- Have food you can eat on hand. Always having something you can grab. . . whether it's in the freezer, canned or a snack, makes life way easier. I don't have a lot of ready-made things I can eat (or afford to eat all of the time) but if I have a few of them on hand it makes a big difference if I don't feel like cooking at some point. Some of my favorites are: Stagg's "Classic" chili, Amy's GF,DF mac and cheese, Nature's Hilights pizza crusts, Lundberg (Pico de Gallo) bean and rice chips and Ener-G pretzels.
- Menu plan. I know it can be a pain, but I find it makes a huge difference. If I know what is on the menu for the week, I can shop in one trip, let the meat thaw from my freezer ahead of time, etc and never have those last minute, "Ah! What do I make for dinner?" moments.
- Get some great kitchen supplies. Items like a food chopper, a food processor, a decent blender, a crockpot, an ice cream maker, etc, can make cooking that much easier and less time consuming. My motto is: why tediously chop food, or garlic by hand when you can use a food chopper, food processor or garlic press to make it effortless?
- After you cook a meal, freeze a serving or double the whole meal and freeze a family size portion. If you make a double batch of enchilada sauce or spaghetti sauce, then the next time you want a quick dinner, it definitely can happen. The single servings that I freeze, I can eat for lunch or take on a trip to a hotel that has only a microwave and fridge. Chicken can also be cut up, cooked and frozen to add to a meal. Hamburger can be cooked, and frozen in family size portions, so that it is ready to go for an easy meal as well.
- Eat left overs. I have learned to be grateful for leftovers. I make a little extra and often eat it for lunch the next day. If we have a bunch of leftovers we might even all pick our own lunch out of various ones on a Saturday. This helps limit cooking and keeps something ready to eat as well. If you have more leftovers than you feel like eating (I usually am interested in only one leftover meal of a particular dish) then remember to freeze it for another day.
- Make your own baking mixes. I make my own "mixes" to make my life easier and make myself less likely to buy it pre-made or pre-packaged. So one day I make up 5 mixes of all of the same recipe. For example, a muffin recipe. I put in all of the dry ingredients to each of the 5 bags. I label each with what it is, the cookbook name, and page number so it is easy to add the yeast or wet ingredients when I am ready to do it.
- Mix herbs in little snack bags. I can't have taco seasoning in the store bought packets, so sometimes I make my own up, and put it in snack bags so that when it comes time to make tacos, all I need to do is throw it in.
I am posting this on Allergy-free Wednesdays here. Check out the great tips and recipes!