February 22, 2010

Meal Planning Monday

With The Knoxville Coupon Fair scheduled for this Saturday, Feb. 27th, this week is expected to be a busy one.  Here are a few tips for making meal time easier when busy:

  • Streamline the process as much as possible.  Meals that involve very few dishes and utensils for prep and only a few dishes for cooking are ideal.  Use ingredients that you have already prepped.  For instance, I keep chopped green onions and parsley in the freezer that I can pull out whenever I’m more hurried with my cooking.
  • Martha isn’t coming over. Don’t make elaborate or time consuming meals when you are feeling pushed for time.  A simple meal will suffice from time to time.  Think macaroni and cheese, soup and sandwiches, or even a TV dinner.  The exception to this rule is that sometimes cooking can be relaxing.  If it is a stress reliever for you, then by all means awaken your inner Martha Stewart or Julia Child. 
  • When you do cook, get in the habit of doubling your recipes so that your “TV dinners” are still homemade and healthy. 
  • Move from cooking to preparing.  (I love that part of The Blind Side when the father says to the children that they should thank their momma for going to the store and buying the food for them.  She had spent the morning moving Thanksgiving dinner from the grocery store deli bags into her own platters.)  Putting together a salad requires very little time or expertise, and it is one of the healthier foods we can serve our families.  Open and drain a can of tuna or garbanzo beans to add some protein to the salad.  Throw a few mandarin oranges or cashews to the bowl.  Add some other veggies and a dressing, and you have a meal.
  • Enlist the help of others.  My hubby has a few special recipes that he will prepare when needed.  Daughter dearest sets the table and helps to clear plates when we are done eating.  A friend and I have cooked together in the past. We spend the morning cooking meals while our daughters play together.  By the afternoon we each have about 6 dinners to bring home for the week.

Since our breakfasts and lunches will be pretty simple this week, I’m skipping those details and moving on to the suppers.

Monday—Italian Sausage, mashed potatoes, braised cabbage

Tuesday—Rotisserie Chicken from Kroger (on sale $3.99 and I have a $1/1 coupon!), red lentils, green beans

Wednesday—I’ll be making supper for the children’s program at church.  Since we had to reschedule our supper on the 10th because of a snow day, we’ll have that meal tonight.  Pasta with sauce, garlic bread, and punch.  I always try to include an extra vegetable or fruit with their meals.  I’m leaning towards canned peaches or pears.

Thursday—Macaroni and Cheese, carrot sticks, and fruit salad

Friday—Baked potato bar (broccoli, cheeses, onions, sour cream, butter, salsa) and salad

Saturday—Chili from the freezer with all of the fixings.

Sunday—Salmon Patties with homemade remoulade sauce on a bed of salad greens, homemade bread, sautéed pears for dessert

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