Several times recently I have been asked how I find the energy to do everything I do. These days I do feel like I have been working harder than I ever have before. In addition to my own two children I also babysit a two year old little girl. It seems like every day we are adding something to our little “farm”, which means more chores every morning and evening. As I am eliminating processed foods from my family’s diet I am doing more and more cooking and baking from scratch. At the end of the day I am truly exhausted. Don’t even think of mentioning that I don’t have a job, I just might start throwing things. With all of this on my plate I’ve had to work on becoming better organized. The frozen dinners that had been a lifesaver on nights when I didn’t feel like cooking, are no longer an option now that I have read the list of ingredients in most of them. So after nearly five years of marriage I have finally begun meal planning.
My basic outline for planning dinners looks something like this:
Monday-Double up from last week (beef)
Tuesday– chicken (double up for next week)
Thursday-beef (double up for next week)
Friday-double up from last week (chicken)
Saturday – other (pork, lamb,vegetarian, dinner out)
Sunday – fish
If I stick to the plan I have two nights that I don’t have to cook. I do have two nights that I have to put a little work into making a double dinner, but really it doesn’t take much extra effort. I switch the plan around from week to week and try to make enough so that I can eat leftovers for lunch. Once a week I try to use the crock-pot. Serving a double up dinner from the freezer on Monday allows me to get organized so that I can stay on track for the rest of the week.
* Beef Stroganoff *
2 pounds ground beef
1 large onion, diced
1 pound mushrooms, diced
4-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp pepper
2 tsp paprika (opt.)
1 Tbls parsley(opt.)
1 cup water(or beef stock)
2 Tbls flour
8 0z sour cream (I’ve substituted yogurt with good results)
*2 cups brown rice cooked in 4 cups chicken broth
Cook rice (or if you prefer, noodles)
Brown ground beef in a large skillet, drain fat and set beef aside.
In the same skillet saute onions in some of the reserved fat (our homegrown beef is so lean I often need to use a small amount of butter) , add mushrooms and garlic, and seasonings. Cook till mushrooms are soft. Add cooked ground beef.
Stir flour into the water to dissolve and pour into skillet. Simmer, stirring occasionally, till mixture begins to bubble. Add sour cream and salt to taste. Simmer for several more minutes.
I place half the rice in a glass casserole dish and cover with half of the stroganoff. My casserole dishes have plastic lids, but you can cover with aluminum foil if yours do not. I place the dish in the refrigerator for 1 hour, then place in the freezer. This meal can be reheated in the microwave or the oven.
I serve my stroganoff with a fresh salad, or home canned green beans. All of my double up dinners make 2 – four serving meals.
This post is a part of Pennywise Platter Thursdays