My friend Lacey has a great blog with lots of great dinner ideas. Since, I lack in the department of cooking here is Lacey with a great creative post on family dinners.
Lacey From Austin TX Mom
7 Hours, $154, and 39 Dinners.
Those are the final numbers from my dinner making experiment, and I've got to say, I'm happy with that! That comes down to $3.94 a meal(each meal will serve 4 people). Being that this is my first try, I think that is pretty good!
I strayed from the menu I came up with yesterday, simply because some recipes didn't make as much...or I found something in the cabinet that I decided to make instead.
Here is what I ended up with:
1 large package of shredded chicken
3 pans of meatloaf (we actually had one last night. Delicious)
2 pans of San Francisco Pork Chops
2 packages of Chicken Teriyaki
2 packages of taco meat
3 packages of spaghetti and meat sauce
1 package of Beef Stroganoff
2 packages of Sloppy Joes
2 pans of Macaroni and Cheese
2 pans of Baked Chicken Penne w/ Sundried Tomatoes
2 pans of Chicken Enchiladas
2 packages of mashed potatoes
4 packages of sauteed green beans
2 pans of Mushroom Lasagna
2 packages of meatballs
2 packages of shredded pork
7 packages of garlic bread
2 pots of Chicken and Dumplings
2 packages of marinated steak
I still have stuff to make 2 more pots of Chicken Tortilla Soup, but I ran out of chicken broth!
Some tips that I would definitely recommend in undertaking something like this:
1. Clean out your refrigerator and freezer before you start! You are going to need every ounce of space you have.
2. Make a prep station before you start cooking. Chop up all of your veggies and keep them on hand, so you can use them in the recipes as you go. This saves you tons of time.
3. Cook all the meat first, unless it's something like meatloaf or something going in a marinade that you won't cook until you serve it.
4. Buy the chicken pre-cooked. You can get the same amount of chicken out of a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store than you can a whole fryer that you have to prep and cook, and usually for less money or the same price. Another huge time saver. You can also take the bones and make a chicken stock.
5. Keep your kitchen free of distractions. This is a marathon cooking session. One day of hard work is going to pay off big time and give you lots of extra time in the next few weeks.
6. Buy disposable pans. It will keep your serving sizes where you want them, and you'll have use of your pans in the meantime.
7. Don't be afraid of the sales at the grocery store. It's all going in the freezer that day anyway. This is where you are really going to save. Look for the manager's specials. You'll be amazed how much you will save.
8. Keep a glass of wine on hand at all times. :) This is just to keep your stress level down and keep it fun!
The mound of groceries that would eventually become dinner for the next 39 days.
Baked Penne w/ Chicken, Sundried Tomatoes and Black Olives
San Francisco Pork Chops (love these)
The kitchen was a HUGE disaster the whole day. The good news is, it won't be for the next 39!
(I bought 2 loaves from the sale section at the store. Only cost me $0.68 for both!
The all-important prep station
Most important ingredient of the day.