Very much a beginner but...

Marial34December 19, 2005

I am not much of a baker but do love it once in a while. I was thinking if I can get organised and at least get some of the meals done on a weekend...

Tha main thing is we are turning vegetarian so please no meat recipes but maybe fish...

Do you plan your whole menu ahead of time and shop that way? I have tried that a few times but my 4 daughters will usually eat part of what I need for some recipe! I figure if I buy it, cook it and freeze it all on the same day then...

What will I need to freeze the items too?

What would be ideal is to find a way to do some small batches so they girls can just grab one "whatever" and heat it up when they want a meal that isn't what I planned on serving that night. Any ideas?

I will go browse the forum now and hopefully these questions haven't already been asked a million times!

Maria

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hdchan

Maria, I can't help you on vegetarian dishes, but I can offer this tidbit...

Since I HATE to shop, I go to the grocery once a month, and shop like I am feeding an army. I stock my kitchen with canned goods, frozen veggies, crackers, cookies, etc. to last a month. I buy meats when they are on sale, and buy enough to keep the freezer full until the next time it goes on sale. Then the only things I have to go to the store for are bread and milk and cereal (which flies off the shelf here). Doing this, I can plan a meal day to day and not worry about having an item on hand. If the kids have ate a box of crackers, no problem, there is another box in the pantry (and they are pretty good at telling me when they have the last of something). Another thing about it is that if at the last minute, someone decides that they want something other than what I've decided to fix, the ingredients are already on hand (if I have laid out ground beef for hamburgers, and someone chimes in for meatloaf, for example). If you can swing it, it is best to do this stock up at the end of the month, when the stores aren't as busy.

Although I am sure there are lots of things you can freeze, I mostly freeze soups and stews. I am willing to bet, though, that you can put together casseroles and put them in the freezer, so they can go directly from freezer to oven to save time.

Just my two cents,
Holly

    Bookmark   December 27, 2005 at 8:27PM
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dpinker1

Like Holly I shop the same way. My husband works late so we cook large batches on the weekends. Try chili without the meat and freeze small portions, also home made soups, marinara sauce (cook in a crockpot on weekends), pasta sauce, etc. In the summer we have a garden and freeze the vegetables. It's easy to take out what is needed and add rice, broth, use your imagination for great home made dishes. Have fun.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2005 at 8:14AM
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ninjabut

I can't help you with the vege part of your post, but, as for freezing, I LOVE my Food Saver!!!!!!!!
I make soups, casseroles, even BBQed chicken and vacuum pack the extras!
Having only 2 of us most of the time in the house now, I can make 1 lasagne for the whole year!
I also make alot of "hearty meals" to freeze in smaller portions for my in-laws who are getting up there in age and no longer cook.
I actually even freeze french bread or other tasty breads that would otherwise go stale in our house, then FS them and put back in the freezer.
The main thing is to pre-freeze anything that is really juicy (or bread, cake etc) and then FS them.
The better models run upwards of $100, but I have seena small version for about $50.
With 4 kids, you'll probably want the larger version.
This is getting really long, but I just LOVE my Food Saver!!!!! You can cook large ammounts of food and freeze it for later meals! HTH Nancy

    Bookmark   February 4, 2006 at 9:11PM
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grainlady_ks

When you cook rice or pasta, double the amount and keep user-friendly amounts in the freezer. They are easy to defrost in the refrigerator and make into quick meal basics by adding other casserole ingredients and/or pasta toppings.

Important thing to remember is the "life-span" of foods in the freezer, and I agree with (ninjabut) Nancy about using a FoodSaver. It assures food freshness better and longer than any other type of freezer container or wrap.

I freeze soup in 1-cup freezer containers and then pop them out of the containers and freeze them in vacuum-sealed bags. If I want 1 cup of soup for lunch, it's simple to remove and re-seal the bag. Or more servings for more people - it also helps to keep serving sizes in check and eliminate leftovers that are sometimes wasted.

Grainlady

Here is a link that might be useful: Organized Home

    Bookmark   February 6, 2006 at 10:07AM
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mimosas4you

I have just found this place and it's great! Being a fairly "new" widow (no kids) and a business owner, cooking is a challenge, but I LOVE cooking and got fast food/restaurant burn-out many years ago when my job required constant travel. Therefore, I cook, every night, even though it is now "dinner for one" I am making.

I have come up with many money and time saving tips for those of us who are busy and/or cooking for one or two, but I'm always looking for more. Thanks for jogging my memory about the foodsaver. I had one years ago and I loved it.

I always buy meats in quantity and freeze individual portions for later use. If I have a hankering for a casserole, I'll do that on weekends. I buy the disposable loaf pans in the individual size and make up a perfect casserole for one. I then have several waiting in the freezer for those "I don't want to mess with this" nights. Bagged frozen veggies are great too, easy to portion for one. Same goes for frozen biscuits and rolls. If you are not a big milk person, small cans of evaporated milk are a pantry MUST. Perfect for cooking.

Any other singles out there who have some good tips? All input is appreciated in my hectic life! j lynne

    Bookmark   February 24, 2006 at 4:52PM
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lois_arcade

For years I subscribed to a magazine called Vegetarian Times (even though I'm not a vegetarian). Their recipes are quick, easy, delicious and nutritious. I now get all my recipes from them by browsing their web site. Here is the link to their site which everyone can use for free.
http://www.vegetariantimes.com/

    Bookmark   May 21, 2006 at 4:36AM
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okieladybug

I'm new to this particular forum, but I thought I'd share my solution for family members dipping into what you need for a recipe. I bought a package of stickers (solid colors for garage sale pricing, I think). They were in the office supply section. When I get home from shopping I simply put a sticker on the items that are OFF LIMITS. DH has learned not to eat anything with a sticker on the package. I don't have to keep telling him something is for later in the week and he doesn't have to ask. It's really simple and doesn't take long...I just put stickers on as I'm putting items away.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 11:31AM
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ric_in_nc

Do you plan your whole menu ahead of time and shop that way? I have tried that a few times but my 4 daughters will usually eat part of what I need for some recipe! I figure if I buy it, cook it and freeze it all on the same day then...

What will I need to freeze the items too?

A word of caution...

Don't freeze too much in one package. I had a single friend years ago that bought 5 or 10 lbs of hamburger on sale and froze it all (in 1 package) at once. (He'll never do that again)

    Bookmark   February 1, 2009 at 2:47PM
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