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In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I am a type A person that needs to have a plan. Like most parents, my to-do list is long and my time is short. Having a plan helps me get as much done as possible. I use plans to manage all facets of my life – planning a years worth of lesson plans, keeping my house reasonably clean, and feeding my family.
The secret to feeding your family healthy food day after day is meal planning. Pinterest is full of ideas on how to save money, but MY main goal is to save time without resorting to fast food.
Meal Planning for Homeschool Parents
The first step in meal planning is to write a plan.
I write meal plans one week at a time. Each night is assigned a dinner, taking into account other obligations that might limit my time in the kitchen.
I write breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks on my meal plan, but I do not assign meals to days. I leave meals flexible so I can adapt based on what is happening on a particular day. Writing down meal options, that tend to remain pretty much the same, reminds me to add those ingredients on my shopping list.
Meal planning is crucial to saving time. When I do not take the time to put together a weekly meal plan, I end up making more trips to the grocery store – wasting time and money.
I highly recommend ordering your groceries online.
This always saves me money and time. I utilized this service at Harris Teeter in Northern VA and I really miss it. The only grocery store in my part of Washington that offers online shopping tends to have produce and dairy that spoils quickly so I am not able to order from them.
Thankfully, Amazon Prime Pantry does deliver to me so I can order dry goods like dog food, cleaning supplies, cereal, and Lara bars. That is one less thing to remember at the grocery store. Amazon also offers Amazon Fresh to some areas.
Update: I recently tried out the Google Express Costco delivery service. 48 hours after placing an order, a nice FedEx delivery person brought my corn tortillas and organic juice boxes right to my door. I didn’t have to fight my way through pre-holiday weekend Costco traffic!
Use code: LW9GJZ5RL to save $10 off your first order!
Let your appliances work for you.
I like using my crock pot at least once a week. This is perfect for days that we are on the go all day long. Just throw in the ingredients in the morning and you will have a hot meal waiting for you when you get home.
Crock pot recipes
Roast beef – This is so simple, I don’t even have a recipe. I just toss a roast in the crock pot with some sliced onion, quartered carrots, baby potatoes, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and some water. I cook it on low for 8-10 hours and it is always fall-apart tender.
Slow cooker honey garlic chicken and veggies – This one pot meal is delicious and healthy.
Instant Pots have many features but I use mine primarily to cook healthy meals with little hands on time. These recipes are faster than using my crock pot so I don’t have to prep the ingredients early in the morning.
Instant Pot recipes
Chicken and rice burritos – This burrito filling comes together really quickly with items I always have in my pantry. My kids like to roll it up in tortillas, but I like it on top of lettuce, kind of like a burrito bowl.
Thai chicken soup – This chicken soup is so flavorful. It takes just a few minutes to prep the ingredients and you end up with soup that almost tastes like take out.
Batch cook and stock the freezer.
Cooking in bulk can be a huge time saver. It doesn’t take much more time to brown 5 lbs of ground beef compared to 1 lb. I like to freeze it plain because then I can add it to spaghetti sauce or add taco seasoning for a quick Taco Tuesday.
Once A Month Meals makes batch cooking easy. One day in the kitchen produces a months worth of meals!
You will want to ready how I use the Once A Month Meals service to streamline my time in the kitchen. Less time in the kitchen means more time for fun stuff!
Don’t have time to commit an entire day to cooking? That is okay! It is incredibly rare that I can devote an entire day to meal prep. Thankfully MyFreezEasy is much faster! The MyFreezEasy plan helps you get 10-12 meals in your freezer in just an hour. An additional 10-12 freezer meals is fantastic!
When life gets busy, I can just pull a Ziploc bag out of the freezer and have dinner ready in a matter of minutes. I also like to keep these things in my freezer at all times:
Cookie dough – I put scoops of cookie dough on a tray and freeze it. When the dough is frozen, I put it in a Ziploc bag so I can remove and bake just the number of cookies I want. This makes it easy to throw together tea with poetry.
Chicken nuggets – The Fools Gold recipe in the Eat Like A Dinosaur cookbook is my favorite chicken nugget recipe.
Pancakes – The pancake recipe from The Paleo Kids Cookbook is absolutely delicious. I have to triple the recipe every time I make a batch. Our favorite way to eat these is with a dollop of whipped cream and sliced strawberries.
How do you get dinner on the table? I would love to see your favorite fast recipes. Share them in the comments!
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