How often do you have easier meals.....? - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-14-2010, 09:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How often do you have meals which are easier to prepare for and need less cooking time? And how often do you have meals which are more time consuming to prepare for and cook?

(how many per week for example)

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Old 04-14-2010, 10:34 PM
 
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I've been doing 2 more involved and 3 with the leftovers lately. Weekends might be either, depending.

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Old 04-14-2010, 10:56 PM
 
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Hmm, dunno. We have fish twice a week and I tend to cook it simply - pan-fried with lemon and butter, say - so that can be pretty quick. I like cooking though, so it doesn't bother me to prepare a meal.

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Old 04-14-2010, 11:01 PM
 
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I probably do about half and half. Tacos, spaghetti w/ meat sauce, rigatoni/penne w/ sausage, pancakes, linguine/fettucini w/ pesto, and stir fry are basicly my fall-back-i-don't-feel-like-really-cooking meals... and we tend to have at least one or the other at least once a week.
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Old 04-14-2010, 11:08 PM
 
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Breakfast: full breakfast Monday-Friday, quick breakfast Saturday and Sunday
Lunch: quick lunch Monday-Friday, full brunch Saturday and Sunday
Dinner: full dinners approx 5 days, light or quick dinners approx 2 days.

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Old 04-15-2010, 01:52 AM
 
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every other week

last week was a LOT of fancy stuff. This week has been a lot of thrown together easy stuff. (last night, thrown together use leftovers up duck pate/chopped liver/meat and bread and cheese and cornichons, tonight, baked sweet potatos, melted leeks, and milk (and maybe an egg for DP.) wednesday nights I get a snack at 7 at work, so I don't want a big dinner usually. I just got some raw milk, and frankly, I'd quite happily have only raw milk for dinner, but we ought to stretch it over a few days, and I should share.... jk

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Old 04-15-2010, 10:35 AM
 
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breakfast: always quick

lunch: either leftovers or very, very quick (quesadillas, pb&honey, salad, soup, etc)

supper: quick 2-3 times a week (breakfast for supper, crockpot, tacos, stirfry, etc), "regular" 3 times a week, and take-out once a week
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Old 04-15-2010, 10:48 AM
 
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I used to make dinner a full-blown production every night. At least 2 hours prep, some of that in advance (chop once, use twice). I LOVE to cook, though and do something almost every day. Over the past couple of years, I've backed off of the multi-component meals, though. I will still prep in advance, but a typical weeknight meal is one main and one side. Grilled chicken with roasted asparagus (very quick), pasta aglio e olio (garlic and oil) and salad, Dorowat (an ethiopian chicken dish, easy-peasy), or baked enchiladas.

Some of the more time intensive meals are often simple, though, I've realized. For example, we love cottage pie and when we have good ground lamb, shepherd's pie. But that really takes a long time to prepare... all the chopping of the fresh carrots, parsnips, onions, other veg, then making the mashed potatoes, roasting garlic (and I have great knife skills for an amateur). All for a one-dish meal. So some meals may appear easier, but they have a lot more prep work in them. Those, I don't do as often and always do a double batch to feed the freezer.

I'd say all in all, we eat simply prepared meals 4 nights a week, eat out once and I cook elaborate meals 2 nights a week (although they may seem simple... they've just taken a lot more time to prep).

ETA: even something like quesadillas are somewhat time consuming for us. Making the tortillas, marinating and grilling the meat, making the sauce from scratch, then assembling and cooking. I think one meat, one veg is really the simplest meals for us.
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Old 04-15-2010, 11:07 AM
 
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When I grocery shop I always get enough and plan meals for atleast a week, but it really all depends on the day, what we've done, and the weather/season. In the wintertime, I always do slow cooked meals that we eat throughout the week, but I always add in something new (almost) every day. Friday in the winters, ds and I have a pizza night. When the weather is nice and we are out all day long, I try to make sure I have a salad in the fridge, fresh fruit, veggies and hummus and something quick for a main dish. Easy fall backs for me are normally: pesto pasta with spinach, quesadillas, pizza, etc. I do enjoy cooking, but when the weather is lovely...I would rather be outside and just grab something quick!

