So, here we still are, sheltering in place and socially isolating at home. For the past two weeks, I’ve only been out of the house to buy food and hunt for toilet paper (I found it at store number NINE and then promptly went online to order a bidet–funny, but true!).
Wherever you are, I hope you are safe and healthy, and perhaps even finding some unexpected blessings even in the face of pestilence and economic hardships. For example, I am grateful that we have electricity and WiFi–when we get hit by a hurricane those are often out for days or even weeks, but right now we have all the comforts of home (we just get to enjoy them 24/7).
If you enjoyed Amy’s 2-week meal plan and shopping list (it’s available here), then today I’m back with another one. While I have more time on my hands than usual right now to spend cooking, I know that’s not the case for everyone (like my friend, Sommer, who’s a nurse, or my friend, Leslie, who’s a doctor). I’ve included several crockpot meals and cook-once-eat-twice recipes in their honor.
Here’s your printable shopping list for a family of four; just cross off any staple items that you already have in your pantry and adjust quantities based on the size of your household.
At the end of the list there is a space to add in other needs like household items, lunch and breakfast items and hygiene items like soap (and TOILET PAPER!). The grocery list takes for granted you have basic items on hand like garlic, salt, etc.
I also built in two nights out of fourteen for restaurant takeout; we don’t usually eat out that often, but we’re making an effort to support our local restaurants who have been closed except for takeout for several weeks now (my kids and I have just started training for a half marathon both to keep us busy and active but also to combat the extra calories!).
One last note; this menu is fairly leftover-heavy since we usually eat leftovers for lunches (and with two teenagers plus myself at home now we definitely need a plan for lunch!). If you don’t need as many leftovers you can omit a meal or two or add a “leftover night.”
Week One Menu Plan With Recipes
Day 1: (Shopping Day)
Street tacos: make this honey chipotle chicken in the crockpot (I recommend at least four hours of cook time so the chicken shreds easily). If you’re not counting carbs or macros and you’d rather use pancake syrup and ketchup with full sugar because that’s what you have on hand, that’s fine. Serve with warm corn tortillas and chopped green cabbage with mango lime avocado salsa on the side. If your crew needs more food, you can also serve chips, guacamole, and salsa.
Tip: I’ll often double this recipe and freeze half of it; it makes great leftovers for lunches.
Additional prep work:
- salt the whole chicken using this recipe and put in the refrigerator (you can skip salting the chicken ahead of time but it won’t be as juicy).
- put two flank steaks to marinade for Day 2 using this recipe.
Grill both flank steaks and save at least half of one for steak salad later (cooking how-to’s are here).
Flank Steak Marinade
This savory sweet marinade creates a delicious crust when grilled.
- 1 c honey
- 1 c soy sauce
- 2 cubes beef bouillion
- 1 c water
- 1/2 c ketchup
- 2 T worchestershire sauce
- 1-2 flank steaks
Mix all ingredients together and pour over flank steak. Store in fridge for up to 2 days, turning every 12 hours or so.
Grill or pan fry and let rest for 5 minutes.
Slice across the grain and serve.
Marinade may be used again on other cuts of meat within 2 weeks.
Can halve for one steak.
Served sliced flank steak with roasted tricolor or fingerling potatoes and roasted asparagus. Reserve about 6-10 stalks of asparagus for Day 4.
Tip: to roast virtually any vegetable, toss lightly with olive oil, salt, and pepper and spread on a baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 20-40 minutes depending on your vegetable; I usually do potatoes for about 40 minutes, stirring halfway through, but asparagus only takes 20 minutes.
Garlic roast chicken from this recipe (I use baby carrots instead of large ones and sometimes will add in parsnips or sweet potatoes depending on what’s in my pantry). Serve with frozen cooked peas or sugar snap peas.
Pick the chicken and save the remaining meat for Day 5.
Steak salad using this recipe and the leftover flank steak. Bonus: it’s a one-dish meal! (reserve enough lettuce and cherry tomatoes to use for taco night on Day 8)
Tip: if you don’t have time to make caramelized onions, a handful of French friend onions add similar flavor and crunch.
Toss leftover steak with greens and vegetables for a hearty lunch or dinner
- 1 head green leaf or romaine lettuce
- cherry tomatoes
- crumbled blue cheese
- carmelized onions (sauté sliced onion over low heat in about 1 T. olive oil until brown and crispy)
- roasted asparagus (toss in olive oil, spread on a jelly roll pan, and roast in the oven for 20 minutes at 400°; you can also use leftover or steamed)
- croutons (omit if you're gluten free)
- leftover sliced steak
- ranch or Italian dressing
Toss and serve
Pumpkin chipotle soup using this recipe and the leftover chicken from Day 3 and cornbread on the side. When I make this soup, I put in the chicken AND shredded frozen hash browns to make it thick and hearty.
