Cooking for the Week on the Weekends

Hi Active Mamas,

I posted a conference call to guide you through how to cook 1-2 week’s worth of food on the weekend.  Here’s a prep guide so you can ready your mind before the session.  Use the information below to walk through the items you might need to think about, fix, or obtain before the session.

Post any questions you’d like addressed in the comment section below.  I look forward to our call, and to hear about the kinds of successes you will have as a result of this journey which should include better eating habits, more responsible spending, and your growing confidence as a cook!

Please note: I posted enough food to feed my family for about 2 weeks.  You may find the menu will last your family for a shorter or longer time depending on your family’s size, meal portions, and how frequently you go out to eat.

Below you will see a list of tips, cheats, the menu I’ve prepared for you with links to the actual recipes, and a list of kitchen equipment I recommend you have on hand.  Enjoy!  If you wish to sign up for the conference call, here’s the link: http://www.meetup.com/Active-Mamas/events/128292942/  

Tips:

  1. Make ‘Menu Sets’ for your weekend cooking, that way you are not re-spinning your wheels every week.  This workshop and lesson can function as ‘Set 1’ for you.

  2. Ensure you keep your family’s preferences in mind ahead of time.  Are there any allergies you must remember?  Do some of your family members refuse to eat certain items?

  3. Print  your menu and your recipes once.  Hole punch them, and put them in a binder.  Combine ingredients from all your recipes so you know what you need.  For example, you may have two recipes that require celery, but you only want to buy celery once.  Make note ahead of time!  You may also dislike a vegetable or meat in one recipe and prefer to replace it with another vegetable.  Take the liberty to do so!

  4. Ask a baby-sitter to come to the house, or a friend who you want to cook with.  Your kids may have a hard time not getting your attention, and it’s harder when they can see you right there in the kitchen!  They don’t care you are cooking food for them!  They just want you now!

  5. Check your calendar to see when you are going out to eat, when you are entertaining in the home, or even possibly bringing food somewhere (such as to a friend) so you can determine if you want to double or triple up on any recipes.

  6. Make sure you have the materials you need ahead of time such as storage containers, parchment paper, aluminum foil, and especially freezer space  There’s nothing worse than finding out you can’t store all your goodies!

  7. When you set out to cook, shop early on Friday (if possible) or late at night while everyone else is out partying or sleeping, and prep your food before you begin your marathon cooking spree.  You’d be surprised at how much prepping you need to do to cook all this food ahead of time!

  8. Make sure you start with a clean kitchen and clean pots and pans.

  9. Take out all your cookware, accessories, herbs and spices ahead of time and put them on the dining room table or your kitchen counters so you don’t have to go hunting for them when your hands are dirty because you started cooking or handling your chickens.

  10. Have your plan written down ahead of time.  Ex: Cook chickens first because they are time consuming and you need to make stock from them for soup.

  11. Start early and plan in breaks for yourself.  Your arms, back and legs may get tired.  If you have fatigue, or are pregnant, you may want to divide this kind of cooking up over several days at a time, just by planning ahead each night like most people do anyhow.  This is not for everyone!

  12. As you eat your meals, open your menus and make notes in your recipe binder on each related recipe about real portion sizes vs the suggested portion sizes, flavor notes, cooking times, and how much you liked the meal.

Cheats

If you’ve never done weekend cooking this is possible a new and daunting task. Here are some short-cuts that will save you time, help you avoid having to learn how to cook all this at one time (such as how to roast and stuff a chicken), and perhaps make your first time experience much faster.

The downside to using these tips is most notably related to money, sodium levels, the ability to control flavor, freshness, the ability to use the pieces as you wish, and the flexibility that starting with raw gives you, less variety in the week, and/or you may still find yourself dependent on chemical-laden packaged foods.

  1. Buy an already-roasted chicken
  2. Buy already chopped vegetables
  3. Hire someone to do all the chopping for you
  4. Buy some items from the frozen section of your grocery store to pair with your meals
  5. Cook less menu items but cook bigger portions

Menu:

Breakfast

1. Garden Vegetable Quiche

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1TvicycT8dshMVkN7rHVLGXjK_hcn7wA4v5GTELsgF7k/edit

2. Breakfast Burritos to Go

https://docs.google.com/document/d/17qLS1_o-v2SR5YaRubVdVTpZ01I1Zr3CDDxHna33aEU/edit

3. Old Fashioned Pancakes

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1uWzeQBdxTvs76b0JzKhh5k7wAJBpEHAjr8GsK5LnEo4/edit

Dinners

4a. Herb-Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1HgyIQUvfIinpaHvhucWZhQjixA1m7OKUBxOHRsFF2-k/edit

and 4b. Classic Bread Stuffing With Onions, Celery, and Herbs 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1z-GodOa9lAPPSIwchysRIUtGWorX-RYIW5dQAEQhh0M/edit

5a. Chicken Tortilla Soup 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1HlgmOAUTe-sB60xto63RkyEw3i4CkUM3Y0QvOAtqfFc/edit

& 5b. Slow-Cooker Chili Chicken Tacos

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1SVDhX03FlX6Pf-cQ54iD5bT9dwgRcVWanZb0l5Sy6r8/edit

6a. Coconut Soup

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-fc7S3seU4NSQdAQp7sm5QFtRRL8QzOLubrGv9j4eoc/edit

& 6b. Pad Thai

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xW_87cBc5DbPOf3jkrKhnsAZKB2Hl-oX70n5CgicnVM/edit

7. Jambalaya

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1UafzzrEr0HmAw_w1aOaY5uskDXRza9QSlD4JtaK7V60/edit

Lunches for baby

8a. Copycat Chick-Fil-A Nuggets & Sauce

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Cxbm6HEWgmbNvdzlLMoLBjiXAOuMs-uV1ZixLaV73Hw/edit

& 8b. Roasted Vegetables 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/146E4VEYKWg4fG5zgoWHtWQt4H3umQYpvWVbBryJQNfA/edit

9. Granny’s Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1oxbYKBix9okHHBjFUlZABci45Mj4-M5FT-WtWzAb0RY/edit

Extras

10. Chicken Stock

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1nRn9BuJG4H7gcLI0rdxGGjsJh8KXvLdOJ_TRnrwtENA/edit

11. Cheddar Dill Crackers

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1gEVowaH7PA8BahtpGpkY4eFaI3MVLdJZ9n1eBB4n_VE/edit

12. Broccoli breadsticks {grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free} 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/18q0__M1wI7EtWoo6V1AidsRqpBsUe_5GtIxcKRH4H-k/edit

13. Banana Crackers

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1vBkS1dMOq0GaTvyhX-IEB9b6kNpHk2zcMgJXYRHbi20/edit

Kitchen Equipment

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