Categories
Meal Planning

What Is Meal Planning And How To Start

Nothing is more satisfying than a great meal. Except maybe someone else making it for you and cleaning up after. Am I right? Let’s be honest here: being responsible for meals in your home is a chore, mentally and physically exhausting and thankless, most of the time. In an effort to relieve some of the pressure on me, I began meal planning back in January. And holy moly guys, it has been a game changer for me!

  • No more rushing to stores at the last minute to grab ingredients.
  • No more fast food just because I’m too exhausted to do anything else.
  • No more complaints from the peanut gallery about what I made for dinner.

And that was before the quarantine began…

If you would have told me last year to shop and meal plan for an entire month, I probably would have broke down crying. I could barely go two days without grocery shopping. How the heck would I go a week, let alone a month? Meal planning gave me the tools I needed to effortlessly plan, buy and stockpile everything I needed (no, I don’t mean toilet paper) so that I didn’t have to expose myself unnecessarily during the crisis.

If the thought of what’s for dinner tonight makes you feel stressed or anxious, maybe you should give meal planning a try too.

Let’s begin here:

What is meal planning?

Meal planning is just what it sounds like, a plan. A plan that makes your meal prep run more efficiently and smoothly by deciding what meals you will prepare everyday ahead of time.  And then shopping intentionally once for everything you need to fulfil your new plan.

Does that sound over-whelming? Don’t worry! I’ll break down the process for you further down.

First let’s get you committed to this new way of life:

Benefits of meal planning

1. Meal planning saves the time and mental energy you’d otherwise waste staring into the fridge deciding what to make, or aimlessly browsing the grocery store shelves, hoping for a flash of inspiration. No more getting to the end of a busy day and then having to pull together enough brainpower and ingredients to whip up something satisfying.

2. Meal planning makes healthier food choices automatic. The temptation to simply grab takeout is far less likely when you know you have something healthy, tasty, and easily accessible waiting for you at home.

3. Meal planning saves you money. When you plan ahead, you can shop around and take full advantage of sales and bulk prices. The impulse buying and overspending that go along with unplanned grocery shopping trips are naturally limited. And, of course, eating at home is nearly always cheaper than buying restaurant food!

And here is an unexpected benefit I discovered when I started to meal plan: no more complaining or arguing or saying, “I don’t want that, how about this.” Once my family discovered I was committed to meal planning, they knew what to expect every night. I hung the meal plan on the fridge for all to see. I was flexible in as far as much dinners could be switched around but that is as far as I strayed. Surprisingly, everyone adapted quickly.

What meal planning is not

  • Rigid-Your meal plan is not set in stone. I regularly switch meals around depending on how much time I have and what we feel like eating on a given night.
  • Eating in every night-In fact, I schedule in dinners out. It is a nice treat to look forward to!
  • New or complicated recipes-Meals should adapt to you and your family and not the other way around. If you are a soup and salad person or your family loves mac and cheese, so be it. Try something new if and when you want to.
  • Time-consuming-Meal planning and shopping in time blocks may seem like it takes longer because it is done in one go. But when you factor in all the little bits of time you used to spend going to the store or picking through your freezer trying to find something for dinner, you will find meal planning saves you time.
  • Over-whelming-Meal planning may take you awhile to master but if you start small, say planning 3 meals a week, you will soon master the process.

Meal planning mistakes to avoid

  1. Not adapting to your family’s tastes and likes-If they won’t eat it, what’s the point and you will just get upset and frustrated.
  2. Not planning around your busy schedule-Easy, pre-made meals or take-aways are best for dinner on nights when you don’t have time or are rushed.
  3. Forgetting to add snacks to your meal plan-Everyone needs a treat, whether that be cut up carrots or chocolate.

Meal planning tips for success

  • Start small-You don’t have to go all out all at once!
  • Be flexible-Build in flex and leftover days.
  • Post it-My meal plan is on my fridge so everyone can get on board.
  • Adapt-If something doesn’t work, feel free to pitch or adapt meals.
  • Keep a favourite recipe list-This is your go to recipe list and makes meal planning fast and easy.
  • Rotate meal plans-Once you have a month of weekly plans created, rotate them to save you even more time.
  • Have the right tools-If you have to pack lunches or store left-overs, make sure you have the right sized containers. And don’t underestimate the appeal of a nice recipe binder or meal planner binder that can make meal planning fun.
  • Keep a pantry and freezer inventory-Knowing what you have in stock will help you save money plus ensure that items never expire before you use them.
  • Make a staple list-These are items you always want to keep in stock, like salt or salsa. Review your inventory of these items when making your shopping list.
  • Add pre-packaged meals-No one says you can’t add these to your meal plan. These are great for packing lunches or for when someone must eat off schedule and dinner is not ready.

How to start meal planning

Once you figure this part out, you’ll be able to put your meal plans (almost) on autopilot. Keeping my old meal plans in a binder has helped me become faster at meal planning especially with rotating our favourite meals week to week. You may want to do that too.

1. Choose a plan that works for your life
First things first, you have to consider which types of meals appeal to you – to prepare as well as to eat!

Do you love coming home to the aroma of a crock pot full of simmering stew? Do you love the simplicity of frozen meals you can quickly toss in the oven to reheat? Casseroles, pot pies, chilli, soups, and lasagna are tasty examples of meals that will freeze well and yield multiple meals per batch. Another option is having veggies pre-chopped and meat pre-seasoned that you can whip up into a quick and simple stir-fry or a nice big salad at the end of the day.

If you are a take-out junkie like we were, find some copy cat recipes of your favourite restaurants.

Many people also find having theme nights helpful when it comes to meal planning. Meatless Mondays and Taco Tuesdays are just two examples.

2. Get it down on paper
Make a master list of meals and ingredients that you already know you and your family will enjoy. Try to come up with at least 10-20 meals so you can rotate them and avoid getting stuck eating the exact same things every week (unless you are a particularly picky eater and that is what will make you happy, of course).

You can add in a few intriguing new recipes you’ve wanted to try, but primarily sticking to things you already know and love (especially in the beginning) can make your new plan easier to implement. Keep in mind that writing out a meal plan doesn’t set it in stone! It’s your plan and you can make changes at any time if something’s just not working.

3. Take inventory of your storage supplies
Make sure you’ve got enough pieces of Tupperware or Pyrex to store your weekly meals and/or prepped ingredients. While you’re at it, take this opportunity to purge all of the pieces with missing lids!

Go through your list of meals and figure out which shapes and sizes you’ll need. Consider whether you’ll be mostly packaging food in single-serving portions, or storing larger amounts to heat up all at once for family dinners. Make sure all of the containers you want to use will reasonably fit in your refrigerator and freezer.

4. Come up with a simple schedule
Some meal planners like to assign a different type of meal for each day of the week, such as soup on Monday, taco salad on Tuesday, stir-fry on Wednesday, roasted chicken on Thursday, etc. Of course, you don’t have to keep a strict schedule – no one’s going to stop you from heating up the lasagna you’re craving on Monday or saving tacos for Friday instead!

5. Get the most mileage out of your cooking
Whenever possible, incorporate versatile foods that can do double or triple duty. Large batches of rice, beans, soups, etc. can be incorporated into multiple meals throughout the week. Try to get creative by carrying leftovers from dinner into lunches for the rest of the week. For example, you could roast a chicken for dinner one night, and use the leftover meat to make chicken salad or top your lunch salad the next day.

