I have some friends who eat very little on Shabbat. Some people even fast. This is easy to do if its just a couple adults...but that is not at all practically when you have kids! As a matter of fact, I find we munch more on Shabbat than any other day. It kind or reminds me of Thanksgiving in that way, people totally relaxing and eating more than they should. :-) That is not what it looks like every Shabbat...but it is common...so all the more reason we need to do a little more preparation ahead of time. :-)
We eat sort of "seasonally" so what we do in the colder or wetter months is different than what we do in the hotter months. Right now, we are "in between" we still have nice days that may be hot...yet things are cooling off and we are already starting to crave warm foods again. So I will suggest a little bit of a mix here.
Shabbat Breakfast ideas
Hot Cereal - When we want something hot we turn to Hot Cereals. You can search online for recipes, but if you want a cook book, Sue Gregg's Breakfasts, is wonderful and healthful. So is the one by the Goldbecks which is quite nice. The make ahead part is done by cooking them in the crockpot or by starting the cooking process and sealing it up in a thermos to let it slowly finish the process over night. It is often cooled by the next morning (which is nice for summer)..so if you want it pipin' hot, stick to the crock. Here is my recipe for Brown Rice Cereal We also usually have homemade granola on hand as a back-up.
Muffins and Breads - I have some muffin monsters on my hands! We love Muffins. Whenever I make muffins I make a minimum of 4 dozen. They freeze well and are handy to pull out on Friday for Shabbat breakfast the next day. Same it true with any kind of quick bread! This with a tall glass of milk is a tasty, easy and satifying breakfast. I use all whole grains and small amounts of natural sugar, so I don't have to feel guilty about feeding them dessert for breakfast! I have also made extra Challah or stuffed my Challah like a sweet bread for for the next days breakfast. It is just as easy to make 2 loaves as it is one! My Challah is whole grain and sweetened with honey too, so no guilt here! :-) I'ld be happy to share Whole grain muffin recipes with you if you ask...I just realized I don't have ANY posted. (How could that be??)
Fresh Fruit often shows up at our Shabbat breakfast table. You can blend up smoothies ahead of time and keep them stored right in the blender pitcher in the fridge. (Depending on your blend, it may seperate...just give it a stir with the spoon.)
Quiche or Fratata are very tasty served cold for breakfast or for lunch!
During the hotter months I often think of "what would I pack for a picnic" or bag lunch. This such as:
Salads (of all kinds! Pasta, grains, green salads, bean, etc)
Cheese, crackers and wine
Veggies and dip
Frozen Yogurt Pops
We discovered when we had a hectic Friday during our move and dinner didn't get made that Chinese Shabbats are very tasty! We over ordered and ate cold chinese all the next day. Cold Chinese if very good!!! We eat leftover Chinese that way all the time now!
And I prepare those things ahead. In the cooler months we seem to need the warm foods. This is when the crock gets a full work out! We are a multi crock family. I have learned the beauty of the crock! Here is a great site to jump start some crockpot love. This is such a practical tool. I actaully have 3 large crock pots and 3 small (dip sized). You can find them pretty cheap...if you train yourself to use them they are SO worth it! You can do breakfast lunch and dinner in the Crock for Shabbat. I have! My crocks have the bowl that comes out, so I can fill it and put my stuff in the crock in the fridge and pull it out in the morning. Or if you don't have the space, try those nifty Crockpot bags. This makes Shabbat clean up a breeze too! The crock pot is wonderful for the simplicity of make-ahead one pot meals! 2 crocks are also handy if you make rice in one and "toppin's" in the other. If you want some great crock pot recipes, let me know...I'll post those too.
Beans (for burritos and rice)
Soups and Stews with bread
Mexican Layered Casserole
Lasagna (I never to he oven anymore - do this with uncooked noodles!)
Baked Potatoes for potatoe bars
Extra Early Make Ahead Tips
Make your meal ahead earlier in the week and put it in a bag in the crock and freeze it. After it freezes into shape, take it out of the crock and just store it in the freezer in the bag. This way it fits perfectly in the crock frozen. I have just put my big "meal cube" in there frozen on Shabbat morning and its done by dinner. (You chould defrost it the night before too, if you just put it in ziplock with out the shape. I have done that too.)
Havdalah (End of the day) Meal:
I always used to treat this as a completly seperate meal...I still do at times...but I have recently allowed my supermom self the freedom to "let go" of that. I will often just make lots of food (or even just have healthy snacky foods) to graze on in the day and through the evening without making a seperate meal. I have opened a big bucket of (homemade) premade popcorn for our evening food. I wouldn't serve that to guests for dinner...but the family thinks its a treat!
If I make ahead a seperate meal, I just follow the same guidelines as I do for earlier meal.
So that is the gist of how we manage our Shabbat meal planning. I hope it sparks some ideas and helps inspire you.
The biggest key is preparing ahead. Planning your meals ahead in time to get your groceries and get them made, so that your work is done come sundown Friday. If i put things off unitl Friday, I get cranky and nothing seems to "go right". It is hard to keep the Shalom in the Home. :-) But when I am prepared, all the extra work on prep day is actyully a joyous occasion. The kids and I scurry about as we sing to worship music and prepare for our date with the King of Kings!