Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Because Productivity is Contagious (unless it involves Christmas decorations...)

I'm back on both meal planning and stocking my freezer:
Life is so much less stressful when I do this, why have I been half-assing it for some long?!  Because, contrary to popular belief, doing this half-way doesn't help 50% it is completely useless and you'll still be throwing out rotten food you "planned" to cook.  In order for this to truly work it needs to be run like a well oiled machine.  (It also saves you money.  A lot.)

Also, not for nothing, this helps with dieting.  If I have everything ready to go we don't end up going out to eat on a night when the shit hits the fan.  When you are aiming for 1200, going out to eat (while not technically impossible) is setting yourself up to mess up (or at least it is for me).  Once you've figured out the calories in these meals you do not need to ever do it again!!!  That alone almost makes it worth it.

I have made a couple of changes to help streamline the meal planning process.  A lot of people already do this, but I always felt pressure to think of a new menu every week... not anymore.  I have a one week menu & that baby is going to pretty much be on repeat (pending some kind of sale ridiculous sale at the store) until the seasons change.  There is wiggle room within the plan, and I can certainly switch days around... but for the most part I've settled on well balanced meals that EVERY single family member truly enjoys.  They are all meals that can be doubled or tripled, which means that I don't have to start from scratch EVERY week.  This is going to be very helpful come next week when Kid's basketball season starts and we aren't home until 6 PM, 3 nights a week and then we start the with the homework!

Basically we are at this menu:
Monday - Chili with brown rice & cornbread
Tuesday - Chicken turnovers (or chicken & noodles) with spinach salad
Wednesday - Spaghetti & meatballs with sauteed broccoli
Thursday - BBQ pulled chicken sandwiches with coleslaw
Friday - Taco night
Saturday - Soup (Potato Leek or Chicken Noodle) with spinach salad and rolls
Sunday -  leftovers; & I cook a big batch off Pesto pasta to pack for school lunches.

Chili is an easy doubled recipe (heck next time I could quadruple it).  Chicken turnovers can be doubled, chicken & noodles or chicken & veg stirfry, etc aren't doubled but all start with shredded poached chicken.  I buy chicken breasts when they are on sale and poach them, shred and bag them in 2 cup portions in my freezer.  Turns all of the chicken meals into a 20 minute meal.  The turnovers take a some planning but are about 15 minutes of prep and 20 minutes in the oven.  The meatballs are easily made in huge batches.  I brown them and then freeze. To cook, I cover them with sauce & bake in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 while I boil the water for the pasta & saute the broccoli.  BBQ chicken is a crockpot meal which easily makes 3 meals (using 12 chicken thighs).  I fix the coleslaw while I'm loading the crockpot & all I have to do is shred it when I get home.  I make 2 nights worth of taco filling (ground meat & beans), one for that night & one for the freezer.  The soups, obviously, make around 3 meals and I make 24 rolls at a time which lasts for 3 meals as well.  All I need to do is buy our fresh produce & whatever is needed to keep the batch cooking rolling.  If I have time I add to the stockpile rather than deplete it.  I don't want to get stuck on a busy week needed to make the meatballs, for example.  I'd much rather make another big batch and keep building up my reserves.


Julie said...

I really wish I could do this, but I always have to do something completely different for Murphy so I end up making several different meals almost every night. And you can't plan with M. It is a crap shoot what four foods he is still eating. Seriously. Scrambled eggs used to be a sure thing for years. We could always get a healthy meal in him based around the eggs. Now, he doesn't eat them.

I should do this "do ahead" meal planning just for myself and everyone else can eat cereal.

Actually we do kind of eat the same sort of things each week (well except the M-man.) And Wednesday night is Taco night (or taco bowl depending on the person) and this is the one meal that even Murphy eats. Woo hoo. Of course one of us always has to be difficult & this time it is me. I don't do meat in my tacos so I have to last minute make black beans, avocado, a bit of salad.

We are in the midst of basketball season for Jack--it goes from early November through February. But his practices are from like 7-9 and we live 20 min away from the place. It'll be nice when that is over. It messes with the schedule. I'd hate to be coming home at 6pm with kids still having do homework. Bummer. Murphy uses his special powers and makes his nightly homework into schoolwork the next day. Everyone is so relieved he is going to school again (and the fact that he is actually smarter than everyone else in his class anyway) that it doesn't matter that he does it at school. His feeling is that home is for home and school is for school. I can't argue with him on that. Down with homework. Boo hiss homework sucks.

I am so freaking grateful that Jack follows all rules and does his homework and is studious and never forgets anything, etc etc. That was how I was as a student.

Why am I talking about homework? I should be talking about how wonderfully productive you are being.

Over and out.

Mrs Furious said...

Baby can be difficult food wise. She is the one who approved Chili then picked everything out of it... so that item might need to be changed. Plus, Mr F can't eat beans, corn, or red meat... so that already started messing with my recipes and what I could serve. Kid will thankfully eat ANYTHING. Right now, outside of Chili I think we're good... but Baby can be erratic & will go off of approved foods with no notice and I'm done trying to figure out a way around her. She can eat it or have a peanut butter & jelly as a last resort.

Homework is a bitch. I would homeschool just to avoid it and isn't that a mind bender? ;)

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