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Easy Meal Ideas for Mothers ... & Others

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Rachael Ray's 30-Minute Healthy Recipes

Cooking for the Up Coming Week

How many times have you come home from work just too tired to cook a full meal? How many times have you come home from work to find this going on or that going on and before you know it itís late and no one has had anything to eat? More times than youíd probably like to admit, especially if you have a family. How do you handle that? Fast food, take out or delivery. Thatís not unusual either. The problem there is that youíre spending lots of money and not really eating a satisfying and healthy meal.

Is there a solution to this problem? Yes, if youíre willing to spend just one day in the kitchen. Saturdays are a great day to spend cooking for the week. If you start early it wonít be an all day affair and who knows you might even convince other members of the family to help. What a way to spend a day together.

Can You Be a Weekend Cook?

Some like to do this every Saturday. Others prefer to do it once or twice a month. Which ever way is easier for you and your family will work. Money and time may make the choice for you but either way it is sure to help the week night meal dilemma.

Plan the menu for the entire week or even a month. Remove any foods from the freezer the night before. This will ensure that everything is completely thawed and ready for cooking. This will save you time and some frustration. Cook any meats first. Meats usually take longer than any other food item so while the meats are cooking you can cut vegetables or boil pasta or rice. After the meats are cooked then work on the side dishes.

Many meals include items you can cook in the crock pot. If you have a meal planned that entails using a crock pot go ahead and prepare the items ahead of time. This way all you have to do is place the items in the crock pot that morning, turn it on and let it go.

There are a couple of ways you can store make-ahead meals. You will need to invest in some containers that fit the purpose. If you plan on freezing each dish individually make sure you have containers large enough to hold the entire item. Mark each container so that it easy to find the foods you want to fix. Remove them from the freezer the night before to ensure they thaw completely.

Another way to store these meals are in separated containers. Place on meat and two side dishes in the container. Label it and stick it in the freezer. The best part of storing your meals this way is that the family can decide what they want to eat. You may have corn, peas and carrots but one family member doesnít like carrots so they substitute with the corn instead. This gives them meals they are sure to eat. It also makes it easier for families who are involved in outside activities.

When you get home just pull the container out of the freezer, microwave and you have a hot delicious meal in a matter of a few minutes no matter what time of the evening it is.

Making meals ahead does require a day spent in the kitchen. Itís really not all that bad considering a full day spent there means less frustrating and aggregating nights there. It will save you time, money and a lot of stress. Even desserts and snacks for the week can be made during this cooking day leaving you a week of fun filled or relaxing quiet evenings to savor the weekends work.

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