Tip: while I put a can of chipotle peppers on your shopping list, I prefer to use this chipotle pepper paste in this recipe to minimize waste.
Tacos (is it Tuesday?!); make double your usual amount and save half of it for taco salad on Day 8. Serve with chips, guacamole (your avocados should be ripe and in the fridge by now!), and salsa.
Tip: we usually use ground turkey for our taco meat and I make my own seasoning. If you’d like to try my recipe, it’s 1/4 c. chili powder, 1-1/2 t. onion powder, 1-1/2 t. garlic powder, 1-1/2 t. cumin, 1-1/2 t. oregano, 1/2 t. paprika, 1 t. salt, and 1 t. pepper. Mix and store in a mason jar. For each pound of ground meat, use 2 T. of mix and 2/3c.-3/4 c. water.
Carryout from a local restaurant
Week Two Menu Plan With Recipes
Taco salad using leftover taco meat. Our favorite add-ins are in this post, but include shredded cheddar, black beans, Fritos (or crumbled tortilla chips), green onions, and sour cream. Mix with salsa or Catalina dressing (this sounds strange but is delicious; it’s not on your shopping list so add it if you’d like to try it!).
Pepperoncini roast (aka Mississippi Pot Roast) served on hoagie rolls with melted cheese. I’ll include my recipe below since I couldn’t find one online that was exactly the way I cook mine. Serve with a green salad on the side (or coleslaw using the leftover cabbage) and save leftovers for lunches.
Easy and delicious; makes perfect French dip type sandwiches
- 1 3-5 lb beef roast
- 1 packet au jus gravy mix
- 1 packet Italian dressing mix
- 1 jar sliced pepperoncinis
- 4 T butter
- 1 package hoagie or sub rolls
- 1 package Monterey or pepper jack cheese
Place beef roast in crock pot. Add butter.
Mix au jus gravy mix, Italian dressing mix, and juice from pepperoncinis. Add to crock pot along with pepperoncinis (I cut the stems off).
Cook for 8-10 hours until beef is falling apart.
Serve on rolls with cheese slice on top.
BLTs: I make ours on toasted sourdough bread using thick cut peppercorn bacon. If you have leftover avocados and want to add them to the usual bacon, lettuce, and tomato combo, they’ll be a nice extra touch.
Serve with tater tots (we love the Alexia ones you can see here) or sweet potato chips.
Cook the spiral ham according to the package instructions; if you have time, I highly recommend my sharp mustard recipe (recipe below) to go along with it (those ingredients are not on the shopping list). Serve with macaroni and cheese (recipe below) and green bean casserole (I use frozen green beans instead of fresh). This is a great Sunday dinner, by the way.
Tip: you’ll have a lot of leftovers with ham; we love ham sandwiches for lunches and then I’ll chop and freeze the remainder for recipes (you’ll use some of those leftovers in tomorrow’s cheddar ham soup).
Homemade Sharp Mustard Recipe
- 3.5 ozs dry mustard (usually 2 jars/bottles)
- 1 c. apple cider vinegar
- 1 egg
- 1 c. sugar
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1-1/2 c. mayonnaise
Combine the dry mustard and vinegar in a bowl and let stand for 8-12 hours (I’ll usually do this before I go to bed). Beat the egg (I do this in a medium saucepan off heat so I make fewer dirty dishes), and then add the sugar, salt, and mustard/vinegar mixture. Cook over medium heat until thickened. Cool and then stir in the mayonnaise. Pour into jars and keep refrigerated.
The Best Homemade Macaroni & Cheese
This is the only one you need!
- 1 lb penne or rotini
- 4 c milk, heated almost to boiling on the stove or in the microwave
- 1/2 stick butter
- 6 T flour
- 8-12 oz shredded Swiss and Gruyere cheeses (can subsitute cheddar if desired)
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the over to 350°.
Cook pasta per package directions and drain. While it’s boiling, melt the butter in a heavy saucepan and then add the flour.
Stir butter and flour mixture continuously over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes–do not let it brown. Slowly add the hot milk, stirring to combine and remove any lumps. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Return pasta to pot and pour white sauce over it. Mix in about 8 oz. of shredded cheese and stir to combine.
Pour into a lightly greased 9×13″ dish and add the other 4 oz. of shredded cheese on top, if desired. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes and then broil until top is slightly golden and bubbling.
Cheddar ham soup (recipe is here); I use shredded frozen hash browns instead of cubed potatoes.
Creamy white chicken chili (recipe is below)–can you tell we love soup at our house?
