This does require some preparation and fore thought to make sure you have all the ingredients on hand. It all starts with what is on sale this week at the store, any good buys on meat, or produce and what is left in the freezer. And sometimes the whole menu changes when I get to the store because there is a great buy on beef and I was planning on chicken for many of my dishes. I always try to do a soup, 2-3 main dishes, and prepare some type of meat. I know this system may seem like a lot of work for some but once you do it, the fact you don't have to fix the main course for the whole week really helps cut down time in the kitchen. At dinner all there is to do is fix a salad or vegetable and dinner is ready. In fact my husband always gets out what we are eating for the meal and I fix the vegetable or salad.
I will give you an example of what was done after Thanksgiving.
We had a 20 pound turkey, we baked the turkey and cut the breast meat into serving size portions and put them into the freezer. The rest of the turkey we took the meat off the carcass and packaged it up into 3 cup servings which was used in the dishes below.
1. Sliced Turkey breast....white meat
2. Hot and Sour Turkey Soup....with the turkey carcass
3. Turkey tacos....prepare the dark meat with seasoning and freeze
4. Turkey Enchiladas... casserole with the dark meat
5. Turkey pot pies....dark meat
All this took around 3 hours of prep and then there was cooking time. So by late morning everything is done and cooling.
Package up anything that was left to be used in the future. After the meals were prepared they were divided into serving size portions and frozen. Since I cook every week there is always a large variety of food in the freezer so really leftovers are something that's not an issue. The dishes are rotated with beef, chicken, pork and fish dishes everyday.
I hope this will give you some inspiration into how to save money and time in the kitchen.