6. Look for inspiration
If you get stumped on what to cook (or end up in a rut as time goes on), take a look through the indexes of your favourite cookbooks or browse Google and Pinterest. You can search for recipes by type of meal, cooking method, or even for recipes that require a certain ingredient (or group of ingredients).

It is possible to save time by having someone else do the meal planning and shopping list-writing for you. There are tons of cut-and-paste meal plans out there – from entire meal planning cookbooks to thousands of sites all over the internet. If you happen across one that calls to you, by all means, give it a try! Just be sure you’re always keeping tip #1 in mind, and don’t be afraid to play around with the plan to make it your own.

7. Create your shopping list
Once you have your meal plan for the week complete, it is time to make your shopping list so that you only have to go shopping once. I go through my meal plan, day by day, and shop my fridge and cupboards first. Then I write down everything I need on my shopping list. 

Additional Tip: On my meal plan I list everything, and I mean everything, I need for each meal. So if we are having a burger and fries dinner, I list all the condiments we would need as well. This prompts me to check my supplies when I make my shopping list.

That’s it! You are ready for the week. That wasn’t so bad was it? 

Depending on the meals you have chosen, you may be cooking every night but I encourage you to go a step further and try to cook ahead once you have a knack for meal planning. That will make your meal plan really shine and save you tons of time.

Make your cooking day fun!
Meal planning typically involves setting aside a large chunk of time (anywhere from an hour or two to an entire afternoon) to do all of the necessary cooking, prep, and cleanup for the week to come. The more fun you can make this process – and less like a chore or a burden – the easier it will be to stick with your meal plan.

Try to make your kitchen time feel like “me” time to look forward to. Make a ritual out of putting on your favorite music, an audiobook, or a podcast and having some coffee, tea, or wine while you work. And once you’ve gotten all of the dishes clean, treat yourself to some relaxation time – knowing that you’re starting a new week with minimal cooking and dishes ahead!

Once you get into the swing of it, meal planning really will make your life easier – and it can even be kind of fun. So give it a try! Start with super simple meals the first week or two. Once you’ve got that down, you can get creative and experiment with adding new recipes to your rotation. Before long, your new meal planning routine will feel like second nature – saving you all kinds of time, money, and mental effort!

Categories
Meal Planning

Easy Meal Planning Hacks To Save You Time And Money

Before I started meal planning, my home was always stocked with more food than we would ever eat. We’d buy whatever sounded good at the time and pay no attention to what we already had in our home. After months of doing this, we’d end up with spoiled veggies in the back of the fridge and rotting potatoes in our pantry. We would waste hundreds of dollars each week just throwing out food that we didn’t eat, and we’d never know what was for dinner each night.

Meal planning can save you both time and money, but it can also help you stick to eating what you bought. After years of meal planning, I have put together a list of some of my best hacks to help you save both time and money while meal planning!

7+ Simple Meal Planning Tips That Save Time And Money

1. Keep a list of meals you eat regularly

In your meal planning binder or wherever you keep your recipe list, keep a running list of all the meals that your family loves and eats regularly. When you are short on time or need a crowd- pleaser, add a few meals from this list. These are the meals that I turn to when I’m out of ideas and need some quick inspiration.

2. Start with food items you already have on hand

Shelf cooking will save you so much money because you won’t let the food you already have at home go to waste! Whenever you make a meal plan, try to aim for 2-3 meals that you can create using just what you already have at home. You may have to get a little creative, but I’m willing to bet you already have enough food for 2-3 meals with just what you have at home.

3. Implement theme nights to make meal planning easier

Instead of trying to think up a new meal for each night, have a theme night to make meal planning faster. You could have Crockpot Saturdays, Taco Tuesdays, Stir Fridays, or any number of theme nights to help make planning your meals easier. This will limit your choices and help you plan out your weekly list of meals faster.

4. Stock up on staples and add it to your meal plan

Stocking up on food items that your family uses regularly will make meal planning easier, but will ensure that you never run out of the things your family uses the most. You can search for the best deals and replenish your stock whenever you find the best deal. To ensure there’s always room in my grocery budget, I add it to my meal plan so I won’t forget it!

5. Meal plan for a whole month instead of week-by-week

Planning your meals for the whole month might sound daunting, but this can save you a lot of time in both grocery shopping and planning! You can implement theme nights or add the same 10-15 meals to your meal plan and spread them out over a month! When you shop for your meals, you can take advantage of bulk savings and leftovers to help you stretch your meal plan through the month.

6. Use tools to help you make new meals

Whether you opened a can of tomato paste and didn’t use the whole thing or don’t know what kinds of meals you can make with the oddball ingredients in your home, there are several ways you can find new recipes using the stuff you have at home! Sites such as Recipe Puppy can help you find meals by searching by ingredient! If you’re in a pinch or just looking for a way to use one ingredient, you could also search Pinterest for inspiration.

7. Use your weekly ad to help plan meals

Once you’ve exhausted the items you have in your home to make meals, it’s time to turn to your weekly ad. This is going to have all of your store’s best deals and specials to help you determine what to buy. Try and build an additional 2-3 meals from the items you find in the weekly ad. You might not be able to create a full meal using the ad, but if you can get huge saves on chicken or pork, the rest of the items might be things you have at home or that you can find for cheap at the store.

8. Make room for leftovers

When you’re making a meal plan, it’s important to make room for leftovers. To make sure that we don’t let food go to waste, we have one leftover day every week. All of our meals are centred around eating leftovers. If we have no leftovers, this is our meal out day. This inspires us to eat the meals we planned, and if it was good, we don’t mind eating it a second time or repurposing it into another meal!

Whether you are new to meal planning or just looking for some extra tips to help you maximize your next meal plan, I hope these tips helped! These hacks are ones that I use every time I meal plan to make sure I’m saving money and time!

Categories
Meal Planning

How to Make a Healthy Meal Plan for Dinner

Those who are trying to save on groceries, reduce spending on dining out, adopt a healthier lifestyle and save time on cooking will want to use a weekly meal plan for dinner. Creating a healthy eating plan that can be mapped out and prepared in advance takes the guesswork and decision-making out of what to cook every evening, leaving more time for yourself or time with your family at the end of a long and busy day.

Know your Ingredients

Before setting out a healthy eating meal plan, it is important to understand what ingredients to use for a healthier diet.

According to ChooseMyPlate.gov, fruits (20%) and vegetables (30%) should make up about half of your plate in every meal, in a variety of colours. Lean sources of protein are important, including lean meats, poultry and fish, eggs, nuts and beans, soy and eggs. Grains and whole grains are a wonderful source of fiber and dairy and calcium-rich foods like kale and cabbage should also be included. Avoid processed foods and foods that are high in saturated fats, sodium and sugar.

Create a List of Healthy Meals & Quick Dinner Meals

Create a list of healthy meals and quick dinner meals that the family likes to eat, incorporating old favorites that have been tried and tested and others you have found through researching in your favorite cookbooks or on the internet. It might be a good idea to keep a list of them all in a single notebook that you can refer to.

Working through the list, start by substituting some of the ingredients for heathier alternatives – replacing red meat with chicken, turkey or fish for example, and finding ways in which you can add extra fruits and vegetables.

Consider your week

Think about the upcoming activities and events your family may have over the next week. Work out which days are going to be busier – after-school practice or clubs, parties, homework deadlines, extended meetings. Map out those busy days on your calendar. 

