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Sunday, April 26, 2009

How to make things go faster at meal times...

As I've mentioned before, hubby and I have the family roles all shuffled up. He stays home with the boys, while I work full time. He does much of the housecleaning, laundry and organizing. But he doesn't dust, he doesn't "girlify" stuff, and he doesn't cook or grocery shop.

Yes, he grills. Yes, he CAN cook. He tells me if I tell him what to cook, how to make it and what to get, he'll do it. Might as well do it myself. As for shopping- I've blogged about his shopping trips before. Just better to keep him off of that duty when I can. :)

I don't mind doing the cooking and shopping, as I love to cook, and I love to see the boys get excited about foods I make. Since my job sometimes requires a 12 hour day, though, I've had to get creative. When weeks got hectic, we used to just grab takeout or run through a drive through. Not healthy or economical. Now that we've decided to keep a tight budget, I've had to find ways to produce quick food here that suits my requirements. I'm really getting less and less into processed foods. We have them, but we try to keep them to a minimum.

So I've really started getting into make ahead meals. Some women do Once a Month Cooking. That's a really big commitment for me--I might not want to eat those foods at the end of the month ;). But I do prep a lot of the next week's meals in advance, and when I can, I make extras for other meals.

Take, for example, the chicken enchiladas I made for the freezer. I have the enchiladas individually wrapped in wax paper. In the same gallon bag, I've also place a bag of the sauce that you pour over the enchiladas, and a bag of grated cheese for the top.

And look- even written directions for hubby LOL.

I also like to do side dishes, like twice baked potatoes, and other things that take a while to prepare.
These carrots are in a butter/sherry sauce, with parsley---all we'll need to do is pop them in a microwave container and heat them up at dinner. MUCH faster than trying to make them from scratch that night. And cheaper, too. I can buy a 2lb. bag of carrots for $1, and make 4 meals worth. Not too shabby.

Meal planning and thinking things out ahead just a little can save you a LOT of time and money in the long run. No more fast food (unless you are craving it LOL).


Anonymous said...

Good idea and the wonderful pictures are making me hungry.