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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My SIL and MIL had this habit that always puzzled me when I was married without children and working... but makes a ton of sense now.<br><br>
We would be there (Istanbul) visiting and every single day, right after breakfast, they would start asking what we would like for supper. I always found that funny to be worried about a supper we'd eat at 8:30PM until I had a child of my own and was as SAHM. Never having more than a small chunk of time during the day between diaper-duty, booby-duty and other duties, I realized that my in-laws have this great system of using these small windows of time to get a bit of cooking done throughout the day. Having rice for dinner? Get the rice on the stove and cook it when you're putting together lunch sandwiches. Put it in the fridge and warm and fluff right before serving. Having a meat dish... brown the meat and do the same thing. Need veggies chopped... do one at a time when you have a few minutes during the day.<br><br>
I thought this method would be tiring (working on supper ALL DAY LONG!!), but it really helps and all you have to do is spend 15 minutes throwing things together at the end.<br><br>
When I spent my short amount of time being a WOHM, I realized the key for healthy supper would be that I cook one day a week and freeze everything. This is the same kind of thinking, but seems to work well for the SAHM chunks of time we have.<br><br>
Works for my family and I thought I'd pass on the tip.
 

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Thanks for your post. I can see how this must be very helpfull.<br><br>
Most of the time I try to decide on dinner the day before. Check ingredients and make sure I have everything. Then, 3:00 is usually my cue to start focusing and preping for dinner.
 

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This method works well with the crock pot, too -- I put in the ingredients that most need to be cooked all day long early in the day, and then add other ingredients as the day progresses.
 

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Another trick I learned from an older woman: If you have a baby or toddler who takes a morning nap, do the dinner preparation while they're sleeping! Of course, this is ideal for the crockpot, but it's also great for casseroles. You'd just get the dish all ready to go into the oven, then keep it in the fridge until shortly before dinner. The "standing time" actually tends to improve the flavor.<br><br>
(For those who cringe at the word "casserole," it doesn't have to involve canned cream soup. Any baked meal-in-a-dish, like lasagna, would qualify. Although, if you have a hankering for classic Midwestern hotdish, Imagine mushroom soup is pretty good...and I just saw some organic Tater Tots at Whole Foods! :LOL )
 

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I totally do this. I am the Queen of this method. There is no other way to get a homecooked meal otherwise with sooo many darn interruptions during the day...
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lurk.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lurk">:
 

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I am going to start doing this. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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my mother keeps telling me to do this, but I never actually believe it might work until now! :LOL
 

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I do this. I have to if I'm cooking or we may not eat. :LOL I usually get things together during ds nap and sometimes I will make the whole dish (like lasagna) and warm it up later. it's fun to have dinner made by noon some days <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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I really like to use our slow cooker also. In our case our major family meal is lunch (since dh works at night) so I start it the night before sometimes or very early in the day.<br><br>
Has anyone considered doing once-a-month cooking? <a href="http://mysite.verizon.net/vaughnharsh/OAMC/OAMC_101.htm" target="_blank">http://mysite.verizon.net/vaughnharsh/OAMC/OAMC_101.htm</a>
 

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<div style="font-style:italic;">I totally do this. I am the Queen of this method. There is no other way to get a homecooked meal otherwise with sooo many darn interruptions during the day...</div>
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Yep, me too. It works really well for homemade pizza...whip up the dough, 10 minutes....let it rise for an hour, pop the crusts in the oven to "par" bake for 10 minutes, then slap them in the fridge. When dinner time rolls around, just grab the crusts, top them, bake for about 10 more minutes and voila.
 

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Yeah - I have to start dinner in the morning as well. Usually I will start the crockpot, or make a salad, or fix a casserole, or marinate the meat --- or something! But definately I need to know what I'm serving from the beginning of the day.<br><br>
I make a plan for dishes too.... making sure the dishwasher is run in the morning, emptied in the afternoon along with the handwashed dishes in the strainer, and empty except for lunch dishes -- ready for dinner dishes. Then I throw dirty things in the dishwasher as I'm cooking, and family members remove their own plates after dinner, rinse them, and put them in the dishwasher to be washed after breakfast the next day....
 

