My postpartum freezer stash is dwindling but we still need to eat every day, so I wrote another meal plan. I literally cannot remember the last time I wasn’t exhausted, so most of these recipes are tried-and-true without too much fussing. I’m going to be missing all of my freezer meals!
As always, this is a printable menu – if you want to print this menu plan, you can just click on the image below and it will open the full-sized image in a new tab. I scaled it to be 8.5×11, or the size of a standard piece of printer paper, so it is ready to print.
Sundays – Meats
- Kalua pork – One of our neighbors made this for us recently, and not only did my kids eat it (multiple days in a row), but they also keep asking for it. We might have to freeze some leftovers, and I’m 100% okay with that. Since I am planning on serving rice with this meal and a couple others this month, I will probably make a giant pot of rice and then freeze the leftovers. Rice takes forever to cook and I would rather not have to do it more than once.
- Huli huli chicken from The Complete Slow Cooker – One of my husband’s favorites, and the kids like it too. We’ll probably finish it on the grill instead of under the broiler.
- Buttermilk Marinated Roast Chicken from Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat – I made this recipe and used the chicken carcasses for broth a few months ago. The skin was nice and crispy (if you’re one who likes to eat the skin), the meat was tender, it was very easy to double in a standard American oven.
- Sweet & sour chicken – We accidentally made four of these instead of two during baby freezer prep, but that just means I have one less meal to make this month, right?
Mondays – Soups
- Tuscan White Bean and Garlic Soup
- Chicken Noodle Soup – My kids call this “vegetable soup” because of the carrots, celery, and onions. This soup and the tomato soup we are having this month are their two favorite soups. I’ll be using the chicken carcass from the day before to make the broth – last time I got a good gel broth for the first time in a while and I am excited to see if I can do it again.
- Creamy Tomato Soup from The Complete Slow Cooker – My kids love making little “volcanoes” with biscuits and tomato soup “lava”.
- Cheesy Cauliflower and Potato Soup – I’m probably going to try to prep this earlier in the day and just reheat it at dinner time – less stressful during the dinner time rush and it gives the soup plenty of time to cool for my younger eaters.
Tuesdays – Leftovers
Wednesdays – Eggs
I always used to make roasted sweet potatoes with our eggs, and while I still love them so much, it has been more time than I have wanted or been able to spend lately. A few weeks ago, I started making “baked” sweet potatoes in my slow cooker, and they have been a nice substitute and really just a nice way to freshen up our eggs night. Wrap the sweet potatoes in tin foil and then cook them for 8 hours on low. Giant sweet potatoes will not be as soft so either cook them for longer or cut them into smaller pieces before cooking.
- Tacos & guacamole
- Hamburgers & hot dogs
- Pasta with roasted vegetables/buttered pasta – Another meal from my small freezer stash.
Fridays – Pizza
Saturdays – Bowls/Salads
I love bowl meals and salads, but my kids do not. They hate most foods that touch other foods. If your kids are like mine, just put a portion of each element on their plates before mixing everything together and enjoy your dinner.
- Beets/sweet potatoes/apple/chickpea/farro/nut bowls – There used to be a great recipe on Budget Bytes for an Autumn Harvest Salad with butternut squash, quinoa, apples, and probably some other things that I cannot remember. I can’t find it anymore, but that is the recipe I had in mind when I added this bowl meal to my dinner menu. I’m going to roast the beets (in foil) and diced sweet potatoes earlier in the day, and toss them with diced apple, chickpeas, farro, and either walnuts or pecans. Dressing TBD.
- Polenta/pesto/roasted veggie bowls – Make some cheesy polenta (I like parmesan with this – keep an eye on it because mine is usually done in about 25 minutes), and top it with roasted vegetables (I like a mix of at least 3 with this, such as sweet onions, broccoli, and cherry tomatoes) and good store bought pesto.
- Mashed potato/sausage/brussels sprouts bowls
- Kale/apple/walnut/chicken salad – The original recipe is for a side salad that doesn’t include chicken; I am going to throw some chicken thighs in the slow cooker to make it a meal.
- Christmas Eve – Snack dinner
I think most parents have done some version of “snack dinner” at some point. Ours includes cheese & crackers, raw veggies such as cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, & olives, hummus, pepperoni, and salami – basically kid-friendly charcuterie. It is always a hit and pretty easy to get my kids to eat it, plus it is super simple to prepare, making it perfect for an exciting and busy night like Christmas Eve. In the past we have frequently made waffles for Christmas Eve, and we might do that instead, but right now I am leaning towards snack dinner.
- Christmas – Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken, farro, vegetables
Yes, I’m pulling out the slow cooker for Christmas. I’ve made this chicken recipe before and it really is worthy of a Christmas dinner as it turns out so beautifully. And really, it gives me more time to spend with my kids and enjoy the holiday.
- New Year’s Eve – Turkey & stuffing meatballs, mashed sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, something green
We are rounding out the year with some of our favorite foods, maybe I will make a special dessert too. I don’t plan on being awake at midnight but with three little kids plus a newborn baby anything is possible.
Notes about side dishes –
- I use “green veggies” and “salad/greens” pretty interchangeably, but my goal is to have a bunch of veggies at dinner every night, and especially a bunch of green veggies. I keep it vague on my menu plan and then usually look for the best looking, most reasonably priced stuff when I’m at the store.
- Similarly, I have listed “bread” as a side dish several times, but depending on the night that might be homemade biscuits, an artisan loaf, buttermilk bread, cornbread, or even some Annie’s crescent rolls.
- Adults – Some combination of leftovers, egg & cheese sandwiches, PB&J sandwiches, yogurt, cheese & crackers, fruit, raw veggies, hummus
- Kids – PB&J sandwiches/crackers, mac & cheese, cheese & crackers, fruit, raw veggies
I’ve been taking the kids out on a walk first thing in the morning, so I bring a smoothie for me to sip along the way, and things like bananas and Larabars for the kids. Most days the kids have a bigger second breakfast when we get back, with oatmeal, cereal, or whatever else.