| Saturday, February 2, 2008
| How to create Quick Family Meals
|Whipping up a healthy meal for a hectic family lifestyle is not easy. Work, school and activity schedules leave little time for cooking and gathering around the dinner table. Preserve this valuable time together by planning ahead to create quick family meals. Use a menu plan, a meal calendar and 30 minutes or so of prep time to deliver a good meal your gang will enjoy.
Map out one to three months of easy menus your family likes. Keep the meals simple and quick--30 minutes or less preparation time. Begin by selecting dishes and meal combinations that everyone enjoys from your own recipes. You can also find many fast, but nutritious, recipes on the Internet, in magazines and in cookbooks. Look for one-dish meals, soup and sandwich or salad duos and other quick ideas. Do an Internet search on "quick family meals" and "30 minute meals" for lots of ideas. Select recipes that share some of the same ingredients for one particular week. Chart out a calendar of menus to shop from, cook from and to post on the refrigerator for the family to see.
Print each meal plan, the recipes for that menu and that menu's shopping list. Place them together on one or two pages of a scrapbook so that all details about each menu can be easily found and followed.
Keep your pantry, refrigerator and freezer well stocked with the most common ingredients your menus typically call for. Review your menu shopping lists each month to help you more easily prepare your grocery list. Try to shop once a month for most of your grocery needs to cut down the number of trips to the store.
Use a block of time to cook several meals at once. Double or triple recipes--one amount to eat immediately and two more family portions to freeze for later use. Get a lot of mileage out of a large piece of meat to slice for one meal and use the leftovers in other dishes--roast beef, beef stew, French dip sandwiches; roasted turkey, turkey tetrazinni, turkey salad; sliced ham, scalloped potatoes and ham, ham and bean soup, etc. Prepare and freeze some ingredients ahead of time--chopped onions and green peppers; cooked meat in recipe-sized amounts; freeze leftover sauces and pasta.
Use healthy, pre-made foods from your grocery store to expedite quick meals. Take advantage of pre-washed, bagged salad greens and other vegetables. Buy roasted chickens from your grocery deli, pizza and other wholesome convenience foods to help in a pinch.
Assign meal tasks to make quick family meals a reality. Complete a few simple tasks in the morning before work and school to make the evening meal easier. Recruit your children and spouse to help with meal preparation.
Take advantage of time-saving equipment to reduce meal preparation time. A slow cooker is the busy cook's best friend. Fill it quickly in the morning and dinner is ready when you get home. Search the Internet for wonderful slow-cooker recipes. Also use the microwave, food processors, blenders, bread machines, toaster ovens, grills and other time-saving devices to simplify your time in the kitchen.
Remember to check the refrigerator often for leftovers that can be assembled for a quick meal. Leftover ingredients should also be used in other dishes--casseroles, soups and stews.
Labels: Quick Family Meals, Tips
|posted by Mr FX_is @ 2:36 AM