Talking with people, I have learned that many people have the same request. “How do I cook a good meal while a kiddo is around!? And What do I make!!??”
I find there are several different ways to save time in the kitchen, and I’m here to share my ideas!
PLAN AHEAD. Oh, easier said than done, you say? I agree! LOL! But when it comes down to it, it saves me so much stress, that I love it! You can plan after the kids are in bed, or during the day (tip….tell the kiddos you all are going to write in your journals…they get to color and “write” and you get to plan your meals!)
- Make a list in your Bullet journal for only the week or the month, whatever you find easiest. I love my grid paged Moleskine Classic Colored Notebook, Large, Dotted, Underwater Blue, Soft Cover (5 x 8.25)” target=”_blank”>Moleskine journal!
- Make a list on Google docs. You can take it with you wherever you have your phone/ipad/computer.
MAKE ALL COOKED MEAT ON ONE DAY. I find it is easier to cook all my meat on one day for the whole week. Then you’ll have it for many different meals. See my examples below.
- Example: On Monday, cook all your chicken in my favorite Rockcrok Dutch Oven and Slow Cooker set! Put it on in the morning before you take off for your day with a bit of water or broth. When you get home, or later in the day, take out most of it and place it in the fridge. With the remaining chicken, add some Jamaican Jerk Rub, set it on your stovetop to meld all the flavors together a bit! While that is cooking, toss some rice in your Rice Cooker in the microwave, and before you know it, dinner will be done!
- Example: On Tuesday, take out a little more of you chicken from the fridge and warm it up in the microwave or stove with about 1-2 Tablespoons of Chipotle Rub. If you saute up some peppers and onions on the stove, or make a quick pico in your Manual Food Processor, you’ll have a fantastic Taco Tuesday!
- Example: On Wednesday, take out some chicken, warm it up on your stovetop or in the microwave, shred it with your Salad Choppers and add your favorite BBQ sauce. Bamm! Quick, Easy, BBQ chicken sliders!
- Example: On Thursday, cut up your chicken and add it to a lettuce salad 🙂 Salad is always better with stuff on it!
- Example: On Friday, add your remaining chicken to the Rockcrok Dutch Oven, along with celery, carrots, onion and chicken broth to make an amazing soup! When it is nearly done, add in your noodles to make it a chicken noodle soup! NUM!!!
PREP FOR MORE THAN ONE DAY. This works for more than just chicken! Are you chopping onion for Taco Tuesday? Chop a bit more for your soup you’ll be making Friday!
PINTEREST…. ENOUGH SAID. Sometimes this is fabulous, and sometimes it’s overwhelming. I get it. When I am on Pinterest, I love it for all the different and amazing recipes that people post. I get lost sometimes with it, though, when I don’t know if it will be good. But my thought is, try it. If the ingredients look like something you’ll eat, then go for it! And if you’re on Pinterest, pin your favorites, but also write them down on paper. If you have a journal, write them in that so you can jot down pros and cons of it, or any changes you made.
ASK YOUR FRIENDS. Your family and friends are your best bet for a great meal. Ask them for ideas. Post on your social media. Call one of them. Text someone. Ask them what’s for dinner this week. It will spark a thought, and get the ball rolling in that amazing brain of yours!
WHEN PLANNING A MEAL….SHOP YOUR PANTRY FIRST. Why spend more money than you have to! Take a look in your pantry and freezer. More often than not, you can play your own version of “Chopped” and make a fabulous meal! Even if you have to go to the store to get a few ingredients, that would be a whole lot better on the bank account than if you had to buy it all!
WRITE DOWN ALL YOUR FAMILY FAVES! You have the best ideas already in your head. Start writing. Make a chart, a list, a calendar, whatever you want, and list all your meals you love to eat. I like to start with either an ingredient (such as chicken) or a cuisine. It is easy to think of all the Mexican foods you love. Come on chips and salsa and of course guacamole!!! Am I right! Guess, what? You can make that at home too!
BABY FOOD? Is your baby ready to eat “real people food”? How about using what you’re making and puree it while you’re finishing your own meal? Or think about what her favorite food is, and make that for your dinner. Carrots? Sure, steam up some carrots in your Microcooker and at the dinner table, smoosh them up!
BABY CRYING? TAKE OUT THE FREEZER MEALS! Oh you don’t have them? Let’s make them now! I know it’ll take a few hours of your time, but it is oh sooooo worth it! When there is a time your baby can be taken care of by another adult or will be sleeping, get some freezer meals in the oven. I literally just did this for my own family, and I’m so happy I did. I did go on Pinterest, found some fabulous ideas, and cooked them up! There are freezer meals that are already partially made in a freezer pan (think disposible from the Dollar Tree!), covered in foil with the directions right on top. Then there are meals that are the dump in the crockpot or baking pan types! Sometimes those are easiest, because you don’t have to precook anything before going in the bag, and you don’t have to do anything except for dumping into a crockpot on the day you need it! Don’t forget to put those recipes somewhere you won’t lose them! I put mine in my bullet journal, and may get to transferring them to actual recipe cards….maybe.
BE OK WITH CEREAL. Hehehe! Sometimes as a mom, dad, grandparent, aunty or babysitter, it’s hard to get a good meal on the table at all times. I get that. I am that mom. Sometimes, cereal is the best choice for the family at that time. Sometimes, it’s cheapest to cook up a bunch of eggs, add a side of toast, and a piece of fruit.
Enjoy your day! I hope I helped save some time and sanity!