That's what I am. A newb. At least at meal planning and preparation. I can see it becoming a certified Olympic sport. That shizz is draining but I can already see where it's going to be worth it.
I start a new job tomorrow. A real one. Not that the one I had before wasn't real but this one will actually take up a lot of daytime hours. Hours I used to use for shopping and cooking and cleaning.
I've stopped laughing now. The shopping part is true but the rest of the time was spent on my ass either in bed sleeping for days or on the couch watching...whatever is on in the middle of the day.
Anywhoo. I wanted a daytime job so I could be home and spending quality time with my family and if I'm spending an hour plus a day cooking alone in the kitchen, it defeats the purpose of being home for quality time.
I, as usual, was scouring Pinterest for easy recipes. I came across a pin that linked to this blog post. It gives the recipes for 8 dinners for a family of four with two leftover lunches. The food all looked good and fairly affordable so I decided to give it a try. I have to start somewhere, right?
Right away I can see how this is going to save time daily. Not only in the prepping and cooking department, but in clean up as well. You won't have all these pots and pans sitting in the sink every day. I don't plan on making all of these in the crock pot. I have a few in mind to bake in the oven, not that I'm anti crock pot, I just don't want that big ass thing claiming a permanent spot on my counter top. Until they make some affordable ones that are cute and coordinate with the rest of my permanent appliances..like the toaster.
I actually ended up with 11 dinners. Well..technically ten and a half. I followed all the recipes with only a couple of minor modifications. I followed the shopping list exactly, all modifications were made at the last minute because of my own weirdness and forgetfulness.
We have two dinners of ribs. My grocer only had a 6 pound pack of ribs so I went with it. This is where I have to make a decision. Is my family made up of a bunch of pigs or is my interpretation of a serving size a bit skewed? This was the one and a half meals. We have one full dinner and then a few extra ribs that we'll have for dinner tonight since all of the kids are off with friends. Perfect! Also, I swore we had liquid smoke when I was at the store. I was so sure of it that I didn't even think twice about it. Until I went to grab it. I had to wing it. I added a bit of Worcestershire sauce and a teeny bit of vinegar. Not smokey tasting so I went with tangy instead. For the hashbrown sides I forgot the sour cream so I couldn't get those prepped ahead of time like I wanted.
Most of these meals have, what I consider to be, very small portion sizes of meat. We love our meat here. I went with it in most cases. I don't think we're going to starve to death once we add in sides and maybe even a dessert or two.
I also expanded the chicken alfredo to two meals as well. I ended up using fresh broccoli because I could only find frozen cuts and I'm a snob. I only want the crowns. The stems are gross. We had some leftover frozen turkey from a week ago so I have one chicken alfredo and one turkey alfredo. Also, instead of dumping both jars of sauce into one bag like the recipe states, I used one jar and added a cup of milk to it instead. That's how I got two meals out of that one.
The french dip sandwiches was also converted into two meals. I think three pounds of roast is too much for a sandwich. Maybe my kids just don't really like sandwiches or they don't like really stuffed ones, I don't know. I had a roast that was 3.25 lbs. I cut it into two roasts, one at 2 lbs and the other the remaining 1.25. The two pound roast is for the french dip sandwiches, the remainder was tossed into another bag with some leftover carrots, potatoes, onions, garlic, and chicken broth and is just a basic roast dish. Not fancy but it'll work in a pinch.
I also went ahead and prepped some snacks for the kids and for me. I'm a snacker. I freaking love snacks. I will take 10 snacks over a meal any day of the week. The kids like stuff that's easy to grab and is at least a little sweet.
I have the usual bananas and clementine oranges on hand. We always have those. I also was able to get three tubs of strawberries thanks to the grocer having them on sale for a buck a piece. I washed and halved them, put them into individual serving tupperware bowls and sprinkled them with a teeny bit of brown sugar, cinnamon, and granola. I also got two cucumbers and using another Pinterest recipe, mixed them up with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and chili powder. I am planning on making some crispy edamame too, the kids will devour that.
I can't vouch for the taste of any of it. That will come next week.
Here's to hoping it works and it all tastes good!