So you know me. I am a WOHM. I carpool with DH and 2 children for a 45-50 minute commute each way to the office. What you may not know is that I am a big time planner like fellow blogger, Melissa. I feel better knowing that I have a plan to accomplish what I want in all aspects of my life. So much so, I sometimes drive my laid back husband a little nuts.
My biggest want right now is to spend as much time with my children as I can to enjoy every giggle, snuggle and occasional tear that happens outside the 8 hours of daycare, 5 days a week. My time is as limited as a lot of other parents out there, but I have found some ways to make my week nights a little less harried, and dare I say, maybe even a little more relaxing. I do this (like other moms) by cooking ahead on the weekends.
I love to cook, so spending some extra time in my kitchen isn’t so hard to do, but I do try and maximize the time spent (and oven space) on the weekend. I make healthy dinner options that are fast and convenient to reheat during the week. I also try and have Baby help me prepare the food where she is able. It actually improves her interest for new foods if she has a hand in making them. Some of my favorite time savers are below.
- Bake brown rice in large batches. Baking turns out the rice perfect every time so it’s pretty much, no fuss and then store in quart size freezer bags for an easy defrost/reheat in the microwave.
- Buy meat in bulk at the local price club, but take it a step further- brown batches of ground beef and freeze. A quick grab, thaw and add to spaghetti sauce or add seasoning for tacos.
- Cook 2 beef roasts at once, let cool, and then freeze individually. Remove from freezer day before using, slice and re-warm.
- Make a huge batch of Shake n Bake pork chops and freeze in dinner portions.
- Buy rotisserie chickens and boneless turkey breasts at the local price club. Remove all the meat from the chickens after purchase. Much easier to do warm than cold. The meat is then ready to reheat during the week. The turkey breasts are perfect for freezing and thawed later for a fast Thanksgiving-like comfort meal.
- Prepare your own healthier frozen meal lunches. DH and I can grab from the freezer and add to the lunch bag without having to think. Just layer brown rice, steamed veggies and diced rotisserie turkey breast in lunch portions and freeze.
- Make a homemade/healthier version of Hamburger Helper, divide and freeze. I have great Italian and Chili versions if anyone is interested.
My favorite containers for freezing lunches are the Rubbermaid Premiere. They stack great and have proven durable after one happens to drop to the ground.
I currently have focused on time savers for lunch and dinner. I am lucky to have the extra freezer space for storage. My next step is to gather some ideas for a healthier and on-the-go breakfast time in the car. Do you have any favorite make ahead meals you would like to share? There is always room for improvement in any plan.