I thought that I would share my menu plan with everyone today. My menu isn’t terribly exciting, and definitely not Martha Stewart worthy. But I’ve been thinking that someday it would be fun to write a cookbook where there are 5 meals that can be created out of the same main ingredients. I like this idea because then you can stock up on some simple ingredients, but have a multitude of recipes to make. I decided to attempt implementing my idea this week to see how possible it is to make different dishes out of similar ingredients, and without the meals feeling repetitive.
The ingredients I chose were chicken (because whole chickens are on sale at Albertsons for .79 cents a pound this week, just FYI), rice, frozen vegetables, and sour cream. Sour cream isn’t really a main ingredient, but I found that I used it in almost all my recipes! There are additional ingredients found in all the recipes, but the main ingredients are all the same. I will list the recipes, and then down at the bottom I have the recipes for each dish.
Chicken and Rice
If you haven’t used a whole chicken before, I recommend giving it a try. If you buy them on sale, a whole chicken provides a lot of meat for a low cost. Also, when you boil the chickens, you also get homemade chicken stock which is a lot yummier than store bought and more healthy. Cooking a whole chicken takes a few extra steps, but really doesn’t take that much more time. If you aren’t familiar with cooking a whole chicken, here is a tutorial I found on YouTube. This was the best tutorial I could find, but it calls for chicken parts. You can just substitute in a whole chicken and just make sure there is enough water so the chicken is covered.
Just a side note, when I cook my chickens, I will set them to cook before I go to bed, leave the stove on a very low heat, and in the morning my chicken is cooked! You can also use a crock pot if you aren’t comfortable with leaving your stove on all night. Also, the main ingredients you need are chicken and water, so if you don’t happen to have carrots in your fridge, just skip that step. The broth is tastier with more vegetables though. If you cook all your own whole chickens for these recipes, you may find that you have way more broth than you know what to do with. I recommend freezing the broth as there are a lot of other recipes that often require broth of some kind. That way you have broth on hand! For these recipes, you will probably need 3-4 whole chickens.
Recipes (click the title for the link, and then I list my own ways of making the recipe):
Chicken Soup– if you are using your own chicken broth from cooking a whole chicken, you will probably need to add a lot of salt. I’m an “eyeball” cooker, I eyeball the amounts on almost everything I cook, so I don’t know exactly how much I add, but probably a tablespoon or two. Also, I use frozen vegetables because it’s so much easier. Instead of adding in the carrots, celery, and peas, I add about 1-2 cups of frozen corn and 1-2 cups of frozen green beans. You can add any additional frozen vegetables that you like.
Enchiladas– I don’t actually use this recipe, the one that I use is in my head, and I don’t dare try to type it out. So here is a recipe that looks similar to the one I use, and here is what I would do if I was making this recipe. If you cooked your own whole chicken, use about 2 cups of diced chicken in place of the chicken breasts. Replace the tomato sauce with a can of diced tomatoes and a can of regular salsa instead of taco sauce (I don’t know what taco sauce is, maybe it is another word for salsa?). Add in 1 cup of rice and 1 cup of black beans (makes the meal stretch further and makes it yummier!). Mix together the diced tomatoes and salsa together in a separate bowl and add half the mixture to the chicken mixture. Then once you’ve rolled up your enchiladas and placed them in the pan, pour the other half over all your enchiladas. Yikes, I hope that makes sense and I didn’t just make chicken enchiladas sound super complicated!
Chicken Pot-Pie This is one of my favorite recipes because it makes so little mess! If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, simply get everything sauteed and mixed together in your usual skillet, then transfer to a 9×13 dish. Add in a 2-3 cups of your favorite frozen vegies instead of carrots, celery, and peas. Also, I use sour cream instead of regular cream since regular cream is expensive, and I have few things to use it in. Sour cream is much handier to keep on hand!
Stir-Fry-I didn’t realize how many recipes I use out of my head and how many variations I make on recipes! This is another recipe that I just make out of my head, but this one I think I can type out.
2 cups diced cooked chicken
1 cup of cooked rice
2 cups of frozen vegies
Heat 3-4 TB of butter in a large skillet on medium heat. Add chicken and rice and heat until warmed through. Add frozen vegies and cook until the vegies are also heated through. Push the mixture off to the sides of the pan so that you have a circle in the middle of your pan for cooking the eggs. Add 1-2 TB of butter to the pan and wait until the butter is melted, then add the eggs. Scramble and allow to cook. Once the eggs are mostly cooked, mix everything back together and add soy sauce to taste.
Chicken and Rice-another recipe I couldn’t find an actual recipe for! This dish is so easy, perfect for a Friday night.
2 cups of uncooked rice (I’m not sure how much that comes to once it is cooked, probably about 4 cups)
2 cups cooked diced chicken
1 packet of onion soup mix
1/4 cup of butter
Cook rice according to directions. But when you cook the rice, also add in the packet of onion soup mix. Once the rice is cooked, add the chicken and butter and mix. Warm until heated through. Eat!
Well, I’m afraid that my menu plan was terribly confusing to follow. If this is at all helpful or even interesting to you, please let me know, that way if I ever attempt to publish a menu plan like this again, I will find a way to clean it up and make it more user-friendly!
As always, thanks for reading and I hope you have a great week!