Progressive Meal Planning

We all have a lot going on in our lives.  Even on easier weeks, meal preparation may not be how we want to use our time so let’s look at how we can make evenings go a bit smoother with a concept called progressive meal planning.

Progressive meals build upon the ingredients of previous meals.  The idea of a progressive meal is to make extra of some items, and repurpose others for future meals.

Leftover chicken from Sunday?  Turn it into Chicken and Bean Burritos for Monday.  Make extra mashed potatoes, and use them for Shepherd’s Pie.  When building a menu using this concept, you don’t have to spend as much time in the kitchen on weeknights when many families are rushing to practices, and ensuring homework is done.

Not only does this help with time management, it also helps ensure leftovers don’t go to waste.  I get so frustrated when I find food stuffed in the back of the refrigerator that I forgot to use, and have to throw out.

Here are several ideas to get you started:
  • Take leftover roast beef and make roast beef sandwiches
  • Extra chicken can be used for soups, stews, pot pies, salads, and more
  • Extra wine and broth? Make risotto
  • Extra hamburger patties are great broken up in chili
  • Brown extra meat when making spaghetti sauce, and use it for tacos the next night
  • Extra grilled steak turns into fajitas

When you plan your menu, think about ways to cook extra on the weekends for easy, progressive meals during the week.

I’d love to hear your progressive meal ideas.  Share your thoughts and recipes in the comments.


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