Cooking for a small family - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 05-01-2008, 09:51 AM - Thread Starter
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I hope I am posting this in the correct forum -

I am the single mother of a 21 month old who doesn't eat very much. I've been realizing recently that I am over-reliant on processed organic foods such as macaroni and cheese, cheeseburger macaroni mix, breakfast cereal, pancake mix, etc. However, with it being only the two of us, I have problems following recipes and not ending up with a ton of extra food. I was raised on some really horrible food, mostly spaghettios and frozen pizza, and while I am trying to expand my horizons and am making a conscious effort to eat better, it takes some effort to eat vegetables, tofu, and rice and things like that. What that means is that if I buy, for example, a spaghetti squash or tofu, it probably won't get eaten because I am 1) afraid of it 2) don't know what to do with it. I'm hesitant to even buy an onion at the store because even if I find one recipe to put it in, it's going to go bad before I find another one.
So if anyone can point me in the right direction, it would be appreciated. I want to make healthy meals using fewer processed box mixes and more whole, natural ingredients in small portions, but I don't want to get so far out of my comfort zone that things are wasted. I am open to recipes involving tofu and squash and rice as well as meat, although I would prefer to avoid meat as much as possible. Help me please!
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#2 of 5 Old 05-01-2008, 11:05 AM
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Are you opposed to leftovers? Just make normal recipes, and freeze what you guys don't eat, then you have a meal for later and don't have to cook. That's a bonus. Also, sounds like you need to plan your meals ahead of time. Then you can incorporate in ingredients so that they don't get wasted. It makes it much easier, and you will end up saving money that way. The processed stuff seems cheaper but in the end it really isn't. Especially if you don't mind leftovers.

Mama to (DS 7) and (DD 5), wife to DH

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#3 of 5 Old 05-01-2008, 12:36 PM
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I like to think of many of the meal in my plan as "planned overs". Last night we had a beef stirfry that a few days before was sauteed steak, there's only 3 of us, so we have a small family. I think the best thing is to get maybe check out some cookbooks at the library to see what you like, I do recommend How to Cook Everything by Mark Bitman, he has good simple, wholesome recipes, if you are a vegetarian he has a new version that is a veg version. I don't have this, but I really want it. Another thing you said you're afraid to buy an onion because it will go to waste, you can easily chop the whole thing and put it in a freezer bag until next use, this works well with bell peppers too. I'm also with the PP's suggestion to freeze half of a meal, it works really well, you could make homemade mac n'cheese, and eat one and freeze one for later. I do this a lot and I get foil containers from the dollar store, also then there's virtually no mess. HTH.

Me Wife to T (14 years)Mama to Princess(4) and Monster Boy(my 1 year old ):
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#4 of 5 Old 05-01-2008, 02:31 PM
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I am a professional flash freezer! Whenever I make anything I freeze it in small portions. At first I was freezing bits all ove rthe place that didn't get used so much. Now I have one large shelf in my freezer for ready to go baggie meals that I have marked clearly.

I do this with everything. This way I at least have a lunch or dinner for kids and I. Last night I made some rice and bean burritos and cooked up some extra rice filling and froze that. Next time I make burritos I"ll have the yummy seasoned rice and I'll do meat or something.

You can really freeze just about anything
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#5 of 5 Old 05-03-2008, 11:00 PM
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Have you considered getting a cookbook thats geared towards serving one or two people. I have a wonderfull one I bought as a newly wed called healthy cooking for two or just you. Every recipe in the book has measurements for one or two servings. It helped me a lot in those early days. My hubby won't eat leftovers so I had to ger creative.
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