1. Freezer, Bulk or Batch cooking
2. Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day or A Bread Maker
3. Canning or freezing vegetables
4. Menu Planning
5. Stocking my Pantry
6. Slow Cooker
I use all of the above to be able to put together a quick meal usually within a 30 minute time period, but doing that does require some prep.
For example, today we had Three Cheese Garlic Chicken, Green beans, salad and Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.
I almost always cook whole chickens because you get so much more bang for your buck. We can eat sticky chicken for one meal and then I will make broth from the bones and take the extra meat and put it in the freezer. Therefore, I have shredded chicken in the freezer for future use and the price of organic boneless, skinless chicken breasts is OUTRAGEOUS!
Today I pulled out my freezer chicken and thawed it. I mixed up a batch of Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a Day this morning and let it sit on my counter until it was close to supper time. This is so easy that all you have to do is stir it. I formed the bread loaf and let it rise for 20 minutes while I gathered my ingredients for cooking and did some other tasks. I put the bread in the oven to cook for 30 minutes and heated up the green beans, cooked the Three Cheese Garlic Chicken and put together salads. Dinner was done!
- I used to do a lot of whole meal freezer cooking but I do more batch cooking now. Meaning, when I brown ground beef I might brown 5 pounds and use 1 and freeze the rest. When I make brown rice I cook it in the oven in a 9x13 pan and use about 2 cups and freeze the rest in 2 cup portions. When I make meatloaf I make two and freeze one. When I make applesauce bread, I do the same thing, make 2 and freeze one of them.
- I used to use my bread machine a lot and I still use it sometimes but now I do the Artisan Bread method because it is easy and really delicious, although I do buy sandwich bread *gasp* because my husband likes it better for his sandwiches.
- This past summer I did a lot of canning and freezing of vegetables and it has been so worth it! It is easy to go grab a jar of green beans or peaches or get some corn out of the freezer. Even if you don't grow your own produce you should consider getting produce in bulk from a local farmer's market and preserving it yourself.
- You know that I menu plan every week. It is just all part of things I do to save my sanity. I have done it for so long that I cannot imagine not having a plan. Trust me, there were A LOT of years when I did not have a plan. I don't like to think of them. Anyway, I did my own menu planning series, but I did get a lot of my information from The Happy Housewife's menu planning series.
- The way I grocery shop now is that I shop to stock my pantry. I really don't use coupons very much and I don't do the sale ads because I buy more whole ingredients and I get my meat from other sources. It is actually quite simple, I have a list of items that I buy on a regular basis on an Excel spreadsheet and I just print that off and go through it before I go shopping and check the items I need to restock. Again, I may do something different down the road but simple equals sanity in my house.
- I don't think the slow cooker needs an explanation. I have two of them. I use them as often as possible. I cook my hamburger in it in bulk. I make my sticky chicken in it. I cook baked potatoes in it. I love it. I pretty much try to figure out how to make as many meals as I can in the slow cooker.
This is how I am able to make homemade meals without living in my kitchen. Those are my tips - how do you all make homemade food in a short amount of time?