I am SO lame!
I know it's been forever since I've updated this thing...I apologize to those of you who expect more from me!! I've been meaning to post this tip for a cool minute - mostly because I've been using this time saver for a few weeks and I've come to rely on it.
Before heading out to the market, I always ask my kids what they want for dinner during the week. If any of my long-time readers remember, my kids got boring and kept requesting the SAME THINGS every week. It made my weekly menu planning pointless because I wasn't posting anything new (or exciting).
Now I make my grocery list without considering what they want. Hey...if they don't mention it first, I don't ask! With that being said, I work on the menu first...it's easier to go shopping WITH a list than without - because invariably you'll forget something (ok maybe that only happens to ME)! I also like to take into consideration my work week...because let's face it...nobody WANTS to actually rush across town from work to slave (some more) over the stove.
I keep it simple...bake something, saute something, boil something or toss it in the crock pot. Lately I've been feeding my need for BEEF at least once a week...otherwise I'll be trolling around the local burger stand and gain an extra 20lbs with the FRIES that HAVE TO go with that shake!
Oddly I've gotten my kids to LIKE eating salads and steamed veggies by preparing them in a new way that gives them extra flavor (tips on that later).
TIP 1: Plan your menu as you make your grocery list (you'd be surprised at how many people don't actually do this).
TIP 2: Marinate your meats as soon as you bring them home. If the dish includes fresh, chopped veggies...add them to the marinade and slide it all into a Freezer Ziploc bag and toss it in the freezer until you need it. This is a HUGE time saver.
TIP 3: If you don't own a rice cooker, GET ONE! You can find a decent one at Target or Walmart (but please don't buy it from the grocery store - those are a waste of $$).
TIP 4: Don't be afraid to try new seasonings...salad dressings work WONDERS!!
TIP 5: You have too much cooked meat left over? Chop it up and toss it into a salad! Turn the rest of that roast into hash...you can make a completely NEW meal with what's left over!
TIP 6: Wash dishes WHILE you cook. If you clean along the way, cleaning up AFTER dinner won't be such a task!
TIP 7: If you have "little people", make them help as long as it's productive!
TIP 8: Incorporate a buddy system. This is helpful for single parents...If you have a friend that lives near by, trade off on dinner days. I've been doing this with a friend of mine for the past few months and it works FABULOUSLY!! We consult each other before going shopping...we plan the menu together. I cook Mondays and Wednesday. She cooks Tuesday and Thursday. On Friday we have Ladies Night and we split the chore. It's nice to come home and NOT worry about what's for dinner.
I promise...I'm going to post more frequently. Lameness stops today! :P