Blogging is not as easy as it used to be. I have been trying to write this post going on 4 days now. Stuff just keeps getting in the way.
Like most moms with a super busy household, I struggle constantly with the answer to the broken record query "What's for dinner?" With 4 growing children, 3 of whom are teenagers, and all 4 who are actively involved in sports, I find that they are always hungry. Constantly. It's never ending.
I also constantly struggle with the time and the means to feed my family. We usually have something going everyday from the time the kids get out of school until the evening. Homework, practices, meetings, games, work, etc. etc. I confess there are times where I have resorted to a drive-by through a drive-thru. However, this cannot be a frequent occurrence because I will go broke. My kids eat like adults, so for us a trip to any fast food place is around $30 if not more.
For awhile, I have been testing out freezer meals and crockpot dinners as a solution. There are a number of blogs and other sites out there that have a plethora of recipes. The testing process has not been without some hiccups. Let's just say that a lot of the recipes leave a lot to be desired. Some of the freezer meals did not taste that well after thawing and cooking. A bunch of the crockpot meals were in the words of my family "bland" or "it doesn't taste like anything". I did get lucky with a few things turning out great and those recipes have been added to my recipe binder with notes as keepers.
I am really big on wanting to see what a recipe is supposed to look like when it is finished so when printing out recipes our saving them for my binder, I will often clip a picture onto the page and print it out. The recipe goes in a sheet protector and then gets filed in the appropriate section of the binder. Here is an example of a recipe sheet:
Another thing I have been trying to do is to come up with a system that makes the whole meal planning process easier. Here is what I have come up with: I make a list of meals for an entire month. I watch for meat sales and stock my freezer with what I may need in the future. For some meals, if they freeze well, I will double the recipe and serve half for dinner and freeze the other half for the future. Each Monday, I make a grocery trip for the fresh produce and any other needed items. I plan 5 meals each week and we do leftovers for the other 2 days.
On my list, I put together a mixture of freezer, crockpot, quick and easy, and meals that require a little effort when I have the time (I love to cook! I just don't have the time to do it!).
Hoping this little bit of organization works out. We are almost one week in and so far, so good. And because I learned in kindergarten that it is really nice to share, I am going to share my month of meals with you . . .
Dijon Chicken Linguine, Garden Salad, French Bread
Slow Cooker Cranberry Chicken, Rice, Roasted Zucchini
Carnitas, Lime-Cilantro Rice, Refried Black Beans
Crockpot Ribs, Baked Potatoes, Steamed Broccoli
Crockpot BBQ Beef Sandwiches, Potato Wedges, Fruit
Chicken Saltimbocca, Angel Hair, Salad
Roast Beef and Cheddar Paninis, Tomato-Basil Soup
Ranch House Crockpot Pork Chops, Parmesan Mash Potatoes, Peas and Carrots
Honey Garlic Balsamic Chicken , Orzo w/Pesto Sauce, Roasted Asparagus
Tarragon Chicken, Southwestern Rice and Corn Salad, Rolls
Corn and Chicken Chowder, Rolls
Roast Beef Sliders, Fruit, Salad
Chicken Enchiladas, Rice, Salad
Beef Satay, Rice, Stir-Fry Veggies
Chicken Pesto Ravioli, Caesar Salad
Grilled Tenderloin w/Mushroom Sauce, Wild Rice, Asparagus
Sun Dried Tomato Pork Chops, Gnocchi, Steamed Broccoli
Turkey Lasagna, Salad
Chinese Pepper Steak, Rice
Churrasco, Lime-Cilantro Rice, Black Beans