Author Topic: How do you do it?!  (Read 2204 times)

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cannedrabbit

How do you do it?!
« on: June 10, 2013, 10:02:10 am »
I LOVE cooking! But I am seriously inept when it comes to planning meals and making menus for the week. So I when it's crunch time and I don't have any idea what to make, we just end up eating ridiculous things for dinner like popcorn, carrot sticks, peanut butter sandwiches, etc. or eating out (which we're trying not to do, especially since the wife is trying to lose weight before starting HRT). So, my question to all you cooks out there, is how do you do it?! What's your trick for planning meals? 

Jamie D

Re: How do you do it?!
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2013, 01:16:08 pm »
I LOVE cooking! But I am seriously inept when it comes to planning meals and making menus for the week. So I when it's crunch time and I don't have any idea what to make, we just end up eating ridiculous things for dinner like popcorn, carrot sticks, peanut butter sandwiches, etc. or eating out (which we're trying not to do, especially since the wife is trying to lose weight before starting HRT). So, my question to all you cooks out there, is how do you do it?! What's your trick for planning meals?

The first thing you need to know is that there are a lot of things you can make which are delicious and don't have to be full of fat, sugar, salt or calories.

I have been doing heart healthy cooking for my cardio-rehab group, and documenting it in my blog here:
https://www.susans.org/forums/index.php/topic,120438.140.html
Recipes start on Page 8, about reply #146 - Gazpacho

And here is something else that will help out.  If you are cooking just for two, let's say boneless skinless chicken breasts, you can make two days meals by just slightly varying the presentation.

For instance a chicken breast with quick stir-fried spinach and garlic one night, and then the leftover chicken in a healthy chicken tostada the next night.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2013, 02:22:18 pm by Jamie D »

Offline Beth Andrea

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Re: How do you do it?!
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2013, 01:34:42 pm »
I'm pretty terrible at "planning" meals, especially since I'm still a newbie when it comes to actually cooking...budget-wise, it does help to plan ahead, so one can take advantage of sales (stocking up when things are less expensive, etc)

But how to actually DO it? I'm thinking of making a list of recipes and ideas, then combining them into a basic meal (meat-veggies-other) and writing these different combinations onto a 3x5 card. This way, the meal itself is already planned, it's just the order of the meal within the week that can be varied.

My ex used to do it this way:

Most breakfasts are cold cereal. On Saturday, she'd make bacon eggs hashbrowns; Sunday was waffles and sausage.

Sunday evening was a chicken dinner--either breasts, whole chicken, or parts, with sides etc.

Monday was leftover chicken (usually soup, which was always killed off that night--Yum!)

Tuesday was an "off" night, we fended for ourselves.

Wednesday was "creative" night, where she could try out a new recipe, or work on one that we liked that she hadn't quite mastered yet (it *always* tasted good, though! Really!)

Thursday was spaghetti, with sauce or butter/cheese and a veggie

Friday was pizza night. And beer. (Or other adult beverages)

Saturday was a salad dinner.

Most weeks were like this. After 23 years, it never got old.
...I think for most of us it is a futile effort to try and put this genie back in the bottle once she has tasted freedom...

--read in a Tessa James post 1/16/2017

Sammy

Re: How do you do it?!
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2013, 02:13:12 am »
I am using several types of meals which can be stored in the fridge and eaten for 2-3 days in a row. Besides, we only eat breakfast during the weekend, so it helps to ease the things up.
Which works great for us as long-term meals :P
- my new discovery - kitchari. Very easy to cook and lasts for two days - or one can add more rice or lents and stretch it for three+ days;
- various soups - chicken soup, carrot-potatoes creme soup, soups from smoked ribs with beans or sorrel (my best dish btw) - these easily last for two days.
- anything which involves cooking meat usually is not that time-efficient, unless those are meatballs, when You can make the mass and use for two consecutive days.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2013, 03:38:25 am by Sammy »

Jamie D


Offline Emmaline

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Re: How do you do it?!
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2013, 07:27:39 am »
Definately buy a freezer, cook big batches. 
Do this at a time when you have energy and not depressed, so saturday mornings rather than after work.
A rice cooker is a great bit of kit for lazy nights.  Very simple, fire and forget, easy to clean.

Chucking some meat in a marinade in the morning, get home, dump it in a baking tray .  Then worry about what to eat with it for sides.  Easy marinates are doctor peppers (seriously try it),  maple syrup and applejuice, cider and my personal fave maple syrup, smoked paprika and liquid smoke in water.

A healthy protein rich quickie is dumping a can of lentils in a bowl, adding sliced celery , bell peppers(capsicum) and italian parsley, and a splash of mirin.  Add some goats cheese and voila..  this will fill you up.

One final one is soak some chicken in buttermilk, roll it in crushed cornflakes and sea salt, then whack that on a  baking sheet and cook till juices run clear.  Its like healthier kfc.

I am like Jamie Oliver but hotter and less annoying.

Body... meet brain.  Now follow her lead and there will be no more trouble, you dig?




