Cooking Ahead

As school and extracurricular activities begin, I am looking for ways to survive the busy-ness of life. I figure if I get a running start at this I might last until Thanksgiving before we begin subsisting on sandwiches.

For the last several weeks, I’ve been doubling or tripling our breakfast favorites and freezing them. Banana and blueberry muffins, breakfast tacos, homemade biscuits, waffles, protein bars, granola, and english muffins. It takes about an hour to make the extras, but it will save far more than an hour over the next month when the kids can get their own breakfasts quickly and with relative ease. We won’t even mention the amount of time and sanity it will save me.

I made a list of lunches we like and am adding them to my meal plan, which then translates them to my grocery list. It helps to have the ingredients on hand when you’re trying to cook something. We enjoy individual pizzas made with canned biscuits, homemade macaroni and cheese; homemade baked chicken strips, spaghetti, stuffed rolls with pepperoni and cheese or ham and cheese, and hot dog rolls. These are either very fast and easy lunches or things that can be made ahead and frozen. The stuffed rolls and hot dog rolls are particularly easy and popular with my crowd.

I haven’t had the chance to do a full day of freezer cooking, like many people do, but I have taken three or so recipes a week and doubled them to make quick dinners for the next month. I made about four dozen meatballs last night. These can be combined with a sauce and spaghett or rice. I’m planning to make and freeze several soups and chili in the hopes that it will one day be cool enough to eat them. I’m browning meat for tacos and cooking beans for burritos. These all shave 15 minutes or more off meal preparation, and that’s worth it on a busy night.

What do you do to help tame the madness?

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