Meal Planning

Heather - posted on 10/05/2011 ( 20 moms have responded )

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Hi mommies,

I'm facing a bit of a dilemma here. I work all day in an office, and get home between 5:30-6pm. I have to have my 2 1/2 year old son in bed between 8:30-9pm, so he can get up at 6 so I can take him to daycare. This leaves me between 2-3 hours per night. Because he doesnt see me all day, a lot of the time he refuses to let me cook,("play, mommy!) and by the time I can its too late to start something homemade. Whenever I try something quick and simple, hubby and him don't want it. My husband is a construction worker, so lots of days he comes home and goes straight to bed from exhaustion, so him playing with our son while I make dinner is a rare occurance. Does anyone have some tips for me? Or homemade recipes that are quick, and yummy for the pickiest of eaters?(read: husband)

Thanks in advance!

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Two suggestions: 1. slow cooker 2. freezer meals

1. I love my crock pot, or slow cooker. I throw in the ingredients in the morning (or night before) and have a home cooked meal by supper time!

2. Freezer meals. On the weekends take an hour or two to put together 2-3 casseroles and stick them in the freezer. When you get home from work, stick them in the oven.

Brianna - posted on 10/06/2011

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i LOVE my slow cooker. there are so many recipes. some of my favorites are.
take a roast out of the freezer the night before and but it in the fridge. in the morning throw it in the slow cook with some baby carrots and small potatos and some water and spices. and cook it on low and when u get home check it with a thermomitor but i should be done :)
- i buy like 10 raw chicken drumstick pieces (u can use ribs instead of chicken if u want) and throw them in the slow cooker in the morning with 1/2cup of ketchup 1/2cup bbq sauce and cook for it for 8 hours then i just need to make a quick sides like ill make i package of sidekicks and cook up some frozen pees and carrots
- u can even cook a whole lil chicken (4-5lbs) in the slowcooker
Rub Ingredients:
1/4 cup paprika
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon white sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
Materials
Aluminum foil rolled into 7 or 8 one inch balls
Directions
1. Roll aluminum foil into balls and add to bottom of your crockpot.

2. Rinse and pat dry whole chicken, then rub dry ingredients all over the chicken, be sure to rub some inside the cavity as well.

3. Set chicken on top of foil balls and set slow cooker to high and cook for 8 hours or until chicken reaches 180° F.

also i like to make things like lazanages, meatballs, and meatloafs and freeze them

September - posted on 10/06/2011

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Sounds exactly like my life! :) I let our son help me cook. That way we're still getting in our one on one time while cooking our dinner, he loves to help. Personally I would not excuse my husband from the responsibilities of taking care of our child just because he works long hours. Often times my husband does not get home until 7 sometimes 8pm and is completely exhausted however he still plays an important role in raising our son, and freeing me up so that I can get some things done. I think your husband should at least help out sometimes. As far as meals go, I like to make casseroles and I use my crockpot a lot as well. Both of which are quick and easy. Using the crockpot is easiest since the meal is already ready when I get home from work. Otherwise I spend my time in the kitchen with our son since he enjoys helping. Finding that balance is not always easy, I wish you all the best! :)

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Kathleen - posted on 10/11/2011

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as already said. Try slowcooked meals in a crockpot. can leave it all day for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low. it does work any meat pretty much can be put in there with some vegetables. There are also make a head meals such as whatever day you have off like a saturday. cook all day. Spahgetti, roasts, chicken dishes, tons of disisehs and casseroles you can have ready and waiting for you. Check out Rachely Ray in a Week might find something tasty. If not Rachel does have 30m meals.

Melinda - posted on 10/11/2011

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You can also try one month meals, where you do all of your cooking for the month in one day. Then, on each day, you take the ready made ingredients out of the freezer, throw them together and have a home-cooked meal on the table in no time! There is a huge Internet following of this method if you google it! ;)There's also a great cookbook called Once A Month Cooking that makes planning meals and adapting your own recipes rather painless! God Bless!

