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I Need Help Planning Meals

November 13th, 2008 at 12:48 pm

I am trying to avoid eating out so much and I have problems with meals. Okay...I have never been accused of being a good cook. I have a few basics that it seems we eat often. I need to add variety but it needs to be simple. Mondays and Thursdays we don't get home until 9:00. Throw in Tuesdays every other week not getting home until 8:30 and you will begin to see my problem. I have always heard that you shouldn't eat so late, but we don't really have a choice. Coming home before these activities isn't an option as we live 15 miles in the other direction from ANYWHERE!

I have tried crock pot meals and most of them turn out pretty good. But some of them get overcooked because we leave at 7:00 in the am and by the time we get home, they have been cooking for 14 hours!(Yikes, am I really away from home that long in one day???) My son is at home most of these nights and can start the oven or the meat, but it needs to be extremely easy for him to grasp(typical teenager!)

Any ideas you guys can help me with would be great!

9 Responses to “I Need Help Planning Meals”

  1. Ms. Pearl Says:

    I'm going to be watching this post for comments because I need the same advice as you. We've got two late nights due to daughter's gymnastics and my crock pot broke awhile ago...not that I used it that much! The only fast meals I seem to be good at are prepared foods which are SO unhealthy. The one piece of advice that I can give you is the recent baby step I took to cut up veggies as soon as I get them home. This way, I am always certain to have onions, green peppers and lettuce on hand. Knowing it is prepared really makes cooking easier.

  2. creditcardfree Says:

    Have a general theme for each night...pasta, sandwiches, soup, chicken or beef, mexican, breakfast. Others?

    Canned Soup/Salad/Roll
    Tacos (meat can be cooked ahead)/Enchilada's
    Spaghetti-cook mix with sauce...reheat
    Sandwiches...turkey, grilled cheese, tuna.

    Eggs are quick, so are sandwiches. Casseroles can be premade and reheated by individual servings in the microwave. Waffles and pancakes can be reheated.

    I think the main thing is to have a plan, make things ahead of time...evening before or on the weekends. Plan to reheat things. Write it down so everyone knows the plan. This is all off the top of my head...hope it starts to help!

  3. moneycents Says:

    Take a look at whats on sale in your store flyer for the week. Then go to a very good free website, recipe czar.com. There they have meals seperated into categories. Quick fixes, once a month meal planning and so on. You don't have to be a good cook to get a nice meal. My favorite recipes come from a member named mizznezz. I hope this helps.

  4. moneycents Says:

    Sorry I spelled the website wrong.

  5. gamecock43 Says:

    Mac n cheese, garlic bread, grilled cheese sandwiches, pasta, instant potatoes and frozen pizzas...that is my meal rollover.

  6. mom-from-missouri Says:

    Get ahold of some school menus. Most of them are fairly simple. Pick out some that your family likes and put your son in charge of them. Some can be prepared ahead of time, so that all he has to do is warm them up.

  7. scfr Says:

    Costco's Frozen Salmon Patties are a super easy way to add seafood to your diet while keeping it simple. They are my current fave standby when I have not planned in advance (which is often). I can always scrounge up some veggies and a starch to round out the meal.

    For example, on Sunday I threw a dinner together in about 15 min of prep time and 20 min total time (cooking time for the patties): Salmon Patties, improvised Pea Salad (frozen peas half-cooked in microwave then shocked in cold water, minced onion, cheese cubes, Texas ranch dressing), steamed baby carrots, green salad, and steamed rice.

    We have a rice cooker that keeps rice warm so we almost always have cooked rice on hand ready to eat. I usually make 1-1/2 days worth at a time.

    When my husband's cooking and HE has not planned, he'll often make fried rice (egg & veggie) ... yum!

  8. North Georgia Gal Says:

    Thank you all for the great ideas! I will sit down this weekend and actually spend some time planning(not my greatest gift).

  9. whitestripe Says:

    the easiest way to get ahead with planning meals is to make double batches and freeze them, or leave them in the fridge for the next night. when i make soup for BF and I, I make enough for 4 meals, then freeze two so we can have dinner another night just by reheating it. tkae it out the night before so it defrosts. if you forget, that's ok, put the container in the sink and fill with hot water to defrost a little, then put it in a pan and add a little water to the bottom so it doesnt burn and cook on low heat to defrost it. (or use the microwave).

    other freezer meals i have are: spinach and fetta pie, lasagna, fresh tomato pasta sauce, mexican bean stew.

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