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Old 01-12-2022, 02:21 PM
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Default I hate cooking

I have a house full of picky eaters (including myself).
I don't like cooking, or planning, or shopping, or clean up, or anything else associated with the whole process! But, buying take out is killing my budget, and we're tired of Costco's offerings.
I tried Hello Fresh. It's a bit pricey, but definitely less than take out. The recipes are decent, but hard on me to adjust for the picky eaters.

HELP!!!
How do YOU menu plan?
Do you have meals that you just repeat each month?
Do you try new recipes often?
What are your go-to recipes?

HELP ME!! I really need to get a handle on this.

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Old 01-12-2022, 02:38 PM
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I enjoy cooking somewhat but I'm usually too lazy so I make super basic recipes or just repeat the same ones over and over. Plus the picky kids...

We usually have
one taco night
one pizza night
one chicken dinner (enchiladas or butter chicken as our go-to)
and then I just wing it and buy another type of meat from the store. Ground italian sausage to make in pasta (sometimes red sauce, sometimes cream)

I rely a lot on canned veggies or frozen because I don't like them going bad in the fridge.

I like my meals to be in one pot. Makes it so much easier for cleanup.
Crockpot, through everything in it and forget about it...
Instant pot soups. So easy.

Super easy Instant Pot butter chicken I make at least twice a month
The enchiladas I usually make

I try to make a new recipe every now and then. I aim for once a week.
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Old 01-12-2022, 03:08 PM
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I used to love going through cookbooks/recipes, choosing new meals & making grocery lists. That was probably 15 years ago though...now I can't think of many worse ways to spend my time, haha.

2 years ago, I made a set of 'menus' that I just use on repeat.
Each one has 6-7 dinners on it, which usually lasts us over a week once we add in pizza night, leftovers, or any nights out that come up. That gives me a little flexibility with grocery shopping which I need, because sometimes I end up subbing on grocery day or sometimes I just really don't feel like going, haha.
I don't plan the meals for particular days, just depends what we have going on each day, what I'm in the mood to make/eat, or how long the produce is going to last.

On each set of recipes, I try to balance out the protein types (chicken, beef, pork, fish, meatless) and meal type (I would eat soup or pasta every single night ) and I include something super easy "from the freezer/pantry" (tuna helper, frozen nuggets & tots) for super busy nights PLUS one thing I know my kids looooooove, so when they're complaining about how awful it is that I make them eat vegetables, I can assure them that they'll have a chance to eat breakfast sausage slathered in cream cheese & covered in crescent rolls before too long

I have all of the recipes printed, laminated grouped by 'week' & hooked together on a ring, so I don't have to pull books or binders out or go down any internet rabbit holes while trying to find the one I'm using on a particular night.

I have a grocery list for each plan & I just print that out, cross off stuff I already have and/or add anything additional/out of the ordinary.

I started with 3 plans, and now we have 4. When there's something new I want to try, I decide when to try it and if we like it enough to add it to our rotation, we've just got to wait until there's enough new things we like to make a new plan. Then I just make an additional grocery list & recipe group and add it into the cycle.
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Old 01-12-2022, 03:20 PM
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I usually let each family member pick one meal they want for the week. Then I fill in the gaps with either tried and true recipes or I may try something new.

Some of their favorites are Ceasar salad with grilled chicken (or salmon or shrimp), This crock pot carnitas recipe, Instant Pot Pizza Pasta, Cuban Sliders, Instant Pot Mongolian Beef, tacos, meatball calzones (I use frozen meatballs, store bought pizza dough, marinara, shredded cheese), General Zso's or Orange chicken made with frozen popcorn chicken with either a store bought sauce or sometimes I make this super easy orange sauce, throw in some broccoli and serve over rice, chicken and dumplings

I usually stick to easy recipes during the week and maybe get into more involved recipes on the weekends. My family seems to prefer the easy stuff though. I also rely on my crock pot and Instant Pot quite a bit.
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Old 01-12-2022, 06:28 PM
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I am not a huge fan of cooking...mostly the prep and cleaning...My boys though prefer a home cooked meal over take out...We eat out a lot, too much.
Meal time has changed a lot here with the boys being gone or busy. The 17 yr old is rarely home and the 11 yr old has church on Sunday and Wednesday (this night they feed them) and musical theatre club till 5 on Monday and gymnastics on Thursday till 530pm. Thankfully I am the only picky one in my house. My boys will eat almost anything. They love salads and veggies.

We have a pizza night but we buy the pizza kits at Costco and make our own...the little one likes cheese and peppers, hubby likes everything and I am cheese sometimes pepperoni and little to no sauce.

We used to do tacos...beef and chicken but they have made me really sick lately so that one is on hold.

Stir fry is a fav. I cook rice in an instapot and chicken in a second instapot ahead of time. I use a mixer to shred the chicken and I put the pot of rice in an ice bath to cool it down (keeps it from being sticky). I cut up squash, zucchini and onion and sauté them in a wok with a little sesame oil and garlic. I also add a bag of frozen peas and carrots. Once they are crisp and onions are clear I add in the chicken and some soy sauce then rice with a touch more soy sauce...serve. A variation we have done is marinate chicken and shrimp in teriyaki sauce and grill and cook rice and veggies in wok. My boys love this one.

On weekends hubby grills...we grill chicken (using a marinade we saved from pinterest or with Italian dressing and other random spices (I rarely measure). We also grill corn on the cob and then make a tray and grill veggies (I use a Normandy mix which is broccoli, cauliflower and carrots). This is one of my boys favorite meals. They even called me from grandparents house asking for the recipes and marinade.

We do a lot of pasta...spaghetti with meat sauce and salads, tortellini and salad (we buy the Tortellini at costco), spinach ravioli and salads

Last night I got a Stoffers lasagna and fixed that with salads

Sloppy Joes and homemade fries (I use a recipe in an old church cookbook but have doctored.)...I cook meat with green pepper and onion. Drain off fat then add 1 cup ketchup, 1tbsp worchesire sauce, 2 tbsp vinegar, 1 tbsp sugar, 1tsp mustard or dry mustard. Simmer for about 15 mins. We chop up potatoes (I have a gadget that chops them in strips). I put them in a gallon bag with various spices (Salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, oregano, a touch of sugar, onion powder) We air fry them in batches.

