Monday, February 21, 2011

Homemaking Tuesday - Secrets to Homemade meals in around 30 minutes

I love homemade cooking.  Although, I don't like spending hours in the kitchen despite what you might see on this blog.  I use several things to have homemade food in a small amount of time.

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?

Raising Homemakers

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