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do you all prepare fancy meals?<br>
The reason I ask is because I don't prep anything ahead of time--but maybe that's because I always eat salad out of a bag and a little bit of fish out of a package (like salmon in those new envelopes--or tuna, same deal).<br>
And I have to make different stuff for my toddlers because one doesn't have any teeth for salad and the other one wants whatever "he's having" or it becomes an issue. So I usually cook a little pasta for them or something else that's toddler friendly. They do like brown rice, so I cook that.<br>
Now, I do make an occasional lasagna for the spouse and freeze it--but most of the time, he's on his own since he's usually having dinner with some business folks (I know, sounds like an affair, doesn't it??) or comes home and throws something on the grill (and by then, I'm doing the bedtime routine with the kids, so dinner is over).<br><br>
So--seriously, I am not being sarcastic or flippant--but what are you all doing that I am obviously not doing?<br><br>
Thanks for the enlightenment. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love">
 

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I learned that trick from my MIL who lives in India. She has to cook for lots of people, starting very early in the morning. She has herself, dh, son-in-law (who has his business in the same house), and she also provides one meal a day to each of their 3 household servants.<br><br>
After breakfast she starts on dinner. SHe will make about 3 dishes and a huge pile of rice or chapatis. It serves as both lunch and dinner. She also serves coffee to son in law and the office staff at mid-day. Whew! Of course she spends all her time in the kitchen but the servants do the dusting and cleaning and ironing. At least she has that.<br><br>
My own method is to spend 5 mins. here and 5 mins. there on whatever is on my mind at the time. Yesterday I had all the raw ingredients prepared for dinner and all I had to do was cook it at 5 PM. I also managed to clean all of our tile flooring but it took me all day. I had to wait until my toddler was napping to mop so she wouldn't slip and fall on the wet tile.<br><br>
No, I don't prepare fancy meals. Last night for example we had spagetti. I fried an onion, cut up some tomatoes to add and some seasoning, then dumped in some ground, seasoned soy burger left over from tacos the night before. I served that over pasta, with bread and salad on the side. The salad was one of those prepackaged ones that I bought at CostCo. They have great prices on prepackaged salads. It's $3 for a big giant bag of mixed greens, dressing, and nuts and fruits to put over the top.
 

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It's not that I cook fancy meals or anything, as we are on a pretty tight budget. Homecooked meals are cheaper for me.<br><br>
Tonight we had chicken stirfry over rice. The boys ate beef stew (they dont always eat the same meals as us because of food allergies and other SID considerations that I won't talk about here)<br><br>
so, the beef stew was something I made one day a ton of, and froze into single servings (freezing is my other great tip)<br><br>
and the chicken stir fry I chopped the veg in the am while the others eat their bfast, store in tupper in fridge. Then I cook the rice sometime during the day and just let it sit on the stove (hey room temp rice tastes the same as hot rice) all I did at supper time was chop the chicken and cook. Microwave frozen soup, viola! everyone eating something hot and tasty.
 

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These are all great tips. I've done 3 meals ahead when I had a large chunk of time on a Sunday (DH keeping the boys busy) and popped them in the oven during the week when we wanted to eat them. Almost like the month ahead cooking, only for the week & not frozen. We don't typically finish all of a dish in one meal (although with the boys getting older thats becoming less & less true) so we did leftover nights & quick meal nights also.<br><br>
aisling
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Yep, this method of doing small things through the day really saved my sanity, especially a year or so ago when dd was under-foot a lot more. Sometimes when I'm making a casserole, I'll double-up and freeze half.<br><br>
Granollly - I'm not sure I'd consider what eat fancy. But it is almost exclusively from scratch. I take some help from frozen veggies when they aren't in season. Sometimes I'll used jarred pasta sauces (especially pestos), but usually make my own. I basically got into the habit of cooking from scratch when I met my dh 8 years ago. He grew up eating scratch cooking, cooked that way himself and now he hates the taste of anything that comes from a can or jar because he is sensitive to the chemical taste. So nothing really fancy (we eat a lot of ethnic foods) but from scratch, which usually takes quite a while.
 

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What we eat isn't fancy, but my husband doesn't have business dinners, so we always eat dinner together. We don't cook entirely from fresh ingredients -- for example, we use canned tomatoes, and sometimes use dried garlic or canned mushrooms. Typical weekday meals around here include things like chili, macaroni and cheese, quiche, and teriyaki beef over salad greens. I'd say maybe once a week, we have food we didn't cook ourselves, like a frozen pizza or something.<br><br>
We haven't yet reached the point where we have a child who could be sharing meals with us, but I expect that we'll all wind up eating the same food as soon as she's ready for table foods. That's what our families did when we were growing up -- we never had different meals for kids and adults.
 
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