While I admittedly still don't have a perfect solution (Sorry, beloved fiance of mine, for the multitude of chicken fajita salads- I hate grocery shopping!) I have found that cooking big batches of yummy soups and stews helps me have something on hand for nights where I can't think of good dinners (or, more realistically, nights where I just don't have the energy to spend a zillion dollars at the store!
Soups and stews are a great solution for many reasons: They're easy to cook in big batches, they're freeze-able, they're customize-able, they're healthy, and best of all, they're EASY! I often make a big batch and divide it up, keeping enough in the fridge for one night of dinner and the next day's lunch, then freezing the rest in individual containers to take as lunches to work. When I bring them to work frozen, I can leave them by my desk to thaw all morning, making microwaving a big bowl easy come lunch time!
Although soup seven nights a week would probably get tiresome, here are seven of my favorite soup recipes to try! I love soups that feature tons of veggies, a good source of protein, and that make my kitchen smell delicious. (If you need more ideas, I strongly suggest everyone's favorite sight for hoarding ideas we'll eventually get around to- Pinterest. I love having recipe ideas on-hand when I'm planning the week's meals!)
1. Chicken Tortilla Soup with Butternut Squash
I do not have a picture of this, since it's something I made up one night with the ingredients in my pantry. I immediately fell in love with it, and hope you do as well!
1 Quart of no sodium added chicken broth
1 butternut squash, steamed and cubed
1 avacado, diced
1 can diced tomato (or dice fresh tomatoes if you're up for it!)
1 can black beans
1 can no sodium added corn
2 large chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (I use my Kitchenaid to shred)
Rice, if desired
Salt, Pepper, garlic, cumin, coriander to taste. I play with the spices each time- it's a personal preference!
Literally all you have to do is mix all ingredients in a slow cooker and heat thoroughly. The soup is chunky, full of good-for-you veggies, and makes enough for at least 5 people, or lunch for a week!
2. Creamy Tortellini Soup
I have made this soup and it's a great comfort food! Not as nutritious thanks to the pasta, but makes an excellent pre-long ride (night before) meal to help you stock up on carbs and yummy greens!
3. Slow Cooker Vegetable Beef Soup
This is something you can also sub in venison for if you're a hunter like me (I haven't had to buy beef in two years!) I love this hearty, fill-you-up combo of meat and potatoes. Don't forget to remove those bay leaves, or if you do, play it off like my mom did when we were kids and act like that family member won a prize.
1 – 1 1/2 lb Stew Meat cut into bite size pieces
24 oz thawed Frozen Mixed Vegetables
4 cup diced Red Potatoes
1 large Onion, diced
15 oz Diced Tomatoes undrained
15 oz Great Northern Beans drained
32 oz Beef Broth
1 1/2 tsp Seasoned Salt
1 tsp Minced Garlic
2 Bay Leaves
1 tbsp Vegetable Oil