Planning Series Pt. 3: Weekly Dinner

Lot of work. Next time someone comes up to you and says, ‘I wish I had it as easy as you’, flip them the bird, and point them to my blog. It takes just getting organized and making sure you can divert your kids attention. Lol, there are times I’ll ignore other chores until I get this last step done.

I first take a break from the kitchen.  You have to or you may lose it. It takes you to the next step.

Lets you think of at least six dinners you can plan out. I turn on the food channel, cooking channel, or even esquire network for ideas. Once I have my list, I cook them or prep them on cooking day.

Yes, you need to pick one day to cook on. Mine is Sunday for religious reasons.

My formula is this: one easy dish I can cook twice the amount, two meals that require the meat to be marinated, one I can crockpot, one brand new dish we never tried, and a leftover or pizza/takeout night.

Note: take out should be something you can’t make. Why would get something you can make? Waste of money, and exposes everyone to something new.

With that said in the clean kitchen, and your list, you defrost your meat the night before. Microwaved defrosted meat tastes weird to me. So I either throw the meat in the fridge or take it out first thing in the morning. Either way, its defrosted by the time you need it.

While you begin to cook dinner for night one, you began your crockpot meal. Any veggies that need to be chopped, do so now, basically mutltitasking. As your continuing cooking night one, you throw everything in that pot, turn it on, and walk away.

I take my dinner break with the crew, then seperate those leftovers from night one and freeze them. You know, label, date, blah, blah, blah. Next, clean up a little, then prep your marinades for dinner three and four. These meats can be frozen still. You get your tupperware out, store it in the fridge. Boom, done!

Now, why marinades. My son, who is special needs, has a hard time of chewing, so marinating the meat makes it soft enough to chew. Great for small kids too. Another plus, these herbs and oils do the job for you!

I pull these meats out 1-2 days before cooking, pour on the marinades,  ziploc bag them, throw them in the fridge and walk away.

The dish we’ve never tried before, I make sure I have everything prepped that I can in a easy to get to spot. This is where the pre washing, cropping, separating, and storage helps a lot!

Nothing needs to be done for leftover/pizza night. Either you have leftovers or you get take and bake pizza. If you have baking supplies, you make it pizza family night. Sometimes, if I’m not burnt out by the end of the week, I make up dough during step 2, and freeze it. By Friday, I take it out to defrost in the morning, its defrosted by the time you need it. The kids and I make up pizzas bake them, and have a blast!

Here’s this week:

Sunday: Mac n cheese, with ground turkey and broccoli

Monday(St. Patrick’s Day): Corned Beef with cabbage, carrots, potatoes, and irish soda bread

Tuesday: brown sugar bourbon steaks with twice baked potatoes

Wednesday: Detriot hot wings and fries

Thursday: stuffed orange bell peppers and rice

Friday/Saturday: pizza night or leftovers

Then your day off. You repeat. One major component…..If you buy what they like, eat, in healthy versions of it, you won’t get complaints. You’ll actually get request when your planning this out and happy people. Trust me, this has been my life for 14 years. Before being self employed. I came up with this during my acting class finals week, had a 3 and 2 yr old at the time, and doing work study. So don’t think that if you work, or income is low you can’t do it. I’ve had great income, and no income, worked crappy ass jobs, and for myself. Small babies, and now big kids. It works. Again this also works for breakfast too.

I also embrace semi homemade. Sandra Lee hits it on the nail. Its a compromise. You have 70 percent fresh/from scratch, the other can be from box if needed. Cause sometimes you got practice or meetings to go to. Most of the time, I don’t use too many, but since business and activities picked up, I’m really embracing them.

Also, great for fill ins is Market Day meals. Hardly no prep, add a side dish, and your helping out your local school. I’ve tasted some of the food, it’s pretty good, but I haven’t personally bought any….yet.

There you have it. Secret to my madness. Buy doing this, I have free time to clean, not much, since we have a system for that. Free time for family, and to have me time. Try it, you’ll be surprised to how much time you have doing this one task like this. Let me know how it works out!

~CSM~20140316_155334

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