I’m not one of those people who plans a week’s worth of meals on Sunday and then just lets it play out. I tried, believe me. It just doesn’t work for me.
I’m more of what I call a pantry cook. I’d much rather keep things in stock, buying when there are sales and then reacting to what I have on hand day-by-day. I find it allows me the most flexibility and I enjoy the creative aspect of it.
That said, I’ve been getting into a grove with a few planning habits that have really helped me mange the week. I guess these are more things I put into practice than tips per se, but I hope they give you some ideas.
Roast a Whole Chicken Weekly
I used to be afraid of roasting a whole chicken — now I do it every week or so!
I started with little 4-5 pounders, but as the kids get older my chickens are increasing in size. I think the one I roasted last week was 8 pounds.
I normally spatchcock it for a quicker cooking time, but my goal isn’t only dinner the night I make it. I want leftovers and bones for broth.
The day we eat it for dinner, I’ll remove all the chicken I can from the bones, using the leftovers for lunches and such, then I cover the bones with water in a large pot and add some salt and let it simmer for, sometimes, up to 2 days.
Once the broth is done I use it to make rice or quinoa that I’ll freeze in serving sizes or for soup, which is what inspired this post — more on that in a bit.
Bake Extra Potatoes
I don’t just mean plop them in the microwave. That’s what I used to do but once I fired up the oven and actually roasted my whole potatoes for real, I converted. Actual roasted potatoes are better!
The problem is they take about an hour, so when I do it, I DO it! I roast at least a couple extra every time. Sweet and white. Then I’ll use both for quick breakfast hashes in the morning, a side for leftover lunches and, as in the case of yesterday, a quick soup.
Since I came up with this idea I’ve made this particular soup three times. I know it’s not soup season but it’s been a little chilly in these parts, so the soup has been coming in handy.
This idea hit me one afternoon when I was looking for a quick meal. I opened the fridge, saw the broth I made from that week’s chicken, spied the baked sweet potato and thought, why not combine the two?
The result was so tasty and simple I just needed to share.
Here’s what I did..
- 2 cups of chicken broth (if you don’t have homemade store-bought will do just fine but I urge you, try to make your own. It’s SO much better!)
- 1 leftover baked sweet potato
- 4 ounces cooked chicken breast