One think you can do to help with really crazy days, is to roast a whole chicken, shred the meat, and freeze it as is. Makes putting together a salad or casserole much faster if the meat is already cooked. Do the same with ground beef, or turkey. Brown up several lbs at once, or even do them in your crockpot, and then freeze. I do 2 cups a bag. Add BBQ sauce for a quick sloppy joe, or noodles and spaghetti sauce for another fast meal.
Here are some ideas that can limit an extensive grocery list
Broil a chicken breast for each member of the household and during the last minute or two top with marinara sauce and shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, and place under the broiler just until the cheese melts. Add some steamed Green Beans or Broccoli.
Make chili but use Jennie O... 99% Fat Free Ground turkey instead of Ground beef...it tastes the same. The 99% fat free has no skin added to the mix. I also do a Veggie Stir-Fry and skip the rice...lean protein with moderate amounts of fiber-rich, non-starchy vegetables like like onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, and broccoli
My Monday menu is Chicken Soup made with 6-8 chicken legs or one chicken with skin, 1 can of Veg-All (2 Sugars, 08 Carbs) 1 Low Sodium Chicken Bouillon Cube, Sliced Celery, bay leaf, 1 tsp of cumin, dash of pepper, sprinkle of rosemary ( Use the Veg-All with the liquid it's the best in this soup and for flavor
SESAME CHICKEN 2 tablespoons of lite soy sauce 1/4 cup sesame seeds right from the jar Sprinkle of salt teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon pepper 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs 1 tablespoon sesame oil Heat oven to 400º. On wax paper, mix the seeds, salt and pepper. Put the soy sauce in a small bowl. Dip each piece of chicken in the soy sauce to coat, then dredge in the seeds. Arrange in a baking pan and drizzle with the sesame oil.. Bake about 40 minutes until the chicken is done. Baste with the drippings once during cooking time. Carbohydrate is 1gram per serving Makes 4 servings
Lean Pot Roast made with celery, whole mushrooms, Green Beans, Onion ( no Potatoes )
1 Pork Chop 200 calories, 1/4 Head of Cabbage with butter and caraway seeds, unlimited green beans with 1 tsp. of sesame seeds for crunch and cholesterol health. A chop has about 200 calories! Get center cut or loin chops which is leaner.
Grill chops 8 minutes on one side, 7 minutes on the other and then add a dollop of ketchup and a dollop of sour cream on top and grill an additional minute. Add a salad or steam up some frozen broccoli. Add a baked potato or a sweet potato.
Stuffed Green Pepper Made with Ground Sirloin or Jennie 99% Fat Free ground turkey, Chopped Fresh Tomatoes, Garlic, 1/2 Onion Chopped, 1 Small Can of Tomato Sauce 2 Sugars 4 carbs....no rice
3 ounces of grilled salmon over 1 cup of steamed spinach 151 calories and 1 cup of wild rice 164 calories...add some sliced or chopped onion and a few sliced mushrooms to the rice to make the meal denser.
Easy Tacos Taco Bell Crunchy Tacos 3 Tacos @ 150 Calories, 23 carbs for all 3 or 2 Walmart Brand tacos @ 100 Calories and less fat...add chopped onions, green chili's, green pepper bits, 1/2 packet of taco mix or less to flavor...Shredded lettuce, chopped tomato or salsa A dollop of sour cream on top Brown turkey meat & onion in a little Olive Oil or sprayed with Pam...add drained corn, taco mix. Prepare taco shell with a little lettuce, chopped tomato or salsa...add mixture and serve. Add refried beans for variation. Or just use some left over spaghetti noodles with the sauce and fill the taco....it's really good! Try tuna or salmon tacos too! Breakfast taco, scramble egg with green pepper and onion, Stuff the taco with mix and lettuce and top with chopped tomatoes or salsa...Have 2 each.
Fitness Minutes: (353)
143 12/23/13 8:25 A
We are trying to save money and planning the meals before I go shopping helps. I start with the number of meals we need, like because of Christmas this week we don't need dinners on Tuesday or Wednesday as we will be out with family. I pick one slow cooker/crockpot meal for the "busy night" and there always is one and at least 1 left over night. It seems breakfast foods are the fastest to go in my house, so cereal, eggs, milk, and waffles are always on the list. This week lunches are kids' and mom's choice of PBJ or ramen noodles (my kids love the noodles without the "salt"/seasoning packet with Mrs. Dash and a little Parm). This week we only spent $20 at the store and it will last us at least the whole week. Most of it was milk ($7.50 for 3 gallons)!
Fitness Minutes: (3,954)
11/26/13 9:20 P
I convene a family meeting every week and come up with 7 dinners that we can agree on. Tacos and pizza are on the list every week and there's always a home-made soup, so it's really only 4 others for the rotation. Breakfast is standard in my house - oatmeal for me, pancakes for the daughter. Lunch is standard too because I pack it at 6:30AM when I'm half asleep and still slurping my tea. I need something I don't have to think about.
After the family meeting, I jot down all the ingredients that are missing from my kitchen onto a running grocery list and that's that. When I get home, I look at the meeting list and decide what to make rather than lock myself into Taco Tuesdays. This leaves a little room for whimsy and spontaneity but the needed ingredients are on hand and all the bickering has been done already.