Chicken mac and cheese is another fav. We make the sauce from scratch add in noodles, chicken (I use canned chicken here that I have sautéed in some Italian seasonings) and top with bread crumbs moistened with butter, garlic and touch of salt bake until bubbly.

I use the instapot quite a bit too. We have done instapot chili using turkey meat (I add in onions, black beans, pinto beans to get some nutrition in there)

Boys love Taco pasta This one I add extra tomato sauce and I add black beans. I also do not mix in cheese, we just add it at the end.

Skinny Chicken Parm there are pics of this and the recipe in my gallery

Stir Fry recipe if you like to follow recipes

Burgers and homemade fries are popular. We use a really lean beef (93/7) so it can be dry. When I pat out the burgers I mix in a few slices of chopped up bacon. Hubby does a dry rub on the burgers found here
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Old 01-12-2022, 06:51 PM
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I feel you, Tammy! My husband won't eat anything that is mixed together, soup or beans. He doesn't like vegetables, either. HE IS THE WORST to feed. My boys will eat whatever; they are hungry teenagers and just want food in their bellies. Ariana is so picky and just wants to snack. I've been reading the book, Fiber Fueled, and I'm seriously worried about their gut biome!

I'm going to have to look into these tips & recipes. Streamlining the whole dinner process would significantly improve the quality of my life!
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Old 01-12-2022, 08:51 PM
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I hear ya, Tammy. My family can be picky as well. Thankfully my most picky eater is a grownup and no longer lives in the area. He was in town over Christmas and it was challenging to feed him things he liked the week and a half he was here (and he won't eat any kind of leftovers).

I do try to meal plan. This time of year I am usually making some kind of taco (family can customize how they want) and some kind of soup weekly. I fill in with asian lettuce wraps, hamburger helper (beef pasta is our fave), salmon, beef stroganoff or a beef roast I make in the instant pot. We also occasionally do Papa Murphy's or Dominos.

In the last month, we've discovered Johnny Carino's has 1/2 price family dinners on Monday night. They say each family dinner feeds 3-4 people. We bought a lasagna & a chicken fettucine alfredo for under $50 (we pickup) and got 2 full meals (plus 2 individual leftovers for lunch) out of it for our family for 4. That has become our little takeout luxury =)
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Old 01-12-2022, 09:07 PM
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I don't meal plan, I tried but it wasn't successful. I have batch cooked but that was more while my son was away at college and I would send him back with homemade soups, frozen mini meatloaves. For myself I made things he won't eat and it was nice to have frozen leftovers for me on nights I didn't want to make anything.

We have our basics that I seem to blindly cook every week. I call Friday and Saturdays fend for yourself, take out, or it will be something like burgers on the Foreman and fries in the Air Fryer.

My son is picky about veggies so we eat a lot of broccoli, peas, and corn. Cauliflower and asparagus are faves for him as well but right now the prices are crazy, we eat those more in the summer.

Thankfully he is always game for shrimp so I will do that every other week, but our weekly meals usually include, some kind of chicken, a ground beef dish of some kind, a pork roast , sausages, fish. He is not a big potato eater so we do a lot of wild rice instead.
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Old 01-12-2022, 09:38 PM
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I don't think I would mind cooking if someone cleaned the kitchen. I didn't get asked x4 what we are eating. Sometimes its 8 times or more. Then add in we are allergic to everything under the sun here. I'm allergic to tomatoes, pepper, yeast, and celery. Luckily I can eat it anyway or I'd really starve. My husband is allergic to beef and pork. He really needs an epipen but refuses to go get one. My son is allergic to almonds, rice, and corn. He can eat them but tends to not eat them anyway. My daughter is just out right a pain in my butt. She is going threw this new thing. First she only ate mac and cheese. Now it's grits, cereal, and hot dogs. She doesn't eat sandwiches and says everything is gross without even trying it. So I just tell them all to eat or starve until the next meal. I try to cook something that I know each one of the kids like at least one thing. Definitely freaking hard! Usually I only come up with two big meals, two fast meals, and Friday is pizza. Saturday and Sunday is catch what you can.
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Old 01-12-2022, 10:00 PM
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I love to cook and rarely make the same thing twice… I always make a casserole on Monday, something Mexican on Tuesday, soup Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I use a cookbook and hubby cooks the weekend. Cassy Joy Garcia cookbooks is my favorite… her last one (cook once dinner fix) has you batch making the meat and then two easy recipes to use that meat.

Also I cook up a huge batch of shredded chicken and freeze… ton of recipes to use it snd meals on the table quick
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Old 01-12-2022, 10:06 PM
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I'm in denial that dinnertime exists. Then it hits about 4:30-5 and I'm like, "F*@k!" and try to scramble. Once in a while I think of it early enough to take something out of the freezer. Otherwise I'm doing a quick thaw in a bowl of water. Seriously, I hate dinnertime. If it were up to me I'd eat a turkey sandwich and be done with it.
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Old 01-12-2022, 10:12 PM
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I hate cooking, too! I've never loved it, but my picky crew is so difficult to feed. I'm a vegetarian and try to eat lower calorie meals with lots of vegetables. My 18 year old is very picky. He hates mixed foods, strong tastes, most vegetables, and melted cheese. The 15 and 13 year old are easier to feed, but they get very tired of eating the plain things acceptable to kid #1. It's easier now that he's older and I can tell him to make himself something else if necessary. DH wants to eat plain chicken and a green vegetable most nights. I long ago told DH that he was on his own since I couldn't feed the kids that same thing every day. He eats a few of the meals I prepare, but if he doesn't want that he cooks for himself. I also tend to make my own meal, cooking once at the beginning of the week and then eating leftovers.

Here's how I handle it for the kids. I meal plan a month at a time and try to make sure there are no repeats during the month.

Monday is pasta night. One week is pasta with tomato sauce, one week is pasta with meatballs, and the other two weeks are various pasta dishes. If the oldest won't eat the "other" 2 weeks, he can make his own plain pasta. That's almost always what he does.

Tuesday is a meat (often chicken or pork, but they also love turkey meatloaf and roasts) with a separate side (potatoes, corn bread, rice, etc).

Wednesday is leftovers.

Thursday we alternate between breakfast for dinner and Mexican.

Friday is quick and easy stuff--homemade personal pizzas (with kid #1's cheeseless), frozen chicken tenders, soup and sandwiches, etc.

