Turning One Meal Into Six

Whether you're short on time or money, preparing one large meal on the weekend and stretching it all week long is a cost and time efficient way of meal planning. Of course, dining on the same cut of meat five days in a row can be tiresome, but consider freezing the meat and using one meal option every few days as needed.

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The Shopping List

If you want to try preparing one large meal on Sunday and enjoying the benefits of it for the next five days, prepare your shopping list carefully.

You'll need:

  • one large ham
  • fresh potatoes
  • canned pineapples
  • canned/frozen/or fresh peas
  • box of rotini or shell pasta
  • can of cream of celery soup
  • sliced Swiss cheese
  • shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
  • canned/frozen/fresh green beans
  • jar of pork gravy
  • brick of cream cheese
  • whole grain crackers
  • green olives
  • salad and salad dressing

Sunday

At key times throughout the year, hams are placed on sale. By taking advantage of these sales you can maximize your meal budget and prep time. Purchase the largest ham, knowing that you will use it to feed your family for an entire week. On Sunday serve a traditional baked ham with pineapples and mashed potatoes on the side. Save a few extra potatoes for later in the week.

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Monday

After a filling meal yesterday, relax today with hot ham club sandwiches. Layer slices of your ham and Swiss cheese on buttered bread. Create an interesting sandwich spread using thousand island dressing or horseradish sauce. For a true deli taste, add leftover pineapple rings to your sandwich. The key is to toast it like you would a grilled cheese sandwich.

Tuesday

Your leftover ham is probably looking pretty chopped up at this point. Chunk some pieces of the ham, add to the extra potatoes that you saved on Sunday, and add a can of green beans and a can of pork gravy. Simmer it for a few hours, and you'll have delicious ham soup. (If you reserved the bone from earlier in the week, add it to your soup now.)

Wednesday

Now you need to get creative. Chunk your remaining ham pieces even smaller and boil some rotini or shell noodles. Mix the ham and the noodles with a can of cream of celery soup. Add peas to the mixture, and spoon it into ramekins or other small baking dishes. Top with two or three slices of Swiss cheese, tucking the sides of the cheese into the baking dish to form a cover. Bake until heated through.

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Thursday

More ham? You bet! This time it's not the main dish. Mix pieces of ham with shredded cheddar cheese (or tear your remaining Swiss from last night and use that) and one brick of softened cream cheese. Place in a small baking dish and bake at 350 degrees until the top is browned. Serve hot with a hearty whole wheat cracker and green olives.

Friday

Tonight is leftover night with a creative twist. Your ham should be limited by now. Set up a build-you-own salad bar for your family and offer small ham pieces, any leftover cheese you might have, leftover olives, boiled eggs, and an assortment of fresh veggies. Your family can enjoy chef salads for dinner.

Saturday

Your family will be tired of ham at this point. Treat them to something different and well deserved and plan your fantastic meals for next week.

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November 3, 20110 found this helpful

I love it! I live alone but I still make several meals on the weekend and freeze so I don't have to "Cook" when I get home from work during the week. I cook the whole bag of chicken breasts in 3 different marinates and freeze them individually. When I get home from work I just put rice in my rice cooker and throw a frozen chicken breast into the water turn it on and chicken is cooked through and moist when the rice is done.

I also cook a small bag of potatoes - mash them and put them in 5oz plastic cups and freeze to microwave and eat with my frozen meatballs I made last month. I have been known to 'cheat' when lazy and ordered mashed potatoes from a restaurant (or KFC) and freeze those in several cups
(I freeze the gravy seperately)

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And I Always get at least 3 meals out of my "doggie bag" from eating out
Love it! I feel like I'm 'beating the system'

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November 12, 20110 found this helpful

I make a big pot of chicken or beef fried rice, have one fresh meal, then portion the remainder into sandwich bags. I'll then put them together in a large freezer bag and label. I love making soups thick with veggies and freeze them in freezer bowls, again in single portions. By having a variety in the freezer it's not same old, same old every day.

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