Simplify

From your list, remove the recipes that take a large amount of time or are overly complicated. The goal is to create a set of ideas that are quick and easy to make – it is more likely that you will opt for a less-healthy alternative if you’re faced with a complex and time-consuming meal to prepare at the end of a busy day.

Batch your ingredients and work out shelf life.

Are there recipes on your list that can be made using similar ingredients? Creating a stock of ingredients that can be used in multiple recipes will not only save money (especially when taking advantage of discount or 3 for 2 offers), but will also make shopping far easier. Certain foods can be stored and frozen for a period of time, and this remove the need to shop repeatedly for the same items.

Create an ingredients list before you shop

Avoid over-spending on groceries by creating an accurate list of what you need for the meals ahead. Try to avoid deviating from this list, at least for the first few weeks, as this may risk moving away from the meal plan in times of food boredom. Alternatively, shop online with a specific list – many online supermarket sites allow for grocery lists to be saved and used again in multiple purchases.

Creating Your Healthy Meal Plan for Dinner

  1. Try to use the recipes that have the most perishable or hardest to freeze ingredients earlier in the week. It doesn’t save money on groceries to throw away items that have gone bad before they could be used.
  2. Avoid flexibility for the first few weeks. Everyone eats the same meal. In families of fussy-eaters it can become quite stressful when multiple people request different meals. Set a rule that everyone eats the same, or get your family involved in the meal planning and allow them to choose from the list of recipes that you have created.
  3. Slow cookers are perfect for reducing your prep time and creating a delicious meal with minimum effort. On days that you have identified that are busy, incorporate a slow cooker meal that can be prepared in the morning and will be ready for when you get home.
  4. Save time by cooking things in advance and storing them in the freezer. A large soup base or casserole of vegetables can be cooked, blitzed and stored in individual containers, then reheated with the addition of fresh ingredients later in the week. 
  5. Leftovers are also a brilliant way to save time on meal planning and preparation – make a little extra for dinner, store your leftovers in the fridge and use them the next day.
  6. Get creative! Make a note of the recipes that your family enjoyed, and work out variations. Keep a list of all of the recipes that have been successful, and don’t be afraid to add to them over time.
  7. Don’t be afraid to repeat meals or have the same meal on the same day each week. A routine will help to save time and avoid the “what’s for dinner?” question.

Creating a healthy eating plan may seem like a daunting task, but with some initial planning and preparation it gets easier with practice, and will become more interesting as your experience and knowledge grows. Save time, save money and gain an easier and more productive lifestyle with a healthy eating plan.

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breakfast make ahead freezer meals

14 Make Ahead Breakfast Freezer Meals

Make ahead breakfast freezer meals are one way to ensure everyone starts the day off right with a nutritious and filling meal.

With a little bit of pre-planning and prep, you can save tons of time and energy on busy mornings. Especially on the days that everyone gets a late start.

Have you ever missed your alarm in the morning and then you barely have enough time to get dressed and brush your teeth, let alone eat something? This use to happen to me all the time before I started meal planning. That is why we ended up using the drive-thru so often for coffee and donuts first thing in the morning. That not only blew my wallet but my waistline out of proportion. Plus, the sugar rush barely sustained any of us till lunchtime.

Even if you haven’t completely bought into the concept of having a meal plan for your family just yet, for those mornings when you need something quick and easy, make ahead breakfast freezer meals can really save you in a pinch!

These recipes are great for busy mornings or when you want to sleep in and want the kids to get their own breakfast or when you need to grab breakfast on the go! You don’t have to do a ton of work the day of, and you have a nice warm meal ready for you and your family when you need and want it! Most are ready by just popping them in the microwave which means everyone can have a healthy breakfast without a lot of fuss.

Here are the best breakfast freezer recipes that are simple and easy to make for you and your family. There is a huge variety of ideas here so I am sure you will be able to find at least a few that your family will love.

14 Homemade Breakfast Freezer Meals

Easy Breakfast Casserole

Make ahead breakfast freezer meals are one way to ensure everyone starts the day off right with a nutritious and filling meal.  This list includes casseroles, burritos, pancakes, waffles, smoothies, meat pastries and more!

If you are having guests stay over and you are not sure of what to make them for breakfast, try this easy, make ahead freezer casserole. It’s a hearty casserole, filled with tender turkey sausage, peppers and onions. Pop it in the oven when needed for a healthy breakfast the everyone will love. And did I mention it is super easy?! Recipe by Everyday Shortcuts.

Scrambled Egg Bites

Make ahead breakfast freezer meals are one way to ensure everyone starts the day off right with a nutritious and filling meal. This list includes casseroles, burritos, pancakes, waffles, smoothies, meat pastries and more!

It’s so nice to have breakfast foods in the freezer ready to go. These scrambled egg bites are great for busy weekday mornings. You can grab them on your way out the door for work or you can heat them up for the kids before school. Recipe by Freezer Meals 101.

Loaded Breakfast Tacos

Make ahead breakfast freezer meals are one way to ensure everyone starts the day off right with a nutritious and filling meal. This list includes casseroles, burritos, pancakes, waffles, smoothies, meat pastries and more!

I love that I can make this freezer friendly recipe over the weekend. In the mornings, I take a few out, heat them up and the kids can eat them on their way to school. You can make these in batches by making a double recipe. Put half of the fillings in a freezer bag for later in the month. They are super delicious, portable and the kids LOVE them! Recipe by Kicking It With Kelly.

Freezer Challah Bread French Toast Sticks

Make ahead breakfast freezer meals are one way to ensure everyone starts the day off right with a nutritious and filling meal. This list includes casseroles, burritos, pancakes, waffles, smoothies, meat pastries and more!

Tired of cold cereal or breakfast bars first thing in the morning? I get it, mornings are hectic but it is nice to start the day with something warm. Especially on cold mornings. These french toast sticks will hit the spot and because you can make them ahead of time and freeze them, they are perfect when you are on the go and need to get out the door fast. Recipe by Drug Store Divas.

MEGA Breakfast Burritos

Make ahead breakfast freezer meals are one way to ensure everyone starts the day off right with a nutritious and filling meal. This list includes casseroles, burritos, pancakes, waffles, smoothies, meat pastries and more!

This freezer Breakfast Burritos recipe makes massive burritos that are stuffed with eggs, cheese, bacon, crispy potatoes, guacamole, and a secret ingredient that makes them incredible! Recipe by Food Folks And Fun.

Croissant Breakfast Sandwich

Make ahead breakfast freezer meals are one way to ensure everyone starts the day off right with a nutritious and filling meal. This list includes casseroles, burritos, pancakes, waffles, smoothies, meat pastries and more!

The BEST Breakfast Sandwich Recipe! Made with egg, cheese, and ham piled between a soft butter croissant, these warm and delicious breakfast sandwiches are freezer-friendly and perfect for a quick and easy breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Recipe by The Forked Spoon.

Vegetarian Mediterranean Inspired Breakfast

Make ahead breakfast freezer meals are one way to ensure everyone starts the day off right with a nutritious and filling meal. This list includes casseroles, burritos, pancakes, waffles, smoothies, meat pastries and more!

These easy, tasty and healthy vegetarian Greek breakfast burritos can easily be made ahead, then frozen. Perfect for a Mediterranean diet, packed with protein and low in fat. It’s an easy brunch or breakfast potluck idea. Recipe by Food Meanderings.

