Sunday, August 29, 2010

cookin' and a workin'

ok you guys...i am in a rut. a dinner makin rut. i started working almost three months ago, and since then, the number of times i make dinner on a weekly basis went down to about, ummm one time?? i know, its pretty sad. jas has started to wonder when i would come back to life in kitchen. hasn't happened yet. i do like to cook, but the spark has kind of died because when i come home from work i don't feel like scrounging up something creative or tasty. i'd like to eat something tasty, but i just want it to sort of appear on the table on its own. not very realistic, i know.

i think part of the problem lies in my lack of planning for my weekly grocery trips. i end up buying all snack food...yogurt, granola, doritos (jas), double stuff oreos (jas), fruit, and then i forget i am supposed to make meals and not just have food for our every day lunches. got any tips for this??

so tonight i made enchiladas...they are in the oven as we speak. perhaps we'll have some leftovers for lunch or dinner this week? but even still, we're talking left overs here... so my question to you is this-- anyone have any simple, yet fun and tasty recipes that want to pass along from one working girl to another?? help a sister out!


Birdwells said...

Yes! I started using ez meals. It's $15 to sign up ($12 with coupon :)) and it send you a meal plan and grocery list every week for 3 months. it's recommended by Dave Ramsey. It's been fab for us! Tim is loving it because I actually make a meal every night and it only takes 20-30 mins. It's great. It's cheaper, easier meals. We love it. Try it and let me know what you think! :)

Jenn said...

Any kind of meal planning helps me...if I plan the meals before I go to the store, I end up saving money b/c I'm just buying what I need...and then you don't have to try to think about what to make during the week when you're totally beat after work. I've heard of that EZ meal thing...I like this lady's blog, too: gives all kinds of good ideas for easy and cheap meals (she's a homeschooling mom of 5, so she's got to know something, right? :) ). She's a big fan of the crock pot.
But seriously, Al, you have your work cut out for you with that little kitchen...I say way to go just for trying to cook more :)

Michael and Judy said...

I'm so glad you asked; I totally have suggestions!

First off, I like using Food on the Table ( for meal planning. You tell it which grocery store you shop at, it tells you what proteins are on sale, you tell it which ones you want to use, and it gives you meals based on those proteins, along with an entire shopping list. It's free, and I think it can be helpful for getting out of a recipe rut.

I also like to work on having things on hand that make meals easier. So for me that means
- a jar of diced garlic, so I don't have to deal with buying a whole head, dicing one or two cloves and having to throw it out once it goes bad.
-a bottle of lemon juice. Real Lemon was highly reviewed, it's cheap, and it lasts forever (almost).
-diced frozen onions. We use onions frequently, but not enough to have to keep from throwing away a quarter onion or something that went bad. So I'll buy 1 or 2 large onions, dice them up, then freeze them in a single layer on a baking pan with sides. Once they're frozen, I scrape them up with a spatula and put them in a container. The reason for freezing it in a single layer is that if you froze it in a container, you'd end up with a block of onion, which would make it difficult to get out just a half cup or whatever you need for a recipe.

And another thing that I do to make meals easier is when I'm making a meal that freezes well, I'll double the recipe and freeze half of it for later. For example I made some twice baked potatoes, and before the second baking, I put half in a freezer ziploc, marked the outside of the bag with what it was, the date and how to finish cooking it, and then put it in the freezer. Then when I'm ready for it again, I just move the ziploc to the fridge to thaw, and follow my cooking directions on the bag. I find it works best to freeze things at the point in the cooking process where all that's left is a final, thorough heating. Like soups where everything is already cooked, casseroles that are ready to go into the oven, or crock pot dishes that are at the point of throw-everything-in-and-turn-it-on. Good to know: generally rice and pasta don't freeze great, so I would probably skip dishes that have those - or just prepare, cook and freeze everything except for the rice/pasta, and cook that fresh. Also, if you start freezing a lot of casseroles, you may want to get some disposable foil pans, or else you'll quickly reach a point where all of your baking dishes are in the freezer.

Good luck!

The Sudan Fam said...

dang! you guys are awesome! thanks so much everyone!! :)

Tamra said...

Now you know why I hate cooking and never taught you how.