Archive | March 2012

My Weekly Meal Plan: March 26, 2012

I’m a day behind on my posting, but since Monday was my no cooking day I guess it doesn’t make too much difference. This week I am planning to double most of my recipes so I can freeze half. I know that the first couple of weeks after baby boy arrival will be chaotic here at the Rivera’s so I just want to be prepare.

Monday:

No cooking day

Tuesday:

Baked chicken with rice and beans

(I will make 2 chicken and freeze one)

Wednesday:

Pasta with Chicken a la Milanese

(Since I wasn’t able to make it last week I’m moving it to this week)

Thursday:

Fried Rice (Latino Style) with salad

Friday:

Homemade pizza

(I will double and freeze half of the dough)

Saturday:

Beef and Vegetable Soup with Biscuit

(I will double and freeze half)

Sunday:

Dinner at church

Note: I only plan for dinners since we have cereals, eggs, oatmeal or pancakes for breakfast and leftovers for lunches. Not a lot of variety but it works for my family.

How about you? What are your meal plans for the week?

Freezer Cooking My Way! Part 2

Yesterday, I shared with you how I decided to make freezer cooking works for my situation. Here are the results of my first freezer cooking attempt. 

My plan:

1. I started by choosing my common ingredient: ground beef. I choose it simply because there are gazillions of recipes that I can make with it.

2. I decided on the meals I wanted to prepare. Even when I was not planning to prepare a whole meal but a meal starter it’s important to know what I am planning with it so I can make sure I have all the ingredients on hands. The menu I decided for my freezer cooking section was brown sugar meatloaf with mashed potatoes and vegetable, burritos and pasta. My reasoning behind these 3 recipes was that all are part of my family favorites and that all have very simple side dishes.

3. I proceed to prepare my shopping list and make sure I have everything I needed the day before.

4. Thankfully my daughter still takes a long 2-3 hour nap so I choose this time of the day to do my freezer cooking section.

5. Get cooking.

My Results:

I was able to make 2 meat loaf and cooked 3 pounds worth of meals. This can be translated as a whole week of meals for my family. I wish I could tell you it only took me 2 hours but I had to left the cleaning process for the evening because by the time I finished the cooking I was exhausted and really needed a nap before my daughter wakes from hers. At the end, even when it was a lot of work I was very satisfied with the results. After 2 weeks of being able to enjoy the benefits of my freezer cooking section I can tell you I will definitely do it again. I enjoy it so much that I am planning to make it part of my weekly routine. Not always will I have the time to spent 2 or 3 hours but my goal is to maximize my time and ease dinner time.

Ways to incorporate freezer cooking in your daily routine:

1. Make a double or triple batch of whatever you are making for that day, eat one for dinner and freeze the rest. This will work well with lasagna, meat loaf, and casseroles.

2. Simple thing like cutting onions and vegetables and have them freeze for when you need it.

3. Don’t discount what you can do with leftovers. Next time you have some extra pieces of chicken just shredded and freeze it. Next time you can make some yummy enchiladas.

Freezer Cooking My Way! Part 1

After my monthly report last month, I mentioned to you that one thing that could help me achieve my goal to eat at home more often was freezer cooking. With a baby on it’s way, I’m afraid that all my progress will come to an end so I want to be prepare and freezer cooking sounds like a great idea. However, spending a whole day in the kitchen it is just not realistic for me. Especially with the huge basketball I am carrying and a very active toddler that require most of my time.

Then, I read the section of freezer cooking in an hour from Crystal Paine at moneysavingmom.com. It is awesome how she cook so much stuff in just an hour (including cleaning time!), but lets be real I am NOT the best cooker. If I try to do that many things in the kitchen in just an hour, I will probably end up burning the whole kitchen. Just ask my husband how many times he ate burnt rice for dinner during our first year of marriage!

Although I realize freezer cooking in an hour it is not for me, it inspires me to find a way to make freezer cooking works for my situation. My idea of freezer cooking was not to have a whole  month worth of meals prepared ahead in my freezer but to have most of my meals already started. Even if I still have to do some work in the kitchen everyday.

Here is how I started my plan:

1. Make a Menu:

Choose a few recipes that share a common ingredient. Since we are big meat lovers, it was no brainer to choose a meat as a common ingredient when I was planning our meals.  After all, we usually buy our meat in bulk at Costco. I started small since it was my first time, and like I said before I didn’t want to spend the whole day in the kitchen. I will recommend you to start with 3 recipes and then you can tweak it as you go to fit your situation.

2. Review your recipes:

Make sure you have all the ingredients you need for the recipes you choose. Also, remember to have on hand all the tools you need. I ended up having to wash more dishes because almost every time I started mixing a recipe I choose the wrong size mixing bowl. This is a mistake you don’t want to make, believe me!

3.  Make a plan:

Check all your recipes and make a step by step plan of each thing you need to do. Then gather all the tasks and put them in order. For example if you have to chopped onions for more than one recipe you might one to do all at once.