Rondalyn - posted on 10/10/2011

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I am in a similar situation. I just purchased the crock pot slow cooker cook book with 365 recipes in the book. I luv it....

Rondalyn - posted on 10/10/2011

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I am in a similar situation. I just purchased the crock pot slow cooker cook book with 365 recipes in the book. I luv it....

Jenny - posted on 10/10/2011

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Agree on the slow cooker and freezer meals and pasta. Also frozen veggies are so easy and quick and often more nutritious than the fresh veg you can get at the grocery store because they are picked and frozen at the peak instead of earlier so they'll last during shipping. I cook with my 2 1/2 year old daughter. She LOVES to sit up on the counter (obvously you have to use your best judgement and be safe about this) and I'll give her a piece of mushroom or tomato to cut up with her plastic kids' knife. She's always excited about it AND if she helps make something she's alway excited about eating it. Or I'll ask her to hold something for me and hand it to me or put something way in the fridge for me - It definately slows things down, but we're spending time together and "playing" AND getting dinner cooked. My boys were the same, they both had aprons with Pirates on them and loved to help in the kitchen. Otherwise, definately talk to your husband. If he can't pull it together to spend 15-20 minutes with your son while you make dinner for the family then he certainly can't complain about what you're cooking. This is 2011 after all. Good luck!!!

Genevieve - posted on 10/09/2011

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I also cook with my daughter almost every meal. I would try to get your son involved. Though little ones at the end of a long day with hungry tummies are always willing participants. Get hubby helping whlie you put the food on. You can play when its in the oven. Most meals only take 15 mins to throw together and the rest is just waiting for them to be ready. Im sure your son can give you 15mins and hubby can help with that.

Genevieve - posted on 10/09/2011

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Slow cookers are great ideas. I have tons of friends that swear by thiers. But I dont know how much time you have for TV watching but Jamie Oliver has a great new show on the cooking channel or in Canada the Food Network. Its called Jamies 30 Minute Meals. Dont know if you want to check out some episodes but I found this on a google search. http://www.channel4.com/programmes/jamie... Ive watched a few and love them. But Im really into cooking and find them to be easy to follow. I dont know what your favorite things to cook are either that woudl might find a simpler way to make.

Carmina - posted on 10/07/2011

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you cant go wrong with pasta. its so easy to make up a sauce yourself (and tastier) but for a liturally 10 minute meal just buy the sauce and cook the meat and pasta.. and its healthy! if i end up doing this i just serve a side of streamed greens with the pasta to keep the nutrition :)

Deanna - posted on 10/07/2011

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A slow cooker is awesome. But a sandwich maker is good too.
And don't let your husband have excuses like that. My husband works in the construction business as well and he ALWAYS makes time for our daughter. He comes home exhausted and still spends time with her. He says it also helps him settle down. He starts work at 6:30 and go til 10 at night.
Also, on your days off, make a day of making some ready meals. Stews, soups, casseroles. You make enough for the week and freeze them. It helps so much.

Tiffiny - posted on 10/07/2011

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peanut butter and jelly pizza.... pillsbury pizza crust cooked by itself, then when its done spread the pb all over it and either jam or jelly on top get ur son to help u and he'll luv it or even regular homemade pizza thats something you and ur son can do together and sometimes when they help they enjoy it even more

Erica - posted on 10/06/2011

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Slow cooker is great and freeze food that way you are not slaving in the kitchen when you get home. However i also think hat you should ask your husband for some help, essp if he is not liking what you are making. I am a SAHM but my husband still comes home and takes care of our girls while i cook or even just go and relax since i have been with the kids all day. You deserve the help, you work all day and come home tired!! I think on top of using the slow cooker and freezing food you should have a chat with your hubby!! Good luck

Tinker1987 - posted on 10/05/2011

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Ditto to the other posts there are so many slow cooker recipies out there.also spagetti is easy,you can premake a sauce to freeze take it out in the morning and just cook the noodles when you get home 15 minutes?!!

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