While most people were out celebrating New Year’s Eve, I was having a mini-meltdown. We’d had a wonderful Christmas and then… something about the coming new year just filled me with dread. After having a good cry and discussing it with my husband, I narrowed the reason down to the fact that the first few months of every year are Very Very Hard for me. That’s because my husband’s a tax accountant, and it doesn’t take long for those long Busy Season hours to kick in. Starting early February I’m virtually a single mom, responsible for getting kids ready and to school every day, doing my own work, picking them up from school, cooking dinner, supervising homework, music lessons, etc., then getting them to bed. My husband comes home to help when he can, but the majority of parenting responsibilities fall to me. And weekends don’t offer much respite, especially mid-March to mid-April.
We strategized a bit about how to make this year less stressful, and one obvious idea bubbled to the top. It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for years now, and this year it might just be a key to my sanity.
I want to assemble the week’s meals on Sunday, then freeze them so all I have to do each night is turn on the oven and maybe steam some frozen veggies as a side. I’m thinking I’ll do a bunch of casseroles, lasagne, soups, etc. But my repertoire is pretty limited. That’s where I’m hoping my fellow working moms can help. PLEASE post links to quick and easy casseroles and other dishes that can be frozen, then re-heated. I’m open to crock pot recipes, too, but they have to be things that are FAST and simple to assemble in the morning.
So what do you say? Can you help me? My hungry kids and I will thank you – plus, if I love your dish, I just might pimp it here at WMAG. Thank you, fellow working moms. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
14 thoughts on “Help Me Feed My Family (Without Pulling Out My Hair)!”
I love this site http://www.onceamonthmom.com. In the past, cooking meals ahead of time and freezing them was just extra work for me so I didn’t do it, but this site does all the planning and instructions (even labels!). I don’t do a big cooking day once a month, I do 8-10 meals at a time when I have a few hours to spare. My goal is to freeze as many meals as I can so that I can survive the rest of my pregnancy and have meals in the freezer for the first month or so after the baby is born.
This has been the only thing keeping me sane since my daughter was born. I do all of our cooking Sundays. Google once a week or once a monh cooking and you will find tons of websites with recipes. I also find that it helps if you’re strategic (plan to make a turkey on the weekend, then during the week use leftover turkey for casseroles, soup, sandwiches, etc). I also try to plan one crockpot meal each week, just to mix things up.
I feel your pain as my husband is also a cpa. And I work FT and am still nursing kid 2. I have a few casserole recipes but no links. If you don’t cook ahead, I recommend a quick and easy 30 minutes or less cookbook. I can get done feeding the baby at 6:30 and have dinner on the table at 7. We also do a lot of pasta/frozen ravioli and jar sauce, veggie burgers, omelets, bean burritos and soup. It’s not gourmet but it’s cheaper and healthier than eating out! good luck!
I completely empathize with your pain! In fact, as someone who has spent more than 15 years in corporate America and is mother of three (ages 7, 4 and 18 months) I often FEEL your pain! But I can help! I started my company, Nourish, two years ago to help women live healthier lives. One of our services is called Nourish@Home and it does all the work you are describing FOR you. You choose your menu from our list of healthy options and one of our trained cooks shops for, and then comes to your home and prepares and stores seven healthy dishes for you to mix and match throughout the week. You don’t even have to be home while she is there! You get your Sunday back and STILL have dinner in the fridge or freezer ready for you! Our food is all healthy but it’s also abundant and delicious – this is not DIET food. Check it out at http://www.NourishAtHome.com if you are interested! The trial rate is $199 + groceries to get meals for the entire week! Here’s to your well-being…
I also feel your pain as my husband is a CPA. I haven’t been too successful with freezing but I spend a bit of time every weekend planning out the meals for the week. My cooking is simple but at least it is at home and we also eat a lot of leftovers. I usually do one crock pot recipe a week and leftovers one night a week so only three nights of actual cooking. My favorite crock pot recipes are simple ones – a whole chicken w/carrots, onions, celery, salt, pepper, basil and 1/2 cup white wine or a pot roast with carrots, potatoes, onions, salt, pepper and 1/2 cup water. Both are great to use as leftovers or to make other dishes. You can use the leftover pot roast to make vegetable soup or leftover chicken to make chicken salad or a chicken casserole. Maybe there should be a support group for wives of CPAs! Happy Busy Season!
