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Planning ahead

**mid-cooking update***
The turkey meatloaf recipe is no bueno! Prep time was doubled (or maybe I’m just a slow dicer/mixer) and the cook time was almost triple…I have one of the hottest oven in the history of hot ovens and I followed the recipe exactly so I don’t know what happened but we are still waiting to eat and the veggies have wilted. Thank God for “mommy juice”.
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A friend of mine from college posted on fb that she plans her family meals SIX weeks in advance, which also includes date night, nights they eat out, leftovers…I assume that it helps her stay organized and maintain sanity, which are two things I crave. (and yes Korie, this would be our dear sister Carrie B)!

But six weeks in advance? As much as I like the planning aspect of it (I am a Virgo after all), so not gonna happen in the Kremer household. But why be a negative nelly? Life is about compromise so I decided that I’ll start with planning at least one week at a time, because honestly I have no idea what I want to eat tomorrow let alone six weeks from now but if I can rid myself of the after work grocery store time-suck, then it can only make my life easier.

With hunky hubby gone 3-4 nights in a row and me working my tushy off in the Corporate limelight, as oft happens, I go to the grocery store 2-3 nights a week to get something for dinner because I didn’t plan ahead. And then my day turns into a mad rush to make dinner as soon as we get home to get it on the table before Fussypants has a boyamIhungry meltdown, not to mention the money I’m probably wasting by going to the store that often.

So I did two things to make my life easier. I dug out my Fix-it and Forget-it Cookbook (a crock-pot cookbook full of recipes and there is an entire series of these books, if you need more variety) that my dear friend Kara M. gave me for Christmas one year and I created an account on Tasty Planner.

Now I don’t know if Tasty Planner is the best website of it’s kind and I’m not getting anything for endorsing it. It just happens to be the one I found when I googled and it is really simple to use.

You get access to 1000s of recipes (which include prep time, cook time and servings and you can add your own recipes), your own a calender, a recipe box to store the recipes you like, and the ability to create a grocery list of all the items you need to make the meals you’ve planned for -which you can print or have e-mailed to you. It’s great!

There is one downside to the grocery list, it pulls the ingredients from each recipe so if one recipe calls for 1 small onion, and another calls for 1/2 cup diced onion, both will end up on the list and not necessarily next to each other on the list. So you need to make sure you read your list before you go shopping so you can get the correct amount of what you need. An upside though, is that you can check off the things you already have at home and it removes it from the list so you are only shopping for what you need.

My first foray into my dinnertime reorg took place this week. I planned 3 out of 5 meals (hunky hubby was home mid-week and cooked, so I didn’t plan for this day and since I started this on Monday and had already decided we were having chicken, I didn’t plan for that day either). Monday night I prepped crock pot chicken enchiladas and cannot tell you how pleasant it was to get home on Tuesday at a reasonable hour to dinner already made! Tonight I am making turkey meatloaf (prep time 12 mins, cook time 30) and then I am prepping crock pot macaroni & cheese with added veggies for tomorrow’s meal.

I’m not sure yet what culinary delights will be on the menu for next week but I am really excited at the prospect of choosing, shopping and getting meal time organized ahead of time.

Bon appetite!

gingerbreadmama

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