Meal Planning Simplicity: Making the Most of Your Time in the Kitchen


I find it helpful to try and streamline my cooking whenever possible. If I can make extra amounts of something that can be used in other meals later in the week than that helps me to save time for the rest of the week.

Here is one way I did this recently. I made a large amount of Cranberry Chicken. I served that meal on the first night with roasted potatoes and a salad. 

I took the leftover chicken meat and chopped it up and divided it. I save approximately 2 cups for the second meal, Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas, and had a little less than that for the third, Jambalaya, meal.

Also after I had the cranberry chicken in the oven I cooked up a large pot of brown
rice (4 cups long grain brown rice, 8 ½ cups water, 3t salt, bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and cook for 1 hour 10 minutes)  to use in the other meals, making the best use of my time in the kitchen for the days ahead.

And now for the recipes…

Cranberry Chicken

1 onion chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
4 to 5 medium sized mushrooms, sliced
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
3T coconut oil
3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
½ cup water
½ cup brown sugar (or honey)
4#’s skinless chicken (breasts or thighs)
Salt & pepper

In a frying pan sauté onions, green pepper, mushrooms and garlic in coconut oil until veggies are soft. Add cranberries, water and brown sugar (or honey).
Lay chicken pieces between 2 9x13 pans. Sprinkle salt & pepper (to taste) over chicken (I sometimes sprinkle a little seasoning salt as well). Spoon cranberry sauce evenly over chicken dividing between the 2 pans. Cover with foil.

Bake at 325 for 1 hour.

Here is a pic of the chicken after it had baked.  One pan (plus a little more, I was feed several people for that meal) was used for dinner that night and the other was cut up and used in the following 2 recipes..

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Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas

10 flour tortillas
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken, cooked, chopped (I used about 2cups of the precooked chicken for this)
2 ½ cups cooked brown rice (from the brown rice cooked the day before)
3 cups grated cheese (cheddar, Monterey jack or a mix), divided
3T butter
3T flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup sour cream
1 can (4oz) chopped green chilies

In a large bowl combine chicken, brown rice, and 2 cups cheese for tortilla filling. Set aside. In a sauce pan melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and bring to a boil and cook for about a minute. Add chicken broth. Bring to a boil and cook until thickened (a couple minutes). Remove from heat and let cool.
Lay tortillas on a plate and put about ½ cup of the chicken/rice/cheese mixture in the center. Roll up and lay them in a 9x13 pan (that has been greased.. I use coconut oil to grease pan).
To the chicken gravy mixture stir in sour cream and chopped green chilies. Pour over tortillas in pan. Make sure the sauce gets in between the tortillas as well. Sprinkle the last 1 cup of cheese over the top.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 350. Serve with tortilla chips, salsa and a salad and enjoy!!

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I totally forgot to get a picture of the Jambalaya...  such is the way it goes sometimes! I used about 2 cups (maybe a little less) in place of the boneless, skinless chicken called for in the recipe.


4T olive oil
8 oz link sausage, cut in small pieces
½ to ¾ lb chicken boneless, skinless chicken, cut into bite size pieces
1 medium onion, diced
½ a green pepper, or several small mini peppers, sliced
1 ½ t minced garlic
1 – 14oz can diced tomatoes
½ t red pepper flakes
½ t pepper
1t hot pepper sauce (such as the brand Tabasco), you can use less if you don’t want the dish to be hot
5 cups cooked brown rice

In a large frying pan heat olive oil until hot. Add sausage, chicken, onion, peppers and garlic. Cook this until the chicken is done and the veggies are tender. (cook sausage and veggies until veggies are tender and then add cooked chicken)

Add tomatoes, pepper flakes, pepper and hot pepper sauce. Stir to combine ingredients.

Now add rice and stir. Taste, and add salt to your liking. 

Serve with a green salad and enjoy!
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  1. Streamlining your cooking is such a great idea. I do that more often! The sour cream chicken enchiladas sound so delicious!

    Ila from

  2. I am doing something similar this week, I have a whole chicken roasting and I am planning three meals and some soup from it...Lord willing!


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