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Old 04-23-2006, 10:53 PM   #1
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I work P/T 2-3 days a week and need some new ideas...I am bored with scrambeled eggs and toast and perogies etc and hate opening up a box of chicken nuggets, YK?


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Old 04-24-2006, 05:31 AM   #2
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One of the nights when you're not working, cook double or triple of something freezable - meatloaf, lasagna, etc - and pop it in the freezer. I make meatloaf about once a month but we eat it once a week, because when I make it, I quadruple the recipe and freeze most of it. Add a grated carrot and some sweet corn to increase the veggie content.

Other, similar trick: a dutch dish called Hutspot. Basically, it's mashed potatoes with carrot and onion mashed into it, served with sausage or pork chops and brown gravy. Again, it freezes well, so make lots, maybe with the sausage right in it, and freeze the extras. All you have to do is heat and serve, and maybe add some extra frozen veggies to round it out a bit.

I had to change my dinner and shopping habits due to finances, and these are some of the cheap, easy, healthy, freeze-ahead dishes that have become standard fare in our home. Carrot soup is another - eight carrots, three potatoes, some chicken broth, an onion, and salt/pepper/ginger/nutmeg. Boil it all up until soft and then purée, and serve with cottage cheese for the protein. This recipe works with almost any root veggie - I've tried it with sweet potato, too, and it was delicious.
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Old 04-25-2006, 12:48 AM   #3
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Definitely plan ahead for meals needing meat defrosted. Take it out the 2 nights or night before and stash it in the fridge depending on the poundage and if there are bones (they take longer).

Fast meals:
Cheese enchiladas (Bare with me, I may not be hispanic but I can make some mean enchiladas!)
6-8 cups cheese (I buy the preshredded Mexican blend at the market)
1 Lg can of sauce (we're wimps and do the red mild kind)
10 tortillas
The instructions are on the sauce can, but you basically throw it together and bake just long enough to melt the cheese-like 20 minutes.

Green Beans and Potatoes
1 lg bag of frozen green beans (I like the whole ones and not the cut)
1 l5oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 kielbasa sausage-diced
4 lg potatos-peeled and diced
1/4 onion-diced
salt and pepper to taste
Saute onion and potatos (used pam so they don't stick of course) until soft or semi soft. Simply add canned tomatoes, sausage and green beans and cook until soft. This makes for a great meal by itself or a side dish.

If I think of more, I'll post them. I love these dishes, I hope you will too!
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Old 04-25-2006, 05:51 AM   #4
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Crockpot! Get it ready in the morning and it is ready to eat by the evening!!! yummy!! I also agree with making large portions and freezing them..
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Old 04-25-2006, 08:30 AM   #5
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I agree with the crockpot idea.

Other quick ideas:
*In the morning put some thin-cut (cutlet-style) boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a glass container or ziploc bag and cover lightly with salad dressing (I like to use Italian or Caesar). Let marinate until you're ready to cook at night. I either cook them on the Foreman Grill or on my grill pan on the stove. Over medium high heat, thin-cut breasts cook in less than 10 minutes. I serve with Near East couscous (takes 5 minutes) sprinkled with lime or lemon juice, instant garlic and herb mashed potatoes (takes 5 minutes), or pasta from the refrigerated section of store (cooks quicker than dry pasta). For the veg, serve with salad, quick boiled frozen vegetables (like corn, peas, or green beans), or steamed broccoli (takes 7 minutes).

*Ravioli from the refrigerated section of the grocery store--we like the spinach & cheese kind from Sam's. Takes 5 minutes to cook plus the time to get water boiling. I heat up a 50/50 mix of spaghetti sauce and alfredo sauce to serve over the top, and serve with a salad. When I have a little more time, I like to serve this with a Pepperoni Bread roll I got from the Aprons website. It only takes about 20 minutes, so I can get the entire meal done in that time.

*Wraps--you can either pre-cook and slice boneless skinless chicken breasts earlier or buy the pre-done kind. I like to use the big garlic/herb tortilla type wraps made by Mission. I top with lettuce, shredded carrots, chicken, and a little bit of dressing. Roll up and press on the Foreman grill for a few seconds. Serve with fresh fruit.

