Sunday, August 7, 2011

The million dollar question..... what's for dinner?

After returning to work full time after having Malone, I discovered that cooking ahead several meals for the week on Sunday afternoon was the ideal way to go.

Reasons why I cook ahead:

1. It takes the guess work out of the "what's for dinner?" question. I know what I've got because it's already been planned and prepared in advance. I don't plan that we'll have xzy on abc day but instead make 3-4 side dishes and 3-4 main dishes (meat or casseroles). We mix and match during the week for lunch and dinner.

2. It saves time. During the week I can usually have dinner on the table in five minute or less. Clean up after dinner is also a breeze, since the pots and pans don't have to be washed! A little up front work goes a LONG way. When I'm in the kitchen cooking on Sunday, I can multitask. I typically have several things going at once. If the oven is already going to be on to roast chicken legs, there is no reason why it can't cook a meatloaf too! I try to get the foods that are the most time intensive on first and then spend the time that they are cooking chopping veggies or prepping for dishes that take less time. Less time getting dinner on the table also means that we are done with dinner earlier in our evening- which is great because we have more time to hang out with Malone.

3. It saves money. I have a refrigerator stocked with food that is easily reheated. There is no temptation not to "cook" and to go out instead. Also, it is better for our budget because I can use common ingredients across multiple recipes instead of having to buy new each time.

Here are the following things I have planned for this week. An * denotes that it will be cooked the day of. I have linked or noted the recipe where there was one. Sometimes I make one up on the fly (in that case, there really isn't a recipe).

Side Dishes:

Pasta Salad With Veggies And Feta
Sweet Corn Salad With Black Beans And Tomatoes (Branny Boils Over)
Mayo Free Potato Salad (Branny Boils Over)
Garlic Roasted Summer Squash

Herb Roasted Chicken Drum Sticks (1/2 are Rosemary, 1/2 are Herbs De Provence)
*Cheeseburgers (Grass Fed)
*Crockpot Pulled BBQ Chicken
Turkey Meatloaf ( For this one I used oatmeal in place of bread crumbs. Also, I like to bake these in muffin tins instead of just making a loaf.

This will be a regular feature on my blog. I hope it inspires you with new menu ideas.

If anyone has a witty title for this feature, let me know!

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