Friday, August 7, 2009

Meg's Top Five Tips

I know that it is really hard to get a healthy dinner on the table every night. In fact, if I didn't do these 5 things, it probably wouldn't ever happen for me! So I thought I'd share :)

  1. Make a menu each week: If I haven’t made a complete meal plan for the week, dinner just won’t happen! Instead, we end up wasting money and eating unhealthy food by going out to eat or buying frozen dinners. But as long as I plan ahead, I know what I need to do ahead of time and it is always possible to give my family a healthy, yummy, home-cooked meal!
  2. Double and Freeze: Home-made freezer meals are just as easy as store bought ones, but so much more healthy and frugal! Any time a recipe freezes well, I double it and save it for a day when I just don’t have the time to cook. Most casserole, meatball, soup, and cookie dough recipes freeze really well!
  3. C.O.R.N: Clean Out the Refrigerator Night! This is my most important time-saver and money-saver yet! One night a week I don’t have to cook and my family gets to eat their favorites. No need to waste those yummy leftovers – just spread them out on the counter and everyone picks what they like they best!
  4. Meat Day: I usually buy all my meat for the month at the Farmer's Market. The next day, I have a meat day. If I bought fresh chicken, then I put most of it in the crock pot with some water and cook it so I can freeze shredded chicken ready for my casseroles. I will usually also make some freezer bags full of "dump" chicken -- uncooked but trimmed chicken ready to go in the crock pot, oven, or grill with marinade, barbq sauce, etc. If I bought ground beef, I go ahead and brown most of it and make the rest into meatballs. Some of the browned ground beef I'll leave unseasoned just to have on hand, but most of it I'll go ahead and make into home-made sloppy joes, taco meat, lasagna meat, etc. I freeze it in tupperware or freezer bags so it’s ready when I need it.
5. Baking Day: I try to set aside one day to make all my bread, tortillas, and pizza dough for the month and then freeze it so it is ready to go! I also take another day to make all my pancakes, waffles, granola, and cereal for the month. I usually try to do this on a day when my husband is off work and can help with my little ones :)