It’s a rare occasion lately, what with all the fly by the seat of my pants that goes on around here, but friends, be proud. This week, I planned ahead. Even if I didn’t plan to plan ahead.
We have 30-40 people coming for dinner on Sunday after church, and I really don’t want to be up after midnight on Saturday finishing up the cooking. Mostly because I’ll likely be up past midnight finishing up the cleaning. Ahem.
I figured a couple weeks ago that casseroles would likely be the easiest make-ahead meals that would easily serve a crowd, and then we settled on a pasta flare. Cavatini and chicken spaghetti it is! I told my husband Sunday night that I was making a grocery run Monday morning (I hate leaving the house on Monday mornings!) so that I have the rest of the week to remember everything I had forgotten on Monday’s list. A sound strategy!
If I’m shopping early, I may as well cook early, right? So I did. After Monday morning’s grocery shopping, littles in tow, we unloaded everything and that evening I made a double batch of our favorite cavatini. One large (12x16ish) pan went into the freezer for Sunday, and the rest went into the oven for supper. I also stuck two chickens in the crock pot to cook that day, and made a batch (two loaves) of French bread, one for supper, the other for Tuesday breakfast. Feeling quite accomplished, I was!
On Tuesday, we played “same song, second verse.” I made a double batch of chicken spaghetti, pouring most of it into another large pan for Sunday, and devouring the rest for supper that night. Might my family be tired of pasta come Sunday? I doubt it, because there were no leftovers Tuesday night, and only enough for Lance’s lunch after Monday night’s meal. We’re good to go!
Last night just before bed, I remembered to soak the beans for tonight’s supper. I cooked them and a big batch of rice (cooked in the chicken stock that has been simmering since Monday night), stashing away extras for future meals.
Tonight we start to reap the benefits of the kitchen work. Here’s what we’re eating this week:
Breakfast ~ Usually we have three different breakfasts going on. Lance eats and is out of the house early, I feed the kids, then after the school kids are gone I sit down with my own breakfast.
- granola, homemade yogurt, frozen blueberries (this is my husband’s “usual” when he’s out the door before we’re up and at it)
- oatmeal with raisins
- french toast (made with Monday night’s French bread)
- fried eggs, toast
- egg and cheese omelet, toast, grapefruit (for me!)
Lunch ~ leftovers, sandwiches, salads (I often eat the granola/yogurt/blueberries for my own lunch), fruit, cheese, eggs. Mr. 3 ate three fried eggs for lunch today! Miss 1 had two. I think we need chickens.
- Monday ~ cavatini, green beans, french bread
- Tuesday ~ chicken spaghetti, peas, fruit
- Wednesday ~ chicken salsa nachos (with added black beans and rice) using chicken that I cooked Monday evening
- Thursday ~ ham and bean soup (using chicken stock that’s been simmering), zucchini bread (I have cooked ham and shredded zucchini in the freezer)
- Friday ~ waffles with blueberries, eggs
Saturday morning I go to our tax appointment at 7am, drive home to get the family, head back into town for a 10:30 soccer game, then pick up all last minute items and head home to prepare for Sunday. Meals will be very simple, and we may even cheat with a noon meal out. I’m guessing sandwiches Saturday night.
- cereal ~ and all the children shout “hooray!”
- dinner for 40 ~ cavatini, chicken spaghetti, french bread, salads (brought by guests), desserts (brought by guests)
- supper ~ fend for yourself! (we may end up with popcorn and apples)
I truly am thrilled that I have very little kitchen work to do the rest of the week, which has been a great “reminder to self” to always double up on what I’m doing in the kitchen in the first place. It pays off! What do you make big batches of that saves you in the long run?