Whats for Dinner Mom?!

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Whats for Dinner Mom?!

Do you ever dread that question? This was the first question out of the mouth of one of my children every morning for years. Boy, did he ever look forward to dinner! Andrew loved food and by the time he was nine, I had discovered that he loved cooking too.  He was a gourmet connoisseur from day one!  Talk about pressure!

Of course, I had five children before the Lord decided I was done, and they, along with their father, all agreed this is pretty much the most important question of the day!  According to some research, most women cook only TEN different meals on a regular basis!  I figured I could probably do better than that, but I didn't want to have to spend a lot of time cooking either.  I was homeschooling all day and raising five babies and that didn't leave a lot of spare time.

My first rule of cooking was, if you want dessert..cook it yourself.  Well, Andrew, learned to cook dessert by the age of nine!  I gave him box mixes and he went to town! I admit that we had an occasional mess or two, but with four boys and only one girl...I wasn't about to look a gift horse in the mouth!  My third son, never had to touch the stove till his older sister started working and there was no one left to cook for him...but 17 is not too old to learn new tricks!!  His new motto is "Any man CAN cook!"  or was that  Ratatouille??  We love that movie!  It gives a fun perspective on the art of cooking.  Well the proof is in the cobbler I guess. Jacob didn't even know I was writing this article..but he asked me if there was something 'sweet' he could cook. I told him yes, if he would let me take his picture after he made it. I told him what to do in less than 1 minute. He wanted to show off his handiwork to me even before he had cooked it!

The second rule was no more than five ingredients per recipe, except for special occasions! I needed things I could cook fast without having to resort to frozen lasagna or pizza or a Hamburger helper type meal.  I've posted my own 10 favorite Super Easy recipes here.There not the healthiest meals in the world but there more from scratch than the alternatives and they are so easy, any of my kids could cook them instead of me. That is important as any busy mother will agree I'm sure.  See this website for Dinner Made Easy for some more good ideas.

The third rule was that I always had a menu plan.  There's nothing more intimidating, in my opinion, than an empty stove and a crowd of hungry people!!  Apparently, Mrs. Roosevelt, Teddy's wife, had 30 recipes planned out on a monthly calendar...leaving a few days blank for eating out etc.  I liked that idea and it made it easier to make out my shopping list.

After 20 years of shopping, and price comparing, I've decided to only shop once a month.  I can't fit all the milk, bread, and fruit/veges in my fridge for a month, but I can fit all the ingredients for a month of dinners.  I tried the once a month cooking method, but never could seem to find the right day to do it.  And I didn't like the taste of a lot of things after being frozen.

I have three teenagers, one granddaughter, and their parents who are around quite a bit and that is why I cook the way I do at this season of my life.  We are on the road more than I would like and when we are home, we're busy.  Around the first of the month, I pick seven to ten meals (with my daughter's advice) to make and we rotate those meals throughout the month. Then, on a spreadsheet we multiply all the needed ingredients x 4.  We buy all of those ingredients in bulk from Sam's. I love Sam's because they will pull your groceries for you and allow you to make a master list to save and edit from month to month.  And buying in bulk is very cheap.

Anything we need that we just need a few of, I buy from Wal-mart. I buy all the meat at Krogers because they have great sales every week.    We always keep a huge bag of pepperoni, a case of tomato sauce, and a 5 lb bg of mozzarella in the freezer.  Then I use my Bosch to make five batches of white bread dough.  I let the dough rise once and then break it up into gallon size bags and put the bags in the freezer for emergencies.  Defrost the dough in the microwave and Voila! We have instant, cheap, healthy pizza.     I also stock up on lemon juice and sugar to make cheap lemonade.  And I do stock the pantry with jello, muffin mix, pudding mix, cake mix, brownie mix etc from Wal-mart so the kids have something to make.

This picture shows my menu plan when all five kids were little, pickier, and I had NO spare time and not much help with the cooking.  By the way, Ranch chicken is chicken enchiladas and Country Potato Casserole is just hashbrown casserole that I added ground beef to. Most of these are extremely easy meals to make. By the way, I didn't list the veges on the side because I just stocked up on fresh and frozen veges and I always steamed or microwaved them. Every meal included a big bowl of carrots, greenbeans, broccoli, cauliflower, squash, or spinach. It was always a vege that was low in carbs and high in nutrition or I would do a big crunchy salad.

There are other ways to do this.  You can try Menus 4 moms though I think that can get a bit complicated.  However, they provide meal plans for healthier meals than I usually make.  You can also buy food from Angel Food Ministries  That settles the meal plan delimma for the month and their menu items, which used to consist of a lot of fried stuff, are much healthier now.

I also love FlyLady's menu plan,  If it's Monday, It's Spaghetti! meal plan.I sometimes resort to that, if life is really crazy.

Well, the timer went off and Jacob's already got the spoon in his cobbler!  Apparently, our pastor's wife, Johnnie Seago,  uses this recipe all the time...  and she has LOTS of kids and grandkids..so it must be good.   Spread 2 cans of pie filling in an 8x11 pan, sprinkle a box of cake mix on top, and drizzle an undetermined amount of melted butter on top. Bake at 350 about 25 minutes. Mmm! Smells great Son!


Trudy said...

How in the world did I miss this post?

Great tips. Thanks.

GirlNumber5 said...

Hello. I have an odd question about one of the photos on your blog. I have the same glass top stove as you do & the same coffee pot that I got at a tag sale. BUT, I have been terrified to use it because I was told that you could not use a pot like that on a glass top.

Do you use this pot on this stove? Also, i would love your coffee directions since I have not used a perk pot in YEARS.

Thanks for the blog & God Bless

Trish in CT


Donna said...

Hi! Trudy...you just weren't paying attention..ha! It was WAY back at the start of my blogging days. I reposted it because Angela asked me about menu planning. I think it was one of my cutest and most informative ones...:o)

GirlNumber5..Hello! Don't you love the coffee pot? It was my birthday gift last year and yes I use it. I have set the heat on high, but normally turn it on med and late it build up heat. I have a tea pot too and use them both regularly.

To make the coffee, I usually ground it with the grinder just a wee bit coarser than for a drip coffee maker. I do a 1/3 cup normally. I put the coffee in the basket and I don't use a filter. Once it gets hot enough, it starts percolating. I turn it off as soon as that happens because the glass top stove retains so much heat. It's enough to make my coffee the way I want it. I use it more for looseleaf tea than coffee though. I LOVE the fabulous taste of loose tea!!

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