Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Meal Planning

I've been working hard this year to plan ahead when it comes to meal time at our house. I love the idea of coming home to something homemade and ready in the slow cooker, or something that can easily be reheated in the microwave, or quickly cooked in a wok, broiled, or grilled.

So last weekend I took some bone-in chicken breasts, a beef roast, and a 3-lb. package of ground beef out of our freezer. We had the chicken breasts barbecued on Monday night. I started them when I first got home from work and they were ready to eat in a couple of hours. (The leftovers have been good lunches for my husband this week.) Then last night we had leftovers from our spicy stir-fried chicken and vegetables over rice meal that I made on Sunday. And tonight we'll have roast beef.

I seasoned the meat (generously) last night before dinner with dried onion flakes, coarsely ground pepper, and garlic salt, and then put it into the slow cooker to chill in the fridge overnight. This morning, I left my husband a note to put the slow cooker on the counter and plug it in before he left for the day. He leaves a few hours after I do, which helps when the recipe only calls for 7-8 hours of cooking at medium temperature and my workday plus commute time has me gone for 10 hours.

So, when I get home tonight the meat will be done. I'll carve it with my electric knife and serve it with microwaved corn on the cob (2 minutes per ear on high), microwave baked potatoes, and fresh sliced tomatoes (from my little container garden). I'll probably also make a quick gravy with the meat juices and a little flour, because my husband loves gravy.

The best thing about a meal like this is that there is enough meat (even with my husband's appetite for roast beef) for at least one more meal. So we'll probably have leftover roast beef again in the near future--within a couple of days or I'll freeze it for future use.

Thursday night will be an easier meal for us--bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches, raw veggies, and watermelon for dessert. I made a large package of bacon last weekend, making more than we needed at the time so that I could just deal with the grease mess one time instead of twice. So I'll re-crisp some of that leftover bacon in the oven for our sandwiches on Thursday night, and I'll divide the rest of it for two recipes that I want to make on Friday with the ground beef that I've been thawing in the fridge.

I've been missing my mother's recipe for calico beans, so that will be Friday night's dinner. (I'll have more time to make dinner that night because I'm working from home that day--no commute time.) And then over the weekend, probably on Sunday afternoon, I'll make a new recipe that I recently found for baked jambalaya. Hopefully, the jambalaya recipe will be a success, because I'm planning to make enough of it to have as leftovers the following week.


USAincognito said...

I read your comment on Tracy's site about the zucchini and I left you a reply back on there but thought I would check your site out and also leave it here.
If you fry zucchini up in a cornmeal batter, it is really good!! :)
Hope you enjoy all your zucchini!!

Karen said...

Thank you for the comment, and for the suggestion about the fried zucchini! That does sound good!

I just read your profile and saw that you're in law enforcement and that you are trusting in the Lord...May He protect you, my sister in the Lord, as you work to follow His perfect plan. Thank you so much.

USAincognito said...

Your welcome for the idea! And thanks for the words of encouragement! It isn't easy being a Christian woman who chooses career over getting married as I don't "fit in" with the other women from my church. But I am so happy and content in what I am doing as I know this is where God has placed me.

Karen said...

Your comment about not fitting in is one I've dealt with, too. In my church, most women my age have children, and many of those with children are full-time homemakers. Then those who do work outside the home like I do often choose not to focus on the home. I feel called to both career and home, somehow balancing the two. It's not easy, but I know it's where I'm supposed to be. Thank you again for writing. I think this might be something I'll write more about in a future post. I'm so glad to "meet" you, and I know that the Lord is using you right where you are.

USAincognito said...

I am so glad to have "met" you too! It is such a relief to know that I am not the only one who thinks there is nothing wrong with being a fulltime career woman and a fulltime wife! Right now I am single but that is because I honestly have no time to date anyone and have not the desire to date right now either. I am so focused on fighting crime and it really does consume most of my waking hours.
I commend you for being able to balance both home and work!! I wish more women would be as open as you are.
PS. What part of MN are you from, if you don't mind my asking? I was born in MN just 45 minutes east of Watertown, SD. Even though I no longer live in MN, I still count that state as being my "home state." :)

Karen said...

Thanks for encouraging words. We live in the Twin Cities Metro area. I'm not a Minnesota native, though. My family is scattered all over, though the majority of us live in the Midwest. My husband and I weren't married until later in our lives. I'm 38 and we'll be celebrating our fourth year of marriage this fall. I often think that we appreciate each other more since we didn't marry young. God's blessings to you.