Thursday, March 26, 2009

Meal Preparation

I like to watch Jon & Kate + Eight sometimes. I learn alot of home management ideas from her. They have a plaque on their table. It's made of wood and the letters are carved in. It reads, "Plan Ahea". Obviously the person carving forgot to plan ahead for the "d" at the end of the word. I find myself like this OFTEN. I am discovering that planning ahead is critical in feeding my family. I have done lots of "variations" of the once-a-month-cooking. There's no way I could get a months worth of cooking done (nor would my small kitchen allow it). But, I have doubled meals to freeze one, baked ahead, and gotten better at weekly meal planning. Recently I bought 10 pounds of chicken (on sale for .99/lb) and 10 pounds ground beef (on sale for $1.99/lb). Instead of bringing it home a sticking it in the freezer (like I was tempted to do), I brought it home and cooked it all up,divided it into portions, and then froze it. Now I have enough meat/broth for about 9 meals. It only took about an hour total for all 20 pounds. And I only dirtied 2 pans! I would have spent that time worrying that I hadn't defrosted it, wrestling with the frozen packaging, trying to speed thaw in the microwave, and ultimately ending up with a mess (can you tell I've done that many times?). Now the hard part is done for chili, chicken soup, chicken quesadillas, beef stroganoff, etc. In some cases I went ahead and sauted onions, peppers, seasoning with them. These tips might not work for everyone (especially moms of nursing babies, or those with smaller families, limited freezer space etc), but they might prompt you to think what you could do to plan ahead in serving your family more efficiently in your own unique circumstances. Please add to this post with a comment if you have other tips to add that might be helpful to us.


Unknown said...

I do the same thing Honey! I can't think of any better tips except that I almost always double things like taco meat, sloppy joes, spaghetti sauce, chicken soup (without the noodles), veg soup, etc. and then freeze half of it. I also do this for the filling for chicken & beef enchiladas as well as chimichangas.

And every time I boil chicken for a meal (when I didn't do it ahead of time) I save the broth.

I wish I had more ideas!

Julie said...

If I need to chop an onion for a recipe, I always chop extra and store in fridge. I use lots of onions in my cooking so it will get used relatively quickly. It really is a time saver...I use this for other items too (like bell peppers, carrots, etc), :)

I also make a batch of oven baked brown rice and after it cools, I freeze it. Having cooked rice on hand is a great time saver too.