I have a confession to make: I am a meal planning flunky. Yes, meal planning saves you money and yet I can’t make it work for me. I feel meal planning doesn’t work for me because I need more flexibility in my schedule. It is also the case that sometimes I just don’t feel like cooking dinner. To get around this, I take advantage of the days I am feeling inspired to cook by cooking in batch and by prepping ingredient in advance.
When I cook in batch instead of making a meal big enough for 4 servings I double it and freeze the second half. This way my husband can have some to take to work for lunch and I can have meals in the freezer for those nights when the inspiration to cook is not there. I started doing batch cooking when I worked outside the home. The last thing I wanted to do after work was cook dinner. So I would dedicate Saturdays or Sundays to cooking lots of meals for the week.
Another tip to help with my meal planning mental block is to keep prepped ingredients in the freezer. For example, I brown three pounds of ground beef and freeze in three separate storage bags. I can use them later to make sloppy joes, spaghetti meat sauce or Shepperd’s pie in a snap. I do the same with cooked chicken, I either shred it or cube it and keep it to make Spanish rice, chicken tortilla soup or chicken quesadillas among other things. This summer I diced a lot of the onions I grew in my garden and froze them. Now I don’t have to worry about dicing onions every time I cook because all I have to do is take out a bit of the frozen onions and thaw in the micro for 25 seconds before I add them to the pan.
So, there you have it, meal planning and I don’t mix. But I am working on it and finding shortcuts to help at dinner time. Tomorrow, I will be tuning to Momadvice Simplified. Amy wil be talking to Robin Miller from the Food Network and they will be giving tips to help simplify our time in the kitchen. This podcast will air at 2Pm EST/ 1PM EST right before our radio show. So if you think you may need some help in this area tune in and then just switch over to listening to Money4Moms where we will be giving you tips to improve your customer service experience.
What are some of your tips to get through dinner time?