18 July 2009

a request!

hello culinary world:

i have little to no time to make an elaborate dinner these days.

this is a sad fact for me because i LOVE to cook and try new things. i hum in the kitchen and feel accomplished when i make something delicious that my family loves.... how 1950's. but it's true and i love it.

having said that, i must reiterate: i just dont have the time that i used to to make nutritious and tasty meals for my family. it seems as if every time i get into my messy, blissful kitchen groove my baby is crying to be nursed or held and my toddler is at my feet, tugging on my apron, demanding to be entertained or wanting to "help me," and so on and so forth. i think a lot of moms can relate. cooking with a new baby and toddler around is tricky sometimes.
Drunken Mouth Kitchen Smile
so, i have decided that "make-ahead-meals" will be my dinnertime salvation.

how do make ahead meals work? on the days when making dinner seems an impossible task, i will be able to retrieve something fabulous out of the freezer that i had previously prepared and throw it in the oven!

i have a couple of recipes that are sure bets so far:

cheese enchiladas (my sisters make ahead recipe)
lasagna (thanks for the idea angie)
spaghetti sauce for pasta, chicken parm., lasagna...etc. (my sister-in-law's recipe)
chimichangas (my mom used to make a ton when we were little and freeze them)
homemade chicken taquitos

and here's where you come in: do you have any other suggestions for me? maybe even a recipe to go with that suggestion??

i'm going to collect a bunch of ideas, make them, and report back here so all the busy chefs reading this can start making ahead (like on a lazy weekend or an evening when the kids are in bed) and stop the dinner time stress!

because dinner time should be a happy time of day- not a stressed out, sweaty, everybody's crying time of day so let's help each other out!

get those ideas in if you have them and let's get cookin'!

(you can comment here or submit recipes to: stephaniexrobertson(at)gmail(dot)com!!)


  1. if i think of any i'll email you. and i love that picture! captures an everyday scene and i like that angle. you're lucky you have a photographer husband to beautifully document life for you!

  2. To be honest, I've never done the whole cook and freeze thing so I don't have any recipes that I know freeze really well. I'll have to think about it and see if I have any suggestions.

    I got a crock pot cookbook for Christmas because I knew cooking would be a challenge after having Axton. To me, a crock pot is a busy mom's best friend. I have some good crock pot ideas that I will be sharing on here. That may also be helpful for you.

  3. My friend her mom and sister do a freezer meal exchange. Once a month they exchange 2 meals they prepared...so they end up with 6 different meals for the freezer. The meals she posted about were: lasagnas, chicken enchiladas, sticky chicken & fried rice, spaghetti with meat and cheese on top, penne pasta with chicken and alfredo sauce, corn chowder soup, and bran muffins. She didn't post recipes but I think you can freeze most anything that's pre-cooked...you just have to let it thaw then warm. I've only done this once...made double what we were having for dinner and froze half. It re-cooked fine but it wasn't the best recipe in the first place. But oh how I liked having that meal ready in the freezer!

  4. Thanks for the ideas Shauna! By the way, everyone, Shauna is one of my Monterey friends and she is AWESOME. I want to be just like her when I have 3 kids. She is rad! I love the idea of an exchange. Too bad we all live so far apart!

  5. usually my fast meals aren't frozen, they're just fast. like pasta with butter and herbs (no sauce because i don't have any!), cheddar soup (it's so easy, and i'm going to post about it sometime), or wraps of some kind. well, actually, since i don't get home till about 5:30 and nate's hungry the second he walks in the door, i pretty much don't make anything that's not fast. (besides crock pot)sometimes i assemble lasagna or something and just cook it wheni get home. i'd be interested to hear more about this freezing thing, though. (wow, if this isn't the longest comment on earth...)

  6. Besides my aforementioned spagetti sauce that I make in enormous batches and freeze to use a variety of ways, I also buy groud beef in bulk at Sams and cook it up before I freeze it. I usually leave some plain (can be used in anything); cook some with taco seasoning (sorry, no recipe, just the prepackaged seasoning, again in bulk from Sams) which can be used for tacos, nachos, etc; and my latest is to cook some up with all the chili seasonings and ingredients minus the beans, which I just add when I'm warming it up -- no sense taking up more freezer space plus I wasn't sure how beans would freeze. There are probably better chili recipes out there, but if anyone wants mine, I'll post it.

    It always amazes me how much faster it is to throw together a meal when the meat is already all cooked up.

    Not exactly what you asked for, but hope that helps!!

  7. PS sorry to be confusing, but the above post is from Stephanie's sister-in-law Shauna, not Star's Monterey-friend Shauna. For such an uncommon name, I seem to run into a lot of us!(And to Shauna: I've been to Monterey -- we lived in Benicia for about 7 years -- it's awesome.)


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