This may seem like a crazy idea, but I always plan out my meals a week in advance. Friday after work is our weekly shopping trip, so Wednesday and Thursday evenings, I read through recipes and try to plan out enough meals for the week. And we have recently had to make a serious cut to our grocery budget (since my husband is presently a stay-at-home dad), so it’s been crucial to plan out the menu and try to get great deals at the grocery store.
When I plan out the week, I have a basic format. On Mondays, I make something that will come together in less than 30 minutes. Tuesday is casserole night. Wednesday is “TV dinner” night (ie, we eat homemade pizza or fish sticks in front of the TV). Thursday is date night or try a new recipe night and Friday is grocery day, so it usually ends up being fast food on the way home. And the weekends are open for whatever. Then there’s making sure there are leftovers for lunches and great snacks for the week. And in all of that, I try to make at least one new recipe each week. It seems like a lot to think through, but if you’re a planner and organizer (as I like to be), it’s actually less stressful than leaving dinner plans to 4:30 when everyone is getting hungry and cranky and you’re not sure what’s in the fridge.
While looking for a new casserole recipe to try, I came across this one on the Campbell’s website. It takes a long time to bake (I had to actually put it in for an extra 25 minutes to finish cooking), but it’s super quick and easy to throw together, and doesn’t have too many ingredients. After mentioning it to my mom, she actually made it the next day! You can play around with the recipe a bit, too, if you want to make it interesting. Using different veggies and adding spices to the soup mixture (or even trying a different soup!) would probably make it even better. But, I can assure you, it’s a great weeknight meal.
Cheesy Chicken Rice Casserole (from Campbell’s Kitchen)
What you need:
1 can (10oz) condensed cream of chicken soup
1 1/3 cups water
3/4 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
1 1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
What to do:
Preheat the oven to 375F. Grease an 11×7-inch baking pan.
In a medium bowl, stir together the soup, water, vegetables and rice. Pour into the prepared baking sheet. Place chicken pieces on top. Grind pepper over the chicken and the rice mixture. Cover the dish with foil.
Bake for 50minutes – 1hour 15 minutes (check after 50min to see if it’s done). Once rice is cooked and chicken is no longer pink, take it out of the oven and top with the cheese. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
Remove the chicken pieces, stir the rice and serve!