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Shortcut dinners are something we all would like to have. Coming home from work only to look forward to the chore of making dinner is no fun. There is an easy way out, though. It involves doing a week’s worth of cooking in one day and having heat and serve meals all week. With that in mind, these recipes are laid out to do that efficiently.

Menu for 4:

Monday
Chicken Alfredo with green beans

Tuesday
Chili and Garden Salad

Wednesday
Chicken Teriyaki Stir Fry and Rice

Thursday
Meatloaf and dinner rolls

Friday
Soft Tacos

The Shopping List:

2# boneless skinless chicken breast
3# ground beef
8 oz finely shredded cheddar cheese
1 large onion
1 green pepper
1 tomato
2# bag of garden salad
Bottled dressing
Frozen green beans
Frozen stir-fry mixed vegetables
1# of fettuccini
1 package of chili seasoning mix
1# can of chili beans
1 small can of tomato sauce
1 package of taco seasoning mix
1 bottle teriyaki sauce
1 16 oz jar Alfredo Sauce
Bread crumbs
Heat and serve dinner rolls
10 pack of flour tortillas
Dry rice (instant or long cooking)

Preparation:

Starting with the beef dinners:

Chop onion and green pepper and add them to all 3# of ground beef in a large mixing bowl. Add:

2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
3 tsp garlic powder

Mix together and divide the mixture into thirds. Put two thirds of the meat into a frying pan and brown it. Leave the remaining third in the mixing bowl.

Once the meat mix is browned, divide it into half and put half in a 2 quart sauce pan. Leave the remaining half in the skillet. To the meat in the skillet add:

1 package of taco seasoning
½ cup of water

Stir together and let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and spoon into a storage container. Put it in the freezer till Thursday night.

Now, to the meat in the saucepan add:

1 package chili seasoning mix
1 small can tomato sauce
1# can of chili beans

Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into a food storage container and put it in the freezer until Monday night.

With the remaining beef mixture in the mixing bowl add:

2 eggs
1 cup bread crumbs
½ cup of milk OR barbeque sauce
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Mix well and pat into a loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until a meat thermometer stuck into the center reaches 170 degrees. Pour off excess fat and seal the pan tightly with foil. Put in the freezer until Wednesday night.

Prepare the chicken dinners:

Cut the chicken breasts into 1inch chunks. Sauté in a hot frying pan with a small amount of oil until thoroughly cooked. Divide in two parts. Put one half into a food storage container and put it in the fridge. (If you are preparing this food more than 2 days in advance, put the chicken in the freezer.) This is the meat for your Alfredo dinner on Monday night.

To the remaining chicken breast, add ½ a bottle of teriyaki sauce and spoon the mixture into a food storage container. Put in the freezer until Tuesday night.

On Monday night:

Take your Chili out of the freezer and put it in the fridge.

Prepare Chicken Alfredo:

Heat a large pot of water to boiling for the fettuccine noodles and cook noodles to package instructions.
Heat the jar of Alfredo sauce and stir in the chicken breast.
Heat green beans and season to taste.


On Tuesday night:

Take your Chicken Teriyaki out of the freezer and put it in the fridge.

Heat chili and serve with garden salad, leaving enough salad mix to top the soft tacos on Friday night.

On Wednesday night:

Take the meatloaf out of the freezer and put it in the fridge.
Prepare rice according to package directions.
Heat the Chicken Teriyaki mixture and stir in the stir-fry vegetable mix. Heat thoroughly. Serve over rice.

On Thursday night:

Take the taco mix out of the freezer and put it in the fridge.
Bake brown and serve rolls according to package directions
Put the meatloaf in the oven with the rolls. Heat to 170 degrees or about 20 minutes. Leave the foil on the pan; the rolls and the meatloaf should be done about the same time.

On Friday night:

Warm tortillas
Chop tomato
Heat the taco mix thoroughly
Serve tacos topped with cheese and remaining salad mix


Planning and preparing meals this way will save you a great deal of time during the week. Preparing the meals together also saves time over preparing them separately. Give it a try!