If you’re like me, making dinner always takes way longer than you think it should. That’s why it’s so easy to resort to leftovers. But, ugh. The name alone is a complete turnoff, conjuring up mental images of cold, rubbery lasagna.
Enter this weekly meal plan, where you cook a giant batch of a staple ingredient, then fix it five ways over the next few days. With the heavy lifting done on day one, a fresh, new dinner for four comes together in a flash on days two through five. No leftovers here! For most people following a meal plan like this, Sunday is their big prep day, leaving four weekdays for quick fixes. Here’s where to start.
Make: Dr Spicy BBQ Pork, a giant roast you can turn into meals from all over the world.
- When you’re shopping, grab a 7-pound roast (the high weight of the recipe’s range) to ensure you have enough meat to portion out for the rest of the week.
- Feel free to ease up on the chipotle peppers. All this week’s recipes taste great with a little kick, but keep your family’s preferences in mind when you’re putting together the roast.
- After you’ve shredded the pork, divide it into three equal portions. Toss one portion of the meat, onions and juices with 1/3 cup of barbecue sauce, then heat through following the recipe’s directions. This is tonight’s recipe.
- Combine the other two portions of pork and drizzle with a few tablespoons of the cooking juices. Pack it up and stash it in the fridge for later. Get rid of the remaining onions and cooking juices or save them for another use.
Make: Egg Roll Noodle Bowl, a healthy, half-hour riff on the Chinese takeout favorite
- Instead of ground pork, we’re using 1 cup of the Dr Spicy from yesterday.
- Since you don’t need to brown the pork, start by sauteing the carrots and onions in the soy sauce mixture. Toss pork with the tender veggies so it can heat through while the egg noodles soften. Proceed with the recipe as written.
Make: Summer Breakfast Skillet, because who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner?
- For this recipe, you need 1 cup of the pulled pork, which we’re using instead of chorizo. Toss it with a few shakes of your favorite hot sauce if you want the skillet to be chorizo-spicy.
- Instead of cooking the meat and veggies together, wait to add the pork until you toss in the tomatoes, zucchini, etc. Then follow the rest of the recipe.
Make: Smothered Burritos, which take just 25 minutes to get from stovetop to table.
- Skip the ground beef and use 1-1/2 cups of the pulled pork.
- In a skillet, heat the pork while the oven preheats. Then stir in the salsa mixture and finish the recipe as written.
Make: Garlic Spaghetti Squash with Meat Sauce, for a fresh take on pasta.
- Chop the remainder of the pork and use it in place of the ground beef the recipe calls for.
- In step 2, saute the garlic, then add the pork along with the tomatoes, sauce, etc.
- Most of the prep time for this recipe is hands-off, but if you want to make it even faster, microwave the spaghetti squash instead of roasting it. Place halved squash on a microwave-safe plate, cut side down. Microwave on high until it’s tender, about 15 minutes.
Want more ways to use the pulled pork? Give these a shot.
If you’re not sure you want a weeklong pork-a-palooza, freeze the portioned-out meat for later. Write the recipe on the freezer container so you can grab the right one when the mood strikes.
See, isn’t this easy? With a handy meal plan, you get to cook what you want, when you want. Now, get going—Dr Spicy awaits.