Monday, September 22, 2008

Planning & Preparation-- my thoughts-- please add yours!

I have shared on Making Home how having a four-week rotating meal plan helps me so much. Crystal's online course "Supermarket Savings" (which it appears is no longer available) helped me SO much in this area. Other things I do to save time/money include:

* making double or triple batches of things and freezing things so that I can use them to reduce cook time later.

* bending my "plan" to fit reality (for example, if we are having people over Tuesday night, but Tuesday's "planned" meal is something boring, I'll switch it out with something else planned that week so that I'll for sure have all the ingredients but have something more savory to serve to guests)

* cooking from scratch a lot (while still buying store-bought in some areas to keep things simple)

What ideas do you have for saving money/time, particularly on the planning/preparation end of things in the kitchen?

Monday, September 01, 2008

Lunch Ideas for Busy Moms

Here are some ideas for lunches:

PB & J sandwiches
Tuna sandwiches
Lunchmeat/cheese sandwiches
Grilled cheeses
~Any and all of these can be served with fruit, pretzels, chips, or yogurt~

Other ideas:

Cheese Quesidillas
Oatmeal w/ cinnamon and sugar swirled in
Homemade breaded chicken strips/nuggets/thighs, warmed up from the freezer
Baked potatoes (w/ cheese, ranch dressing, butter, salt, etc.)
Maple Granola
Fried eggs with french bread (bakeries here are just a quick walk away)
Salad (yes, my kids eat salad- it's seen as big people's food and we do cover it in ranch, so it's coveted.)
Tortillas or bagels with cream cheese
Pasta w/ homemade white sauce
Omelets (egg & cheese with some tomatoes if desired)
Rice w/ warmed up cream of chicken soup (it's delicious, I'm telling you!)
Plain rice (eaten the world over)
Rice with grated cheese on top (don't knock it till you try it)
Carrot slices ~Boiled, with butter and molasses stirred in. yum!
Broccoli florets ~Steamed with garlic
Green beans {Seriously, what's so wrong with serving a whole meal out of vegetables? Try it... after you do this a handful of times, it will be "normal" and they won't know that you're asking them to do something abnormal.}
Pancakes- I use the classic Better Homes & Gardens pancake recipe- easy and quick (and best of all, tasty)!
Dutch Puff
Ikea meatballs with rice or french fries
(a good variation is covered in BBQ sauce)

LEFTOVERS (the great secret!)
~ extra pancakes, lasagne, spaghetti, tacos, egg rolls, whatever from the night before! This is a BIGGIE in our home. It's easy-peasy to make extra of whatever you're making the night before, and then you can just heat it up the next day for lunch~

Take all your leftovers, the half-eaten bag of pretzels, the muffins that will go bad in a couple days if no one eats them, whatever fruit is in your fruit basket, etc... and put them on the counter. Give everyone one small portion of everything, make it look pretty, and serve it in a splashy way.
They'll think it's neat, *AND* you get a clean fridge and pantry.

These are just the ideas that work for our family. Please feel free to share anything that I didn't mention that you like to do for lunches... and I hope this helps!