayo * I’m in love with this brand, it makes everything taste better and there are no artificial ingredients*
- Salt+pepper to taste
Mix everything together in a large bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. I like to immediately divide this batch into small servings to last through the week. For lunch, I would put a serving on top of spinach and serve with a small toast. It’s an excellent protein packed meal that will keep you full for hours!
Cottage Cheese Salad
For the Cottage Cheese Salad, I mixed together a small container of cottage cheese, remaining chopped celery, walnuts, dried cranberries and 1/2 finely chopped green apple. It took less than 5 minutes to prep!
The crunchiness of celery and apples combined with the sweetness of cranberry lends this mixture a deliciously fresh taste. Packed with protein, healthy fats and fiber, this salad makes a perfect breakfast of mid-afternoon snack!
Slow Cooker Chicken Soup
The Slow Cooker Chicken Soup took a bit longer to prep but it was well worth it.
Cleaning and prepping the veggies consumed the majority of the prep time (10 min or so). Funny but I find it therapeutic to mindlessly chop through carrots, celery, etc. I can actually zone out kids being obnoxious on the background and sports on TV. Busy mom’s meditation? HAHA!
- 4 medium carrots, finely chopped
- 4 celery sticks, finely chopped
- 2 zucchini, chopped
- 2 bell peppers, finely chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- whatever other veggies you may have in the fridge (snow peas, corn, green peas all work great!)
- 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken meat
- 1 large carton of chicken broth
- salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, garlic powder to taste
Mix everything in a large crockpot and cook on High for 4 hours or Low for 6-8 hours.
This soup stores really well in the fridge and is so versatile! You can make it Greek style, Mexican style or eat as is! One day I served this soup with Feta cheese and it was delish! The next day we added a heaping Table spoon of Greek yogurt and crushed corn tortilla chips on top. YUM!! This was my favorite combo. The third day we went Mexican style and added tortilla chips and avocado. My kids went crazy for it!
Best thing about this chicken soup is all the veggies hiding in it (one less serving of veggies a day to think of for this busy mom) and your family won’t mind them, I promise. This soup will be on constant rotation in your house!
So tell me friends, what are your favorite staples you resort to when short on time? What do you struggle with when meal planning?
Hope you have a nice and relaxing Friday night!