Planning Ahead in the Kitchen: How I Do It

Saving time in Our Family Kitchen.  How we do it.

1.  If I’m making lasagna tonight, I make three instead and freeze two.  If the stuff is already on sale, this ends up being cost effective, too.

2. I ingredient cook.  For example, when a great sale on ground meat comes up, I make a bunch of ground meat recipes for the freezer: Meatballs, Meatloaves, Spaghetti Sauce, Chili, etc., all in one afternoon.  This is a quick and easy way to fill up the freezer fast.  And if you have everything ready to go and some willing workers, it goes even quicker.

3. I make one or two salads ahead on the weekend for the rest of the week.  Coleslaw, Pasta, Potato, Tossed, etc.  Pasta is my favorite and it keeps well.  Fruit salad is also a good make ahead choice.

4. Remember the dish towels our grandmothers used to have?  They were embroidered with the chore of the day on them.  This is how many women ran their households: Laundry Day, Baking Day, etc.  Saturday is baking day at our house.  I bake cookies, quick breads, granola bars and more on the weekend.  If you bake all at once while the oven is on it saves energy and you are done for the week if you freeze some of it to take out on Wednesday.  That seems to be the day I need to replenish the baking at our house.

5. We put together snacks like trail mix on the weekend (kids can do this).  A little of everything, odds and ends from the pantry: small crackers, carob chips, currants, and pretzels are just a few examples.  We measure one cup each into plastic sandwich bags and put them all in a big bowl in the pantry.

 6. Train your children to cook.  They need to know, anyway.  As homeschoolers, we have the time and opportunity to make sure our children learn life skills as well as academics.  Cooking is a very important life skill to have.  I teach my children to sew, too, but that’s for another series.

7. I will be spending every weekend in October doing ingredient cooking in preparation for baby’s arrival.  I now have 17 meals in the freezer and will be adding more as I can.  My next project is pizza.

8. We use the crock pot 2-3 times per week at least.  If it heats up your house too much in the summer, put it on your back porch, preferably up high if you have pets.

Next: More Ways to Save Money in the Kitchen

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