Getting A Jump On Fall
Guest Post by: Jacqueline from Nerd Family Blog
Is anyone else blown away by the fact that it is already August? My kids all start their activities in a week so I am trying to brace myself for the chaos that is coming! The things that always seems to suffer when the chaos starts are food and cooking! If I was really good, I would make a monthly food plan but I am not;). Life is so spontaneous that a weekly meal plan is about all I can handle. But if I truly only look at food for my family a week at a time, that could still spell chaos that is met with lots of eating out and boxed meals. Which is bad both for our health and our wallets! So my #1 secret to combating fall crazy is a well stocked freezer! I have a 4 pronged attack for stocking my freezer.
The first prong is completed meals. I try to have 4-8 1 dish meals in my freezer. These are simple meals but you just pop them in the oven and you are done. I aim for the 4-8 number because then you have 1-2 meals a week done! For my 1 dish meals I do things like Pasta Alfredo Bake , Enchiladas and Spinach Lasagna. Don’t do 10 tomato based dishes or your family will get burned out and when you say that dinner is in the freezer they will groan;).
The second prong is completed meal components. This would be things like my Chicken Kiev or Broccoli Mac & Cheese. You can pair them together or mix and match with fresh ingredients on hand but the components themselves at most need to be popped into the oven. I also include breakfast quick breads in this category like my Chocolate Chip Zucchini bread (which may or may not be a complete breakfast in this house;).
The third prong is prepped ingredients. This would be like hamburger, chicken, or beans that are fully cooked but waiting to be incorporated into a dish. These are mostly proteins but some seasonal ingredients are also prepped, like shredded zucchini and fruit purees.
The fourth and last prong is freezer stock up! Everything in this category is simple bought and frozen! When shrimp goes on sale at Vons, I buy a couple of bags and store them in the bottom drawer of my freezer. I also frequent the local Orowheat Outlet and when they run specials, I stock up. Right now I have 3 loaves of wheat bread and 2 bags of mini bagels in the freezer because they were on sale for $1 each! I also keep lots of frozen broccoli, butter (for baking), chopped spinach and ice cream;).
Keeping stocked up means that you don’t have to stop by the grocery store at the end of a crazy day because you just don’t have anything. You will always have the ingredients to throw together a meal! Out of just this short list you could thaw the shrimp and spinach. Then (assuming you have a stocked pantry too) just melt some butter add garlic, paprika, salt and pepper to cook your shrimp. Mix that with the spinach and a pound of cooked pasta for a complete meal!
Remember that just a little thought and preparation now can get you a calm fall. At least where food is concerned. You are on your own for your kids’ homework;).
Jacqueline enjoys writing on her 4 blogs, and is a busy homeschooling mom to 4 kids! Her life philosophy is that anyone can do anything they want to learn to do. She enjoys sharing her opinions and equipping others to do things like save money, school their children and cook!