One more tip – if you are doing a crock pot recipe, chop up everything the night before so that all you have to do is throw it in the crock pot in the morning. Or, better yet, put all the ingredients in the crock pot insert and put that in the refrigerator overnight. Easy peasy as my 5 year old says!
Both my parents are self employed CPAs… as a kid there came a time each tax season that unless I went to the office I could go days without seeing them.
I can’t offer suggestions on weekly cooking, but I love the cook book Desperation Dinners. 20 minutes for every recipe (mostly true; you have to keep moving to make it in 20 minutes and sometimes the water needs to already be boiling). I have enjoyed the food from that a lot. They also have some time saving tips in there in terms of ingredients to have on hand (like frozen chopped onions and peppers, freezing cheese, etc).
Hey Sara, I have the book “Fix, Freeze, Feast” if you want to borrow it. The recipes are designed to make 2 to 3 meals each so you can stock up your freezer.
But, also chicken pot pie is a good one to prepare and freeze. When I make it, I usually make 2 so I can put another one in the freezer. I go off this basic recipe, but I use refrigerated pie dough, frozen veggies, and Mrs. Dash seasoning:
Good luck and let me know if you want to borrow that book!
I just chop off vegetables, colorfull bell peppers and freeze them for a quick stir fry later in the week, works like magic!
I do a lot of crock pot meals. We do a lot that are 2 nighters. For instance, I’ll buy a pork loin, let it cook all day, and we have pork roast for dinner. The next night, it turns into bbq pork- just dump out the broth and throw in some bbq sauce. Same with beef roast. Roast night 1, next night vegetable soup (I add extra broth, 2 cans mixed veggies, a can of tomatoes, and usually leftover corn from night 1. Pull the meat into smaller bites and you’re done). Both super easy to turn on in the morning and have dinner waiting. The crock pot with the removable inside is a must for us. The trick is to leave the lid on (not hard while you’re at work).
I swear by http://www.e-mealz.com You can pick a type of menu you like and even the store you prefer shopping at and every Thursday you have 7 recipes including sides to feed 6 people. All you have to do is grocery shop & cook, but even with that I find it only takes about an hour to shop and the meals (with the exception of crock-pot meals) take about 30 to 40 mins from start to finish including all the chopping & boiling.
I’ll recommend Ina Garten’s Turkey Meatloaf (it’s tasty, pretty healthy and kid-friendly) which freezes and reheats beautifully.
My friends and I faced a similar dilemma, but came up with a different solution. Since 2006, my family and I have been in a neighborhood dinner co-op we fondly call “Food Group.”
Simply put, one night a week I deliver dinner to three other families, and on the other three nights, dinner is delivered to our door. So Monday through Thursday, we’ve got a home-cooked meal each night, leftovers for lunch and a lot less “meal time” stress.
When I talk about the group to someone, the usual response is intrigue, wonder and inevitably, “oh, but I could never do that.” Frankly, when we started the group, we didn’t know if we could do it, but we really wanted to make it work. So we figured it out as we went along, and now we’re in a pretty good groove.
“Food Group” was born of a desire to feed our families healthy, home-cooked food. It’s not for every family, but I’m hoping to help de-mystify the dinner co-op and pay some of the benefits my family and I have reaped forward.
I decided to start blogging about our co-op and SettingOurTables is the story of our suppers. Please check it out at http://www.feedingourfamilies.wordpress.com .
I take about 3 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs and put them in the crock pot. Then I’ll take a jar of salsa and pour over it. Then cook till done. Serve w/ microwave rice. For a different flavor add a tablespoon of cumin to the salsa. It doesn’t get any easier!
I have the World’s Easiest Crockpot Recipe for you. Take a 3 – 5 lb. whole chicken, remove giblets, rinse and pat dry. Place in crockpot. Sprinkle your preferred seasoning – basic salt and pepper, seasoned salt, sage, adobo, poultry seasoning, or what you will – over the top. Place crockpot lid on top and cook for 8 – 10 hours.
That’s it. Really. You don’t need any additional liquid. The chicken will come out falling-apart tender. Enjoy.