Breakfast Sausage Hand Pies

Make ahead breakfast freezer meals are one way to ensure everyone starts the day off right with a nutritious and filling meal. This list includes casseroles, burritos, pancakes, waffles, smoothies, meat pastries and more!

These simple breakfast hand pies can be made ahead and reheated one at a time for busy mornings. You can make several sheets at once (double or triple the recipe) to ensure you have many on hand. Recipe be Freezer Meals 101.

Easy Freezable Dippable Applesauce Waffles

Make ahead breakfast freezer meals are one way to ensure everyone starts the day off right with a nutritious and filling meal. This list includes casseroles, burritos, pancakes, waffles, smoothies, meat pastries and more!

A little breakfast meal prep and you’ll always have an easy morning! These Freezable Applesauce Waffles are gluten-free, vegan, allergy-free, and dippable! A customizable recipe perfect for kids, teens, even adults! Recipe by Strength And Sunshine.

Chicken-Apple Sausage Breakfast Burritos

Make ahead breakfast freezer meals are one way to ensure everyone starts the day off right with a nutritious and filling meal. This list includes casseroles, burritos, pancakes, waffles, smoothies, meat pastries and more!

These freezable Breakfast Burritos are a grab-and-go, make-ahead breakfast you’ll actually look forward to eating! Full of sweet chicken-apple sausage, butternut squash, savoury cheese, red peppers, and fluffy scrambled egg. These breakfast burritos are crazy-delicious, hearty, and filled with great, keep-you-fueled-up nutrition! Recipe by Two Healthy Kitchens.

Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal

Need a simple, healthy breakfast idea?  Try this Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal!  It combines old fashioned and quick oats with milk, eggs, butter, chocolate chips and a few other pantry staples for a delicious recipe that the whole family will love. Recipe by Thrifty Frugal Mom.

Make ahead breakfast freezer meals are one way to ensure everyone starts the day off right with a nutritious and filling meal. This list includes casseroles, burritos, pancakes, waffles, smoothies, meat pastries and more!

World’s Best Pancakes

Make ahead breakfast freezer meals are one way to ensure everyone starts the day off right with a nutritious and filling meal. This list includes casseroles, burritos, pancakes, waffles, smoothies, meat pastries and more!

This easy breakfast recipe for the world’s best pancakes comes with a family secret ingredient. Have delicious pancakes at every family gathering where a special breakfast recipe is needed or make an everyday breakfast feel special! Recipe by Saving Talents.

Freezer Smoothies

Smoothies are nutritious, delicious, and so easy to make.  In fact, you can make a smoothie in under 5 minutes easily.  But there are those days where you don’t even have 5 minutes, am i right? And that is just one reason why I love these Freezer Smoothie Packs. Recipe by Fun Wine Sunshine.

Make ahead breakfast freezer meals are one way to ensure everyone starts the day off right with a nutritious and filling meal. This list includes casseroles, burritos, pancakes, waffles, smoothies, meat pastries and more!

Sausage & Cheese Breakfast Poppers

Make ahead breakfast freezer meals are one way to ensure everyone starts the day off right with a nutritious and filling meal. This list includes casseroles, burritos, pancakes, waffles, smoothies, meat pastries and more!

Having easy to grab breakfasts that are satisfying and quick to reheat like these Freezer Breakfast Sausage And Cheese Poppers are great. Using just a few basic ingredients and a creating in larger batches you can easily have breakfasts that reheat in seconds and are better than what you would grab in the local drive thru. Recipe by Midwest Modern Momma.

Start your day off right by prepping these make ahead breakfast freezer meals in advance. Trust me when I say they will be lifesavers on busy mornings and you will be confident about sending your kids off to school with a good, wholesome meal.

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Organization Tools & Resources

Best Bread Machines for 2020

Bread making has been a hobby for many at-home bakers, people trying to save some money, or even those who just love some homemade bread, for centuries. During the first half of 2020, bread making has been much more popular. Many people have been looking for the best ways to make bread at home. 

Thankfully, making bread has become increasingly easier since humans started making bread. You don’t have to build any sort of brick or clay oven – though some may prefer that method. Some people have been experimenting with their grills and fire pits. You can also go traditional and just pop it in the oven or – even better and easier –  use a bread machine so you can set it and forget it.

How are you to choose the best bread machine for your needs when there are so many options out there? You can get large or small loaf capacity. You can find some that automatically add fruits and nuts. What if you want a more traditional looking loaf of bread? How long can you set a delayed start? Does gluten-free bread bake the same in a bread maker? You can find a space-saver or something more elegant and sleek.

I’ve put together a list of some of the best bread machines for 2020. I’ve based my list both on functionality of the bread machines, and their combined reviews on Amazon. It was important that I build my list with those bread makers that would be a welcome addition to your kitchen!

11 Top Bread Makers For 2020

1. Cuisinart 2-lb Bread Maker

The Cuisinart 2-lb Bread Maker has an array of great features, including gluten-free and artisan bread recipes. With twelve pre-programmed menu options including French, whole wheat, and even cake, this machine is made for busy cooks.

2. Aicok Stainless Steel Bread Machine

Need bread fast? The Aicok will not only have your bread done in two hours, but it can also make three different sizes of bread. This model comes with a detachable fruit and nut dispenser to make your bread more flavorful and healthy.

3. Hamilton Beach Digital Bread Maker

If you are newer to bread making, like many are in our new form of normal, this Hamilton Beach model is for you. With three easy steps for use – add ingredients, select cycle, and press start – this breadmaker is super simple to use.  Able to make quick bread with no yeast and audibly remind you when to add fruits and nuts, this Hamilton Beach product is a great selection for a first-time baker. The interior pan is dishwasher safe and comes with two kneading paddles.

4 Cuisinart CBK-110P1 Bread Maker

Making bread in a small kitchen can seem nearly impossible, with mixing, kneading, and proofing all being potentially space-consuming projects. The CBK-110 is a slim model measuring at 10.2 x 13.2 x 11.2 inches and only about 10 pounds. It also has an interior light so you can see your beautiful bread throughout the baking process.

5. Secura Bread Maker Machine 2.2lb Stainless Steel Toaster

This versatile model has 19 preset menu settings, 3 loaf sizes and 3 crust options available at a touch of a button. It can make a variety of breads, pizza doughs, cakes, yogurts and jams. The 15 hour delay function is a game-changer for those days when you want fresh bread waiting for you first thing in the morning!

6. Zojirushi BB-CEC20 Home Bakery Supreme 2-Pound-Loaf Breadmaker

The Zojirushi will definitely give you more of an oven-baked bread feel. The bread pan lays on its side, differing from most bread machines, which have a vertical loaf pan. This unit also comes with two mixing blades, measuring spoons, and measuring cups, as well as a recipe book. This machine is also able to make meatloaf, making it a much more versatile kitchen appliance than most bread makers!

7. KBS Pro Stainless Steel Bread Machine

The KBS is large, sleek, and beautiful. Stainless steel coating, tempered glass cover, and a fully digital, intuitive touch panel and control make this model a great match for any kitchen.  Programmed with a fifteen-hour delay start and a one-hour automatic “keep warm” function, this is a great bread machine for a busy family.

8. AmazonBasics 2 Pound Non-Stick Bread Making Machine

This bread machine is the perfect entryway kitchen accessory and it is both long-lasting and durable considering the cost. With a two-pound loaf capacity and an Expressbake function, this bread maker is great for large families or those that like to have bread stored away in the freezer for a rainy day.

