Meal Planning Again

I speak on this so much because it saves me so much money. My family and I are getting bored with the same old recipes so I opened some of my cookbooks to get some ideas on new stuff. I was amazed at the information in one of my thriftstore treasure books “Good Housekeeping Cooking for the Family.” It gave some really good guidelines on how to plan a meal and be nutritious at the same time. This book is easily an antique but helpful none the less. As I read through the recipes it amazed me how well meals were planned out and I think of how much time had to be spent in the kitchen. Now I have every gadget known to man in the kitchen and sometimes big meals are still an evolution. I can’t imagine cooking up some of the more complex meals without the help of my kitchen gadgets yet that was the norm. It also boggles my brain that with all the tools of the trade available, home cooked meals seem to be endangered. Stay tuned for more of my meal planning tips, I can’t wait to share.

Freezer Friendly Meals

When you are making a dish consider if it can be frozen.  If so make a double dish and freeze it for a quick dish night.  This also works on stuff like pizza dough, tomato sauce (made from scratch), alfredo sauce, pretty much any sauces, and just get creative. Don’t freeze cabbage (trust me). 

New Year With New Goals (Well Not Really)

Every year we always start with the same goals (well most of us do). Save money, eat right, lose weight, blah blah blah.  Now these are awesome goals but without a plan you will start 2018 with the same goals. This is to help with the money saving. Step one get a budget!!!! But this post is not about budgeting (but its coming soon).  Meal planning saves money (trust me).  It costs me $40 to feed my family of 6 McDonalds (if I let everyone eat what they like off the menu).  Start your meal planning with meals/recipes your are familiar with and are easy for you to prepare.  Examples of easy is spaghetti, casseroles, chili, and a plethora of pasta.  Write it down or get it on your to do list (I am sure there is an app for this as well but I use my tablets memo section and alexa).  I suggest posting the menu on your fridge or in a notes section for the family to see. Everyone needs to be onboard (they can pull a meat out of the freezer to). Make your shopping list to. If your plan is for a week of meals you can coupon and grocery shop in one stop. If you plan on meal planning for 2 weeks or longer you should evaluate what will go bad and should wait for the day of or week of for purchase.  You can also plan meals around what is on sale at the grocery store. You could move stuff around on your menu if you are menu planning for monthly periods.  The more you can make from one ingredientt the better!!! Example is spaghetti, lasagna, and baked ziti  (all use sauce and you could use the same meat for it to). Some dishes could even be frozen for later the baked ziti and lasagna could be made the same night and frozen for later. Just pop the dish in the oven and dinner is served.  Save your menus and make sure you note recipes that didn’t do well or recipes that your family loved.  Remember that meal planning is not only budget friendly, it helps you eat healthy, and you can explore new recipes.  

Menu Monday – Stuffed Peppers

2 pounds ground meat (I used 1 lb ground turkey and 1 lb of sausage) [Cooked and seasoned]

1 family sized box of cajun rice (I used Zatarans)

1 pkg onion soup (I love this as a seasoning but this could easily be substituted with a broth of your choice. However, you would need to add chopped onions or onion salt/powder)

8 peppers (cut open at the top and deseeded) [freeze the trash part of your pepper for your veggie broth]

Now I browned my meat and seasoned it with salt, pepper, and soy sauce. I drained the meat (peppers will create a juice and if you don’t drain them it gets messy).

Then I added 1 package of onion soup and the amount of liquid necessary to cook the cajun rice. I added the cajun rice and cooked as directed on box. (You can add any veggies you decide to if you choose to. I added spinach)

Stuff your peppers and bake covered for 20-30 minutes.

Now for the whopping totals on cost $6 for meat ($4 for turkey $2 for sausage) onion soup $1, cajun rice $2.50, peppers $8, and spinach (optional) $1. Total $20.50 for 8 servings.

Eight Hour Slow-Cooker Pot Roast in 45 Minutes (Pressure Cooker Needed)

I made this tonight for the first time, my whole family loved it. 

3 celery stalks chopped.

2 small onions cut (more if you like onions) I left my onions in rings because it is easier to pick them out if you don’t like them

1 1/2 cups carrots (your preference, I used baby carrots but chopped are fine) shredded might be too thin for this cooking method

4 potatoes cubed

Italian seasoning

Rosemary 

Seasoning Salt (or steak seasoning)

Pepper

Flour

1 1/2 c Beef broth

2 T Soy Sauce

1/4 c Steak sauce 

Prep veggies. Season pot roast and tenderize (I have a tenderizer that pokes wholes to get the flavor throughout the meat, but a fork works just as well). Pat flour on each side. Put 2 tablespoons in pressure cooker and brown (use meat setting) 3-5 minutes on each side (depending on the size of the meat). Add veggies, beef broth, soy sauce, and steak sauce. Pressure cook on meat setting for 35 minutes for a rarer roast and 45 minutes for a well-done roast. 

Viola dinner is served. You can add and veggies you like but remember if they tender too quickly they will turn to mush in the pressure cooker.