The kids are older now and we all are way busier. In the garage we now have a deep freezer and an upright freezer/refrigerator full of drinks, snacks and heat-and-eat processed meals. Although the teen boys aren't complaining, I hate that the kids are eating so much processed food lately ( I call it Tyson frozen chicken shit). Since most nights I'm either working and/or chauffering kids to their activities, dinner needs to be something quick and easy.
So I have recommitted to cooking ahead in hopes of getting my kids back on a healthier track. Since most cook ahead and freeze meals are high in fat and calories (cheesy casseroles made with "cream of" soups), I'm cooking ahead one week at a time for now.
The other benefit is I'm hoping it will help me stay on a (mostly) vegetarian diet. I actually feel better when I eat vegetarian, yet lack of vegetarian options in my area combined with a family that prefers meat make it way too easy for me to fall off the wagon.
Yes, cooking ahead takes planning and an afternoon spent in the kitchen, but the financial and health benefits are worth it.
Today's cooking session (I'm sure it will be obvious which meals are for me only vs. the whole family):
- Chicken Spaghetti
- Cheesy Chicken Pot Pie Cups - the kids LOVED these tonight so I'm glad I made a double batch to freeze. I originally found the recipe at my friends blog Dreaming of the Disney Princess Half and she found them over at between 3 Sisters blog. Really, if you have kids you must try these! Although it would be easy to leave out the chicken and make them vegetarian, I no longer eat any pot pie after a very nasty pregnancy induced sickness 17 years ago.
- Pizza casserole
- Large batch roast vegetables
- Sweet potato veggie burgers - I had one tonight with a slice of avocado and it was delicious!
- Large batch quinoa
- Glowing Green Smoothie - I've never had much luck making ahead juices or smoothies. But Kimberly Snyder says on her website that she freezes a few days worth in individual size cups. So I made 3 days worth and hopefully they will freeze and thaw well.
- Happy Herbivore Tomato Soup - I had never made homemade tomato soup until I tried this recipe. It's so easy and so good! Of course I made enough to freeze for later too. It will also double for Spaghetti Soup when I add the spaghetti squash to it that I roasted tonight. Yes, the kids also like the Spaghetti Soup.
- Hard boiled a dozen eggs for egg salad for kid lunches
- Chickpea salad for my lunches this week.
Wednesday and Saturday I'll be home to cook a good, fresh dinner. Looking at my list and all my hard work in the refrigerator right now, I think the rest of the week will be pretty good too.