9. The Foolproof Bread Maker

The Foolproof Bread Maker by Hammacher Schlemmer is a convection machine with the capability to make a unique loaf of bread with the “crispy crust” setting. Over 100 different combinations of bread can be made with this model. It also includes a lifetime guarantee!

10. T-fal 7211001527 Bread Machine

If you are going for gluten-free breads in your baking endeavors, try the T-fal ActiBread. It was designed specifically for gluten-free bread, pasta, and even cake. You can actually make your cake and eat it, too! The T-fal can make three different sizes of either gluten-free or standard bread loaves (or, of course, cake).

11. Breville BBM800XL Custom Loaf Bread Maker

Looking for that photo-worthy loaf from a bread machine without that imperfect hook indent? Want your grandmother’s twenty-seven step bread recipe to become super simplified? The Breville Custom Loaf Bread Maker is where it’s at. The mixing hook even collapses down to lessen the dent in the fully baked bread. You can not only save your personal recipes, but you can also make dough for pasta, pizza, and focaccia as well as pause the process for shaping crust and adding glaze for a beautifully finished loaf.

Whether you are a newly minted baker starting with quick breads, taking a pizza crust to a new level, or a tried and true purveyor of sourdough with your own starters, a bread machine is bound to make any bread-making journey much easier.

Enjoy your next baking adventure!

Categories
Chicken Dinners My Recipes

Easy Creamy Chicken Breasts

When it comes to meal planning, I’m always on the lookout for recipes that are quick to prep yet still deliver a tasty meal on the table. These easy and creamy chicken breasts are quick and easy to make, and they are jam-packed full of flavour! These creamy chicken breasts would be great served over rice, potatoes, or over pasta if you would like!

Smoked paprika can be an excellent cooking spice, but it can also be challenging to find! This recipe doesn’t require smoked paprika and instead provides a more mild flavour without the heat. If you do want to add a little heat to this dish, you could add some cayenne pepper, but this sauce is plenty flavourful without any additional steps.

This recipe calls for some common ingredients that you may already have at home or that you can easily find at the store! While it does need to bake in the oven for an hour, it only requires 20 minutes of prep work!

My favourite way to serve up these easy cream chicken breasts is with a side of rice, over pasta, or with a side salad. However, I’ve had these on their own plenty of times without complaint!

When making my meal plan, I like to choose theme nights to keep things exciting and rotate through the meals we have in my recipe binder. These easy cream chicken breasts are a great quick and easy meal that you can prepare without less than half an hour of prep, or as a fun way to make American food more enjoyable.

This would also make a great date night at home dish and is an excellent option for those looking to try some more adventurous recipes. Since this doesn’t require a lot of preparation and there are no funky ingredients, you don’t have to worry about pleasing picky eaters!

Easy Creamy Chicken Breasts

Chicken breasts spiced with paprika and cayenne pepper are served with a creamy sour cream sauce. This simple dish is low carb and suitable for those on a keto diet. It's an easy dish that even a beginner cook can serve with confidence.

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 bunches of green onions, thinly sliced (reserve 1/2 cup for garnish)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp paprika powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cold water
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 8 ounces of sour cream
  • 1 Roma tomato, thinly sliced for garnish
Chicken breasts spiced with paprika and cayenne pepper are served with a creamy sour cream sauce. This simple dish is low carb and suitable for those on a keto diet. It's an easy dish that even a beginner cook can serve with confidence.

Preparation

  1. Pre-heat over at 350°F.
  2. Place chicken in lightly greased 9 X 13 inch pan.
  3. Sprinkle sliced green onions evenly over chicken.
Chicken breasts spiced with paprika and cayenne pepper are served with a creamy sour cream sauce. This simple dish is low carb and suitable for those on a keto diet. It's an easy dish that even a beginner cook can serve with confidence.
  1. Mix paprika, salt and cayenne pepper in small bowl.
  2. Add chicken broth.
  3. Stir well.
Chicken breasts spiced with paprika and cayenne pepper are served with a creamy sour cream sauce. This simple dish is low carb and suitable for those on a keto diet. It's an easy dish that even a beginner cook can serve with confidence.
  1. Pour marinade over chicken and onions.
  2. Cover pan with aluminum foil.
  3. Bake at 350°F for 60 minutes.
  4. At end of bake time, remove chicken from pan and set it aside. Cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
Chicken breasts spiced with paprika and cayenne pepper are served with a creamy sour cream sauce. This simple dish is low carb and suitable for those on a keto diet. It's an easy dish that even a beginner cook can serve with confidence.
  1. Strain the pan juice into a sauce pan.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix water and cornstarch to make a slurry.
  3. Add the slurry to the chicken juices in the saucepan.
  4. Heat the sauce over medium high heat and bring the solution to a boil.
Chicken breasts spiced with paprika and cayenne pepper are served with a creamy sour cream sauce. This simple dish is low carb and suitable for those on a keto diet. It's an easy dish that even a beginner cook can serve with confidence.
  1. When the sauce thickens, remove from heat.
  2. Add sour cream and stir until blended.
Chicken breasts spiced with paprika and cayenne pepper are served with a creamy sour cream sauce. This simple dish is low carb and suitable for those on a keto diet. It's an easy dish that even a beginner cook can serve with confidence.
  1. Pour the sauce over the chicken and garnish with green onion and tomato slices.

You can print the recipe card here:

Easy Creamy Chicken Paprika

Chicken breasts spiced with paprika and cayenne pepper are served with a creamy sour cream sauce. This simple dish is low carb and suitable for those on a keto diet. It's an easy dish that even a beginner cook can serve with confidence.

Chicken breasts spiced with paprika and cayenne pepper are served with a creamy sour cream sauce. This simple dish is low carb and suitable for those on a keto diet. It's an easy dish that even a beginner cook can serve with confidence.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 bunches of green onions, thinly sliced,
  • reserve 1/2 cup of green tops for garnish
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tbl paprika powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbl cornstarch
  • 8 ounces of sour cream
  • 1 roma tomato, thinly sliced for garnish

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat over at 350°F.
  2. Place chicken in lightly greased 9 X 13 inch pan.
  3. Sprinkle sliced green onions evenly over chicken.
  4. Mix paprika, salt and cayenne pepper in small bowl.
  5. Add chicken broth.
  6. Stir well.
  7. Pour marinade over chicken and onions.
  8. Cover pan with aluminum foil.
  9. Bake at 350°F for 60 minutes.
  10. At end of bake time, remove chicken from pan and set it aside. Cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
  11. Strain the pan juice into a sauce pan.
  12. In a separate bowl, mix water and cornstarch to make a slurry.
  13. Add the slurry to the chicken juices in the saucepan.
  14. Heat the sauce over medium high heat and bring the solution to a boil.
  15. When the sauce thickens, remove from heat.
  16. Add sour cream and stir until blended.
  17. Pour the sauce over the chicken and garnish with green onion and tomato slices.
Categories
My Recipes

Butternut Squash And Walnut Spaghetti

I love pasta, and I don’t think I’ve ever had pasta that I didn’t like! Whenever I’m craving some comfort food, or just looking for a more filling meatless meal, I always find myself back at this Butternut Squash and Walnut Spaghetti recipe!