Saturday we do take out.

Sunday is DH's night to cook. About 75% of the time he grills a meat and serves it with bread from the bakery.

Kid #1 is a senior in high school this year, and next year he'll be away at school. I'm probably going to have to throw most of our current meal plans out the window and actually start cooking a lot more variety for the other 2!
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Old 01-13-2022, 08:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ponytails View Post
I'm in denial that dinnertime exists. Then it hits about 4:30-5 and I'm like, "F*@k!" and try to scramble. Once in a while I think of it early enough to take something out of the freezer. Otherwise I'm doing a quick thaw in a bowl of water. Seriously, I hate dinnertime. If it were up to me I'd eat a turkey sandwich and be done with it.

This is me... including a few bad words.... after the toddlers all leave at 4:30, I am exhausted... ( I am up by 4:30 am everyday) and my son usually has to be at work at 5pm a couple days a week... so planning a meal most nights is crazy...
I am the queen of tossing something in the microwave to thaw.... or just telling everyone it's a "make your own" night.

When I can get my act together ..... I plan tacos, or pasta... (pasta night at my house is not a one pot.... whole grain pasta for me, gluten free pasta for my son, and regular pasta for hubby and two daughters, and my other daughter, if she's home has a special pasta). Sometimes I toss chicken breast and veggies on a sheet pan, season and toss in oven. I like to toss chicken in crockpot with some dressing.
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Old 01-13-2022, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Ponytails View Post
I'm in denial that dinnertime exists. Then it hits about 4:30-5 and I'm like, "F*@k!" and try to scramble.
This is me most of the time, but the INSTAPOT has changed my life!
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Old 01-13-2022, 08:42 AM
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I don't think I would mind cooking if someone cleaned the kitchen.
SAME HERE! I hate the cleaning!
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Old 01-13-2022, 12:44 PM
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I'm plant based and hubs is a meat eater so I have to prep and plan ahead or I'd go nuts. I really don't enjoy cooking anymore. I just want fast and easy these days.

What helps me is to batch cook rice and freeze it so it is easy and fast to thaw/heat up.

I steam a big pot of baby potatoes and stick them in the fridge for the week, then microwave them to warm up at dinner time.

I chop up veggies and put them in the fridge so they are ready to add to salads and stirfrys.

One pot meals, whether in the instapot or the crockpot save time and cleanup. Or one sheet pan meals baked in the oven with chopped veggies, chicken, potatoes with oil spritzed overtop and sprinkled with spices, that is an easy meal. If there are leftover meat/veggies ,the next night they can be warmed up, over rice, top with cheese or a sauce (I make a sweet hummus drizzle).

One night a week is tomato soup and grilled cheese night. That's easy.
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Old 01-13-2022, 01:07 PM
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I don't like to cook, never really learned. And, it is a pain to cook for one. I'm also a picky eater so I have my favorites that I tend to eat often.

Game changer for me though was the air fryer. Always hated frying anything because of the grease splatter. I also don't have an outdoor grill so that isn't an option for those items that would be fried. Air fryer took care of that. I don't mind fixing hamburgers now.

Although since it is only me I don't have to deal with trying to please others. I guess that is a good thing!
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Old 01-13-2022, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Dalis View Post
This is me most of the time, but the INSTAPOT has changed my life!
I keep thinking that I should try this, but I borrowed one once and it sat untouched on my counter for two weeks until I finally gave it back. I suppose I should try again, but it just seems so exhausting to learn new stuff when I don't want to learn it.

As for you ladies who make special meals for your family members, all I can say is that you're saints or a little bit crazy! I make one meal. Like it or make your own. (Or in the case of the littles, when they were little, my philosophy was that no child ever starved himself. If they get hungry enough, they'll eat. And they did.
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Old 01-13-2022, 02:05 PM
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Honestly? I don't cook for my family every night. Actually only maybe once a week. The rest of the week, it's up to them. Everyone likes different things and I am busy. I was killing myself trying to figure out healthy meals that work for all of us and it just wasn't worth it. So now when I do cook, everyone is very grateful and I am not overdoing it on myself.
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Old 01-13-2022, 02:24 PM
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I hate cooking too.. not a fan. My eldest is away at college now and was so helpful in the kitchen.. lol.

I will say one thing I like is this plugin for my browser called "copy me that" i use this for saving recipes. It's so much nicer than saving links to things because you know how on blog posts it always takes forever to get to the actual recipe? This makes it so that you have just the recipes at your fingertips.
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Old 01-13-2022, 05:16 PM
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I keep thinking that I should try this, but I borrowed one once and it sat untouched on my counter for two weeks until I finally gave it back. I suppose I should try again, but it just seems so exhausting to learn new stuff when I don't want to learn it.

As for you ladies who make special meals for your family members, all I can say is that you're saints or a little bit crazy! I make one meal. Like it or make your own. (Or in the case of the littles, when they were little, my philosophy was that no child ever starved himself. If they get hungry enough, they'll eat. And they did.
Same!! If they don't like what I'm making they can go to bed hungry!
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Old 01-13-2022, 05:52 PM
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I hate cooking too.. not a fan. My eldest is away at college now and was so helpful in the kitchen.. lol.

I will say one thing I like is this plugin for my browser called "copy me that" i use this for saving recipes. It's so much nicer than saving links to things because you know how on blog posts it always takes forever to get to the actual recipe? This makes it so that you have just the recipes at your fingertips.
Oh, thanks for the great tip! I always say that if I were a food blogger, I’d become everyone’s favorite one simply by putting the recipe BEFORE the long back story
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Old 01-13-2022, 05:55 PM
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I don't have time to read through these right now... I'll be back. I can tell I'm going to be bookmarking a lot of new recipes. I do have a few good ones to share, too. I kinda suck at meal planning but I'm trying to improve. Thanks for starting this, Tammy!
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Old 01-15-2022, 01:44 AM
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I actually really like cooking, I'm just tired on weeknights so it feels more like a chore than I wish it did. Thankfully my husband and I are pretty equitable when it comes to meal planning and cooking - though admittedly the meals I make are typically a lot more laborious/complex and I'm more likely to try new recipes, etc. We absolutely try to make meals that will last more than one day (or at least help with lunches). We have a few rotational staples and then we supplement with other meals. We usually order take out at least once a week.
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Old 01-15-2022, 05:46 PM
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So when my ex and I were together, I made dinner every single night, except Fridays, and they all had to be gluten-free. I meal planned like a fool. Now, I only have the kids 2-3 nights a week & every other weekend, and it's actually harder now to come up with things to cook! I hate cooking something "real" for just me & now that the ex is not here, there are always leftovers (that may or may not be eaten by anyone else in the house). I've been told that their dad only makes chicken nowadays so I try to focus on making other meats when they're here & I eat chicken when they're not.

