Here is how I make the most of my time in the kitchen:
First off, I make a two-week meal plan then I go grocery shopping. I'm sure to look for bargains and make a list to prevent overspending.
My meal planning is simple too since I use the basics for breakfast, the local schools lunch menu as a guide for lunches, and I base my dinners around this formula: Monday = fish, Tuesday = beef, Wednesday = chicken, Thursday = Turkey or Pork, Friday = random choice.
Here is a sample of a two week menu in my house:
Tuesday: Oatmeal, Banana
Wednesday: Eggs, Bacon, Biscuits
Thursday: Grilled Cheese, Patty
Friday: Grits, Sausage, Toast
Monday: Cereal of Choice
Tuesday: Cinnamon Rolls
Wednesday: Oatmeal, Fruit
Thursday: Pancakes, Banana
Friday: Eggs, Toast, Sausage
Lunch: (based around local school lunch menues)
Monday: Ham & Cheese Sandwich On Wheat Bread, Banana, Milk or juice
Tuesday: Pig-In-A-Blanket, Tossed Green Salad, Oven Baked Fries, Fresh Fruit, Milk or juice
Wednesday: leftover Spaghetti w/meat sauce, green beans, Jell-o, Milk or juice
Thursday: Chicken Nuggets W/BBQ Sauce, Macaroni & Cheese, Peas, Fruit Cup, Milk or juice
Friday: Beef Taco, Apple Slices w/cinnamon, Cookies, Milk or juice
Monday: Fish Sticks, Macaroni & Cheese, Steamed Broccoli, Fresh Fruits, Milk or juice
Tuesday: Pepperoni Pizza Wedges, Seasoned Corn, Jell-o, Milk or juice
Wednesday: leftover Lasagna, green salad, bread , Milk or juice
Thursday: Beef Taco, Apple Slices w/cinnamon, Cookies, Milk or juice
Friday: leftover jambalaya, corn on the cob, bread, Milk or juice
Monday: Grilled Tilapia, green salad, bread
Tuesday: Spaghetti w/meat sauce, corn on the cob, French bread
Wednesday: Chicken Quesadillas, tortillas w/salsa, apple wedges w/cinnamon
Thursday: Turkey Burgers, baked fries, raw carrots
Monday: Blackened Cod, asparagus, bread
Tuesday: Lasagna, green salad, bread
Wednesday: Grilled Chicken w/pasta, peas, fruit, bread
Thursday: Jambalaya, corn on the cob, bread
Peanut Butter & Jelly
Cheese n crackers
Air popped popcorn
Taco meat in pita bread
Friday and weekends are filled with random choices since sometimes they go with their dad or we may go out to eat. So random choices are there “just in case”.
Now, to make it simple I do all of my shopping then come home and prepare all of my foods for the coming two weeks. I will brown all of the ground beef, allow it to cool, then bag it and freeze it.
I will grill my chicken, slice it, the bag it, and freeze it. Turkey burgers are made, bagged, then frozen. Pancakes and grilled cheese are cooked, placed on wax paper, put into freezer until an ice coat forms, then removed from freezer, placed in ziplocs and placed back into freezer. All onions, celery, garlic, and bell pepper are chopped then out into individual baggies and frozen. Oatmeal is cooked, cooled, then placed inside a plastic container and stored in the refrigerator.
If a recipe, such as the spaghetti, calls for specific seasonings then I measure them out, put them in a small container, label it and put it into the spice cabinet. I make one whole loaf of PB&J at a time, bag it, then freeze it. I make whatever I can ahead of time, then freeze so that all I have to do is take it out of the freezer and heat it. It saves so much time during the week.