*Quesadillas--tortillas topped with cheese and pre-cooked meat or black beans or refried beans

I think one of the key things is to plan a few days ahead. If I come home late, I don't want to bother with having to think. If I have done my thinking ahead of time, I find myself much more likely to cook a quickie meal than to order out or pop out a frozen or canned meal. No matter what I serve I always try to serve a vegetable of some kind, so I try to keep different types of frozen vegetables stocked, as well as fresh broccoli, carrots, and lettuce in the fridge.
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Old 04-25-2006, 04:08 PM   #6
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We've found anything pasta to be quick. Throw the noodles in the pot and open some sauce up. Have a salad with it.

I'll post my fettuchine alfredo recipe that's really easy and quick - 15 minutes last night!!!

Also, I think that fajitas are quick too. I usually try and chop up my meat (chicken or steak) and also the bell peppers and whatever else we want for it the day before. I cook the meat and peppers in same skillet. First the meat till browned/cooked then I take it out, throw in the peppers for a couple minutes (cook till desired softness) and then I put meat back in and sprinkle on some taco seasoning (as desired). Fixins - have preshredded cheese, sour cream, taco sauce, etc. and have some tortillas.
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Old 05-01-2006, 12:01 AM   #7
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Thanks for some great ideas!!! I forgot I had posted this question...duh!

i totally agree about having a plan of action before hand...I hate not knowing what I am going to make ahead of time...those are the times it is too easy to just open up a can of something...which is OK of course but not all the time!

I am going to check out some of the other threads I see on batch cooking and once a month cooking...may need to restock my tupperware stash, ha!
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Old 05-01-2006, 09:12 AM   #8
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Old 05-01-2006, 07:43 PM   #9
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This isn't fancy by all means, but I found the recipe last week when I was in a hurry and was surprised when my kids asked for more.

1 lb ground beef (browned and drained)
2 envelopes brown gravy mix
Water (as needed on gravy mix package)
1 c. uncooked rice
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook rice according to package directions while browning your ground beef. Drain ground beef and add gravy mix and amount of water called for in 2 packages of mix.* Stir over medium heat till thickened.* Add cooked rice to beef and gravy mixture.* Stir together, add salt and pepper to taste.

We also added 1 1/2 c. broccoli into the mix and then a couple dashes of soy sauce to each bowl. It was probably the fastest, cheapest meal I've made in a LONG time.
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Old 05-09-2006, 10:11 PM   #10
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Im the Queen of crock pots, lol
we buy frozen farm fresh chicekn breast 10 lb bags, they go a long way here. today for dinner I made Honey lemon chicken.

its really simple (you can do this in a crock pot or as a mainade and pan fry or bake it)
4 frozen bonless skinless chicken
zest of 1 lemon (and a few squirts of lemon juice)
1/4 to 1/2 cup raw clove honey (enough to cover the chicken)
1 tbs soy sauce (we use naturally brewd wheat free soy)

you can kinda play around with it to find the taste that your looking for,

we have also made chicken nuggest and batter dipped and pan fry with a little olive oil the roll them in the lemon/honey/soy mixture then roll them in unhaulled sesame seeds

I also like sloppy joes (i have been told my recipe rocks)
1 lbs ground beef, crumbled, drained (some like the grease with the joes though, lol)
1 can tomato soup
2 tbs vinagar
1 tbs Worchestershire sauce
1-2 tsp chili powder.

again have to play with it to get the right taste for your family

with beef or bison I will usually buy in 10 lbs incriments and I precook/crumble 5 lbs worth and I seprate it in 1 lbs bags so I just have to heat and add what I need. works good for tacos, chili etc. I save the other 5 lbs for burgers, meatlof etc.

I have also fallen inlove with the birdseye steamfreash veggies, there super easy when your in a hurry just toss it in and work on the rest of the meal.

I also make wheat dough I freeze about 50 little round balls for roll's and I make about 4 pizza crusts.

mexican pizza is a family fave here too, I use my pizza curst (they have some that you can buy comercially and just add water, or they have them with crossants.rolls stuff)
I just bake the crust for about 5 mins, take it out and spread a thin layer of refired beans over it, and make beef (if I have it premade I just toss it in the skillet with the taco packet) then I spread that over the refired beans, and top it off with cheese, and bake it til the crust is fully done and the cheese is melted, then you can add salsa, lettus sour cream (what ever you like on your tacos) I can make that meal in about 10 mins to if I time it all right,

I think the most helpful thing is meal planning, I make a menu for the week and if its not on there I dont buy it, save more money this way too
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