My youngest is the pickiest, and he is required to make his own meal. There are only three things I make that he will eat so he is on his own 95% of the time.

My go-to meals are sheet pan meals (McCormick has several seasoning packets that you just sprinkle over top the meat + veg), soups (if you buy one of those bag soups, you can just add things to the base to make it taste "fancy" without as much work on your part) + Aldi take & bake bread, pasta + meat, tacos, and casseroles. I/we have pizza every Friday night. I've started buying Tyson's precooked frozen chicken (shredded or cubed) that just has to be thawed out and thrown into something to make a meal. I I will normally make one "real" meal that requires effort one of the nights my kids are here and do an easier one/leftovers for the other night and when I'm on my own.

I keep pesto, spaghetti sauce, some kind of noodle, bags of frozen veggies, frozen chicken, seasoning packets, red potatoes, soft tortillas, and shredded cheese on hand all the time and can make a variety of things out of those in a pinch.

I'm lucky to have found a BF who is a former chef so we are currently integrating "his" recipes into the rotation when we are together. After he moves in, I imagine I will be more serious again about meal planning since there will be another adult to feed and we will likely do the choose a cuisine/food type per day.
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Old 01-16-2022, 02:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leablahblah View Post
I enjoy cooking somewhat but I'm usually too lazy so I make super basic recipes or just repeat the same ones over and over. Plus the picky kids...

We usually have
one taco night
one pizza night
one chicken dinner (enchiladas or butter chicken as our go-to)
and then I just wing it and buy another type of meat from the store. Ground italian sausage to make in pasta (sometimes red sauce, sometimes cream)

I rely a lot on canned veggies or frozen because I don't like them going bad in the fridge.

I like my meals to be in one pot. Makes it so much easier for cleanup.
Crockpot, through everything in it and forget about it...
Instant pot soups. So easy.

Super easy Instant Pot butter chicken I make at least twice a month
The enchiladas I usually make

I try to make a new recipe every now and then. I aim for once a week.
I like the idea of specific food group nights. That's a great idea!
Thank you so much for the recipes!

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Originally Posted by knittingbec View Post
I used to love going through cookbooks/recipes, choosing new meals & making grocery lists. That was probably 15 years ago though...now I can't think of many worse ways to spend my time, haha.

2 years ago, I made a set of 'menus' that I just use on repeat.
Each one has 6-7 dinners on it, which usually lasts us over a week once we add in pizza night, leftovers, or any nights out that come up. That gives me a little flexibility with grocery shopping which I need, because sometimes I end up subbing on grocery day or sometimes I just really don't feel like going, haha.
I don't plan the meals for particular days, just depends what we have going on each day, what I'm in the mood to make/eat, or how long the produce is going to last.

On each set of recipes, I try to balance out the protein types (chicken, beef, pork, fish, meatless) and meal type (I would eat soup or pasta every single night ) and I include something super easy "from the freezer/pantry" (tuna helper, frozen nuggets & tots) for super busy nights PLUS one thing I know my kids looooooove, so when they're complaining about how awful it is that I make them eat vegetables, I can assure them that they'll have a chance to eat breakfast sausage slathered in cream cheese & covered in crescent rolls before too long

I have all of the recipes printed, laminated grouped by 'week' & hooked together on a ring, so I don't have to pull books or binders out or go down any internet rabbit holes while trying to find the one I'm using on a particular night.

I have a grocery list for each plan & I just print that out, cross off stuff I already have and/or add anything additional/out of the ordinary.

I started with 3 plans, and now we have 4. When there's something new I want to try, I decide when to try it and if we like it enough to add it to our rotation, we've just got to wait until there's enough new things we like to make a new plan. Then I just make an additional grocery list & recipe group and add it into the cycle.
I love your idea of having the recipes printed and laminated and hooked together, and having the grocery list for each! That's brilliant!

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Originally Posted by HeatherH View Post
I usually let each family member pick one meal they want for the week. Then I fill in the gaps with either tried and true recipes or I may try something new.

Some of their favorites are Ceasar salad with grilled chicken (or salmon or shrimp), This crock pot carnitas recipe, Instant Pot Pizza Pasta, Cuban Sliders, Instant Pot Mongolian Beef, tacos, meatball calzones (I use frozen meatballs, store bought pizza dough, marinara, shredded cheese), General Zso's or Orange chicken made with frozen popcorn chicken with either a store bought sauce or sometimes I make this super easy orange sauce, throw in some broccoli and serve over rice, chicken and dumplings

I usually stick to easy recipes during the week and maybe get into more involved recipes on the weekends. My family seems to prefer the easy stuff though. I also rely on my crock pot and Instant Pot quite a bit.
I tried that, but get, "I don't know". LOL! My mom lives with us and complained about meals. I asked her for ideas and got the same answer! LOL! ...just a little frustrating!
Thank you so much for the recipes!
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Old 01-16-2022, 02:30 PM
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I am not a huge fan of cooking...mostly the prep and cleaning...My boys though prefer a home cooked meal over take out...We eat out a lot, too much.
Meal time has changed a lot here with the boys being gone or busy. The 17 yr old is rarely home and the 11 yr old has church on Sunday and Wednesday (this night they feed them) and musical theatre club till 5 on Monday and gymnastics on Thursday till 530pm. Thankfully I am the only picky one in my house. My boys will eat almost anything. They love salads and veggies.

We have a pizza night but we buy the pizza kits at Costco and make our own...the little one likes cheese and peppers, hubby likes everything and I am cheese sometimes pepperoni and little to no sauce.

We used to do tacos...beef and chicken but they have made me really sick lately so that one is on hold.

