Author Topic: Help me with meal planning for night shift  (Read 2471 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Help me with meal planning for night shift
« on: December 31, 2015, 12:32:01 PM »

I work the midnight shift, which is 7 12-14 hour shifts in a row. I'm the new guy, and don't expect switching soon.  During the work week, I'm largely dead to the world and am not in any condition to cook. I've been eating fast food and junk food way, way too often. I'm looking for something that I can cook in the beginning of the week, portion out, and heat up at work to eat.

What I'm looking for:
-Meals that are simple all-in-one meals (protein, carb, and fruit/vegetable) - one skillet/crockpot/pan if possible
-Able to store portions in sandwich-sized tupperware containers
-Keep for one week without spoiling
-Heat up in microwave and eat - no preparation, components, etc...I'm by myself overnight and need to be available at all times at my desk.

An example that has worked but has become boring is three chicken breasts, can of black beans, jar of salsa, rice: cook in crock pot, shred chicken, done.

Some ideas I've had:
-Spaghetti(or any other pasta dish that would hold up when stored already mixed with sauce)
-Chicken and Dumplings
-Something cheesy/broccoli or something?

Foods I don't really care for:
-Green/red peppers

-I don't think I'm looking for soups - they're not filling enough for me.
-I am not much of a chef(re: my chicken salsa recipe) - try to spell it out for me if you can, and keep it simple.
-That being said, too simple is bad. I've become bored with tuna and crackers, salad, and oatmeal. Soylent was also a big fail.
-While this is more of a life improvement thing rather than money, my food budget is out of control and if carried out well this should really improve it.

Let me know what you think. Thanks!

Frankies Girl

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Re: Help me with meal planning for night shift
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2015, 01:10:07 PM »
I use a slow cooker for lots of large batch cooking.

Chili - good recipe here:
I chop my own onion and peppers, but you can buy bags of pre-chopped frozen onions for around a buck at most groceries, and minced garlic in jars, or even garlic powder to make the spice assembly much easier/faster. And you can leave out the peppers and not hurt the taste. I also use one pound ground beef and one pound ground turkey to cut the fat. And ignore the cooking time on this recipe if you're using canned beans; you can consider this done in 2 hours on high or 4 low, and then divide it out into freezable portions. It keeps for months, and you can throw it frozen into a lunch bag and nuke it in a microwave. I throw a baggie of shredded cheese and container of sour cream in the husband's lunch for topping.

I also do chicken drumsticks in the crockpot -
decent recipe. Side of whatever veggies sound good. Throw them on a plate and heat up in a few minutes.
Can replace the ground turkey with ground beef if that sounds better.

I also like making a batch of small pancakes and storing them in the fridge. They keep really well and probably could be frozen and it's really easy/fast to do about a dozen of them. With a side of sausage (I get the morningstar farms frozen soy sausage but I'm sure there are other ready to heat/eat frozen sausages). Add some fruit topping on the pancakes if that sounds good (we get the little pints of raspberries or blackberries). Small container for the syrup and you have breakfast for dinner.

Check out too - great ideas that are frugal and tasty.


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Re: Help me with meal planning for night shift
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2015, 01:32:51 PM »
You could also freeze some portions for later in the week?

I love the one pan lasagna from Budget Bytes. Quick and easy, filling, keeps in fridge or freezer very well. Her website has a lot of easy one pot or crockpot meals.

Buy a big container of salad and portion it out into the separate containers.  Add a Baggie with cheese   Use a small container with dressing. Nestle the Baggie and dressing into the salad container.

Chili with toppings is always good.

As far as fruit goes, throw a banana or apple or whatever in your lunch bag. Fruit is happily pre packed in convos t containers and single portions.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Help me with meal planning for night shift
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2015, 08:11:15 PM »
I'll second the crockpot lasagna (I use penne pasta because it's easier), and it freezes well if you want to space things out for variety.

Also groundnut stew:

I've simplified that recipe over the years I've used something like it: canned Rotel instead of separate tomatoes and chills, and crunchy PB instead of separate PB and roasted peanuts. It also works well with any mix of fairly hearty vegetables y have; I usually use a mix of white and sweet potatoes, onions, and add whatever else is lying around. Green tomatoes and turnips are especially good in it. I don't usually fool with the listed spices, just the onions, Rotel, some garlic, soy sauce and lemon juice. It keeps and travels well because it's vegan, whichever version you make.

With This Herring

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Re: Help me with meal planning for night shift
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2016, 07:46:08 PM »
Try a curry over rice.  One pot for rice, one pot for curry.

I like this chickpea curry recipe:

Adjustments made per other reviewers:
6 whole cloves = 1/2 tsp ground clove
1 inch cinnamon stick = 1 tsp ground cinnamon
added one can undrained diced tomatoes to 1/2 recipe and drain (homecooked) chickpeas
crushed 1/4 to 1/3 of the chickpeas with a spoon as they cooked

Served with turmeric rice (1.5 cups rice sauteed on medium in 1 Tbs butter for two minutes, add 3/4 tsp turmeric & 1/2 tsp salt, add 3 cups water and simmer approx. 10 minutes (still medium)).

This curry tastes better if it has sat for a day, so it will be ideal as make-ahead lunches.

With This Herring

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Re: Help me with meal planning for night shift
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2016, 07:55:54 PM »
I would also suggest the Binghamton, NY classic, chicken spiedies.


To cook this without a grill, bake chicken at 350F for seven minutes.  Serve on sub (hoagie/hero/grinder/poorboy) rolls.  If you make washed and dried lettuce the only layer touching the bread, you could add in tomato and other veggies of your choice, wrap it in foil, and it it as a cold sub.

And, as everyone else recommends, do check out Budget Bytes.