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Old 04-15-2010, 09:46 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post

ETA: even something like quesadillas are somewhat time consuming for us. Making the tortillas, marinating and grilling the meat, making the sauce from scratch, then assembling and cooking. I think one meat, one veg is really the simplest meals for us.
When I make quesadillas for lunch for my kids, it doesn't look like this. LOL

I make the tortillas sometimes; sometimes, I buy them. Just depends on what day of the week it is (we go to our good tortilla supermarket on Saturdays). And, my kids just eat cheese.

So, it's a matter of whipping up tortillas, grating cheese, and cooking them. 15 minutes tops. No sauce, no toppings. Just quesadillas.
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Old 04-17-2010, 10:57 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BetsyS View Post
When I make quesadillas for lunch for my kids, it doesn't look like this. LOL

I make the tortillas sometimes; sometimes, I buy them. Just depends on what day of the week it is (we go to our good tortilla supermarket on Saturdays). And, my kids just eat cheese.

So, it's a matter of whipping up tortillas, grating cheese, and cooking them. 15 minutes tops. No sauce, no toppings. Just quesadillas.
Yeah, we like our quesadillas with more than just the cheese. I didn't even mention the guacamole, because I usually have freshly made on-hand, but we have to have our guacamole with our quesadillas, too. And I usually put sauteed onions inside, too. I'd probably always make grilled cheese instead of plain quesadillas because it's less work.
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Old 04-17-2010, 02:40 PM
 
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We probably eat about 3 or 4 more "difficult" meals a week for dinners. We also usually have one really involved, big breakfast/brunch on a weekend morning. The other 3 or 4 dinners per week are generally easier prep: leftovers, a quick soup with bread (usually homemade bread, but occasionally not, but it's always homemade soup), quick enchiladas with a premade sauce, pasta with a super-fast tomato sauce, etc. Our "quick" meals are generally 45 minutes to an hour of prep, and the more difficult meals are 2+ hours.

I've been trying to speed dinner prep a bit lately by making more things ahead of time. For example, when I make tortillas, I make extra and freeze them, so they're ready to go for easy enchiladas or quesadillas. When I saute an onion, I'll often saute a few extra and just store the extra in a glass container in the refrigerator for another recipe the next day or day after. I'm trying to get better about menu planning and planning how to use leftovers from one meal in another (different) one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post
ETA: even something like quesadillas are somewhat time consuming for us. Making the tortillas, marinating and grilling the meat, making the sauce from scratch, then assembling and cooking. I think one meat, one veg is really the simplest meals for us.
Velochic, I'm now really curious about what your quesadilla sauce is! Want to share the recipe?
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Old 04-17-2010, 04:59 PM
 
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It totally depends on the week..And lately it depends on my son. Ds is 3.5 and is REALLY taking to cooking. So our meals are basically made by him

Last week he decided he wanted green soup so I made a puree of kale and peas to make a green broth then the rest of the additions were up to him.
This week he made Elmo's homemade alpha bit soup. Another night mashed potatoes/lentil loaf/mushroom gravy.

Breakfast-5x a week big meals-pancakes, eggs, potatoes,cut fruit
Lunch-5x a week quick meals-sandwiches thrown together soups ect
Dinner-changes daily.

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Old 04-17-2010, 05:36 PM
 
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Honestly I used to make these big huge meals every single night. at one time I had the 5 of us, then my 2 brothers and my cousin all living with me. So I did the damn thing for dinner every night, there were only two girls me and my dd. but all the other men ate so much I felt I had to make a huge meal.

Now I feel ashamed to admit, that I use the slow cooker every single day, its still a nice hearty meal, but I do not feel like I have to cook bread and muffins and all the extras at all.

Its kinda of nice, I am done in the kitchen by noon everyday, I can clean and not feel drained. But I do think I should get off my butt and make dh a super nice meal.

He deserves it.

