Tuesday, September 10, 2013

This is for you Chedda’!

A long time friend of mine (we’ve called her Cheddar forever) asked me last night about good websites for quick, easy, kid friendly recipes…of course I told her about the site that used to be called RECIPEZAAR.  (It is now called FOOD.com)  and it has long been one of my favorites.

I can sort by what I’m looking for…I HIGHLY recommend it. 

  • You can look without creating an account.  I opted long ago to create an account.  It saves things to “my cookbook”…so I can quickly go back to recipes.
  • You can filter by ANYTHING – beef, chicken, veggie, sides, casseroles, crock pots, nut free, weight watchers – you name- you can find list after list of recipes!
  • AND they have very cool tools to help you plan a menu – for whatever length of time you want – AND it can help you make the grocery list.

I use part of this method and then I also have a spiral notebook that I keep my “lists” in.  So here are my other random TIPS (as they come to me so if it sounds scattered – sue me!)

  • Keep something, whether online or tried and true pen and paper, to write down your plan and your shopping list.
  • Ask you family WHAT they want to eat.  Ask them what you cook that they like and would want again.  Ask them what they don’t like…Crash and Lola really likes Chicken Parmesan – so they ask for it every dang week…it doesn't happen like that – but I know it makes him happy to I try to work it in there maybe twice a month…Pootie likes beef stroganoff…
  • Start small – don’t try to plan a whole month at a time…..start with 5 days or a full week.
  • Don’t forget you need to have breakfast and lunch stuff - 
  • Decide WHY you want to do this – is the grocery bill out of control?  Do you want them to stop eating cereal for dinner (although ya know, Suzy said it a long time ago, that stuff is fortified with vitamins and minerals... hahaha)
  • If you are trying to stop the ridiculous spending that occurs when you “just run into the store” – then think about where you shop.  Think about what’s on sale – consider planning a morning looking at different stores.  I LOVE Aldi for pantry items – and what I can’t get there – I go to BiLo or Walmart – the HT prices are ridiculous and KILL a budget….but they have great sales.
  • Give yourself one easy night and then try something higher up on the richter scale for difficulty.
  • Make sure you also think about what you have going on that day for that particular meal.  If I know I’m out at the office – I go to casseroles or crock pot….If I’m at home all day “with nothing to do” (which NEVER happens)  I go for the Chicken Parm or something that requires more prep time.  (They are picky picky picky – they want THIN pounded out Chicken…..)
  • POST the menu – I have a dry erase board on the fridge and put the week’s dinner plans up there.  Stops everyone from asking me what the heck is for dinner
  • If you have something come up – that’s fine –feed them a quick sandwich and move things forward a night.  Or swap nights….
  • Here is the most important thing……PLAN FOR EACH DINNER.
          • Chicken Parm with pasta and broccoli
          • Hot Roast beef sandwiches with bourbon carrots
          • Pork Chops with mac and cheese and peas
  • After that THEN make your grocery list – if you figure out the whole meal – you eliminate the oh crap what am I gonna fix with that last minute panic.  Sides are easy to swap- but at least you have some idea.
  • Keep lists of what worked and what didn’t – I LOVE trying new recipes – but if they don’t like it – it doesn’t get made again…
  • Try a breakfast night for dinner – that’s always a hit…
  • Oh another fall and winter favorite is BAKED POTATO BAR! 
  • Make sure you plan a leftover night if you are making “extra”…..

That’s it for now…again – these are the things that help me.  I;m here for you sista’!!!  Good luck!!!!!!!!!

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