Stir fry is a fav. I cook rice in an instapot and chicken in a second instapot ahead of time. I use a mixer to shred the chicken and I put the pot of rice in an ice bath to cool it down (keeps it from being sticky). I cut up squash, zucchini and onion and sauté them in a wok with a little sesame oil and garlic. I also add a bag of frozen peas and carrots. Once they are crisp and onions are clear I add in the chicken and some soy sauce then rice with a touch more soy sauce...serve. A variation we have done is marinate chicken and shrimp in teriyaki sauce and grill and cook rice and veggies in wok. My boys love this one.

On weekends hubby grills...we grill chicken (using a marinade we saved from pinterest or with Italian dressing and other random spices (I rarely measure). We also grill corn on the cob and then make a tray and grill veggies (I use a Normandy mix which is broccoli, cauliflower and carrots). This is one of my boys favorite meals. They even called me from grandparents house asking for the recipes and marinade.

We do a lot of pasta...spaghetti with meat sauce and salads, tortellini and salad (we buy the Tortellini at costco), spinach ravioli and salads

Last night I got a Stoffers lasagna and fixed that with salads

Sloppy Joes and homemade fries (I use a recipe in an old church cookbook but have doctored.)...I cook meat with green pepper and onion. Drain off fat then add 1 cup ketchup, 1tbsp worchesire sauce, 2 tbsp vinegar, 1 tbsp sugar, 1tsp mustard or dry mustard. Simmer for about 15 mins. We chop up potatoes (I have a gadget that chops them in strips). I put them in a gallon bag with various spices (Salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, oregano, a touch of sugar, onion powder) We air fry them in batches.

Chicken mac and cheese is another fav. We make the sauce from scratch add in noodles, chicken (I use canned chicken here that I have sautéed in some Italian seasonings) and top with bread crumbs moistened with butter, garlic and touch of salt bake until bubbly.

I use the instapot quite a bit too. We have done instapot chili using turkey meat (I add in onions, black beans, pinto beans to get some nutrition in there)

Boys love Taco pasta This one I add extra tomato sauce and I add black beans. I also do not mix in cheese, we just add it at the end.

Skinny Chicken Parm there are pics of this and the recipe in my gallery

Stir Fry recipe if you like to follow recipes

Burgers and homemade fries are popular. We use a really lean beef (93/7) so it can be dry. When I pat out the burgers I mix in a few slices of chopped up bacon. Hubby does a dry rub on the burgers found here
I haven't done stir fry in a while. That would be a great addition.
Pasta is one of my favorites. I should look up more pasta recipes.
I am mostly a recipe follower, just because I really don't trust myself to make things taste good without a recipe.
Thanks for the recipes!!

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Originally Posted by joelsgirl View Post
I feel you, Tammy! My husband won't eat anything that is mixed together, soup or beans. He doesn't like vegetables, either. HE IS THE WORST to feed. My boys will eat whatever; they are hungry teenagers and just want food in their bellies. Ariana is so picky and just wants to snack. I've been reading the book, Fiber Fueled, and I'm seriously worried about their gut biome!

I'm going to have to look into these tips & recipes. Streamlining the whole dinner process would significantly improve the quality of my life!
Oh, that would make things even more difficult! No casseroles?!
Hubby & our boys do a lot of snacking. I'm going to look that book up!

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Originally Posted by stephc777 View Post
I hear ya, Tammy. My family can be picky as well. Thankfully my most picky eater is a grownup and no longer lives in the area. He was in town over Christmas and it was challenging to feed him things he liked the week and a half he was here (and he won't eat any kind of leftovers).

I do try to meal plan. This time of year I am usually making some kind of taco (family can customize how they want) and some kind of soup weekly. I fill in with asian lettuce wraps, hamburger helper (beef pasta is our fave), salmon, beef stroganoff or a beef roast I make in the instant pot. We also occasionally do Papa Murphy's or Dominos.

In the last month, we've discovered Johnny Carino's has 1/2 price family dinners on Monday night. They say each family dinner feeds 3-4 people. We bought a lasagna & a chicken fettucine alfredo for under $50 (we pickup) and got 2 full meals (plus 2 individual leftovers for lunch) out of it for our family for 4. That has become our little takeout luxury =)
My pickiest eater will be up in Coeur d'Alene for an internship over the summer, so that will make it a little easier.
I think I'm going to make tacos a weekly meal. That seems like an easy one. My family has decided they don't like Papa Murphy's
Oh, I'm going to check out Johnny Carino's! That would be awesome!
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Old 01-16-2022, 02:41 PM
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I don't meal plan, I tried but it wasn't successful. I have batch cooked but that was more while my son was away at college and I would send him back with homemade soups, frozen mini meatloaves. For myself I made things he won't eat and it was nice to have frozen leftovers for me on nights I didn't want to make anything.

We have our basics that I seem to blindly cook every week. I call Friday and Saturdays fend for yourself, take out, or it will be something like burgers on the Foreman and fries in the Air Fryer.

My son is picky about veggies so we eat a lot of broccoli, peas, and corn. Cauliflower and asparagus are faves for him as well but right now the prices are crazy, we eat those more in the summer.

Thankfully he is always game for shrimp so I will do that every other week, but our weekly meals usually include, some kind of chicken, a ground beef dish of some kind, a pork roast , sausages, fish. He is not a big potato eater so we do a lot of wild rice instead.
It sounds like even though you don't really "plan", you have a good system down!

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Originally Posted by ~Cindy~ View Post
I don't think I would mind cooking if someone cleaned the kitchen. I didn't get asked x4 what we are eating. Sometimes its 8 times or more. Then add in we are allergic to everything under the sun here. I'm allergic to tomatoes, pepper, yeast, and celery. Luckily I can eat it anyway or I'd really starve. My husband is allergic to beef and pork. He really needs an epipen but refuses to go get one. My son is allergic to almonds, rice, and corn. He can eat them but tends to not eat them anyway. My daughter is just out right a pain in my butt. She is going threw this new thing. First she only ate mac and cheese. Now it's grits, cereal, and hot dogs. She doesn't eat sandwiches and says everything is gross without even trying it. So I just tell them all to eat or starve until the next meal. I try to cook something that I know each one of the kids like at least one thing. Definitely freaking hard! Usually I only come up with two big meals, two fast meals, and Friday is pizza. Saturday and Sunday is catch what you can.
I'm so thankful that we don't have food allergies!! ...other than Hubby being mildly allergic to onions. LOL! My mom said I ate like your daughter does when I was just starting to eat solid food. I hope your daughter grows out of it.

