Meal Planning Monday is actually becoming a habit that I am enjoying. I started this series because I was not a meal planner. I had not developed the habit of writing down what we would be eating for dinner during the work week. This series is for you if you could use some simple meal planning ideas to help ease into weekly meal planning.
The previous Meal Planning for Beginners posts can be found here:
- Meal Planning for Beginners Part 1
- Meal Planning for Beginners Part 2
- Meal Planning for Beginners Part 3
The Benefits of Meal Planning
We are indeed reaping the benefits of meal planning: saving money, saving time, less stress, and more variety in our meals. My sons start thinking about dinner right after school. They were always asking, “Mom, what’s for dinner?” Now I actually know! The ironic thing is that now that I’ve started meal planning, they’ve stopped asking. They actually look at the weekly meal plan and that stops them from
harassing asking me daily. Want the kids to stop asking What's for dinner? Start #meal planning! Click To Tweet
Weeknight Roast Chicken
I know people generally think roasting a chicken is wonderful and simple. I have always been intimidated by it. It may be because I associate it with the monumental and delicious task of roasting a turkey for Thanksgiving…but on a smaller scale.
I have finally overcome my fear. My sister served a delicious and moist roast chicken when we visited her and she said it was simple. I like chicken and I like simple. The roast chicken recipe comes from America’s Test Kitchen. Essentially, you heat your oven proof skillet while the oven is preheating; stick the chicken in the skillet for roughly 30 minutes at 450 degrees; then turn the oven off and let the chicken finish cooking for another approximate 30 minutes.
Trussing A Chicken
Another reason I haven’t added roast chicken to our regular dinner rotation is that it frequently calls for trussing a chicken using kitchen twine. I have never had kitchen twine in my kitchen. I didn’t have kitchen twine this time either. A quick search on the internet, however, showed me how to truss the chicken without twine. You can read about the ingenious method here.
Meal Planning ideas: Three Meals from One Chicken
We enjoyed roast chicken with rice pilaf and green beans for dinner early in the week.
I pulled all the leftover chicken off the bones to use for chicken enchiladas later in the week
The hardest part of chicken enchiladas is cooking and shredding the chicken, so the little bits of chicken I gathered were perfect to make a stress free chicken enchiladas dish later in the week.
I put the chicken bones in the crockpot to make Overnight Chicken Stock in the Crockpot for soup sometime in the future.
I didn’t have all the ingredients that were called for in the chicken stock recipe, but I used what I had. The leafy end parts of the celery saved in the freezer were put to use in this easy recipe. I set it on low, and the next morning we had 10 cups of chicken stock to freeze for soup in the future.
The extra work I did that night might have added up to 15 additional minutes. 15 minutes gave me the foundation for two more future meals. Meal planning definitely takes a little time and thought, but it’s paying off!
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Do you make roast chicken? What other meals do you make from it? I’d love to know!
Anne Louise Bannon says
I’ve been planning meals for years – it helps me eat healthier, too. I do all sorts of things with leftover roast chicken (BTW, trussing so not necessary – it just makes the bird look a little nicer). That’s when I can get some before my husband eats the leftovers. This week, we’ll be doing chicken sandwiches, although chicken salad is another fave. And I’m trying to think what else….
Hi Anne! Yes, chicken salad is a good one. I’m thinking as the weather gets cooler we will be doing more soups with chicken. I can’t wait!
I almost always make my baked chicken taquitos or oven-fried chimichangas with leftover chicken. Although usually I make sure we’ll have extra because we love both of those recipes so much 🙂
Hi Abby! Your baked chicken taquitos is one of the recipes I hope to make with leftover chicken!
I absolutely love it when I can get multiple meals out of “one” meal! Thanks for these ideas!!! <3
Sure! Thanks for reading Susannah!
Barbara Hammond says
Mario Batali, who is one of my fave chefs, said if you make a chicken every Sunday you’ll have 3 good meals for the week. He and you are exactly right. I started doing it last winter and continued by using the slow cooker this summer.
The other meal that I often make on Sunday for 3 meals during the week is pot roast. I love Ree Drummond’s (The Pioneer Woman) recipe for pot roast! You can find it on her website. And it works in the summer as well as winter.
Hi Barbara! Thanks for that tip – I’ll check out her pot roast recipe! I ❤️ my slow cooker!
I love this! I always pick up a chicken every week and it saves us so much time. I have never made enchiladas before but I have a partial chicken in the fridge now, so thanks for the idea!
Hi Danielle! It’s definitely going on my rotation now as well. Thanks for reading and commenting!
Nichole aka CuppaGeek says
Awesome! Love this! I roast chickens all the time and use them throughout the week for different meals. Anything I can add a bit of chicken into I will 🙂 Fajitas, chicken parm, ranch chicken for salads, chicken noodle soup. With having a family of 6- I have to get creative.
You sound very creative Nichole – and well versed in meal planning! Fajitas are a great idea too – I’ll have to add that to my list as well. Thanks for dropping by!
I’m eating leftover chicken pot pie for lunch as I post this that I made with our leftover roast chicken! I used a Trader Joe’s pie crust for the top (they come frozen and you have to thaw a little bit to get it to un-roll without breaking too much), so it was pretty dang easy. I also made chicken stock too. I have been known to put the carcass in the freezer for when I have time to make the stock. (I also like to keep all of my onion skins and ends, etc, in the freezer to stick in the broth). Roasting chicken still isn’t a weeknight dinner for us, since I mostly need something that can just be thrown on a plate like a salad or quickly sauteed during the week. I might try your ATK method though. But you can always pick up a rotisserie chicken in most supermarkets if you didn’t plan ahead! We used to have a corner place that roasted them nearby and would sell sides too, so I would sometimes make a few meals out of that too.
Hi Susannah! I love chicken pot pie but the kiddos don’t like it as much. That’s a good idea about onion skins – do you wash them first before freezing? I was hesitant before to put some ends in because of the dirt factor. We have definitely done the rotisserie chicken thing in the past.
I adore meal planning! I love the idea that I can use one chicken for 3 ways.
Thanks for reading and commenting Ann!
This is great. I’ve always been too lazy to make soup. But in the crockpot, I can do that! Thanks for the idea!
Your welcome! Thanks Melinda – I love my crockpot!
Danita Carr says
Thanks for sharing at Small Victories Sunday Linkup!
Thanks for hosting a great party!
I love how you stretched this chicken into so many meals!
Suzanna @ One Hoolie Mama says
I hadn’t thought of using the chicken bones for stock – what a great tip! Thanks for linking up with Small Victories Sunday 🙂
Thanks Suzanna! I know you make a mean roast chicken – you should try the stock next time!
Once you get in the groove, meal planning becomes automatic. Roasting a chicken is a great way to make a few meals out of one ingredient! I love the chicken broth in a crock pot, I’ve not see that. Thanks for sharing on the healthy living link party!
Thanks Anne. Yes I agree – I think I’m actually getting into the groove of meal planning!