Meals

Meal Planning

Category: Meals

I plan out meals on the weekends for two weeks at a time. I buy only those items at the store for the menus. It saves time during the week and money because I'm not buying as many items as I would otherwise.

Breakfast

Category: Meals

I am a stay at home mom of 3 kiddos and I run a daycare out of the home. I cook and clean A LOT! I have learned that to simplify my life the little things really count- like making breakfast in the morning. I like to cook nice meals for the kids and hubby! So I have learned to prepare the pancake batter the night before, set out the pans for cinnamon rolls so I don't make a lot of noise in the morning. When we do have cereal, I set out the number of bowls and spoons so all I have to do is pour cereal and milk! That way mommy isn't stressing in the morning to give my family and daycare kiddos the "most important meal of the day" =)

Freeze Food

Category: Meals

We're a busy family and juggling a baby while trying to make dinner can be difficult. To help us eat healthier and be able to prepare meals quickly, I freeze meals. Buy groceries in bulk when they're on sale and then spend an afternoon preparing a few weeks' worth of meals. Cut up all the veggies and meats for each recipe. Put these in freezer bags and label with recipe name, date, and instructions on how to complete meal (ie. Cook in slow cooker for 5 hours on low with 1 cup of chicken broth added.) Its so nice to dump a bag into the slow cooker and have a tasty home cooked meal in a few hours.

Pre-Cook

Category: Meals

Take one morning, afternoon, or evening to prepare the staples of your menu for the week. Preparing food ahead cuts down on time menu planning, preparing, cooking and cleanup, and takes the hassle out of home cooked meals. You can cook up bacon, heat as you need through the week for breakfast. Cook your meat and freeze or prepare casseroles and place in freezer, I like to write on top what it is and how to cook. For example: Chicken pot pie, bake at 350 for 45 minutes. This way if I am running late someone can go ahead and start supper. You get a home cooked meal and not have to stress so much, plus redusing your time spent in the kitchen during your busy week!

Freeze Food

Category: Meals

My trick that I thinks works for me is when I am baking cookies, casseroles for dinner, I make extra and freeze so that when I am busy I can pull out something to bake. It's good for when I am working and then come home for one of the children's games. I put the container out in the morning by dinner time it is ready to bake. I freeze cookies and just put out a dozen at a time. Cookies stay fresh and you don't have to baking all the time.

Leftovers

Category: Meals

To make leftovers enjoyable, save money at work, and make easy weekend lunches, we put our evening meal leftovers into lunch portions and put them in Rubbermaid brand food storage containers and freeze them. We put them into portion sizes according to how much we can eat.  Rubbermaid containers freeze well and do not crack. Make a label with the name of the food and use a good glue stick to attach the label. Glue stick is effective in the freezer, other glue is not. Sometimes my husband will come up with fun names for the leftovers. Then each morning, we can choose our lunch out of the freezer. This makes our leftovers something we look forward to rather than "aargh" leftovers.

Pasta

Category: Meals

You know when you have those 1/4 full boxes of pasta.  I do no like to have multiple boxes of pasta open in my pantry so I have gotten containers and labeled them by their cook time. So I may have different shapes of pasta but they will all cook at the same time. Now when I open box and don't use it all pour what is left in the appropriate cook time container.

Pre-Cook

Category: Meals

I always keep a bag of cooked/diced chicken in my freezer. This is for days when meal planning just doesn't make it from the to-do-list to the table. I can warm it up in no time and make any number of meals- chicken tacos, chicken & rice, chicken stir fry etc.

Meal Planning

Category: Meals

As a mother of 5 it is hard to find time to plan meals and go to the grocery store. So I made a list of all the meals that I fix and then made a master grocery list from my list of meals. I saved my list on the computer so it can easily be printed off and adjusted as needed. I go on one big shopping trip every other month and buy enough to fix each meal twice (once each month). Before I go shopping I print off my list, look through my pantry and freezers to see what I may still have and cross it off my list. I also print off my menu and cross off the meals as I fix them. This has saved me tons off time and money.

Pre-made Snacks

Category: Meals

When I go grocery shopping instead of buying the pre-packaged snack stuff for lunch I will buy say a bag/box of cookies and when I get home I put a set number of cookies into snack bags. It also helps to cut down on the partial box/bags of things open...this works for larger bags of chips, gold fish crackers and such. I then have two larger totes one for healthy snacks and one for cookies and such. I put all of those pre-made snack bags into the larger totes and then tell the kids to pick two snacks from each of the totes for their lunch. Makes mornings go smoother.