Lessons in Meal Planning (part 2)

Yesterday, I shared the first three lessons that have made my meal planning goal so enjoyable, and today I come to you with two more.

Lesson #4: Have a Grocery Day Meal. 

I always try to give myself a cooking break on grocery shopping days.  I had been making a frozen pizza and a bag salad (which I think is a great meal, by the way), but since my mom turned me on to the ease and affordability of the rotisserie chicken, I have upped my game just a bit. So far, I have two grocery day meals that are quick and easy to make with the rotisserie chicken that I pick up from the store earlier in the day: 1. BBQ Chicken Sandwiches and 2. Chicken Taquitos.

For BBQ Chicken Sandwiches,  I just pull all the chicken off the bone, shred it a bit more, squeeze in our favorite BBQ sauce, and serve on buns with chips or salad or chopped veggies. It might take six minutes to make, and I think Jason would eat it every other day if I could work it in, so we have dubbed this one a winner. 

The Chicken Taquitos take a tiny bit more work.  See below for the recipe.

Chicken Taquitos: 

1 Rotisserie Chicken
1 1/2 cup shredded cheese (I like colby jack.)
1 1/2 cup salsa (I decided to try out two new salsa's this time, mango habanero and garlic lime.  The garlic lime was amazing in this recipe!)
8 tortillas (We really like the low carb wheat ones for some reason.)

Instructions: Pull all the chicken off the bone, shred, and mix with salsa and shredded cheese. (I made two batches with the different salsas so I split the chicken and used 3/4 cup salsa and 3/4 cup cheese for each batch.) Place a thick strip of the mixture just off the middle of a tortilla, roll tightly. Place on baking pan and bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit or until desired crispiness. Serve with sour cream and guacamole.  Jason also likes to put more salsa on top of his because people like to say salsa.

Lesson #5: Share your Spare. 
Don't let those leftovers go to waste! Meal sharing has just been happening organically between my mom, sister, and me a lot lately.  I think it has more to do with us making soups and casseroles since the weather has changed than with me starting to meal plan, but I think that if you weren't sharing your meals and wanted to do so, meal planning could help you make it possible. You might be wondering what I am talking about when I say meal sharing, and it's really simple.  I just mean making your meal, splitting it in half, eating one half, packing up the other, and delivering it to another family.  This works so well with soups and casseroles because most recipes make about eight servings.

Right now, there are really only two people in my house who eat my meals and only two people in my mom's house who eat her meals and only two (and a half because Piper can handle all types of food now) people in my sister's house who eat her meals.  So by the time we each eat the meal twice, we still have four servings left. Like I said before, my mom, sister, and I have always shared, but now, I make a little bit of an extra effort to split my meals and get them out the same day or the morning after I make them.  

I think that this, more than anything, has cut down on our waste and helped us save money. Meal planning helps me think about what days I will already be seeing Maggie or my mom so that I can easily share a meal or two. 

Last week, I sent Kings Ranch Chicken to work with my mom for her lunch and over to the Brorby's for dinner along with some crockpot potato soup later in the week.  When my mom came to pick up her lunch, she dropped off some delicious cinnamon banana muffins and Maggie brought over Stuffed Pepper Soup for us one night, which means I had a nice variety of homemade meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner all week long.

I love meal sharing with Maggie and my mom because of the reciprocation, but I have been wondering if there is a way to share a homemade meal with family in need. If anyone knows of a local program, I'd love to know more about it. 

So... that's it so far. If you have any other GO-TO meals or Grocery Day Meals or any other meal planning tips or lessons, I'd would be THRILLED to hear them too. 

Also, once again, thanks to Rachel for getting me excited to try out meal planning with purpose.

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