Next Week's Meal Plan

Next Week’s Meal Plan: 5 Budget-Saving Meals from Pantry Staples

updated May 29, 2019
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(Image credit: Meghan Splawn)

I found myself rifling through the pantry and fridge in frustration early today and decided that a week of dinners using up leftovers and pantry staples was in order. This is one really great way to trim our grocery budget — I may even try to skip shopping all together this weekend — and make room in our admittedly overstuffed pantry.

As a boon, I also have some grilled proteins leftover from recipe testing this weekend, including grilled chicken breasts, pork tenderloin, and grilled corn that have to be eaten asap. Here are the five meals I’m making for my pantry-clearing, budget-saving week of dinners ahead.

Welcome to This Week’s Meal Plan

Planning my weekly meals is a habit I enjoy. Since I’m frequently asked by friends and family what I’m cooking for dinner each week, I thought it’d be useful to share my weekly meal plan here. Whether you’re just learning to meal plan and looking for a real-life example of how this works or you’re an old pro on the hunt for inspiration, here’s a peek at how I’m feeding my family this week.

New to meal planning? Start here.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

Have you noticed that Mondays always have a comfort-food theme? This chicken biscuit casserole will help me make the most of leftover chicken and corn, peas from the freezer, and little bits of herbs that need to be used up.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

I have had a head of cauliflower in the fridge for going on two weeks now and this week it will finally get turned into rice using the food processor. I’ll top it with leftover grilled chicken and some canned black beans for burrito bowls. You can top these with your favorite store-bought salsa, but I’m making a super-fast salad from tomatoes left over from recipe testing.

(Image credit: Meghan Splawn)

Wednesday: Snack Board

Snack boards are my secret weapon for using up leftovers. My children beg for snacks constantly, so having “snacks for dinner” is a dream come true for them. It’s pretty ideal for me too: I’ll pull out leftovers, rinse and slice some fruit and vegetables, and pull out a dip. Partnered with some crackers or pita bread (or both) this is the easiest, most welcome leftover presentation my family loves. Fingers crossed the weather is right for eating outside.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

Kebabs are another fun way to repackage leftovers alongside another one of the children’s favorite foods: tortellini. I’ll skip the olives for them and make their kebabs with vegetables, pasta, and leftover roast pork. We will have a classic Caesar salad on the side.

(Image credit: Coco Morante)

I know it’s almost an entire week of chicken dinners, but I had a lot of grilled chicken from recipe testing to use up. Pizza Friday, a weekly expectation in our family, won’t be spared. This classic pizza will clear the fridge for next week’s meal planning session.

What are you cooking this week? What are your favorite ways to use up leftovers?