Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Planning Meals

Now that you have a stocked pantry, fridge and freezer, it's time to plan some meals.

My mom is a wonderful cook, too bad I didn't pay attention growing up!  

As a young mom, I made a decision to learn to cook.  I have the obstacle of being an extremely picky eater.  I eat like a child; everything plain and separate.  So, I needed to find simple, plain, and easy recipes.  We didn't have Internet back then, so I went to the library, went through my mom's recipe collection, and borrowed food magazines from friends.  I built up my recipe collection.  I started liking more and more foods when I learned how to cook.

Also, we got wonderful gifts of a Betty Crocker Cookbook and a Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.  These basic cookbooks were very helpful with basic stuff--how do you roast a chicken?  How do you broil a steak?   How do you bake a potato?  Now days, it's easy to search for instructions online.  It is nice to have a basic cookbook on hand for a quick look-up.  You can usually find these types of cookbooks in thrift stores or at Wal-Mart, Hastings or online at Amazon and other places.

So, after twenty years, I have quite a collection of *favorites*.  A few years ago, I put all our family's favorites together in a cookbook for our children.  You can download it here:  http://pammshouse.com/cookbook.html  I also have a cookbook of our favorite slow cooker meals to download on the same page.

Sometimes I pre-plan menus and sometimes I "wing it".  Some weeks it seems we have the same items over and over and sometimes we try new things.

What works best for me is to pre-make items.  I've done Once-A-Month Cooking among other methods.  Most of the time, I cook large batches of things like Meatloaf Muffins, Cornbread, or Pancakes, then freeze in meal-sized packages.  This makes it easy to take out of the freezer and plop in my mini crok pots each morning and they're defrosted and warmed up by lunch.  EASY.  This is great on the weekends, too.  I plop something in the crock pot and it's ready by the time I get home from grocery shopping.

Even though you may not have a daycare of kids to feed, you might find it convenient to make items ahead so all you have to do is heat-n-serve when you get home from work, or come home for lunch and put something in a crock pot for warming up.  Wouldn't it be nice to come home to a home-cooked meal?

I have A LOT of recipes and ideas on my website in the Kitchen.
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