Different ways to cook/plan ahead in the kitchen:
1. Create your own master meals list. These are all the meals your family eats. Here’s mine: Meals List
Mine is broken up into categories: Freezer Meals, Crockpot Meals, Fresh, Quick Meals and Sides. They are then in sub categories by main ingredient: Chicken, Beef, Vegetarian, etc. Sides are broken up by Starch, Vegetable and Salad.
I used to forget about dishes I cooked for my family and now I won’t, because it’s all written down as a reminder to me. No more lost menus! Use your master menu when reviewing sale flyers and planning your weekly (or bi-weekly) menu.
2. Plan your meals for the week using your grocery store sale flyers & your coupons (if you are inclined to use coupons). When you: Buy what’s on sale=get the good prices=get what’s in season. This is the best way to eat fresh and save money. If it’s not on sale, I don’t buy it. (There are always a few exceptions to this rule at our house.)
3. Learn to use your servants: Crock pot, freezer, roaster oven and more! The Proverbs 31 wife and mother had actual servants. Having servants is not part of our culture, but I consider my appliances, large and small, to be my servants. Learn to use your appliances to the utmost. If you have an appliance you don’t use, either learn to use it, or get rid of it. It is not helping you gathering dust.
4. Cook/Prepare Items Ahead & Bulk Meals for the Freezer.
a. You can make almost anything ahead, not just your main dinner meals. You can do your own seasoning mixes, cooked meats, breakfast mixes, desserts, etc. I highly recommend the MAKE A MIX COOK BOOK. It has recipes for taco seasoning, hot coca mix, pancake mix, you name it. This is a great cookbook to help you save money and control what is in your food. Here’s a handy list of Resources I’ve put together for you: Book & Online Resource List
b. You can cook for the week, two weeks, a month, 3 months, ingredient cooking, etc. I’ve known people who do six months bulk cooking sessions. You need a deep freezer for this and I don’t recommend anything like this if you are doing bulk cooking alone. Large cooking sessions are better done with helpers or a buddy, as it can get overwhelming and can be exhausting.
5. Keep a well-stocked pantry with several complete, easy meals for those tough days. For example, a basket or box with the following in it to make Linguine with Clam Sauce & Chocolate Brownies:
15 oz. Can Fire Roasted Tomatoes
Handful of Sun Dried Roma Tomatoes (I grew and dried these myself last year)
Three Cloves of Garlic & a Dried Red Chili (Grew in garden and dried, also.)
32 oz. of chicken Broth
Pound of Linguine
Box of Brownie Mix (cheap on sale)
Recipe tied with pretty ribbon to the front of the basket.
Add a vegie from your freezer and you have a complete meal. Bread is nice, too, but not necessary if you don’t have it.
Anyone can take this basket out of your pantry and cook this meal. Another good meal for this is Tuna Casserole, and any other staple meal your family eats. The point is, you are setting yourself up for success, even if you’ve had a bad/busy day and haven’t paid attention to the “What’s for dinner?” question until 4:00PM.
Up next, Organization & Logistics. Thanks for reading.