Seven-day menu with planned leftovers for a family of four

Most Canadians waste on average 40% of their food; waste – as in throwing it away into the garbage or composter. Which translates into throwing away your money.

With the cost of groceries on the rise there has never been a better time to learn how to extend your food dollar, professional home economist Mairlyn Smith to the rescue. Planning ahead and using one meal to create another meal a few days apart is both economical and a form of kitchen creativity.

This seven-day plan includes 7 dinners and 7 lunches using the leftovers from previous meals to create another meal or lunch. Here’s the segment I did on Cityline. 

This plan is a reflection of an average week at my house.

Its really important to note that health and what we eat is what I’m all about, so I included the foods that we all need for optimum health:

• 2 servings of fatty fish to make sure that we are getting those essential omega-3 fatty acids for heart and brain health. I used canned salmon this particular week for cost, but feel free to choose canned sardines, mackerel, or fresh or frozen salmon or rainbow trout.

• Whole grains – I used whole grain bread for sandwiches and used whole wheat tortillas for the wraps. Not included in the grocery list and the final weekly cost was cereal. This time of the year we eat hot oatmeal most mornings, another great whole grain. Whole grains are important for heart and GI health.

• In the menu plan I didn’t include fruits and vegetables but I did include them in the grocery list. I try to eat as seasonally and as locally as I can choosing product of Canada first. The week I bought the groceries for the Cityline included: 8 oranges, 8 Red Prince apples, rutabaga, carrots, celery, cucumbers, beets, frozen corn, frozen peas, cabbage, red onion, potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsley, two bags of prepackaged Kale Salad mix, garlic and onions. It would work out to 6-8 servings of fruits and vegetables per person per day. Eating fruits and vegetables every day is one of the biggest health choices you can make. They include fibre, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants all extremely important for long term health.

• Canned or dried pulses – pulses are another important food to add to your diet. Just like fruits and vegetables they include a huge list of health benefits and bonus points: they are economical. In a regular week my family and I eat between 75-80% of our week’s meals as plant based using legumes, beans, soy, chickpeas and split peas as protein sources. This seven-day menu includes chickpeas for hummus and a salad, plus black beans for chili.

• Beef or poultry or pork. Once a week I cook one of these three sources of protein and then use the leftovers for sandwiches or other meals. I am not a fan of packaged precooked meats for sandwiches because of the nitrates and nitrates as well as the high amount of sodium. This way I am making home cooked luncheon meats.

• Eggs – Mother Nature’s vitamin pill – I’m an egg girl. The grocery list includes 2 dozen eggs. Great in an omelette, frittata or cooked for breakfast; eggs have a healthy place on your plate.
Note: in the following meal plans I did not include the fruits and vegetables in every meal, but I did include them in the grocery list, however the Cole slaw and the Kale Salad mix are included.
For your dinner you have the choice of: beets, carrots, rutabaga, onions, potatoes, peas, celery, parsley, corn, and sweet potatoes.
• parsley and thinly sliced celery with thawed frozen peas tossed with oil and vinegar as a side salad is awesome
• roasted beets, carrots, rutabaga, onions and potatoes are a great go to this time of year

Day 1 – Sunday

Lunch: egg sandwiches

Dinner : Roast of beef, cook extra potatoes to use in Tuesday’s dinner

Day 2 – Monday
Lunch – Beef sandwich – using thin slices of the leftover cooked roast

Dinner: Vegetarian Chipotle Chili (save half the recipe for Wednesday’s dinner)
Make a large batch Cole Slaw: thinly slice green cabbage, red onion and parsley. Toss with oil and apple cider vinegar. Make enough for three meals.

Day 3 – Tuesday
Lunch – Salmon wrap with leftover Cole slaw

Frittatas using 1-2 eggs per person and any leftover roast and roasted potatoes from Sunday

Recipe for Frittata:
In a large oven safe skillet over medium heat, heat oil, add 2 finely sliced onions or shallots, sauté, add chopped leftover roasted potatoes, het through. Preheat oven to 325°F. Whisk together eggs with 1 Tbsp/15 mL water per egg until light and fluffy. Pour into pan covering the potatoes and onions. Sprinkle in chopped leftover roast and fresh or dried rosemary. Place in oven until fully cooked.