Offline zombieinc

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Re: How do you do it?!
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2013, 10:40:30 pm »
Here's what I used to do before I got really strict with my diet:

Breakfast
  • Egg Muffins
  • Homemade Oatmeal Packets
  • Waffle Sandwiches (homemade waffle squares w/fried egg and bacon in between)
  • Mini Bagels w/ Cream Cheese and Sliced Turkey or Roast Beef
  • Hard Boiled Eggs and Ground Turkey w/ Whatever Seasoning I Had On Hand

Lunch/Dinner
  • Crockpot Recipes - Crockpot Veggie Chili, Crockpot Chicken Stew, Crockpot Beef Stew, Crockpot Veggie Soup, Crockpot Pepsi Pork Roast, Crockpot Applesauce...you name it, I've probably made it in my crockpot. Crockpot cooking is great because you really don't have cook....just prep, dump, set, and eat 4-8 hours later. Plus most crockpot recipes will yield enough for leftovers for lunch the next day or for stocking your freezer.
  • Make Ahead Meals - I'd break out the crockpot and cook chicken breasts (or a whole chicken). I'd lightly season it with salt, pepper, garlic, and a hint of cumin. I'd also get several pounds of hamburger or ground turkey and cook it in my giant cast iron skillet, seasoning it the same way as the chicken. I'd put the chicken and hamburger in Ziplocs and put it in the freezer. I'd keep an eye on sales, stock up on things like spaghetti sauce, canned tomatoes, beans, frozen veggies, pasta, shredded cheese, etc. After that, you don't have to come up with ideas because you'll always have something on hand.
  • Take and Bake Pizza Crusts - There's a chain where I live that makes fresh pizzas and sells the crusts on special take and bake trays. As long as you keep spaghetti, alfredo or tomato sauce or cream cheese (yum!) and shredded cheese on hand, you can make pizzas with whatever you have around. Or you can make strombolis, homemade pizza or taco pockets, or cheesy garlic breadsticks.
  • Burritos - Versatile and cheap. There are tons of freezer burrito recipes around. Modify the fillings to your liking and you'll have lots of quick meals on hand.
  • Potatoes - Go beyond mashed and friend and baked. Try pizza potatoes, broccoli and cheese potatoes, Shepherd's Pie, Quiche w/ Hashbrown Crusts, Potato Soup, Potato Pancakes...
  • Salads - Quick, healthy and requires no actual cooking unless you boil some eggs to put on top of it.

Hope this helps. Most of these ideas can easily be reconfigured using low carb, vegetarian, or whatever other diets you may decide to follow.

Offline Carrie Liz

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Re: How do you do it?!
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2013, 10:53:45 pm »
I've pretty much just got a constant cycle of dishes that I rotate in and out depending on what's on sale and what we haven't eaten in a while.

I always keep eggs and either homemade breakfast sausage or uncured bacon on hand for the mornings, and then for lunches and dinners I rotate steak, chicken soup, pot roast, baked chicken, homemade bratwursts, pulled pork, pork ribs, and occasionally I'll make something special like gumbo or beef bourguignon if I'm really in the mood to make something uber-delicious

I pretty much just tend to make dishes that have a short prep time, cook long and slow, and then my roommate and I just eat off of it for several days.

Home cooking is pretty much the key to my diet. I'd NEVER have lost the weight that I did if I relied on the food they have at work or restaurants. EVERYTHING in both places is made with bread, pasta, added sugars, corn products, and all sorts of nasty preservatives and thickeners.

Offline Emmaline

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Re: How do you do it?!
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2013, 03:21:53 am »
Ooh, homemade bratwursts sounds nice.  Care to share the receipe?
Body... meet brain.  Now follow her lead and there will be no more trouble, you dig?




Offline Carrie Liz

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Re: How do you do it?!
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2013, 11:33:35 am »
When I say "homemade," I mean that I get them from a local farmer's market.

I did used to have my own homemade recipe, which I remember involved marjoram, caraway seeds, allspice, salt, and tri-colored pepper, but I can't find the paper that I wrote it down on, or the website that I found it from in the first place, so I can't remember the amounts... (My new house doesn't have a meat grinder, so I haven't used the recipe in like 2 years...)

Offline Devlyn

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Re: How do you do it?!
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2013, 12:17:52 pm »
When I say "homemade," I mean that I get them from a local farmer's market.

I did used to have my own homemade recipe, which I remember involved marjoram, caraway seeds, allspice, salt, and tri-colored pepper, but I can't find the paper that I wrote it down on, or the website that I found it from in the first place, so I can't remember the amounts... (My new house doesn't have a meat grinder, so I haven't used the recipe in like 2 years...)

Shenanigans! Get your brooms!
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Offline Emmaline

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Re: How do you do it?!
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2013, 08:18:43 pm »
Shenanigans!


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Offline HelenW

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Re: How do you do it?!
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2013, 12:01:38 pm »
I find the best way to plan meals is to maintain a well stocked pantry, refrigerator and deep freeze with staple items and a recurring set of ingredients that I can use in many recipes.  Then I can get creative when it gets to crunch time.  :)  Of course we have our favorites but a new item now and then is essential to keep up the interest (and reduce rebellion!).

A well stocked and maintained cupboard also simplifies shopping, allowing me to take advantage of seasonal and sale items.

A sit down with a piece of paper at the beginning of the week works too but I rarely take the time to do so.

I hope this helps!

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