Mealtimes Made Easy

Mealtimesmadeeasy

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Here’s a great thought .  You’ve had a hectic day with whatever, homeschooling, field trips , therapies, you name it.  You have no clue what is for dinner.  Then you remember that you were able to turn on the slow cooker this morning even though it was hectic because you had some slow cooker meals thrown together in the freezer.  The day  and your budget are saved.  Hurrays all around!  Sounds like a dream right?  Not with some preplanning on your part.  It’s really quite simple with minimal effort.

In our house, it actually looks a little different.  We eat our big meal with Dad at lunch since he works a 15 hour shift every day but Wednesday one week then only works Wednesday the next week.  We sleep in late because sleeping children are easier to keep quiet than really loud awake ones.  By the time I get up and get everyone moving on their morning routines, it’s time to start lessons.  Next thing I know it’s 2:30 and Dad is leaving , grumpy and hungry.

One thing that helps to curb this scenario is to have a meal plan.  Then you don’t even have to think about what you’re cooking.  You’ve already planned it out.  A quick glance at the meal plan tells me what to take out of the freezer to unthaw or put in the crockpot.  It’s really a no brainer at this point.

Essential to meal planning is the packaging of some crockpot freezer meals.  I always print the recipes for my meal plan in my household binder or mark on the calendar where the recipes are located.  This enables me to grab the freezer meal. throw it in the crockpot and pre prep any other items that need to go with it all before bed.  In the morning, I wake up to lunch all ready done.  I can click the crockpot over to warm then go about my business.  If we do have to be out of the house for appointments , therapies or field trips, it’s there waiting for us or I know that Dad was able to have a warm healthy meal before work.

Another great idea is to cook two of the same meal, one for now and one for later.  I often do this with chicken spaghetti , lasagna roll ups, tater tot casserole, ham it up , jambalaya, etc.  It’s really no effort to double the recipe.  I get the waxed cardboard throw away pans when they are on sale to have on hand for these occasions.  This gives me a stash of premade recipes for those super busy days when I forgot to take something out or am just too tired to get it done in time.

While the pre work may seem daunting, the time you save during the week makes it all worth it.  I like to make at least 2 crockpot freezer bags on the weekend for later use.  It takes less than half an hour.  I use one during the week and one to save for later. Eventually, I have a stockpile of freezer meals for myself or to use as meals to minister to others.

Here are some great resources that I use:

Freezer Cooking with Slow Cooker Recipes

Mom on a Mission for Christ (an entire website devoted to sharing Christ through freezer cooking)

Mom’s Free Recipes

Money Saving Mom

The Family Homestead

Kraft Recipes