Meal Planning Monday ~ Double Duty Dinners


This week’s post is by Rose Siders of An Exercise in Frugality.

When I get in the kitchen, I have three goals:

  1. Make something delicious.
  2. Don’t spend a lot of money to make it
  3. Get out of the kitchen as quickly as possible.


Sound familiar? I mean, don’t get me wrong, nothing beats good ol’ fashioned home cooking. But who wants to spend all night in the kitchen after a long day? Not me, and I know I’m not alone-especially now after all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season! So unless you plan on ordering takeout every night (not recommended) or starving (definitely not recommended) how can you possible cook less? One way is by making double-duty dinners!

Double-duty dinners are meals you can prepare one way, and by making a few minor tweaks, can serve as different meal on a  second day. You can use the second meal for lunches or dinners. Using this method, you do only one full meal prep, but get a second “bonus” meal with minimal effort. Chances are your mother or grandmother used a similar way of meal-planning: tonight’s roasted chicken became tomorrow’s chicken noodle soup, for example. But we can be more creative than that!

Here are a few recipes I love, that can be turned into OTHER great recipes to get you started.

First Make This:                                                     Then Make This:

Cheesy Ham and Hash Brown Casserole                 Slow Cooker Potato Soup

Paula Dean’s Meatloaf                                              Sloppy Joes

Pepper Steak                                                            Steak Salad with Bleu Cheese Vinagarette

Mississippi Roast                                                        French Dip Crescents


Another great way to halve the time you spend in the kitchen is by preparing double the meal, or as I like to call them: “premeditated leftovers”. For example, instead of cutting and stuffing two chicken breasts, do four. Or six. Freeze the rest, and next time you don’t feel like cooking, just take out the other set and pop them in the oven. Make two pans of enchiladas instead of one. The disposable tin pans you can get at the dollar store work great for this purpose! It’s like freezer cooking, but on a much smaller scale. Basically you cook once and eat twice!


Rose Siders is no stranger to pinching pennies. She writes her blog An Exercise in Frugality as a way to teach others how to get more while spending less. When she’s not blogging, she can usually be found cooking, playing video games with her husband, or spontaneously crafting.  You can find An Exercise in Frugality on Facebook and Twitter.