Pairing up meals to Pare down on Cooking

In lieu of Menu Plan Monday, I’m sharing a great menu planning strategy.


I love to cook, that’s no surprise. Especially when you live somewhere with extremely limited take out, on a limited budget and you don’t like to drive anymore than you have to. (which I would have to do to go pick up food!) That’s not to say I’m not immune to the odd dinner out, or have pierogies on a lazy night. Here’s what I do, especially at this time of year when I’d rather be outside more.

‘Planning’ to have leftovers in one part of your meal, to make the next night go faster is my biggest convenience strategy. Tonight, for example, I’m roasting a chicken which will yield much more than 2 adults and a toddler can eat in a night, so tomorrow we’re going to have a big green salad with cold chopped chicken ontop. I can throw that together in under 10 minutes, so tonights time investment of roasting a chicken will pay off in huge dividends. I’m also cooking extra roast potatoes because Mac won’t eat much salad, but will eat chicken and potatoes, as well as my potato lovin’ husband will like them alongside the salad.

Here are a few examples of foods to double up on one night to eat the next!


Night #1 Springtime Honey Garlic Roast Chicken Skillet by How Sweet Eats  (I’d cook a bigger chicken, to have more leftovers.

Night #2 Green Salad with cold cubed chicken. I’d throw in sunflower or pumpkin seeds, feta, sliced almonds, bell peppers, apples, shredded carrots, or any other yummy salad toppings I have around. Tomorrow it’ll be finely chopped broccoli, apples, almonds and feta. Use what you have! Adding things like cheese, nuts and seeds add protein and ‘fill-up’ value to a salad so a little chicken can stretch a long way. Stretching meat means it’s frugal which just happens to be my middle name.


Night #1 Burritos with Homemade refried beans by The Prairie Homestead.

Night #2 7 layer dip by 4 Little Fergusons.  Along with veg+dip  and some tortilla chips…yum!

Night #1 Sausages (I love our game sausages, but use your favourite chicken, beef or pork as well!) with applesauce and mashed potatoes.

Morning after (Tricked ya!) Mashed Potato Pancakes by How Sweet Eats. Not going to lie, I’d probably just eat them on their own without anything else.

Night #2 Pizza with sliced sausages and all your other favourite toppings. Maybe homemade Mozzarella?, we love spinach on sausage pizza!

Night #1 BBQ Steaks, BBQ potatoes (simple toss smallish potatoes in a bit of oil, salt and pepper, poke with fork and cook until done! They’re fast on the BBQ, sometimes just ten minutes), and salad.

Night #2 Pasta Carbonara by the Pioneer Woman with sliced steak and extra veggies (frozen ones work great!). I like to add much more vegetables than it calls for. Peas are fabulous in it though. I skip on the sliced steak, but my it appeals to my husbands inner carnivore. Because you slice it so thinly, last time I made it, I fed 3 hungry adults and only used 2 small steaks. It stretches far!


Night #1 Macaroni or rotini noodles with your favourite sauce.

Night #2 Cold pasta salad. Make it with cooked beans and whatever seasonal veggies appeal to you for a meat free meal.

I was going to come up with another yummy pairing, but then realized the potatoes are close to being done and I haven’t made dip to go with the broccoli and carrot sticks! Yikes! Enjoy these and I hope they’ll help you spend less time in the kitchen, and more time with your family while still eating wholesome meals.

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