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Originally Posted by MamaBee View Post
I love to cook and rarely make the same thing twice… I always make a casserole on Monday, something Mexican on Tuesday, soup Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I use a cookbook and hubby cooks the weekend. Cassy Joy Garcia cookbooks is my favorite… her last one (cook once dinner fix) has you batch making the meat and then two easy recipes to use that meat.

Also I cook up a huge batch of shredded chicken and freeze… ton of recipes to use it snd meals on the table quick
I think I'm going to implement that plan. It seems like it would make planning a lot easier. I'm going to look up those cookbooks!
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Old 01-16-2022, 02:55 PM
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I'm in denial that dinnertime exists. Then it hits about 4:30-5 and I'm like, "F*@k!" and try to scramble. Once in a while I think of it early enough to take something out of the freezer. Otherwise I'm doing a quick thaw in a bowl of water. Seriously, I hate dinnertime. If it were up to me I'd eat a turkey sandwich and be done with it.
LOL! This is SO me!!! If my mom didn't live with us, I'd just let everyone be on their own. Our boys are adults. They can fend for themselves. But, my mom freaks out if she asks what is for dinner and I don't know (as if she's going to starve! lol!)

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Originally Posted by rach3975 View Post
I hate cooking, too! I've never loved it, but my picky crew is so difficult to feed. I'm a vegetarian and try to eat lower calorie meals with lots of vegetables. My 18 year old is very picky. He hates mixed foods, strong tastes, most vegetables, and melted cheese. The 15 and 13 year old are easier to feed, but they get very tired of eating the plain things acceptable to kid #1. It's easier now that he's older and I can tell him to make himself something else if necessary. DH wants to eat plain chicken and a green vegetable most nights. I long ago told DH that he was on his own since I couldn't feed the kids that same thing every day. He eats a few of the meals I prepare, but if he doesn't want that he cooks for himself. I also tend to make my own meal, cooking once at the beginning of the week and then eating leftovers.
Oh my, Rachel, that sounds like a handful!!

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Originally Posted by StacyLynn View Post
This is me... including a few bad words.... after the toddlers all leave at 4:30, I am exhausted... ( I am up by 4:30 am everyday) and my son usually has to be at work at 5pm a couple days a week... so planning a meal most nights is crazy...
I am the queen of tossing something in the microwave to thaw.... or just telling everyone it's a "make your own" night.
Stacy, I totally get it! I did freezer cooking (once a month cooking) when I worked because there was no way I was spending time cooking after work!

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This is me most of the time, but the INSTAPOT has changed my life!
LOL! I have an InstaPot, an air fryer, a crockpot, an indoor grill... none of these have helped
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Old 01-16-2022, 03:01 PM
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I'm plant based and hubs is a meat eater so I have to prep and plan ahead or I'd go nuts. I really don't enjoy cooking anymore. I just want fast and easy these days.

What helps me is to batch cook rice and freeze it so it is easy and fast to thaw/heat up.

I steam a big pot of baby potatoes and stick them in the fridge for the week, then microwave them to warm up at dinner time.

I chop up veggies and put them in the fridge so they are ready to add to salads and stirfrys.

One pot meals, whether in the instapot or the crockpot save time and cleanup. Or one sheet pan meals baked in the oven with chopped veggies, chicken, potatoes with oil spritzed overtop and sprinkled with spices, that is an easy meal. If there are leftover meat/veggies ,the next night they can be warmed up, over rice, top with cheese or a sauce (I make a sweet hummus drizzle).

One night a week is tomato soup and grilled cheese night. That's easy.
Wow, Rae! You are very organized!!

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Originally Posted by HavaDrPepper View Post
I don't like to cook, never really learned. And, it is a pain to cook for one. I'm also a picky eater so I have my favorites that I tend to eat often.

Game changer for me though was the air fryer. Always hated frying anything because of the grease splatter. I also don't have an outdoor grill so that isn't an option for those items that would be fried. Air fryer took care of that. I don't mind fixing hamburgers now.

Although since it is only me I don't have to deal with trying to please others. I guess that is a good thing!
That totally makes sense. Cooking for one has challenges, just like cooking for a group does! I'm glad the air fryer has helped.

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Originally Posted by Ponytails View Post
I keep thinking that I should try this, but I borrowed one once and it sat untouched on my counter for two weeks until I finally gave it back. I suppose I should try again, but it just seems so exhausting to learn new stuff when I don't want to learn it.
I've used my Instapot for rice and hard boiled eggs. LOL! I could have just stuck with a rice maker.

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Originally Posted by lovely1m View Post
Honestly? I don't cook for my family every night. Actually only maybe once a week. The rest of the week, it's up to them. Everyone likes different things and I am busy. I was killing myself trying to figure out healthy meals that work for all of us and it just wasn't worth it. So now when I do cook, everyone is very grateful and I am not overdoing it on myself.
That sounds like a great solution! I wish it would work for my family!
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Old 01-16-2022, 03:05 PM
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I hate cooking too.. not a fan. My eldest is away at college now and was so helpful in the kitchen.. lol.

I will say one thing I like is this plugin for my browser called "copy me that" i use this for saving recipes. It's so much nicer than saving links to things because you know how on blog posts it always takes forever to get to the actual recipe? This makes it so that you have just the recipes at your fingertips.
It's always nice to have someone who can/wants to help.
Thanks for the plugin info. I'm going to check that out!

