One of the biggest frustrations I hear from Moms is about managing meals. It is a huge juggle because meals happen..every day! But, trying to get a tasty nutritious meal on the table that hasn’t come precooked or frozen is getting harder and harder with today’s busy schedules. I know. I was there! We have six kids and it often felt, when they were all younger and at home, that as soon as I cleaned up the kitchen after fixing lunch, I had about 7 minutes until I needed to start prepping for the next meal.
I remember times that I would stand in front of an open fridge in hope that something..anything, would magically fall out.
The biggest help I found was doing my meals planning ahead and doing the prep or the meals in advance. Now, I am not going to say I was always great at keeping up that routine and now that there are just three of us in the house I am having to dial
back the “chuck wagon’ mentality, but it is a system that can work just as well for 8 people as it can for 2 or 3.
Sure, you will still need to buy fresh fruit,vegetables, and probably milk, but for the most part, you can
purchase everything you need for two weeks in ONE trip.
Ready? Let’s apron up and start cooking.
STEP 1. Gather recipes. Check out your favorite cookbooks or recipes you have seen in a magazine or saved to your Pinterest boards. Basically you only nee 6 meals since you are making a double batch and putting
them in the freezer.
STEP 2. Get out the latest grocery store ads. There are a few stores I like to shop at so I usually limit myself to those few. If you have a farmers market that you frequent, make sure you know what is in season.
STEP 3. Look at your calendar. If you know that Wednesday or Friday nights are crazy. Plan to have something that is easy to grab and go..burritos, chicken wraps. Fill in two weeks of meals, leaving Sundays open for “potluck” left-overs..after all you need a break too! You can also use a wipe-off calendar on the fridge. It is just nice for everyone to know what the meal plan is.
STEP 4. Make a grocery list. Put down all the
ingredients you need for all the meals. If you have 3 chicken dishes you are making then you need to purchase enough chicken for 6 dishes. Same goes for beef. HINT $ – sometimes sirloin is CHEAPER than ground beef. You can have the butcher grind it for you.
STEP 5. Start cooking. Give yourself plenty of time because you need to make sure the kitchen gets cleaned when you are done. Run a sink full of hot water so that when you are done with something it is easier to clean or put into the dishwasher. This is when you start cutting meats, vegetables, onions, and browning things that are going to need to be assembled. Turn on the over and see if there are things that cook at the same temp. so you can maximize your energy.
STEP 6. Assemble dishes. Whether you are putting your dishes in pans, disposable zip-lock bags or sealing them, you need to know what you will be using. Start assembling dishes. This is
where it is great that you have planned ahead. If you have 4 things that need diced onions in them, then you can get them cut up all at once.
STEP 7. Store and clean up. Place things in freezer that you will be eating later on in the week or the following week. You might want to put the item and date on a piece of masking tape you you can easily identify. Clean everything, even the floor. If you have run out of items such as ground pepper, make a note of it so you can re-stock.
YEAH!! BREATHE. You did it! Think of what you will do with that extra time to enjoy being with your family instead of frantically running around.
1st of 6 recipes in this Chicken and Potato Series
- 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 2 cups Italian Panko crombs
- 3/4 cup - 1 cup mayo
- 1 - 2 cloves crushed garlic
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Mix garlic into mayo.
- Coat chicken in garlic mayo mix. Yes..this gets a bit "tactile" but you wasj so roll u[p your sleeves and coat away!
- Pour Panko into shallow dish.
- Roll thighs in crumbs to evenly coated.
- Place one lightly greased baking sheet.
- bake for 25 minutes or until chicken is done.
- you can slice the chicken into strips for younger eaters to create chicken nuggets.