A long time ago I started to get frustrated with cooking and dinner. I like to cook. I like to find recipes. But trying to fit it into my day was very hard. Tim was on recruiting duty and he never had a set schedule. Sometimes he could be home at 4, sometimes not until 10 at night. I never could count on him to be home to make dinner. I was teaching all day, working out, walking the dogs, and then I’d have the task of dinner. It was frustrating and overwhelming. A lot of times I would find myself running out to Panera or Subway because I was so tired.
I decided something had to change. I needed to figure out how to make dinner time smarter, not harder. That is when I decided I was going to spend all of Sunday cooking for the week. I would wake up early, create a grocery list, go shopping, and then cook all of the meals at the same time. Five meals would be on the agenda and hopefully one or two would be a crock pot meal.
The first Sunday I tried this, I was hooked. I’m a morning person and went to the grocery store as soon as they opened. I had 3 meals finished and two in the crock pot all before football started at 1. Not only did I feel like I had accomplished something pretty huge, I felt great every night when we had dinner and all I had to do was take it out of the fridge. I have been doing it ever since.
Here are some tips that I try to keep in mind:
1) Go to the grocery store as soon as it opens on Sunday morning or during church times. I hate crowded grocery stores. It’s my own personal hell. I love Sunday mornings at 8. No one is there.
2) If you’re cooking a roast or a piece of pork loin, have it as the first meal of the week. This way it stays fresh. Make the rest of your meals, meals that are easy to reheat.
3) Set up your grocery list by area of the grocery store. I have a great template that breaks the store up into the different sections. It stops me from being on one side of the store, almost finished shopping, realizing that I forgot something all the way across the store. Please let me know if you would like the template, I would love to share.
I have to admit, now that I am 3 days away from my due date, cooking 5 meals every week is getting harder and harder. I’m hanging in there though. We still have left overs from last week (Chicken Pot Pie Soup. Recipe found here: http://www.skinnytaste.com/2011/01/chicken-pot-pie-soup.html) so I only had to make three meals this week, two of which are made in a crock pot! I also am adding a bread and a batch of cookies!
Here are my recipes of the week and some pictures with our new camera.
Recipe One: BBQ Beer Chicken (Thanks KD!) Recipe: http://www.howsweeteats.com/2011/10/crockpot-bbq-beer-chicken/
Recipe Two: Santa Fe Turkey Stuffed Pepper. Recipe: http://www.skinnytaste.com/2012/09/santa-fe-turkey-stuffed-peppers.html
* Skinny Taste is basically my meal planning bible. She is amazing and makes low fat, delicious tasting dishes. I use her recipes at least 3 times a week.
* For this recipe, I doubled the stuffing and froze half. That half I will use for stuff peppers after the baby comes.
Recipe Three: Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili (also Skinny Taste). Recipe: http://www.skinnytaste.com/2008/11/crock-pot-chicken-taco-chili-4-pts.html
Recipe Four: Chocolate Chip Banana Bread. Recipe: http://www.skinnytaste.com/2012/01/petite-chocolate-chip-banana-bread.html
* I didn’t make petite loaves. I made one big one and will freeze half
Recipe Five: Stuffed Cookie Cups with Reese Cups. Recipe: http://www.sugarloco.com/2012/09/stuffed-cookie-cups-recipe/
And last but not least, my two kitchen “helpers” that drive me crazy while I’m cooking.