My youngest daughter just started back to work after having her first baby and asked for some help with meal planning. I have been working on some suggestions but it is hard because I never did much planning for meals myself in all my working years. Meals were usually a last minute quick thing. Here is what I have come up with so far. Please write comments or suggestions ASAP and I will add them to the post. I have Pinterest board with cooking ideas and a 3-ring binder with recipes collected from family and friends throughout the years and now from cooking shows and the Internet. Planning ahead is the key so here is what I have so far.
Goals are to make meal times easier by being prepared:
- Look at recipes that you have or like; search cookbooks and Pinterest
- Crock Pot meals from Pinterest are a great idea, especially if you can bag the ingredients and then freeze them all in a bag so that it’s easy to take out and prepare.
- Make a monthly/ weekly list of probable meals; you can change it (don't feel bound by it) and you will have some left over for the next month. But make sure that you use up your food in the freezer and have everything labeled plus a date.
- Make a list of ingredients and set a day to buy everything and sort it for the week/month.
1. Ground Meat Ideas: beef, deer, turkey…
- Meatloaf – make 3 loaves for four servings; There are many recipes to make meatloaf. For variety, use different ingredients.
- Picadillo – use Cristi’s Cuban recipe
- Or At the last minute brown ground round with salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder and any other spice, until just cooked and immediately serve on top of rice.
- Cook the ground meat as above, cool and put in containers or freezer bags for servings for 2 for: Spaguetti sauce, mock lasagna, tacos, quick shepherd’s pie and more.
2. Meat for stew or soup – cut your meat (I like to buy eye of round roast)and separate for 4 servings and freeze in a bag with sliced onions, and green peppers or buy bag of the pre-cut vegetables and put the amount that you want in the bag. Take out the night before to put in the crock pot in the morning.
3. Pork and mushrooms - Slice and put in bag with mushrooms (or use canned mushrooms) use packaged pork gravy, mushroom soup, sesame seeds, serve on top of large noodles.
4. Soups - hearty with lots of vegetables and meat
5. Pork steaks: Shake ‘n Bake with baked potatoes (precooked in microwave)
6. Chicken/Turkey for the yummy easy recipes - Buy the precooked chicken at BJ’s so good! Or buy frozen, pre-cooked, sliced chicken and use as needed
- Buy package of chicken/ turkey breasts and cook in the crock pot (put some herbs and spices as preferred) then divide and freeze
- Make like the pork with mushrooms
- Chicken vegetable soup – crock pot soups or use cans of soup and add more meat and vegetables
8. Roasts: can be done in the oven or in the croc pot – use different seasonings for different flavors and vary the meat and sides.
9. Brown rice, quinoa, barley or bulgur: cook with chicken/beef bullion and onion and/or garlic powder or “Sazón Goya” or “sofrito” for yellow rice, (or other) then freeze in 2 servings bags or containers
10. Pasta: is an easy side with parmesan (or other cheese and olive oil
11. Sweet potatoes cook it in the microwave until almost done and then in a 400 oven (no need to preheat) for 10 minutes tastes like baked!
12. Cuban black beans
13. Snacks: fruits and rabbit food; Granola (I have the best granola recipe -from my brother-in-law, John - that I am making this week. I will put it on my next post - with a picture!); prepare baggies with snacks to take to work and for night snacking.
14. Of course you will plan special meals too!!
What do you think? I know that it is not complete so, send me your ideas.