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Originally Posted by Leablahblah View Post
Same!! If they don't like what I'm making they can go to bed hungry!
Because I was a very picky kid and had to eat what was prepared, even if I didn't like it, I was sympathetic to my picky eaters. LOL

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Originally Posted by knittingbec View Post
Oh, thanks for the great tip! I always say that if I were a food blogger, I’d become everyone’s favorite one simply by putting the recipe BEFORE the long back story
Seriously!! I love when there's a "skip to recipe" box at the top!
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Old 01-16-2022, 03:09 PM
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It's just the two of us unless we have the family over for a special meal. I used to love to cook (when the kids were home), but my hubby loves to cook more. I pretty much turned those duties (he thinks it's fun) over to him several years ago. He eats early and I like to eat later, so he fixes himself something earlier and fixes me something later. It works for us.
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Old 01-16-2022, 03:11 PM
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I don't have time to read through these right now... I'll be back. I can tell I'm going to be bookmarking a lot of new recipes. I do have a few good ones to share, too. I kinda suck at meal planning but I'm trying to improve. Thanks for starting this, Tammy!
There are so many great tips here, Lori! I hope you're able to skim through and that it helps

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Originally Posted by SeattleSheri View Post
I actually really like cooking, I'm just tired on weeknights so it feels more like a chore than I wish it did. Thankfully my husband and I are pretty equitable when it comes to meal planning and cooking - though admittedly the meals I make are typically a lot more laborious/complex and I'm more likely to try new recipes, etc. We absolutely try to make meals that will last more than one day (or at least help with lunches). We have a few rotational staples and then we supplement with other meals. We usually order take out at least once a week.
I've always wanted to like cooking. lol It's much more challenging when you work outside the home. Since I'm at home, and hubby works, my "job" is everything related to the house. It seems like we had more leftovers for lunches when we had one more person in the house. LOL! She was a big eater, so I always made extra. Now, we never seem to have leftovers. I'm not sure what happened.

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Originally Posted by LeeAndra View Post
So when my ex and I were together, I made dinner every single night, except Fridays, and they all had to be gluten-free. I meal planned like a fool. Now, I only have the kids 2-3 nights a week & every other weekend, and it's actually harder now to come up with things to cook! I hate cooking something "real" for just me & now that the ex is not here, there are always leftovers (that may or may not be eaten by anyone else in the house). I've been told that their dad only makes chicken nowadays so I try to focus on making other meats when they're here & I eat chicken when they're not.

My youngest is the pickiest, and he is required to make his own meal. There are only three things I make that he will eat so he is on his own 95% of the time.

My go-to meals are sheet pan meals (McCormick has several seasoning packets that you just sprinkle over top the meat + veg), soups (if you buy one of those bag soups, you can just add things to the base to make it taste "fancy" without as much work on your part) + Aldi take & bake bread, pasta + meat, tacos, and casseroles. I/we have pizza every Friday night. I've started buying Tyson's precooked frozen chicken (shredded or cubed) that just has to be thawed out and thrown into something to make a meal. I I will normally make one "real" meal that requires effort one of the nights my kids are here and do an easier one/leftovers for the other night and when I'm on my own.

I keep pesto, spaghetti sauce, some kind of noodle, bags of frozen veggies, frozen chicken, seasoning packets, red potatoes, soft tortillas, and shredded cheese on hand all the time and can make a variety of things out of those in a pinch.

I'm lucky to have found a BF who is a former chef so we are currently integrating "his" recipes into the rotation when we are together. After he moves in, I imagine I will be more serious again about meal planning since there will be another adult to feed and we will likely do the choose a cuisine/food type per day.
That would be a big adjustment. Especially not having everyone to cook for all the time.
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Old 01-16-2022, 03:13 PM
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It's just the two of us unless we have the family over for a special meal. I used to love to cook (when the kids were home), but my hubby loves to cook more. I pretty much turned those duties (he thinks it's fun) over to him several years ago. He eats early and I like to eat later, so he fixes himself something earlier and fixes me something later. It works for us.
I wish my hubby loved to cook, or even knew how to cook. lol! He's good at breakfast, but that's about it. How nice that your hubby will cook for himself and then cook for you!
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Old 01-18-2022, 09:19 PM
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I tried the Instant Pot Chili that Kim posted - yum, and super easy!

Here's a version of Sesame Chicken that's pretty quick and very good: https://sweetsavoryandsteph.com/ligh...SmJLkSB3V7aEJg
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Old 01-19-2022, 06:05 PM
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I don't like (nor am I good at) cooking, but thankfully my husband likes to cook and is good at it! He usually makes dinner 2-3 times a week. We have take out or eat our maybe 1-2 times a week.

We do have meals that are more constant- tacos, spaghetti, soup and grilled cheese or panini sandwiches, goulash or chili, pancakes/waffles/ breakfast casserole, hot dogs with mac and cheese or french fries, suddenly salad or pasta. As far as other foods or meals, we usually go off from what is on sale at the store. We like Voila meals (quick and easy), we buy frozen dinners (everyone picks out their favs), pot pies once in a while ( a mix between chicken and beef), meat dishes we go off what is on sale and then come up with either a favorite recipe or find something new. WE have been trying to clean out our big freezer, so we've been having a lot of different dishes based on what is in there. We will do burritos, chicken kiev or cordon blue, appetizer meal (we buy chicken strips, potato skins, mozarella sticks, jalepeno poppers, etc), based on what is on sale at the store.

My style of cooking is heating up something "premade" from the store. His style of cooking is making ribs or pulled pork or something that takes more time and energy. His cooking is usually from scratch, where mine is a frozen or easy to put together dish.

I have a family with half and half picky eaters. We plan a dish, and if one of them doesn't like it, they can make themselves something (quesadilla, sandwhich etc). I do not plan all my meals to make everyone happy. To me, the more variety the better, then I don't feel like I am in a rut. We may try one new recipe every couple weeks, and then just go through our regular or favorite dishes.

Good luck!
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Old 01-21-2022, 01:52 PM
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I tried the Instant Pot Chili that Kim posted - yum, and super easy!

Here's a version of Sesame Chicken that's pretty quick and very good: https://sweetsavoryandsteph.com/ligh...SmJLkSB3V7aEJg
This sounds really yummy, Lori! Thanks for the recipe!

QUOTE=aussiegirl;1063080716]I don't like (nor am I good at) cooking, but thankfully my husband likes to cook and is good at it! He usually makes dinner 2-3 times a week. We have take out or eat our maybe 1-2 times a week.

We do have meals that are more constant- tacos, spaghetti, soup and grilled cheese or panini sandwiches, goulash or chili, pancakes/waffles/ breakfast casserole, hot dogs with mac and cheese or french fries, suddenly salad or pasta. As far as other foods or meals, we usually go off from what is on sale at the store. We like Voila meals (quick and easy), we buy frozen dinners (everyone picks out their favs), pot pies once in a while ( a mix between chicken and beef), meat dishes we go off what is on sale and then come up with either a favorite recipe or find something new. WE have been trying to clean out our big freezer, so we've been having a lot of different dishes based on what is in there. We will do burritos, chicken kiev or cordon blue, appetizer meal (we buy chicken strips, potato skins, mozarella sticks, jalepeno poppers, etc), based on what is on sale at the store.