The nutty yet sweet taste of the butternut squash pairs beautifully with the walnuts to create a fall-inspired pasta dish you’ll want to make repeatedly.

If you are looking for an excellent meal for a Meatless Monday or cooking for a vegetarian, this Butternut Squash and Walnut Spaghetti is an excellent option since it has no meat! The walnuts provide an excellent meat substitute that pairs nicely with the butternut squash to create a dish full of flavor without any meat necessary!

The pasta sauce is thick and creamy, which provides and is topped with just a hint of Parmesan cheese and lemon zest to bring the whole dish together.

Taste great and good for you!

Butternut squash is a great vegetable to add to your diet for additional vitamins and minerals. It’s rich in vitamins A and C but is also an excellent source for vitamins B and D. It’s even high in magnesium and potassium, which can help promote bone health.

Paired with the delicious butternut squash and savory walnuts is a nice helping of spinach. Spinach is also rich in vitamins A and C, but includes K as well! This leafy vegetable can help reduce stress and even blood pressure too! While the star of the show in this dish is the butternut squash, spinach lovers will still taste a hint of leafy goodness with each bite.

Butternut Squash And Walnut Spaghetti

This Butternut Squash and Walnut Spaghetti would make an excellent dinner party recipe for special diets or a fun way to spice up your next meatless dish at home! This recipe is so easy to make, and a simple pasta recipe to make at home.

Ingredients

  • 1 (16 ounce) package dry spaghetti
  • 2 cups cubed butternut squash
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • ½ cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
This Butternut Squash and Walnut Spaghetti would make an excellent dinner party recipe for special diets or a fun way to spice up your next meatless dish at home! This recipe is so easy to make, and a simple pasta recipe to make at home.

Preparation

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400°F. Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Toss cubed butternut squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season as desired with salt and pepper.
  3. Bake in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes (depending on the size of the squash) or until the squash is softened.

Tip: During the last 5 minutes of baking time, add the walnuts to one corner of the baking sheet to toast lightly.

This Butternut Squash and Walnut Spaghetti would make an excellent dinner party recipe for special diets or a fun way to spice up your next meatless dish at home! This recipe is so easy to make, and a simple pasta recipe to make at home.
  1. Meanwhile, cook spaghetti according to package instructions. Drain and return to pot. Toss with lemon juice.
This Butternut Squash and Walnut Spaghetti would make an excellent dinner party recipe for special diets or a fun way to spice up your next meatless dish at home! This recipe is so easy to make, and a simple pasta recipe to make at home.
  1. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon over medium-high heat. Stir in garlic and red pepper flakes. Add the heavy cream and bring to a simmer. Stir in spinach.
This Butternut Squash and Walnut Spaghetti would make an excellent dinner party recipe for special diets or a fun way to spice up your next meatless dish at home! This recipe is so easy to make, and a simple pasta recipe to make at home.
  1. Add parmesan and cooked squash.
This Butternut Squash and Walnut Spaghetti would make an excellent dinner party recipe for special diets or a fun way to spice up your next meatless dish at home! This recipe is so easy to make, and a simple pasta recipe to make at home.
  1. Pour sauce over spaghetti and toss to combine.
This Butternut Squash and Walnut Spaghetti would make an excellent dinner party recipe for special diets or a fun way to spice up your next meatless dish at home! This recipe is so easy to make, and a simple pasta recipe to make at home.
  1. Serve topped with chopped walnuts, additional grated Parmesan and lemon zest if desired.

You can print the recipe card here:

Butternut Squash & Walnut Spaghetti

This Butternut Squash and Walnut Spaghetti would make an excellent dinner party recipe for special diets or a fun way to spice up your next meatless dish at home! This recipe is so easy to make, and a simple pasta recipe to make at home.

This Butternut Squash and Walnut Spaghetti
would make an excellent dinner party recipe for special diets or a fun way to
spice up your next meatless dish at home! This recipe is so easy to make, and a
simple pasta recipe to make at home.

Ingredients

  • 1 (16 ounce) package dry spaghetti
  • 2 cups cubed butternut squash
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • ½ cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400°F. Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Toss cubed butternut squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season as desired with salt and pepper.
  3. Bake in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes (depending on the size of the squash) or until the squash is softened.
  4. During the last 5 minutes of baking time, add the walnuts to one corner of the baking sheet to toast lightly.
  5. Meanwhile, cook spaghetti according to package instructions. Drain and return to pot. Toss with lemon juice.
  6. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon over medium-high heat. Stir in garlic and red pepper flakes. Add the heavy cream and bring to a simmer. Stir in spinach.
  7. Add Parmesan and cooked squash.
  8. Pour sauce over spaghetti and toss to combine.
  9. Serve topped with chopped walnuts, additional grated Parmesan and lemon zest if desired.
Categories
Organization

10 Herbs And Spices Every Kitchen Needs

Herbs and spices are vital for making your meals flavorful even with the simplest ingredients. When stocking your kitchen you want to gather herbs and spices that allow you to make your family quality meals they want to eat even on a budget.

These ten herbs and spices are a great start for building your spice stock.

Salt is vital for your health though in limited amounts. Rather than eating pre-made foods packed with salt you can use your own salt and have full control of how much sodium is in your diet. Having a variety of salt including iodized table salt and pink Himalayan salt is a great way to add flavor to your food.

Pepper is perfect for seasoning food after cooking or adding a kick of flavor while you cook. A peppercorn grinder for truly fresh ground pepper is the best way to take advantage of the flavor pepper has to offer.

Cinnamon is a true staple for your kitchen. Cinnamon can make a great addition to everything from oatmeal to deserts and add flavor to fruits and vegetables. Having cinnamon on hand is a great way to be ready to mix up a fun treat in the kitchen as simple as adding to peanut butter or sprinkling with sugar over baked apples.

Oregano is one of the most commonly used spices in Italian dishes. When you think of pizza you often think of the smell of toasted oregano in the sauce. Stocking oregano in your kitchen allows you to add a dash of extra flavor quickly and easily to even the blandest pasta sauce.

Basil like oregano is an Italian classic that goes well in pretty much everything. Basil makes a great addition to soups and sauces allowing you to improve the flavor and give it something special.

Thyme has a great flavor that goes well with poultry and seafood. Thyme makes a great addition to potatoes as well. Use Thyme to flavor sauces and stews.

Rosemary is another herb that can make for amazing poultry dishes. Use to give flavor to soups and stews or make your own herbed bread for serving alongside meals.

Chilli powder is the simplest way to add a kick to chili, tacos, and other savory dishes. This is a great way to kick up the flavor is a dish that is too sweet for your liking. Use chili powder to add a kick to your favorite barbecue recipe.

Garlic is one of the best herbs to keep in your kitchen for adding flavor to just about anything savory. Garlic powder or dried minced garlic are great options though if you have space and will use it quickly fresh garlic is always the best option.

Paprika is great for adding something special to your meals. From homemade barbecue to adding flavor to homemade mac and cheese. Choose a smoked variety for even more flavor. This is a staple for soups, chili, and tacos allowing you to add more flavor to your store-bought mixes or making your own.

I must admit that I used to be very weary of adding spices to my homemade meals. But once you understand the uses of each and how they can make your dish go from bland to grand, you will be adding a pinch here and there, even in pre-made meals. Try it and let me know how you make out!