Creamy White Chicken Chili
Fast, easy, and delicious–one of my favorite weeknight meals!
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" cubes
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1-1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 cans Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can chicken broth
- 2 cans chopped green chiles 4 oz. cans
- 1 t salt
- 1 t cumin
- 1 t oregano
- 1/2 t pepper
- 1/4 t cayenne pepper
- 1 c sour cream
- 1/2 c whipping cream
In stockpot, sauté chicken, onion, and garlic powder in oil until chicken is no longer pink.
Add beans, broth, chilis, and seasonings.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes (can also put in a crock pot on low heat at this point).
Just before serving, stir in sour cream and whipping cream off heat. Serve immediately.
Local carryout (or leftovers)
Tip: at the end of the week, I usually make a frittata using all the leftover vegetables in the fridge. Based on what’s on this two-week menu, I’ll also throw in some cubed ham and a few handfuls of shredded hash browns. I’ll then save the leftovers for weekday breakfasts or lunches (it would even work for dinner–pair it with a green salad and crusty bread!).
This is how we get rid of leftover vegetables every weekend!
- Leftover vegetables: I always use onion and a little garlic; everything else varies. In the past I've used ham, bacon, mushrooms, green onions, quartered cherry tomatoes, spinach, kale, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, shredded hash browns, chopped roasted asparagus, broccoli, and peppers. It really is how I get rid of all the leftover vegetables!
- 6-10 eggs
- 1/2 c milk or cream
- salt and pepper
- 1/2-1 c shredded cheese (optional)
- 1 pinch dry mustard
Sauté onion, garlic, and leftover vegetables in olive oil or butter until soft.
Spread in 13×9" baking dish sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
Sprinkle shredded cheese on top.
Beat eggs with milk or cream, salt and pepper, and dry mustard, and pour on top of vegetables.
Bake at 400° for about 45 minutes until center is set.
Great for breakfast, lunch, or weekday leftovers!
Stay safe and healthy, everyone, and thanks for stopping by!
Thank you for giving me a brain vaca for the next two weeks ! Meal planning is NOT one of my super powers and everything seems sooo stress filled right now . At least figuring out what we might be eating and when can be crossed off the list !
Happy to help! Stay safe my friend.
Sylvia Hill says
Thanks for all the delicious recipes you have shared! I know this has been a time of hunting for easy, tasty meals at my house. I have been searching for the spring tour of your friend who you share each year. I think she lives in the same city with you. Hopefully, I have given you enough info! Stay safe..
You’re so welcome, Sylvia. We’ve been spending more time cooking lately, too. The kids and I also started training for a half marathon because otherwise we’ll need to buy bigger clothes at the end of our quarantine!
Danielle is my friend who shares her home with us, but we haven’t done a spring tour this year because of the stay at home order. I’m hopeful that when things get back to normal she’ll be willing to let me photograph her house again, but you haven’t missed it.
Stay safe! Christy
Thanks for all these great meal ideas. I have made your white chili and our family enjoys it! However, you apparently don’t have any trouble finding ingredients in this virus lockdown. We are having trouble finding many basic items–like chicken, frozen vegetables, sour cream. And many others are rationed if you can find them. As a senior I am not supposed to go from store to store to try to find things. So we make do with what we can find.
I am glad that you and your family are doing well. Is your daughter able to continue her ballet classes? Thanks for your always interesting posts.
Hi, Patty–I think that the grocery store situation is different depending on where you live. However, when I go to our big stores they seem to be pretty picked over and there are so many people there, too. I’m an ALDI shopper for about 95% of our groceries and other than a few shortages (toilet paper and bottled water), they have been well stocked. I highly recommend trying there if you have one in your area. They’re very reasonably priced, too, and have a dedicated senior shopping hour.
One thing I did last week when I was at Harris Teeter was I bought two rotisserie chickens (I think they were $5 each so less than a whole raw chicken). I picked all the meat off of them, chopped it, and froze it for soups and other recipes. That might be an option if you can’t find chicken otherwise; Harris Teeter was out of raw but had lots of rotisserie chickens out (go figure!). We also have local farmers who sell eggs and chicken so I can utilize them if I need do.
I hope that helps–but seriously, go to ALDI (or Lidl) if you have those near your home. Stay safe! Christy
PS Annabelle is able to take ballet classes online, which isn’t the same but better than nothing. We don’t have a lot of room to jump and turn, but she can do barre on the front porch using our railing as her barre. 😉 Thanks for asking.
I made the pepperoncini roast for dinner and it was wonderful.! Thank you for another great recipe to add to my rotation.
Awesome–I’m so glad you took the time to let me know, Kristina!