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It Pays to Plan Ahead: A Beginner’s Guide to Meal Planning

Throughout Meal Plan March we’ve shown you how easy it is to put dinner on the table during the week when you set aside a little time to plan ahead. We developed 9 recipes to get you started on your meal plan journey and now we’ve put them all in one place. Whether you plan to recycle pre-made chicken, pot roast, or pork into your meals this week, bookmark this blog as a reference if you ever get stumped on easy recipe ideas.


Over the weekend, make Slow Cooker Basic Shredded Chicken. Once your protein is cooked and ready for the week, building meals around it can start. Have a carb-loving family like mine? Add the shredded chicken to broccoli, pasta, and a creamy homemade alfredo sauce to make a quick pasta bake. Craving something on the lighter side? Mix chicken with your favorite Mediterranean ingredients to make a refreshing quinoa bowl that’s great for lunch or dinner. You could also throw together a quick stovetop chicken and rice soup – an easy, warm meal for a chilly night or when you’re feeling under the weather.

Pot Roast

Here at Hamilton Beach, pot roast is king. It’s so easy to make a perfectly cooked roast in the slow cooker. Cook the roast on Saturday or Sunday and easily work it into your Monday-Friday menu. Fan of chicken pot pie? Then you’ll love this hearty pot roast pot pie that couldn’t be easier to prepare thanks to a few shortcuts. Consider yourself the sandwich artist of the family? Construct a pot roast po boy that will put your sad desk lunch to shame. And if you’re looking for another excuse to incorporate pasta into your weekly routine (pasta never disappoints), mix your roast with a jar of marinara for a no-fail, semi-homemade meat sauce.


Shredded pork, like shredded chicken, can be used in just about anything. Start with our slow cooker pulled pork (but don’t add the NC-style barbecue sauce), and start planning ahead for the week. Macaroni and cheese is perfect all by itself, but add in pulled pork in and a little barbecue sauce and trust me, you’ll never go back to the boxed stuff. Whether you celebrate Taco Tuesday or not, every week deserves a taco night. Saute your pre-made pork with onion and spices then top with a quick slaw, black beans, and corn for flavorful tacos you won’t need to wait in line for. Another night, drop the can opener and make pozole rojo, an authentic Mexican soup that delivers on flavor.

Find more meal planning inspiration by searching EverydayGoodThinking.com.

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