Day 4 – Wednesday
Lunch – Egg wrap with leftover frittata

Dinner: Jacket Potatoes using the leftover chili + store bought Kale Salad

Day 5 – Thursday
Lunch – leftover Kale Salad with canned rinsed and drained chickpeas (use ¾ cup/180 mL per adult)

Dinner: Salmon Cakes
Recipe for Salmon Cakes:
Canadian Canned Salmon Cakes with Homemade Tartar Sauce
Recipe from Homegrown: Celebrating the Canadian foods we grow, raise and produce (Whitecap 2015)
Recipe created by: Janet Butters P.H.Ec

Three – 213 g cans red sockeye or pink salmon
2 – omega-3 eggs, beaten
1 clove garlic, minced and set aside
½ cup (125 mL) whole grain cracker crumbs – see tip below
1 small celery stalk with leaves, minced
1 onion, minced
1 Tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh parsley
¼ tsp (1 mL) iodized salt
¼ tsp (1 mL) freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp (15 mL) canola oil
1 Tbsp (15 mL) butter

Homemade Tartar Sauce: Makes ½ cup (125 mL)
¼ cup (60 mL) 0% fat Greek-style yogurt
3 Tbsp (45 mL) low fat mayo
2 Tbsp (30 mL) horseradish
1 green onion, chopped
1 Tbsp (15 mL) fresh parsley
1. Drain cans of salmon, place salmon in a large bowl and flake well including the bones which are a great source of calcium.
2. Add eggs, garlic, crackers, celery, onion, parsley, and salt and pepper. Mix well. Shape into 8 salmon cakes about 3-inch (8 cm) thick.
3. Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C) line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil, set aside.
4. Heat a large skillet over medium heat; add oil and butter. Brown both sides of each salmon cake. Place on the prepared pan and bake for 15-20 minutes or until completely heated through.
5. While the salmon cakes are cooking prepare tartar sauce: in a small bowl mix together yogurt, mayo, horseradish, green onion, and parsley. Store covered in the fridge until serving time.
6. To serve: place 1 salmon cakes on a plate and top with 1 Tbsp (30 mL) tartar sauce.
Makes: 8 salmon cakes
One Serving = 1 salmon cakes with 1 Tbsp (15 mL) Homemade Tartar Sauce
Per Serving: 235 Calories, 15 g Total Fat, 3.5 g Saturated Fat, 0 Trans Fat, 536 mg Sodium, 8 g Carbohydrate, 1.2 g Fibre, 2 g Sugars, 0 g added sugars, 16.5 g Protein
Carbohydrate Choices: ½

Tip: you can make whole grain cracker crumbs from Rye crisps or Triscuits or Wheat Thins OR use Spelt or Multigrain Breadcrumbs from ShaSha Bakery available at Loblaws or Whole Wheat Panko from Kikkomann

Day 6 – Friday
Lunch – Hummus with veggies

Dinner: Pasta: make your life easy and buy a glass bottle of tomato sauce serve over pasta (I use Barilla Protein Plus, its made with pulses: chickpeas and lentils)

Day 7 – Saturday
Lunch: kale salad mix with leftover salmon cakes

Dinner: Hamburgers with Cole Slaw
Make your own burgers using beef, chicken or turkey


Grocery List: please note this list does not include pantry staples, breakfast foods or milk.

3 lb. Roast – or whatever protein is on sale. The week I demmed this oven roasts were on special.
1 lb ground beef, chicken or turkey for the Saturday night burgers

Fruit and Vegetables:
8 oranges
8 Red Prince apples
Potatoes: originally I was going to buy 24 mini potatoes but the week I demmed this a large bag of potatoes was on sale for $2.99 – so I bought the large bag with plans to make more potato based recipes next week.
6 cloves garlic
1 bag cooking onions
1 large red onion
1 bunch celery
1 bunch parsley
1 green cabbage
2 red peppers – note – the peppers are very expensive in March, so I changed it up and used roasted red peppers from my freezer. If you don’t have any buy a jar of roasted whole red peppers. You need one jar for my recipes. One roasted pepper for the chili and one for the hummus.
Bag of carrots
2 sweet potatoes
2 bags prepackaged kale salad

Canned foods:
2 cans black beans, no salt added
3 cans chickpeas, no salt added – 1 can for the homemade hummus and 2 cans for the lunches
1 can large crushed tomatoes, no salt added
5 cans sockeye or pink salmon – 3 cans for the salmon cakes and 2 cans for sandwiches

Frozen foods:
Frozen corn
Frozen peas

2 dozen eggs – I use omega-3 but all eggs are excellent

Breads and Pasta:
2 loaves Whole grain bread
2 packages Whole grain or whole wheat tortillas

1 package Barilla, protein plus any shape

8 thoughts on “Seven-day menu with planned leftovers for a family of four”

    1. Hi Celestine,
      We only do desserts for special occasions, most nights its nothing or fruit! So when I do make a chocolate cake – its a big deal!
      Peace, love and fibre,

    1. Hi Jay,
      Thanks for the question – I fixed the see sidebar! Thanks for your eagle eye. It says see tip below now and then I included the tips! (I cut and pasted the recipe from Homegrown and the sidebar was in the book but not in the blog post!)
      Please check it out in the post.
      Peace, love and fibre,

  1. Hello Mairlyn,
    I am new to your page and love the idea of getting back to eating local and seasonal. My question to you is if I follow this 7day menu plan will I lose weight as I am needing to lose at least 50 pounds. What approximately would this type of menu plan be calorie wise daily.
    Thank you for your support towards healthier eating lifestyle. donna 🙂

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