Like many of you, Jon and I have very busy schedules right now. We have Bible study on Sunday night, I work for Weight Watchers on Tuesday night, I teach a different Bible study on Wednesday night, we hangout with friends on Thursday night, we go grocery shopping on Friday night, and once a month I work for Weight Watchers on Saturday morning. Yikes!!
Please do not misunderstand me...I am not trying to complain. However, it just makes for a very long week. This busy schedule that we are sporting for the next several weeks means that I have to be very intentional about the meals I cook.
Maintaining my weight loss is a priority in my life. I try to put it and myself before these other things. I find that by making my menu at the beginning of each month, I am able to know what we are going to have for dinner without thinking about it too much!
Below is a Weight Watchers article from their Cook Once, Eat All Week series, that I found extremely helpful. This is a great idea for people like me, who are busy and trying to stay on plan.
Cook Once, Eat All Week: Soups, Chilies and Stews
From: Weight Watchers
Article By: Melissa Sperl
All day long, you watch what you eat. But then when it comes time to make supper, you're so hungry, tired and frazzled that you can't help but snack while you cook. It's hard to stay on plan when you're busy and your stomach is rumbling!
Sound familiar? Nibbling while you're preparing dinner is a common phenomenon, but that doesn't mean it has to undermine your weight-loss efforts. The trick is planning ahead so you eliminate the stress and effort of having to fix a meal at the last minute.
That's why, with the help of an expert chef and a nutritionist, we've created the Cook Once, Eat All Week series. We'll give you great recipes and tell you what you need to know to prepare an entire week's worth of dinners, plus some leftovers for lunch, in just a couple of hours over the weekend.
So, this weekend, spend a couple of hours shopping, chopping, cooking and storing. It'll go by faster than you think (especially if your family will be around to help). Next week, when it's a breeze to stay on plan, you'll be glad you did it!
Cooking on the weekend: It's worth it
You'd rather spend the weekend relaxing, you say? Look at it this way: If you plan ahead, combine prep steps, and store well, you can get most of an entire week's worth of cooking done in one afternoon. That means more time to relax during the busy workweek, when you really need it to help you stay on Plan.
There are five recipes in total, enough for a week's worth of dinners. Here's what on the menu:
* Layered Mexican Chicken
* Vegetable-Peanut Stir-Fry
* Green Beans With Caramelized Onions and Dill
* Tri-Color Pesto Rotini
* Green Bean, Pearl Onion and Dill Frittata
Step 1: Prepare
This weekend, after you've taken your shopping list to the grocery store and gotten all the ingredients you'll need, make the chicken, the stir-fry, the green beans and the pesto rotini. Save time on chopping by cutting up the veggies for the stir-fry and the pasta all at once.
Step 2: Store
The Layered Mexican Chicken can be stored for up to five days in the fridge (perfect) — just cover it with a casserole dish cover or aluminum foil. For extra plan-ahead power, make two batches. Freeze the second batch in individual portions for four to six months; on days you know you'll have no time to make dinner, just transfer them to the fridge in the morning so they'll be defrosted when you get home.
The pasta is fridge-friendly for a week, too. And the stir-fry and green beans will stay fresh in the fridge for up to three days.
Step 3: Enjoy
Our recipes will give you plenty of food for multiple meals that you can mix and match according to your eating habits, your plans and the size of your family.
We've even anticipated that you might want to take some of the food to work for healthy lunches. There are lots of ways to do it: Take some of the pasta to work in a plastic container — the rotini is hot when you first make it, but it can be eaten as a cold pasta salad, too. The stir-fry would be good rolled up into a tortilla and enjoyed as a lunchtime wrap. Feel free to add grilled chicken strips for a heartier midday meal.
The green beans are a perfect side dish for the Mexican chicken, and they can be eaten cold at lunchtime, too. Just make sure you save some to make the super-easy frittata mid-week.
What you do with the dishes you make is entirely up to you. But here's a sample plan for a family of four, assuming one portion per person:
* Sunday: Cook for the week. Enjoy Stir-Fry for dinner.
* Monday's dinner: Mexican Chicken with Green Beans on the side.
* Tuesday's dinner: Finish up Stir-Fry.
* Wednesday's dinner: Make Frittata with leftover green beans (it only takes 30 minutes!). You can store the leftovers for up to two days.
* Thursday's dinner: Pesto Rotini. Enjoy with some bagged baby carrots on the side.
* Friday's dinner: Mexican Chicken. Accompany with steamed veggies of your choice.