Categories
Chicken Dinners My Recipes

20+ Leftover Chicken Ideas

Supercharge your meal planning money savings and reduce waste with these leftover chicken ideas. I promise you, your family won’t even realize they are eating leftovers.

I know I am an odd duck as I can eat the same thing over and over again without getting bored. I hate food waste and nothing brings me more pleasure than seeing all of my leftovers gone. But my family, not so much. They hate leftovers.

That is why I have to be sneaky. I am always on the lookout for ways to use up my leftovers by using recipes that look and taste fresh. The key really is variety.

One of the most economical meals I have on my meal plan is roast chicken. I have to admit that I do pick it up ready made from my local grocery store. Add fries, a side and dipping sauce and this meal replicates take-away at a fraction of the cost. It is also quick and easy to put together.

Bring home a whole rotisserie chicken and use the leftovers to make many more recipes to complete your weekly meal plan. Check out these 20+ leftover chicken ideas.

I usually buy two ready-made chickens on 2 for 1 days. This deal is offered on Tuesdays. So that means that I not only have leftovers from the first chicken, but a whole leftover chicken roast as well to use up during the rest of the week. Luckily, I have lots of leftover chicken recipes in my arsenal to help me do just that.

You don’t need to get a whole chicken to take advantage of these leftover chicken ideas either. I also like to buy in bulk if I find a super good offer on chicken breasts. I then schedule a chicken breast recipe for Monday or Tuesday. But instead of just preparing the chicken breast I need for that one meal, I lightly season and bake all of the chicken breasts I have in one go. I find this saves energy by only using the oven once plus saves me time when using the following recipes for leftover chicken breast as well.

How long is leftover chicken good for?

If you store your leftover chicken properly, is should be good for 3-4 days. Make sure it is in a air-sealed container and that your refrigerator is set to 40°F or below. Discard leftovers after 4 days as the taste and quality will have deteriorated plus bacteria may have begun to grow. If you notice a sour smell or a slimy texture, throw the chicken out, even if it is less than 4 days old.

Can you freeze leftover chicken?

Absolutely! Plain or fried pieces of chicken can last up to four months in the freezer. If you anticipate that you will not be able to use up all of your leftover chicken in the next 4 days after you have cooked it, seal it up and store it in the freezer for another week’s meal plan.

Go to the USDA for more food safety guidelines.

How to unthaw cooked chicken

  • Unwrap and place the frozen, cooked chicken in a bowl or dish inside the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before requiring it or
  • Seal it in an air tight baggie and submerge it in a tall pot full of cold tap water. Change water every 30 minutes until thawed or
  • Thaw in the microwave using low or defrost setting. Approximately 6-8 minutes per pound.

Additional Tips

No one wants to have a week of chicken recipes, nor do you want to feel pressured to use up all of your cooked chicken in 4 days. Save some chicken and refrigerate for immediate use but prepare some chicken and freeze for future weeks meal plans. Slice, cube and shred chicken and store in individual, air tight freezer baggies. That way you have them ready for recipes that require them and they unthaw quicker.

I hope you find lots of inspirational ways to use up your leftover chicken here:

20+ Leftover Chicken Easy Recipes

Lunch Ideas

By far the easiest way to use up your leftover chicken is to use it for lunches the next day. Either for eat at home or to take to work/school, it is a nice, healthy meal.

This messy chicken sandwich is just one of 20+ leftover chicken ideas you can use to fill your weekly meal plan, save you money and reduce waste.

Messy Chicken Sandwich

Ingredients: Shredded chicken, favourite gravy or dipping sauce for chicken, bread, peas.

Directions:

  1. Warm chicken in microwave.
  2. Coat chicken with hot gravy.
  3. Spread between two slices of bread.
  4. Top with gravy and pre-heated peas.

Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese

Ingredients: Shredded chicken, buffalo sauce, cheddar cheese slices, bread, butter.

Directions:

  1. Warm up skillet.
  2. In a small bowl, combine shredded chicken and buffalo sauce.
  3. Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread and place butter side down in hot skillet.
  4. Cooking about 4-5 minutes on each side. Flip when golden brown and cheese melted.

Chicken Salad Sandwich

Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups cubed chicken, 1 small celery stalk chopped, 1 small onion chopped, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, pinch of salt and pepper to taste, 8 slices of bread.

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients except bread in a bowl.
  2. Spread mixture in between slices.

Chicken Pita

Ingredients: Cubed chicken pieces, mayonnaise, mustard, salt, pepper, pitas. Optional: caramelized onions, green pepper.

Directions:

  1. Coat chicken with mayonnaise.
  2. Add mustard, salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Fill pita and add any additional ingredients as desired.

Chicken Soup

Ingredients: Cubed chicken pieces, favourite noodle soup or chicken broth and egg noodles, cubed carrots, sliced celery stalk.

Directions:

  1. Warm up pre-made noodle soup or broth with pre-cooked egg noodles.
  2. Add chicken, carrots and celery.
  3. Heat till hot but don’t over boil.

Chicken Caesar Salad

Ingredients: Strips chicken pieces, romaine lettuce, parmesan cheese, bacon bits, croutons, caesar salad dressing.

Directions:

  1. Chop up romaine lettuce.
  2. Mix lettuce, cheese, croutons, bacon bits and dressing to desired consistency.
  3. Top with chicken strips.
This chicken caesar wrap is just one of 20+ leftover chicken ideas you can use to fill your weekly meal plan, save you money and reduce waste.

Chicken Caesar Wrap

Do real men eat salads? Well, yes they do if I wrap it in a tortilla! You can pretty much put any kind of salad in with your sliced chicken in a wrap for a nice lunch.

Ingredients: Prepared Chicken Caesar Salad, tortillas.

Directions:

  1. Fill tortilla with salad.
  2. Roll and serve.

Chicken Tacos

Ingredients: 2 cups shredded chicken, 2 cups grated strong cheddar cheese, diced tomato, salsa, 10 hard taco shells, shredded lettuce, sour cream, guacamole.

Directions:

  1. Pre heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Line baking tray with aluminium foil.
  3. Line up taco shells upright.
  4. Layer in each shell in this order: chicken, salsa, tomatoes and cheese.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes or cheese has melted.
  6. Remove from oven and top with salsa, sour cream and guacamole.

Chicken Quesadilla

Ingredients: diced chicken pieces, tortillas (pack of 10), shredded strong cheddar cheese, sour cream, salsa, finely chopped green pepper and onions, guacamole.

Directions:

  1. Warm tortilla in non stick skillet.
  2. Add chicken, cheese, salsa, pepper and onions.
  3. Fold tortilla over.
  4. Flip and cook 2 minutes.
  5. Remove and serve with salsa, sour cream and guacamole.

Chicken Burrito

Ingredients: diced chicken pieces, tortillas (pack of 10), taco seasoning, rice, refried beans, sour cream, guacamole.

Directions:

  1. Warm chicken in skillet.
  2. Add taco seasoning as per package directions.
  3. Cook rice according to directions.
  4. Warm beans in microwave.
  5. Add rice and beans to skillet.
  6. Mix well.
  7. Warm tortilla in microwave.
  8. Layer filling on tortilla.
  9. Roll and serve with sour cream and guacamole.

Chicken Panini

Ingredients: Sliced chicken, thick sliced bread, baby spinach leaves, thick cheddar cheese slices, pre-cooked bacon, sliced tomato, ranch dressing, salted butter.

