Kitchen skills do not come easily to me but my practice in the last year have helped me tremendously! My personal family situation is this: ONE husband who likes relatively plain foods and two mostly grown sons who prefer to forage. The boys generally graze - they don't usually come to a regular dinner. They will subsist on Chef Boy-ar-dee or whatever FAST thing I have in pantry or freezer that resembles pizza.... or submarine type meats and cheeses. I am somewhat constrained (a situation of my own making, perhaps - but it is my situation nonetheless)
What this means is that NEW recipes MUST be enough for only TWO or preservable .... in case my hubby doesn't like it and I have to eat it all... So new recipes have to be really healthy too because I don't want to get stuck with something that is high calorie / marginal nutrition (in my opinion)
I spent a few months cleaning out my pantry... okay, I confess... WORKing on cleaning out my pantry.. which had the side benefit of teaching me how to use some items that I don't remember HOW got INTO my pantry.
I began to TRY to plan menus. (really not hard..... I usually plan a soup, a casserole and a sandwich type meal... the rest of the week is variable - usually leftovers or one eat-out night)
I eliminated a lot of chemicals and learned to make some of my own "FAST food".
I added more fruits and veggies to our life.
Sooooooo now it is 2012... and time to work on it again :-)
PANTRY Challenge for January!
How many meals can I get for us out of my pantry and freezer? THAT is my challenge for the month.... and.... I bet I can save a lot on groceries!
Below are 4 dinners for this week which will leave food for grazing and/or leftovers. All I need to pick up for them is broccoli & hamburger buns for this first week of dinners!
Week 1 meal plan:
I have hoppin' john casserole and ham left from New Years Day. I will freeze half of both in small 2-person size containers. (and make broth from the ham bone to use with beans later)
From the pantry:
Lipton Cheesy Pasta with Broccoli with or without ham.
Alfredo sauce with whole wheat spaghetti with salad
From the freezer:
Ground beef (picked up on clearance) to make hamburgers, oven fries and cur veggies
And date night out on Friday with a gift card! Not a bad plan :-)
My area cleaning is going well (okay 4 days into the month :-) But I find that I spend some of my cleaning time wanting to write about it... I am having to be strict with myself about FOCUS! I am not a person who is particularly skilled at managing her environment. We are pretty clean, but cluttered. I'm not much of a decorator.... pretty utilitarian.. looking for more ease of household cleaning.
The good news is that I am THRILLED with the progress I can make in only 15 minutes. EXCEPT for my greasy stovetop - which took 15 minutes all by itself and a learning curve about getting rid of grease! I found that all grease is not created equal. Gentle cleanser (Barkeeper's Friend) took care of some. Apparently it merely softened up some other :-( I pulled off the knobs and put them in a tub of hot sudsy water & my DISH grease cutter... and connected the dots..... and used straight Dawn on the stove face. This was brilliant! Worked like a charm - which is awesome because my shoulders and back still ache like the dickens and all that scrubbing wasn't helping!
Anyway - back for another 15 minutes in a bit because I am running errands tomorrow and don't know if I'll get to it. (the 2nd 15-minute stint took care of the rest of the outside of the stove, walls around the stove up to the ceiling and the cabinet & drawer fronts on the counter-bar.
Since I want to prepare to show (whether I sell or not), I decided to take photos for a personal file on my computer to help me see my progress & remind me what needs to be done. Share your tips and wish me luck!