July 27, 2010

Meal Planning

Ever since we had our quadruplets, I've realized I'm a pretty good cook. I became a stay-at-home mom and found myself with time to actually make dinner (after the first year of raising quads, of course, because nothing was getting accomplished in year one). But now that Hubby has a whacked-out work schedule, things went back to our BQ (Before Quads) Days.
BQ, we both worked full time. BQ, we ate a lot of frozen meals or food from a box. BQ, we usually had one "good" meal a week (either Hubby grilled or I experimented with a new recipe).
PQ (Post Quads), I, amazingly, had time to cook: casseroles, lasagna, lots of new recipes and tons of acorn squash on the side. A side note: acorn squash is my favorite vegetable. I could eat it every day. It's easy to fix and it's yummy.
Anyway, now that Hubby is only home two nights a week for dinner, we're back to the BQ meals. I started out making a casserole once a week, but we got tired of tuna casserole, lasagna and Mexican chicken on a rotating basis. I wanted to make things that would generate lots of leftovers for both of us to eat during our solo dinners... me at home, him at work. When we became bored, our "leftover meal" became Hamburger Helper. There's nothing wrong with HH, but it can become monotonous.
And then, a mom of triplets told me about Don't Panic, Dinner's in the Freezer. She lent me the cook book and it has been wonderful. The book is full of recipes for meals you can make ahead. It gives you the measurements to make it in large quantities, as well as the measurements to simply make it tonight's meal. The book even walks you through which freezing method works best for which recipe. The nice thing is that you only do the prep ahead of time. The actual baking takes place on the night you're going to eat, so you don't end up thawing out a soggy meal. You still have to take the time to thaw out the meal, but it's worth it. So far I've made two meals from the book. I made the "Cheesy Chicken Bundles" in bulk. I only made the one-meal serving of Sloppy Joes, but it still lasted all six of us for a week. (This is partly because only three out of my four girls liked them. The fourth referred to them as "Slimey Joes.")
I hate constantly turning to store bought meals or food that comes out of a box, so I'm very excited to experiment with more of the recipes in the cook book.... and in case you're wondering, this is not a sponsored post. No one compensated me for writing this post... but I highly recommend you take a look at this cook book if you have a chance.


Sadia said...

Thanks for the recommendation. I usually have a marathon cooking session on Sunday, and then we eat leftovers in various incarnations throughout the week.

Quadmama said...

The book recommends picking a "cooking" day. One of these days I'm actually going to do that!

MaryAnne said...

I'll have to look into that book - thanks for the recommendation!

Maybe I'll have a "cooking" day once my kids are in school?

Marilynne said...

You've become wonder woman!

Jenna said...

I've been teased a lot about going to this place: http://www.dinnerdone.com/

My guy friends and I are the only non-mothers in there but it's great! It forces you to choose a day to make all your meals and you're set! However, your use of an actual cooking book is probably much cheaper and healthier! Haha!

reanbean said...

I'm definitely in need of some new recipes, and ones that will not complicate my life any further. This book sounds like a great resource. I can't wait to check it out!

Kim said...

This cookbook sounds a lot like Once-a-Month Cooking (when you have a marathon cooking session and prepare 30 meals for the freezer). I've tried this kind of freezer cooking twice now and it is great! The actual cooking session just about killed me (it's a lot of prep and standing on your feet) but having all those meals that you can just pull out of the freezer is so worth the one or two days of pain!

MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...

Before kiddos, I used to love to spend a couple of hours in the kitchen, chopping and dicing and cooking...from beginning to end. I've had to completely restructure the way I do things since the girls were born - rarely do I have two hours before a normal mealtime. With some planning, I've finally been able to return to making most of the meals that we used to enjoy. I prep and/or assemble a lot of components ahead of time. And there are some dishes - like soup - that heat up better anyway, so I sometimes make them at night and just heat them for dinner. There's a lot of satisfaction for me in putting a nice meal on the table.

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