We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature--trees, flowers, grass--grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence...We need silence to be able to touch souls. --Mother Teresa

Friday, January 11, 2013

Food on Friday

Looooong, looooooong week at The Hays Crew.  College Girl worked a full week at her new job, Frack worked everyday all day, Frick had several pick up jobs, and of course, I started the Freshman on Romeo and Juliet.  Combine all of that with the fact that the flu--stomach and influenza--are rampant in The County, it was a looooooong, looooooooong week.

We are waiting for the flu to hit.  It seems inescapable.  I have washed my hands until it feels like they have no skin on them.  I am trying to remember NOT to use the commons area bathroom at school and I am drinking water.  I just keep saying, "Drink water.  Wash your hands." The Freshman are tired of hearing it.  Don't care.

This week I don't have a recipe to share.  I am going to share menus and some meal planning tips.  One time we sat down as a family and made a list of meals that we would like to have for dinner.  I think we came up with about 60 meals.  Then, when I would sit down to meal plan, I could pull out the list, choose the meals for the week, make a grocery list and shop.  Once home from the store, I would put the meals together.

I know it makes me seem like a Super Star, but really, it just saved time.  And money.

I have tried meal prep and planning several ways.  A good friend of mine planned hers monthly.  She would plan for 24 meals.  They usually ate out on Fridays--really--they ate at ballgames--and a couple of leftover nights.  She posted a calendar with the meals for each day, bought all the ingredients and whomever got home first started the meal.

Now, she's a Rock Star.  I tried this system.  No go at The Hays Crew.  It was too easy to sub meals in for other meals.  Then we would get to the end of the month with odd ingredients and back to the store I would go.  Budget blown.  No time saved.  I was always impressed with her self-discipline.  Actually, still am.

I have tried planning and making meals for 2 weeks.  I usually would plan for 12 meals.  This left 2 nights for leftovers.  Coach and I usually took leftovers for lunches.  Obviously this means several items that can be made ahead and tucked in the freezer for later.  I would sit down with the grocery ads and plan meals around whatever was on sale.  This 2 week system worked well for us.  I usually made a second trip to the store on the 'off' week for fresh fruits and vegetables.  The thing I didn't like was that this system usually ended up with a lot of casserole type meals.  Not always the healthiest style of cooking or eating.

I have tried planning and making meals for one week at a time.  This is my favorite way to plan.  Grocery ads come out on Wednesday's, I could meal plan, shop sometime on Saturday, make meals and be ready for the week.  Many times our big dinner on Sunday would center around our meat for the week. If chicken was on sale, then I could have chicken and noodles on Sunday, then chicken would be our main ingredient for the remainder of the week.  The bad deal here is that sometimes the week would get away from me, all of sudden it would be Saturday and there I'd be with 3 meals that hadn't been eaten.  Can they be frozen?  Can we eat them today?  Have a party?  Dilemma central.

As my kids aged, I stopped making meals ahead.  I would simply make the menus for the week, buy the ingredients, and post the menus on the fridge.  Then someone (usually me or Frick) could look at the list, pick a meal, get it started and dinner would be served.  I usually planned and bought for 7 meals.  I rarely made 7 meals, so then I was building up my pantry/freezer stores.  The iffy part of this system is time.  It takes a little longer because things aren't prepped and ready to popped in the oven, crock pot, etc.  I also probably didn't save as much money because I was going to the store every week.

What was on that list of 60 meals?  Every body's favorites.....and some not-so-favorites.  Frick doesn't eat balls of meat, College Girl isn't a fan of stir-fry and Frack, well, he'll try anything....ONCE.   Coach will eat anything.  No joke.  He'll eat whatever is there to eat.  I am OK with most things--but since I was in charge, I usually picked things I liked to eat.

Here are some of our favorites.....
Hot dogs
Tater tot casserole
Chicken enchiladas
Canned soup and grilled cheese
Cheeseburger mac
Cheesy potatoes and ham casserole
Ham and cheese rolls
Taco soup
Potato soup
Western spuds
Biscuits and gravy
Pancakes and sausage
Chicken and noodles
Pulled pork sandwiches
Roast beef
Skillet ham casserole
Breakfast burritos
Fish sticks and homemade macaroni and cheese
Mock Chicken fried steak
Steak finger wraps
Cheese quesadillas
Beef and noodles
Vegetable beef soup
Oven fried chicken
BBQ beef sandwiches
Grilled chicken
Tuna casserole
Pot pie
Chicken salad
Beef enchiladas
Stir fry

Not all of these are healthy.  Just sayin'.   

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Your own soul is nourished when you are kind, but you destroy yourself when you are cruel. -Proverbs 11: 17