Stress Free Cooking Tips

Best Tips For Great Stress Free Cooking and Meals | Do you need some great tips to save money and time? | #podcast #homeschool #homeschoolpodcast #cookingtipsBest Tips For Great Stress Free Cooking and Meals: Episode: 306

Are you ready to cut down on your planning and cooking time with the best tips for great meals? I have a great insider’s secret to share with you, and you’ll love it! And, as a bonus, I’ve added some great tips for seasonal cooking and this will save you money.

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Okay, meal planning – you ready? Well, when I plan my meals one of the things I look at is repurposing the food or using one item to make several. In this way, you cook once and use that main item for many dishes. I will give you some examples but first, let’s think together about the types of meals you eat.

  1. List the meals your family enjoys the most.
  2. What meals do you make that can be frozen?
  3. Are there any meals you can batch cook?
  4. What items taste better fresh rather than as leftovers
  5. Look at this list with an eye for crossover items, for example, ground beef or chicken.

When I look at meal planning I do ask for input from my family and take note even if the list contains favorites such as grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, and mac and cheese. These are okay as fillers and must be made that day unless you used packaged or frozen mac and cheese!

Here is a short list of our family favorite meals in order:

  1. Italian:
    1. Chicken Cutlets and Spaghetti (homemade sauce)
    2. Spaghetti and meatballs
    3. Pizza, Calzones
    4. Lasagna
    5. Baked Ziti
    6. Feticuni Alfredo and grilled chicken
  1. Grilled:
    1. Hamburgers and hotdogs with mac and cheese and baked beans
    2. BBQ – Ribs and chicken wings
    3. Grilled BBQ chicken
    4. Steak
  2. American:
    1. Chicken pot pie with biscuits and a salad
    2. Pulled pork with cole slaw and beans
    3. Chicken tenders
    4. Roasts
  3. Mexican meals:
    1. Grilled chicken with fajita seasoning, tortilla shells, guacamole, shredded cheese and rice, and black beans
    2. Chicken enchiladas
    3. Tacos with chicken or ground beef
  4. Soups and More:
    1. Chicken Soup
    2. French Onion Soup
    3. Chili

Your list may or may not look like mine. Some of the missing elements are fish and pot roast. While classics in many families mine has never enjoyed pot roast. I love fish and often I’ll eat baked fish while the family eats fish sticks. As this isn’t a favorite meal I didn’t add it to the list. If I could get good fish locally, I’d probably eat it daily!

As you can see there are many meals with the following cooking tips that can be made and frozen or that are crossover–for example:

Cooking Tip #1 Ground Beef:

If I buy ground beef in bulk, I can make quite a few dishes at one time for various meals. For example, ground beef for tacos, chili, and lasagna – freeze it unseasoned and label the amount. Make meatballs, they freeze well. Form hamburgers and freeze with layers of wax paper. Put the food in freezer bags. Be sure to date.

Cooking Tip #2 Chicken:

Another is chicken. I can cook two chickens in the InstaPot. I can use this chicken for pot pies, for soup, for chicken salad, for chicken tacos, BBQ chicken (although my family prefers grilled chicken for this meal).

Cooking Tip #3 Grilling:

Grilling chicken for Mexican food, enchiladas, tacos, barbeque chicken, sandwiches.

Cooking Tip #4 Freeze meals:

Tomato sauce: I make this in big batches. I freeze some and use the others to make meals like casseroles.

Cooking Tip #5 Casseroles:

Lasagna and Baked Ziti freeze well. These can be made ahead of time and pulled out the day before – you can defrost in the refrigerator. Enchiladas also freeze well. I freeze the individual enchiladas and don’t pour the sauce over it until I heat them up to eat.

Cooking Tip #6 additional meals

  1. Stuffed Baked Potatoes with potato toppings such as ground beef, cheese, veggies, chopped ham
  2. Salad Bar: Recreate toppings from your favorite restaurants
  3. Rotisserie chicken: use leftovers for yummy chicken salad
  4. Breakfast for dinner – a family favorite.
  5. One pot or one skillet meals. Add a salad. You can do this with stir-fry or stew.

Cooking Tip #7 Seasonal Meals

Pumpkin: We enjoy wonderful seasonal favorites all year long. For example, I bake several cooking pumpkins and scoop out the pulp for pumpkin bread, muffins, pumpkin pie or pumpkin bars.

Apples: I buy apples in bulk and peel them, toss with about 1/4 cup sugar and one teaspoon of cinnamon and freeze flat. These make great additions to pancakes, muffins and of course pie.

Strawberries: Again, buy them in bulk. If they are not organic (and even if they are) be sure to wash them in white vinegar and water, rinse and pat dry before you freeze. These make wonderful smoothies and you can mash them with some sugar for strawberry shortcake. Yum!

Seasonal fruits and veggies: Be creative. Is zucchini on sale? Or onions? You can buy in bulk and sauté lightly (zucchini) – don’t overcook. This is a great side dish. Onions – I’ve sautéed these and use them when I make a sauce or other dishes. It is such a short cut! Less mess.

Currently, I’m on an elimination diet, no sugars, no dairy, no gluten, no preservatives restricted carbs and limited fruits (right now the focus is berries). I’ve learned to make so many things that are tasty and am considering incorporating a good portion of what I am eating into my daily diet.

So, if you are on a restricted diet – let’s say no to gluten or dairy you can do still cook for the family with an eye on what you can and can’t eat. You can use the baked chicken and season, use the pulled chicken for stir fry veggies, and eat a burger with a bed of lettuce instead of bread. So yummy!

Please share your great meal ideas with us and ways you save time and money.

More cooking tips here.

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