I have a list of go to recipes that I like or want to try, so to start, I look at what proteins that I have (chicken, ground turkey, pork chops - I tend to buy meat in bulk and freeze in 1lb packages), look at what pantry goods that I have and any veggies or other items that need to be used up. I then will look at store ads to see what is on sale for fresh items and then match with my recipes. I cook most of my things on the weekend and reheat, but I know that isn't always possible for bigger families.
Eatingwell is probably my favorite place for recipes. Most aren't for the beginner cook, but even my picky family likes them.
Sides are something that you can usually make one big batch of. This week, I'm reheating roasted butternut squash to serve as a side. That's something that you could pull out later in the week for another night. Roasted potatoes, spinach cakes, etc, work well warmed up. I also will cut up (but not wash) veggies that I'm steaming or serving raw all at once. A rinse and they are ready to toss in the steamer or serve.
Have two recipes where you need to brown cubed chicken, do it all at once. Need poached chicken for a recipe? Poach an extra serving to make chicken salad with later in the week or to take for lunch. Know that one night will be busy? Plan a slow cooker meal, so that all you have to do is put on the finishing touches and serve.
My daughters are old enough to cook an entire meal, as long as its in one pot. So depending on the week they will each choose a dinner they will be responsible for. Some weeks with scheduled activities I'll only have one dinner that they pick up.
Sunday afternoon is usually when I plan and cook for the week. I generally make a pot of lentil soup or other veggie based soup for lunches and quick snacks throughout the week. Both my daughters are vegetarian so they pack lunch unless they're in the mood for cheese pizza or the veggie burger is on the menu. Then I make a roast chicken or pot roast. That's dinner for Sunday, with leftovers for at least one other full dinner and some lunch. For the roast chicken the carcass ends up as chicken stock. If you don't like to cook the deli roast chickens are a good deal. With two people its 2 full dinners and stock for soup.
Fitness Minutes: (17,440)
11/14/13 11:23 A
I struggle with planning meals, Cooking isn't my favorite, its more like a chore.
Fitness Minutes: (17,081)
84 11/14/13 10:57 A
Involve the whole family. Ask them to make a list of their favorites and what they can do to help. Kids are great at this. They love to have a little one on one time in the kitchen with mom. Especially if it involves food.
I've come up with a pretty nice way to plan meals. First, I spend a few minutes scouring the kitchen to list what food I already have (I don't get too nit-picky and writing down every single condiment and granola bar since that would take forever, just the big things like cuts of meat, fruits, veggies, grains, etc). Then, I look through the grocery circular and write down only the items that look like particularly good deals.
Then, I go to a recipe website (I like the "budget dinners" section of the Martha Stewart website, honestly), and zero in first on those recipes that include stuff I already have. Then, I look for recipes that have items that are on sale. If I still need more dinners for the week, I'll just throw in whatever looks cheap and simple (few and non-exotic ingredients). My husband gets some veto power in this whole process.
It sounds like a lot of steps, but in practice it's really not that bad. You process may vary depending on your priorities (mine are cooking with minimal amounts of processed ingredients and saving money), but it works pretty well for me. As long as I don't obsess over listing every sale item or every minute piece of food in my house and just focus on the big stuff, it doesn't take too long.
11/13/13 12:51 P
i sit down on the weekend and plan out meals- i pick out things i want or we haven't had in a while, then i ask others for input. i also see what's in season and leave myself room in my shopping list (eg if the rapini looks gross i'll get mustard greens). we only eat chicken, so i plan a couple meals with that and the rest are vegetarian. i use leftovers for lunches most of the time, but sometimes i'll use leftover chicken (bbq/pulled/tandoori/etc) in a wrap or on a pizza. i also like to cook extra to top salad so that it's an easy meal!
i also stock up on standard snacks and basics- eggs, almond milk, reduced fat cheese sticks, greek yogurt cups, fruit, etc.
i also look at the sales papers to see if there's a good deal on something and will work that into meals as well!
11/8/13 8:30 P
I try to plan it makes it so much easier to cook when I know what we are eating that night. It can be difficult but I take into account what my family likes and adjust for new recipes as well.
11/6/13 3:42 P
this week was a wash, but usually I try to plan
Fitness Minutes: (17,081)
84 11/3/13 2:33 P
Cook once, eat twice. Tonight is beef and gravy over mashed potato, shephards pie later this week (just add green beans to gravy and top with mashed potato and cheese. Heat til cheese melts. This morning I made a couple of "make ahead" type salads for the week. A barley bean salad for lunches and a slaw-type salad for later this week. My crockpot is always in the rotation for the week. Fall weather is great for stew/soup kinda stuff. Stew with a crusty roll one day and over rice a couple days later and then make soup with the leftovers for the weekend. Think about your favorite "go-to" recipes - can they be doubled and frozen. Instant freezer meal. Or could they be served in another way.
Fitness Minutes: (8,050)
11/3/13 12:38 P
I need to meal plan better what are some things you do/cook to help with your week?
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