This weekend has been packed with activities. We had a party with Tony’s co-workers Friday night. I quickly ran to the grocery store Saturday morning. Then, we did other errands – the bank, the post office, the car dealer. Before I knew it, the clock read 4:00. Usually by that time, all of my meals are ready and in my refrigerator. Now I had no meals ready, and I still had to feed the kids, give them baths, and put them to bed. That meant this would be the perfect weekend for some semi-homemade make-ahead meals.
I try really hard to use fresh ingredients in our meals and limit the processed food products. However, on really busy weekends like this, I sometimes take advantage of a few prepared products. They cut down on my preparation time and help me get my make-ahead meals in the refrigerator in record time. I knew I wouldn’t have time to cook on Sunday with church, soccer, and lesson planning, so I got to work planning my menu and making my semi-homemade make-ahead meals.
Weis Markets is one of my weekly grocery store trips. They have a promotion called “Fantastic Friday,” which I usually miss since I’m teaching. This weekend, they extended the deals for the entire weekend. They had Perdue chicken breasts buy 1 get 2 free. I took advantage of this deal and paid $8 for $24 worth of chicken. I put one package in the freezer for later and cooked the other two in the oven with some olive oil, salt, and pepper. This gave me enough chicken for two meals this week.
I had some Uncle Ben’s Rice Pilaf in my pantry. The recipe on the back of the box was for barbecue chicken with rice and veggies. I used that as my inspiration. I just wanted the whole meal to be in one casserole dish. After cooking the rice, I mixed in some frozen green beans. Then, I slathered the cooked chicken with barbecue sauce, sliced it, and placed it on top of the chicken. One meal done: 4:30.
The meal for Tuesday night didn’t require any preparation yet. I need to stop at the fish market tomorrow after church to get some salmon. Tuesday night I’m going to use the salmon to make the One Sheet Pan Parmesan Crusted Salmon with Roasted Broccoli from Jaclyn at Cooking Classy. This recipe will be quick and easy to put together. I also have some Clam Strips from SeaPak. With some cocktail sauce, these will be the perfect side for the salmon and broccoli.
Giant had a deal this week where you would get a free pasta from their line, Simply Enjoy, if you bought a Buitoni pasta from the refrigerator section. I bought Buitoni mushroom ravioli and got a free Simply Enjoy chicken and mozzarella stuffed ravioli. We are going to have the chicken and mozzarella ravioli for Wednesday’s dinner. I didn’t have any sauce to serve with it, so I searched online and found the Homemade Creamy Alfredo Sauce from Sabrina at Just a Pinch Recipes. It was so easy to make and pairs well with the ravioli. I put a layer of mozzarella over the pasta. Now I just need to pop it in the oven Wednesday night, and I have another semi-homemade make-ahead meal. Two meals done: 5:00. At this point, we ate leftovers for supper. We had some meatballs left from last week’s make-ahead meals. I kept cooking while I ate.
I used the rest of the cooked chicken for Thursday night’s dinner. I had a few boxes of Near East couscous in my pantry. On the back of the Olive Oil and Garlic Couscous box was a recipe for Mediterranean Chicken and Couscous. I didn’t have some of the ingredients, like spinach and sundried tomatoes. Instead, I used black olives and Greek dressing. I prepared the couscous according to the directions on the box. Then, I mixed in the olives and dressing. Miss M and I sampled a little bit to make sure it tasted okay. We both gave it our stamp of approval, and we’re looking forward to eating it Thursday night. Three meals done: 5:30.
This week’s pizza night is going to be a pizza quesadilla, since tortillas were on sale at Weis. My kids absolutely love quesadillas. I usually fill them with chicken, peppers, and cheddar cheese, and they dip it in salsa. This week, I’m going to use mozzarella and parmesan cheese inside the quesadilla. Then, they will dip it into pizza sauce. I think they are really going to enjoy this different way of eating pizza.
Dessert was the only thing I made that was completely homemade this week. The kids wanted to help me make Halloween sugar cookies. I thought about buying a packaged cookie dough at the store, but I just don’t like those very much. I gave Miss M a quick bath, and J took a shower. While Miss M played in the bathtub, I searched for a sugar cookie recipe. I needed a dough that didn’t have to be chilled for an hour, so we could make them before bedtime.
I found the Best Sugar Cookie Recipe EVER from Katrina at Katrina’s Kitchen. The dough came together so quickly and easily, and it didn’t need to be chilled. We had the cookies rolled, cut, and baked in under an hour. With past sugar cookie recipes, the dough has been so sticky that I’ve ruined the shape of the cookies trying to get them off the counter. This dough was perfect. A little bit of flour kept it from sticking, and the shapes came out perfect. I have to agree with Katrina that this is definitely the best sugar cookie recipe. I will be using it every time I make sugar cookies.
Even though I didn’t have a lot of time this weekend, I was able to prepare a semi-homemade make-ahead meal for each night this week. My refrigerator is well-stocked, and we had a lot of fun as a family this weekend. We even stopped at the farmer’s market for some pumpkins. That means we will be carving pumpkins and roasting pumpkin seeds one night this week. J has already picked out his Plants vs. Zombies Peashooter pattern for his pumpkin. Miss M wants a princess, but she hasn’t decided which one yet. I love fall and all the activities that come with it. I hope you’re able to enjoy lots of fall activities and make some semi-homemade make-ahead meals for the coming week!