This week my focus on menus has to deal with how much time I find myself spending in the kitchen. This is apparently my area for the month because I've caught myself more than once begrudging the amount of time the preparation, cooking and clearing up behind that meals are taking. It's a sizeable chunk of time, let me tell you! So far, Saturday is my least time spend-y sort of day, even if I don't prep anything ahead. Why? Because I'm more focused on saving time, cutting corners and spending as little time at work as possible.
I've always had this mentality where meals are concerned that I don't want a fast meal. I don't enjoy reading those articles about putting a meal on the table in 15 minutes or 20...but I'm starting to see that if I want to reclaim some of my time for projects and chores I long to attend to, I'd best figure out a way to do just that.
So what's my game plan? Plan all three meals, so I know just what I mean to have for breakfast, dinner and supper. Generally supper is the least labor intensive meal...if I have planned it out. Otherwise I have to scramble to prepare something to fill sandwiches, which is typically our meal for evenings. I have been avoiding lunch meats, preferring the flavor and savings of making my own. I'm putting sandwich fillings on my weekly prep list.
Breakfasts too eat up a chunk of time. John likes a big breakfast on those mornings when he comes in from work. Two days this week he works. The rest of those days are really just a matter of putting food on the table. I don't want to do just cold cereal but I can streamline the foods for those five remaining days by prepping ahead the night before, batch cooking breakfast meats and reheating in the microwave and freezing a few things for those mornings when I might oversleep after a bad night. So if I actually carry out my plans, I've cut time in two areas.
That just leaves dinner to prepare. Again, working ahead can do a great deal to cut down time spent there. I hope to put in a good solid hour of prep time Sunday and we'll see how much that leaves me for the rest of the week...Now to set the plan in motion!
Work mornings John gets the same meal. It's mindless and easy for me to prepare and takes less than five minutes: toast and fried eggs.
For the two after work mornings: Pancakes, bacon, scrambled eggs
Cheese Omelet, Hash browns, muffins, juice
The remaining mornings: Oatmeal, peanut butter toast; Sausage Cheese toast, grits; Muffins, boiled eggs
Two days I'm on my own. I have a variety of single entree leftovers in the freezer so just need to add salads. I'll make those ahead or I'll just end skipping them altogether.
Chicken Pot Pie, Pear Salad, Oven Roasted potatoes
When I was growing up Mama always served chicken pot pie with french fries on the side. This was due to the fact that she was serving my dad who firmly believed we should eat potatoes at every meal. I will make my pie from scratch, using two pieces of leftover chicken and frozen mixed vegetables. These veg don't include potatoes. When I make pie crust for this dish, I'll triple the recipe and put two more shells in the freezer for future pie days, sweet or savory.
Meatloaf, Twice Baked Potatoes, Butter Beans, Coleslaw
Leftover meatloaf. I'll double the potaoes and put two in the freezer for a future meatless meal.
Cranberry Crockpot Chicken Legs, Sweet Pea Pods, Corn Pudding, Salad
I'm debating adding potatoes to this meal as well, because the sauce on the chicken is so very good, but
we'll see how I feel the day of.
Southwestern bean Empanadas, Yellow Rice, Pineapple Salsa over Shredded Lettuce Salad
This month's BH&G has empanada recipes. Reminded me that I can do a meatless entree with beans and corn and zucchini seasoned with cumin and such to make a great meatless main. I don't have fresh tomatoes on hand, so will use canned pineapple.
Tuna Noodle Casserole, Green Beans, Carrot Raisin Salad
I have tuna in oil that I think will be tasty in a casserole. I bought it for another recipe but want to use in this dish.
2. Stop in town during open hours and see if I can get a good look at the bed on the front porch of the 'antique' shop.
3. Tag a few items and take into booth. Plan to pick up a few more of the older items and bring home.
Remember this is not all I expect to do this week. These are the extra things I hope to get to as the routine work week goes on.
1. Mulch the flower bed.
2. Make cookies
3. Move things from guest room that don't belong
4. Get address to mail off baby gift to Katie's friend and get it in the mail
5. Defrost/organize/inventory small freezer
6. Inventory pantry
7. Return window blind and swap for another
8: Good thrift plunder
9. Make Challah
10: Tag and take to booth 5-6 items