Written by Cheri of Kitchen Simplicity
Most of us look forward to the schedule of fall. Summer days are a blast but just as with coming home after a long vacation, it feels good to get back into a fall routine. Finding that routine again after finally opening your home planner can sometimes be a little strenuous. We’re not used to the full days and finding time to get supper on the table as well as plan lunches can be a little daunting.
One easy way to plan ahead for those busy days is to make two-for-one meals. What does it mean to make a two-for-one meal? Simple. For each meal you make earlier in the week, you make extra of one item to cut prep time for a completely different meal later in the week.
The prime example of this is a Roast Chicken. The leftover chicken can be used in casseroles, soups, salads and wraps or pretty much any recipe that calls for cooked chicken.
The other benefit to planning two-for-one meals is that there is less waste and you don’t have to stand, staring at your fridge, wondering what to do with the leftovers.
Basil & Prosciutto Chicken Cordon Bleu
Some Two-for-One Meal Ideas
- Spaghetti Sauce -> Chili - Make a large batch of spaghetti sauce and reserve the leftovers. Later in the week you just need to add some spices, beans and salsa and you have yourself a comforting bowl of chili.
- Roast Beef -> French Dip Sandwiches – Leftovers from a Roast Beef dinner aren’t only for lunchbox Roast Beef Sandwiches. With a little bit of extra work they can be transformed into delectable French Dip Sandwiches.
- Baked Ham -> Ham and Cheese Pasta - Leftover ham is just as versatile as a Roast Chicken and is easy to work into a later meal. This Ham and Cheese Pasta is one of our favorite ways to enjoy it.
- Stir-fry vegetables and chicken -> Quiche - When making your favorite stir-fry add some extra vegetables and chicken and remove before adding the sauce. Transform them into a main dish quiche later in the week by layering them onto the crust before adding the egg mixture.
- Spaghetti and Meatballs -> Meatball Pizza Subs – Baking up some extra meatballs is a cinch if you’ve already got some on the go. Allow the extras to cool and make them into hearty Meatball Pizza Subs that are sure to be a crowd pleaser.
- Rice -> Fried Rice – Any leftover rice can be used for either an easy side dish of vegetable fried rice or a delicious main, like Aimée’s Malaysian Shrimp Fried Rice.
- Chicken Fingers -> Salad – Leftover crispy Chicken Fingers are a delicious and kid-friendly addition to a main dish salad. Heat in the oven or toaster oven to revive the crispiness.
- Pork Tenderloin -> Barbecue Pork Sandwiches – Leftover pork can be chopped up and heated on the stovetop with a drizzle of barbecue sauce. Layer on a bun with some shredded cheese and broil in the oven until cheese is melted.
The simplest way to cut prep time is to cook your meat all in one shot. It hardly takes any extra time when your already in the process. Dragging out the cutting board on an already busy day can feel like a chore.
When looking ahead at your week, try to make sure those busy days have as little prep work as possible. Although there are other ways to incorporate a two-for-one meal into your week, if cooking your meat ahead is the only one you use, I can guarantee you’ll be happy you did.
Chicken Cordon Bleu Two Ways
First Night: Basil & Prosciutto Chicken Cordon Bleu
Make a batch of Basil and Prosciutto Chicken Cordon Bleu making enough extra for panini’s later in the week (1 chicken breast will make 2 panini’s). Serve alongside mashed potatoes or rice and a vegetable.
Second Night: Cordon Bleu & Apple Panini
- 8 slices sourdough, ciabatta bread or other crusty bread
- honey mustard
- Basil & Prosciutto Chicken Cordon Bleu, thinly sliced (from two breasts)
- 1 granny smith apple, cored and thinly sliced
- sliced cheese
- butter, for spreading
- Spread a small amount of honey mustard on each piece of bread. Layer the chicken, apples and cheese on top of four pieces of bread. Top with remaining bread slices. Spread butter on the outside of each sandwich.
- Cook in a panini grill or on the stovetop until golden brown and cheese is melted. (To cook on stovetop: heat a non-stick skillet over medium low heat. Brown sandwiches on one side. Flip. Place a heavy plate on top of panini’s and press down lightly. Leave plate on top until other side is golden brown.)
What are your favorite ways to incorporate two-for-one meals into your week?
Photos by Cheri Neufeld