I get a lot of emails about making awesome school lunches, recipes, and how to get kids to eat healthy foods; but just as often, I get emails about how to get kids to drink more water.
Could you use some Thanksgiving Prep Ahead Tips?
If you are anything like me, come Thanksgiving Day, it is a mad scramble in the kitchen to get everything cooked and baked at one time! Especially if you only have one oven!
A few weeks ago, I sent out an email to my MOMables subscribers that led to a lot of replies. Nearly all of them asked: how do you feed your family of 5 “real food” and entertain others on $150 per week?
What they really wanted to know is how is:
- How do you buy organic dairy, meat and produce on a budget?
- What foods do you buy in bulk?
- What do you make from scratch?
- What are some of your money saving tips?
It’s no secret that I cook a lot. I talk about food, read about food, write about food and eat food all.day.long. The funny thing is, that shopping for food isn’t my favorite thing to do. I wish I had a shopping assistant -or a Whole Foods near by. Instead, I have to go to 2-3 groceries each week to get all the things I need.
Meal planning is easy. I start with lunches and then plan dinners, breakfast and other snacks. Why start with lunch? Lunch is the one meal I’m not there to make sure the food is fresh, nutritious or homemade. It’s easy for me to find something to make for dinner if I need a certain ingredient for lunch.
Example: we have quesadillas for lunch. that means I am going to need chicken and tortillas. Therefore, I am going to plan a dinner that will yield grilled chicken and another that will also utilize tortillas. I save time and money on wasted food. Win-win. By grilling or prepping what I need ahead of time I save a lot of time. I also don’t need to buy those pre-grilled chicken strips made with lord-knows-what.
Eating out and convenience foods are a lot more expensive. Proof: last friday I had a a meeting outside the office and my husband wanted me to have “lunch” with him. We went to a local deli that has a lot of healthy options and we spent $22! Yikes. On ONE meal. I thought to myself: I can feed my entire family with that for a day! OK, It was a nice lunch date.
Now you know another reason why I pack all of our lunches. I am going to apologize for the pictures that come next. They are unedited and were “dumped” from my iphone. Continue Reading
Are you wondering how in the world I manage to cook dinner 5-6 nights per week? I am going to tell you my secret. I plan, shop, prep ahead and use some serious time saving tools in the kitchen.
What if I told you that this Chicken Marsala recipe took me less than 20 minutes to prepare from start to finish? I.am.serious. The rice alone is 20 minutes so that’s the first thing I cook. The biggest time saver are pre-washed, ready to cook vegetables from Pure Flavor , cleaned antibiotic free chicken breast and pre-measured seasoning from McCormick.
The veggie tray saves me time but also money. Red and yellow peppers are a lot more expensive than the amount given in the tray. The pre-measured spices are a total time saver because now I can make fun recipes without having to fill my cabinet with spices that I rarely use.
So what’s the REAL time saver? My Cuisinart pressure cooker. Oh my! do I have a love affair with that thing. My parents bought it for me for Christmas and I’ve been an addict ever since. No joke. Tender chicken in 12 minutes, rice in 6, pasta in 7, pulled pork in 18 and beans fully cooked in 45-60 minutes depending on the type.
Check out this before and after picture. All ingredients go in the pressure cooker and after 12 minutes I have a fully cooked meal. I know the picture on the left isn’t the best but I think I had a kid tugging on my leg.
Don’t have a Cuisinart pressure cooker? Don’t worry. You can make this recipe following the easy directions in the back of the spice pack. It’s also a recipe card although the ingredients are slightly different.
- 1 package McCormick Recipe Inspirations Chicken Marsala
- 6 thinly sliced boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1¼ pounds)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 package mixed grilled vegetables (onions, mushrooms, peppers), sliced
- ½ cup chicken broth
- ¾ cup Marsala wine (I used white wine)
- 2 TB corn starch
- Serving suggestion: white rice
- If you are serving rice with this dish, measure and begin cooking your rice.
- Add all ingredients except corn starch in the pressure cooker. Seal lid.
- Set your pressure cooker to HIGH pressure for 12 minutes. Start cooking.
- When finished, release pressure and open lid. In a heat safe Pyrex glass, take out ½ cup liquid. Slowly mix in corn starch until all clumps are dissolved.
- Pour starchy liquid back in the pressure cooker and mix well with other ingredients.
- Let this rest for a few minutes while you check on the rice.
Lunchbox help. That’s right. It’s the end of the school year and you are already pulling your hair out on what to feed your family for lunch and dinner. It’s a busy time with spring athletics ending, recitals, last days of school… and planning for summer.
If you are a recent Super Glue Mom follower, you might be wondering: what’s up with all the family and kids food if this isn’t a food blog? Well, I am the MOM behind MOMables™ – a school lunch menu plan by subscription. I help busy parents make fresh school lunches with an inexpensive monthly subscription to our menus.
My life is crazy. I work full time, juggle an infant, a 4 and 6 year olds, cook homemade meals 4-5 nights a week (we use up left overs the other nights) and I’m constantly in the kitchen. My kids finished school yesterday and they are home for the summer. As I’ve learned in the past, the lack of planning will take me into a quick spiral of convenience meals and breakfast for dinner more than once a week.
But back to the lunchbox 101. Today, I wanted to share some simple ideas to help you get through the end of the school year lunch blues. Most of them are linked so you can grab your recipe and go!
Simple enough, right? Feel free to click on the images and grab your recipes courtesy of MOMables.