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#1 of 16 Old 10-27-2005, 10:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What strategies do you have for meal planning? We don't get home until 5:30 and would like to have dinner by 6:15, but we'd like some ideas for pre-preparing meals. Stir fry and pasta is getting boring!
Do you freeze? Other ideas?

4 kids under 10
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#2 of 16 Old 10-28-2005, 01:08 PM
 
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How many do you cook for? Are you veggie?
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#3 of 16 Old 10-29-2005, 10:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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2 adults, a preschooler and a toddler. We are vegetarian. We've only been vegetarian for just under a year, so it's still "new" to us and I can't help notice how much easier it is to cook what you're familiar with (and chicken meals freeze so easily!)

Thanks! Looking forward to your ideas...

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#4 of 16 Old 10-29-2005, 11:29 AM
 
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Learn to love your crockpot!

There is a HUGE thread in the Nutrition and Good Eating forum of favorite crockpot recipes.
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#5 of 16 Old 10-29-2005, 12:53 PM
 
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I have dh feed em. Sorry, no real help, but it's what I do when I work late.

Mama to 3:
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#6 of 16 Old 10-29-2005, 05:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by isosmom
I have dh feed em. Sorry, no real help, but it's what I do when I work late.

I guess I should have specified that both DP and I are looking for ideas . We both get home at the same time (1 vehicle).

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#7 of 16 Old 10-29-2005, 05:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wabi Sabi
Learn to love your crockpot!

There is a HUGE thread in the Nutrition and Good Eating forum of favorite crockpot recipes.
Yes, I guess that's a good idea. I just can't help notice how much $$$ I've been spending on eating better; a utility shelf so I can buy in bulk and better afford whole grains, a chest freezer to freeze local and seasonal organic produce, cast iron cookware, good quality copper/steel pots and pans, food processor, and now I need a crock pot.

It keeps getting more and more costly, but like I often preach, food health is VERY important. I'll do whatever I can!

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#8 of 16 Old 10-29-2005, 05:28 PM
 
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I love my crockpot. What a life saver.
I also try to take one day a month and prepare some meals that I can freeze.

Kathy-Mom to Blake & Mikaela
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#9 of 16 Old 10-29-2005, 05:31 PM
 
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Subscribing cause I need ideas too!
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#10 of 16 Old 10-29-2005, 06:41 PM
 
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Some of my favorite quick dinners are:
Bean burritos - refried beans, bell pepper, onion, avacado, cheese OR black beans, sweet potato, spinach, sauted red bell peppers. Yum.
Homemade Pizza
Soups
Chili - Although I haven't tried yet, a recipe using tvp should be very quick to make.
Falafel - dry falafal mix is yummy and quick. I usually fry falafal patties and serve on a big salad with warmed pita and dressing.
I'll be thinking of more...off to baby land
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#11 of 16 Old 10-29-2005, 07:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wanted to let y'all know I just went out and bought a crock pot. Thanks for the encouragement and let's hope it's worthwhile!

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#12 of 16 Old 10-30-2005, 10:07 AM
 
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Quote:
Wanted to let y'all know I just went out and bought a crock pot. Thanks for the encouragement and let's hope it's worthwhile!
See if your library has this book for more ideas:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...books&n=507846
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#13 of 16 Old 11-03-2005, 03:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sanguine_speed
Wanted to let y'all know I just went out and bought a crock pot. Thanks for the encouragement and let's hope it's worthwhile!
I was going to suggest that you try your local St. Vincent DePaul or Salvation Army, ebay, or your local garage sales for a crock pot. You don't need to spend the huge amounts you can spend for a good sized one. All you really need are the high and low settings for starters!

Also, we do try to take an afternoon on the weekend every couple of weeks and cook and freeze meals. We get an assembly line going...ie my husband chops and I cook! It is certainly usually much quicker to thaw already cooked food than it is to cook from scratch when you get home. We also put together a couple of crock-pot meals, put them in gallon sized zip-lock bags, and then the am of the meal, all we have to do is dump it in and turn it on.

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#14 of 16 Old 11-03-2005, 03:19 PM
 
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I freeze a lot of stuff and always have a freezer full of homemade entrees. I'm not vegetarian, but I would think many of the same strategies apply. I freeze soups, stews, chili, etc. I also freeze building blocks for quick meals. In my case, that means I cook big batches of dry beans and freeze in small batches. I also brown ground beef with onions for quick sloppy joes, meat sauce, etc. I also keep bags of frozen veggies just in case I don't have fresh on hand. I freeze crustless quiche batter.

I don't do big cooking sessions for the freezer. When I'm cooking something that takes time on a weekend, I make a triple batch and freeze extras.

I can get a reasonably good dinner on the table in about 20 minutes flat. I'd be lost without the freezer.

Oddly enough, I'm not a huge crockpot fan, although I do cook a few things in it. Mostly I find everything comes out watery and tasteless, so I must be doing something wrong!
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#15 of 16 Old 11-03-2005, 03:57 PM
 
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Also, I sit down every six weeks with a computer program that allows me to make my own calendar. I plan meals for the next six weeks. THis saves us probably fifteen minutes a night, because we can just go home and MAKE it, even if it IS from scratch right then. We don't have to decide WHAT to make, and then figure out whether we have all the stuff to make it, and THEN go to the store if we don't. It saves us a ton in cash, too. We've found that we can watch the loss leaders in the store fliers and buy in bulk, and plan around what we have. It also saves us from "having to" order carry-out because we don't feel like figuring out what to make! To get out of the usual rut, I open cookbook after cookbook to look for new, unusual, and fun looking recipes. I also call girlfriends and ask them what their favorite recipes are, and try one or two of THEIR favorites every month. I do things like have soup every tuesday and breakfast every thursday. This way, even if it's at the end of the calendar and I haven't gotten to the next one yet, we have a pattern to work from, and because I know it's Thursday, and what we've had the last few thursdays, I can stick with the theme and still make it new. Hope some of that helps!

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#16 of 16 Old 11-03-2005, 04:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EFmom
Oddly enough, I'm not a huge crockpot fan, although I do cook a few things in it. Mostly I find everything comes out watery and tasteless, so I must be doing something wrong!
I've learned a few things from the Cook's Illustrated "Cover and Bake" cookbook, and "Not your Mother's Slowcooker Cookbook" that have really helped make crockpot meals taste like food and not bland rubbery soup. The tricks really do make a difference!

Mama to two awesome kids. Wife to a wonderful, attached, loving husband. I love my job-- I'm a Midwife, Doula and Childbirth Educator, Classes forming now!

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