Tomorrow I’ll share with you how my first experience with Freezer Cooking My Way went!


My Weekly Meal Plan: March 18, 2012

After skipping our meal plan for our week, we are now back on our routine.

Monday:

No cooking day

Tuesday:

Rice with Sausage and Beans

Wednesday:

Pasta with Chicken a la Milanese

Thursday:

Brown Sugar Meatloaf with mashed potatoes

Friday:

Homemade pizza

Saturday:

Beef and Vegetable Soup with Biscuit

Sunday:

Dinner at church

Note: I only plan for dinners since we have cereals, eggs, oatmeal or pancakes for breakfast and leftovers for lunches. Not a lot of variety but its works for my family.

How about you? What are your meal plans for the week?

Learning from Eirene: Her favorite toy

Children are really smart, you can learn so much from them just by observing them. During the next 4 Sundays of the month of March I will share with you a couple of things I have learned from my daughter. 

The last couple of weeks my daughter’s favorite toy is a cube of blocks. It is a very simple toy. It doesn’t moves, nor has any music or light but it’s still her favorite one. What she loves about it is that she can use it as a stepping stool. Since she is so petite, she cannot reach or climb into a lot of things but with her cube is a whole different story. Her toy allows her to climb up to the sofa, to turn on the TV and to touch everything I don’t want her to touch. This toy has it flaws. It is not very steady and she falls more than I want to.

In Mathew 7: 24-28 Jesus tell his disciples the parable of the wise and the foolish builders. In this parable Jesus compare a foolish builder that builds their house on the sand with someone that hear the word of God and doesn’t obey it. In the same way, a wise builder who built his house upon a rock is like someone who hears the word of God and put it into practice. Just like my daughter choose a flimsy toy to climb; sometimes in our life we decide to follow a path that eventually will make us fall. However, Jesus is there with open arms to help us get up and guide us through the right path if we are just willing to give our life to Him and obey His word.

Confessions of a Procrastinator Part 2

Yesterday I open my heart to you and confess that I am a procrastinator. However, it is imperative to clarify that a procrastinator it is NOT the same as a slacker. I postpone some stuff but I was able to accomplish others.

Putting Food On The table

Let me start by saying that the need is the mother of inventions! Although I didn’t plan a menu, nor was in the mood to cook during this past week I was indeed able to put food on the table. I even got some new recipes inspire with whatever was in my cupboards that day. The freezer cooking day I had last week was really helpful and now that it’s been proof I feel confident to post during this next week more about having “a freezer cooking day my way”.

So, what we actually had for dinner during this week?

Taco Salad: Super easy to make, you just need a bag of tostitos, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, salsa, leftover ground beef and more cheese. It wasn’t Carlos’ favorite, according to him it looks nice but it stills a salad. hehehe! That was when I knew that he need it some rice.

Rice Casserole: Just mixed a can of tomatoes, a bag of frozen broccoli, a tube of cream cheese, and more left over ground beef. Voila rice casserole!

Chicken Calzone: Inspired by my friend Jaska. Just put inside a frozen pizza crust some leftover chicken, cheese and marinara sauce. Finally put in the oven and that it is.

Spending Time with Friends and Family

Even when is really important to spend time with friends and family, I’ll have to admit I don’t always dedicate enough time for them. So, I’m glad that this week spending time with my loves one was part of my priorities.

On Monday,…  I went out with the hub and had a wonderful dinner. I also had a great time at my friend Lou’s. I finally gave her a Valentine day present (talking about postponing thing) and we had a great chat.

On Tuesdays,… I started a new bible study which I’m really excited about it. It is about disciplining your child, and oh boy if I need this!

On Thursday,… I took my daughter to the park with some friends. We had a spectacular day! She even got her first “bubu” and I ended up exhausted.

On Friday,… I went to my OB appointment. Baby is growing like a weed and everything is well. Also, my friend Carla came over for a play-date. We have been trying to get together since February so I’m glad that it finally happened.

Other Stuff

And last but not least, I did all my research to find what I think it will be the perfect stroller for our family. We saw it yesterday again and I am really excited about it. It is the Combi twin sport stroller. What really convinced me is that it is really light weight and it fold in three so it fit in my small trunk.

So on in all it was indeed a nice week!

How about you? Did you postpone some of you to do list for this week to do others stuff?

Confessions of a Procrastinator

In case you didn’t notice it, I have not post anything during the last week. It wasn’t because I didn’t have the time nor because I didn’t knew what to write about it. Actually I have a lot of ideas and I had a pretty slow week. The thing is that I am a procrastinator. I found out about my condition during my college years. While my housemates decided to stay up all night studying for a test, I liberally choose to sleep. It wasn’t always a bad idea at least I had the energy to do the test, although not always the knowledge. Back to my week it is simple, some people decide to procrastinate for a day and others for a weekend but since I surpass them all, I procrastinate for a week.

But please don’t get mad at me. Cause you know, God’s not finished with me yet.