Directions:

  1. Set the panini press to medium heat.
  2. Butter all bread on one side.
  3. Place one slice, butter side down, on the hot press.
  4. Top with chicken, then some ranch dressing then all the other ingredients.
  5. Place slice of bread, butter side up, on top.
  6. Shut the panini press and let cook for 7 minutes or until the bread is toasted golden brown.

Chicken Gyros

Ingredients: Pita bread, Tzatziki sauce. For the marinade: Chicken strips, 3 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tbsp. lemon juice, 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar, 1 tsp. parika, 1 tsp. dried oregano, 1/2 tsp. salt and pepper. Toppings: lettuce, sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, sliced onion, Feta cheese.

Directions:

  1. Place the chicken in a medium bowl and add all of the marinade ingredients.
  2. Mix well then cover with plastic wrap, and marinate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
  3. Warm the pita bread (in the oven or microwave).
  4. Add a bit of shredded lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onion, and chicken on top. Drizzle with a generous amount of Tzatziki and feta cheese.
  5. Fold the gyro in half and serve.

Sides

Chicken doesn’t always have to be centre stage. Use it as in a side dish to compliment your next dinner, BBQ or picnic.

These chicken kabobs are just one of 20+ leftover chicken ideas you can use to fill your weekly meal plan, save you money and reduce waste.

Chicken Kabobs

Ingredients: 1 inch cubed chicken, cubed pineapple, large green pepper cubed, large diced red onion, favourite BBQ sauce, skewers.

Directions:

  1. Alternate chicken, pineapple, pepper, and onions on skewer.
  2. Place on grill.
  3. Brush with sauce.
  4. Heat till crispy and vegetables tender.

Chicken Pasta Salad

Ingredients: Cubed chicken pieces, favourite pasta, green pepper, onion, tomato, Italian salad dressing. Optional: sunflower seeds, tart green or red apple cubes.

Directions:

  1. Prepare pasta as directed.
  2. Chop up onions, peppers, and tomatoes.
  3. In a large bowl, mix chicken, vegetables and Italian dressing.
  4. Refrigerate and serve cold over bed of lettuce.

Chicken Fried Rice

Ingredients: 1 cup small cubed chicken, 1 tbsp. oil, 2 large onions diced, 3 medium carrots diced, 1 red pepper diced, 2 cups cooked and chilled rice, 3 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce, 1 tbsp. maple syrup, 2 large eggs beaten, 1/2 cup frozen peas.

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in large skillet or wok on medium-high heat.
  2. Reheat the cooked chicken and turn to brown on all sides.
  3. Add onions and carrots and cook until the onions turn translucent, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the pepper and cook until softened.
  5. Stir in pre-cooked rice and cook until starting to brown. 
  6. Stir in the soy sauce and maple syrup.
  7. Push the fried rice to the side of the pan to make room in the middle.
  8. Add the beaten eggs and cook over medium-low heat until just set.
  9. Cut into pieces with a spatula and stir into the rice.
  10. Add the peas and stir well and cook until they’re hot.

Dinner Ideas

Use your stored, frozen cooked chicken for a main course.

This chicken alfredo recipe is just one of 20+ leftover chicken ideas you can use to fill your weekly meal plan, save you money and reduce waste.

Chicken Alfredo

Ingredients: Cubed chicken pieces, favourite pasta, alfredo sauce, bacon bits, cheddar cheese.

Directions:

  1. Prepare pasta as directed.
  2. Warm up chicken in microwave.
  3. Drain pasta.
  4. Add sauce and chicken.
  5. Serve topped with bacon bits.

Chicken Casserole

Ingredients: 2 cups shredded chicken, 2 cups uncooked egg noodles, 1 cup bread crumbs, 1 package (10oz) thawed frozen peas and carrots, 1 package (10oz) thawed frozen corn, 1 cup milk, 1 can cream of chicken soup, 1 can cream of mushroom soup, salt and pepper, 1/2 tbsp. dried minced onion, 2 tbsp. melted butter, 1/2 tsp. melted butter, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Spray 9×13 inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
  3. Boil egg noodles according to package directions. Drain water.
  4. In large bowl combine all the other remaining ingredients.
  5. Add cooked noodles to mixture. Gently stir to combine all ingredients.
  6. Pour into prepared baking dish. Cover with foil.
  7. Bake 30 minutes or until heated through.
  8. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Skillet Chicken Stew

Ingredients: Cubed chicken pieces, salt and pepper. Choice of sauce: Buffalo, BBQ, Teriyaki, Greek marinade, lemon pepper marinade, Jamaican jerk sauce. Optional vegetables: corn, carrots, potatoes, peas.

Directions:

  1. Add chicken, choice of sauce and vegetables to skillet.
  2. Heat and stir for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Serve over rice.

Weekend Favourites

Get ready for game day with these fabulous chicken recipes.

This buffalo chicken pizza is just one of 20+ leftover chicken ideas you can use to fill your weekly meal plan, save you money and reduce waste.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Ingredients: cubed chicken pieces, ready-made pizza crust, hot sauce, cream cheese, dry ranch seasoning, Mozzarella.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Coat chicken with hot sauce.
  3. Spread warmed up cream cheese over pizza crust.
  4. Sprinkle with ranch dressing, Mozzarella and chicken.
  5. Top with layer of Mozzarella.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes.

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Ingredients: finely chopped chicken pieces, ready-made pizza crust, BBQ sauce, Monterey Jack cheese, finely chopped red onion.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Spread thin layer BBQ sauce over crust, not quite to edges.
  3. Spread cheese, then chicken and onions over pizza crust.
  4. Top with layer of Monterey Jack.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes.

Chicken Ranch Pizza

Ingredients: 1 cup shredded chicken, ready-made pizza crust, 2 cups mozzarella, Romano, Asiago and Parmesan mix, 1 cup diced tomato. Sauce: 2 tbsp. sour cream, 3 tbsp. mayo, 2 tbsp. milk, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, 1/2 tsp dill weed, 1/2 tsp. onion powder, 1 tbsp. lion juice, 1 tsp. minced garlic.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Combine sauce ingredients and mix well.
  3. Spread on pizza, not quite to the edges.
  4. Top with 1 1/2 cups of the cheese mixture, then the chicken and tomatoes.
  5. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
  6. Optional topping: add some crumbled bacon.
  7. Bake for 18-25 minutes until crust is fully cooked and cheese is melted.

Chicken Nachos

Ingredients: 2 cups shredded chicken, 1 bag tortilla chips, 16 oz strong cheddar cheese, 1 can drained black beans, 1 can drained corn, 1 sweet bell pepper cubed, guacamole, salsa, sour cream, chopped cilantro.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425˚F.
  2. Line a large sheet pan with foil.  
  3. Spread whole chips (don’t use crumbs) evenly to cover sheet pan.
  4. Sprinkle half the cheese over the nachos.
  5. In small bowl, combine beans, corn, pepper and chicken.
  6. Spread mixture evenly over cheese layer.
  7. Top with remaining cheese.
  8. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cheese on top is just starting to brown.
  9. Remove from the oven and top with your choice of guacamole, salsa, sour cream, and fresh chopped cilantro.

Hopefully this list has inspired you to get creative, reduce your food waste and helped you add some new leftover chicken recipes to your next meal plan.

Having leftover chicken ideas makes meal planning budget wise plus treats your family with a variety of tasty, healthy meals. Let me know if you have any additional ideas for leftover chicken for me to add to my list.