My style of cooking is heating up something "premade" from the store. His style of cooking is making ribs or pulled pork or something that takes more time and energy. His cooking is usually from scratch, where mine is a frozen or easy to put together dish.

I have a family with half and half picky eaters. We plan a dish, and if one of them doesn't like it, they can make themselves something (quesadilla, sandwhich etc). I do not plan all my meals to make everyone happy. To me, the more variety the better, then I don't feel like I am in a rut. We may try one new recipe every couple weeks, and then just go through our regular or favorite dishes.

Good luck![/QUOTE]

How nice that you hubby cooks, Dawn! Mine is a master at cooking breakfast...that's about it! lol
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Old 01-27-2022, 12:17 AM
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I thought I'd post what my new "plan" is... This gives me a bit of structure to work within
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Old 01-27-2022, 01:05 AM
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Originally Posted by knittingbec View Post
2 years ago, I made a set of 'menus' that I just use on repeat.
Each one has 6-7 dinners on it, which usually lasts us over a week once
I have a grocery list for each plan & I just print that out, cross off stuff I already have and/or add anything additional/out of the ordinary.
This is such a great idea! I did this a few years ago, but we got so burnt out on the dishes that I finally quit. But I will say that when we came back to the Philippines after six months in the States, those rotating menus saved my life! It was so, so nice not to have to think about dinner when I was so drained from jet lag and getting our house set back up.

Mel's Kitchen Cafe is one of my favorite places to get recipes. She has menu plans on the Prepear app, and I'm planning to try it once we're in the States and I can find the ingredients easily.

This week I made Tuscan Garlic Chicken and Lemon Garlic Chicken with Caesar Salad, both of which were big hits and easy to make.
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Old 01-28-2022, 06:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joelsgirl View Post
This is such a great idea! I did this a few years ago, but we got so burnt out on the dishes that I finally quit. But I will say that when we came back to the Philippines after six months in the States, those rotating menus saved my life! It was so, so nice not to have to think about dinner when I was so drained from jet lag and getting our house set back up.

Mel's Kitchen Cafe is one of my favorite places to get recipes. She has menu plans on the Prepear app, and I'm planning to try it once we're in the States and I can find the ingredients easily.

This week I made Tuscan Garlic Chicken and Lemon Garlic Chicken with Caesar Salad, both of which were big hits and easy to make.
I'm so glad you're doing better than you were when you returned!
Thanks for the website. Going to check it out
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Old 02-06-2022, 07:16 PM
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I hate cooking also.

I started out meal planning in August and would plan a month at a time. It didn't work out at all. I would plan for meals based on what I thought was going on and then things would come up. I was constantly shifting meals around to make quick things when I had less time, etc. After 3 months of this I realized we ended every month with about 12-15 meals that had not been made.

My new plan is to pick 3 big meals to make during the week and eat leftovers the rest of the week. Sometimes we do a 4th big meal on the weekend that my husband cooks on the smoker. Yesterday was pulled pork and baked beans. We froze half the beans and will still have enough of both left for 2 more meals.

We have 2 freezers and my plan is to have one freezer with foods to be prepared and the other with foods that just need to be warmed up or baked. Frozen pizza, pot pies, etc. would go in this one along with enchiladas that I make and freeze, potato soup, baked beans, jambalaya, etc. I have a pretty good start already on the frozen meals. This summer will be my first one not working in a few years and I plan to make and freeze at least 3 things each week so that I can stock that freezer for the busy school year.
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Old 02-08-2022, 10:07 PM
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I love to cook but lately I've been struggling to find the energy for it. I've been working a lot and often can't even start dinner until 7ish and then we end up eating late. My husband has been away during the week for work or I would be putting him to work. I wish I'd done a better job getting my kids cooking because now they're teens and don't have a clue! My friend is excellent at meal planning and gets the week's meals prepped on Sunday but I've never been that organized. Anyway, I'm trying to find my way back to some balance and work less in the evenings and hopefully start enjoying cooking again! Here are some of our favourite recipes:

Huli Huli Chicken: http://therecipecritic.com/2016/05/g...-huli-chicken/

Slow Cooked Tri Tips with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy: https://laurenslatest.com/slow-cooke...shed-potatoes/

Moo Goo Gai Pan: https://carlsbadcravings.com/moo-goo-gai-pan/

Hatch Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas: https://lovelylittlekitchen.com/hatc...en-enchiladas/

Creamy Balsamic Skillet Chicken: https://lovelylittlekitchen.com/crea...illet-chicken/

Oven Roasted Chicken Shawarma: https://www.jocooks.com/recipes/oven...cken-shawarma/

Chicken Panang Curry: https://carlsbadcravings.com/pantry-...-panang-curry/

Classic Double Crust Chicken Pot Pie: https://thefoodcharlatan.com/classic...ot-pie-recipe/

Beef Barley Soup: https://thefoodcharlatan.com/beef-barley-soup-recipe/

Slow Cooker Chili: https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/slow-c...-pot-giveaway/

Skillet Taco Pasta Shells: http://www.melskitchencafe.com/skill...0-minute-meal/

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce: http://www.melskitchencafe.com/homem...uce-perfected/

Creamy Chicken Noodle Skillet: https://www.the-girl-who-ate-everyth...oodle-skillet/

Bourbon Chicken: http://www.melskitchencafe.com/bourbon-chicken/

Shepherd’s Pie: http://www.melskitchencafe.com/shepherds-pie/

Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Soup: http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/slow-co...h-soup-recipe/ (This is delicious but a bit spicy! I usually add 2 Tbsp brown sugar)

Cream Cheese Chicken Enchiladas: http://www.bunsinmyoven.com/2010/08/...en-enchiladas/

Korean Chicken Thighs: https://www.foxandbriar.com/korean-chicken-thighs/

Rigatoni with Sausage & Fennel: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/...fennel-3753750

Lemongrass Chicken with Rice and Zucchini: https://pinchofyum.com/lemongrass-ch...e-and-zucchini

Schinkennudeln (Ham & Cheese Pasta): https://whatsgabycooking.com/schinkennudeln/
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