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Old 04-17-2010, 05:59 PM
 
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I only make one remotely time consuming meal a week. I most often have to cook while holding DD or while trying to keep her from doing something. Mostly we have sandwiches, quesadillas, that sort of thing. DH won't eat mixed food so casseroles and soups are out.

quesadillas mean store bought tortillas, pre-shredded cheese, and pulling some pre-cooked shredded chicken out of the freezer.

Mom to Kira March 2009
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Old 04-17-2010, 08:37 PM
 
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Lately its been probably easy meals 6-7 nights a week I cook from scratch so even our "easy" meals require some prep. My youngest is 4 months and pretty high needs, especially in the evenings. I make yummy, healthy, homemade foods, but they aren't complicated. We eat meat/veg, taco salad, burgers, soup, meatloaf, etc. We are grain free but eat simply by choice.

The things like meatloaf and soup that require a bit more prep, I try to start in the afternoon during naptime. If things are super crazy and I don't have time to do that, then I will make a fritatta or we will quickly defrost grassfed steaks and have DH grill them.

Some day I'll cook meals that are a bit more labor intensive, but right now I just don't have the time. You can definitely eat well without it taking a lot of time

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Old 04-18-2010, 02:35 AM
 
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We basically have two dinners: 1) easy and 2) easiest. We probably have easiest meals about four nights a week- this includes: spaghetti, mac&cheese, pizza, microwave meals, restaurant (once a week). The other three nights we cook something fresh that takes less than 30 minutes (not counting baking time). Rarely I cook something more complicated than that.
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Old 04-18-2010, 12:19 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rainyday View Post
Velochic, I'm now really curious about what your quesadilla sauce is! Want to share the recipe?
Sure. I don't have exact measurements because I eyeball it.

1 small shallot, minced finely
1 clove garlic, minced finey
1/3 c. of mexican crema
pinch of sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 t. or so of cumin
1/2 t. or so of smoky paprika
as many dashes of hot sauce to taste

In a small pan, saute shallot and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until mild... a few minutes. Combine with the rest of the ingredients and chill. Best to let it sit for a couple of hours, so I do this first.

To make my quesadillas, I use homemade flour tortillas from Rick Bayless' recipe. I saute diced red peppers and onions. For the chicken, I sprinkle boneless, skinless chicken breasts with smoky paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, and mexican oregano. I let that sit for a bit, then grill them. Chop them up. To assemble to quesadillas, I saute one side of the tortilla in a bit of oil, turn it over and fill with chicken, cheese, onion/pepper mix, and sauce. Fold it, press with a cast iron press and when done, set aside in the warming oven. Serve with salsa and guacamole. We keep salsa on hand from our favorite local mexican restaurant if I don't have any home canned salsa (I use the spicy salsa recipe in the Ball Blue Book for my salsa). I use Alton Brown's guacamole recipe.

So, yeah, when I make quesadillas, it's rather labor intensive, but they are SO worth it!
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Old 04-18-2010, 03:33 PM
 
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Ummmm... I'm in the mainly easy camp. I have two kiddos- 3.5 and 8 months. I throw something in the slowcooker in the am, ingredients in the bread maker, and I'm done. As with pp, I love being done with a home cooked dinner by 10:00 am.
Now, when DH is home on the weekends to help watch one or two of the kiddos while I cook, I'll make something more complicated, but it's nowhere near as complicated as the stuff I cooked 4 years ago. Maybe one day I'll have the freedom to cook a nice nice nice dinner every night. Now I'm happy to have a homecooked meal the vast majority of the time.
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p.s. I also make oatmeal in the crockpot for breakfast most ams. I love my crockpot.
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Old 04-19-2010, 02:59 AM
 
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At least 2 nights a week we do easy meals- park day, and the day we go to the homeschool community center, and I always make the same things those nighs. Park day dinner is crockpot-cooked navy beans with kale, lemon juice, salt, garlic, and sage, and bread. CC day dinner is fresh steamed veggies and whole wheat pasta with lemon-cashew 'alfredo' sauce, which whips up in a blender in less than 5 minutes.

Most other nights I make fairly intensive-prep meals.
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