If you're like me, then you go grocery shopping every weekend with the grandest of plans. I prance up and down the food aisles throwing ingredient after ingredient into my cart, imaging myself spending the week cooking healthy, homemade meals every single night. And then midweek comes, I'm tired/starving/stressed, and suddenly I realize that getting all my cooking done on Sunday would have been a way better idea.
The old "cook it all on Sunday" maneuver is pretty much as smart as it gets, because let's be honest — hardly anyone has time to prepare meals during the week. When you get home late, taking the time to chop, cook, stir, and wait for 40+ minutes just seems too darn difficult. Not to mention, when you're tired from work, sometimes even thinking about what to cook can seem like an impossibility.
When you're in this situation, it's normal to order out, or pour a bowl of cereal — all the while those lovely fresh (and expensive) ingredients are rotting away in the fridge. Clearly even the best laid plans go awry, and yet we do it week after week.
That's why I highly suggest cooking for a few hours on your day off. Prepare your weekly meals, throw it all in the fridge, and then all you have to do after a long day of work is push one button on the microwave. Sound good? Then here are a few easy meals to make that will last all week long.
1. Anything In A Crock-Pot
The best thing about slow cookers is that they do all the work for you. Set one up on Sunday and let it work its magic all day long. (Bonus: your house will smell so good.) Then, divvy up portions for the week in some reusable containers, and you've got meals galore ready and waiting. Here are a few particularly delicious crock-pot recipes from Greatist.com.
2. Retro Stuffed Peppers
I remember these being a thing at my grandma's house when I was a kid. No one else I knew ever made stuffed peppers, but she also had them in the oven, without fail. It's probably because stuffed red peppers were considered quite the delicacy (or at least quite the trend) back in the '50s and '60s.
Retro indeed. But according to Lynn Adriani on Oprah.com, "... all these years later, we still love the novelty of getting an individually sized bell pepper neatly packed with savory, seasoned beef on our plate. You'll probably have leftover stuffing, which is great warmed and scooped up with pita chips or piled onto soft rolls, à la sloppy joes." Multiple meals and nostalgia, all rolled into one — I love it. Here is the recipe.
3. Lasagna For Days
Just like my grandma was all about those stuffed peppers, my mom has always been known for her lasagna. Whether she makes it with meat, or some delicious veggies, it always seemed to be in the freezer. (And it still is to this day whenever I visit. Thanks mom!)
The thing about lasagna is it's easy to make, keeps well in the freezer, and is oh so very filling. Here's a vegetarian lasagna recipe from Food.com. It looks so good, I'm about to go give it a try.
4. Hearty Lentil Soup
Yes, this soup is as hearty as it gets, so don't worry about feeling starving an hour later. That's because lentil soup isn't your normal mostly-broth concoction. It's very filling, and very flavorful. Just remember that bay leaf, as it makes all the difference.
5. Flaky Fish Cakes
This one works really well if you made fish for dinner over the weekend, and found yourself with leftovers. Just save those extra fishy bits, and turn them into fish cakes that you can have for dinner later in the week. According to Adriani, "You'll need 3/4 cup flaked cooked fish for these wonderful cakes, which also incorporate (precooked) mashed potatoes, scallions and ginger. They're crusty on the outside (thanks to a coating of beaten egg and a dusting of panko) and tender on the inside."
6. Protein-Rich Frittatas
Who doesn't love eggs? They are a favorite of horrible chefs everywhere, because they are the easiest thing to make. Honestly, you don't have to be a good cook to successfully make an egg dish. So if all of the other meals scared you, then here is your thing: frittatas.
Of course it's not the most difficult thing to whip up an omelet after work, but think about making a frittata on Sunday, and you'll have delicious egg-y slices ready and waiting all week long. According to an article on Style.Co.UK, "Frittatas are quick and easy to make and they're also protein-rich, so you can make one giant one at the beginning of the week and it'll keep you fuelled to Friday." Sounds nice and easy to me.
If you want to eat real food, save some money, and finally put those groceries to good use, then consider these leftover meals. Whip them up on your day off, and eat like a real grownup every day of the week.