Cooking Tangent!

I officially feel like a crazy person.  It's a quarter to 11 in the morning, and I am making our lunch (which will not be eaten until around one) and our supper is already prepped and going in the crock pot.  Yesterday I had the meatloaf we had for lunch prepped for the oven and in the fridge the night before and supper in the crock pot by the same time.

Why so early you ask?  (Or at least for the purpose of furthering this blog post, I'm going to say that you do.)  Well, as I mentioned in my last post, cooking and cleaning with a toddler beneath my feet has become a challenge second only to diaper changes, which now resemble something like Olympic hog tying.  My solution, at least for now, is to be waaaaaay over prepared!

I am a big fan of planning out meals in advance (see my Go, Go Grocery Mom! post), but this month for some reason I set aside my calendar and sort of just went with the flow.  When getting my groceries I just basically made sure I had the ingredients to make every meal on my list.  Even so, I've been doing a good amount of improvising day to day.  While the improv can be entertaining and has led to some good new recipes, I find that I desperately miss being better prepared and so intend to return to my trusty meal planning in September!

Sorry, went on a bit of a tangent there, my original point:  Preparation, yay!  I have been particularly motivated this week (no idea why, just enjoying it!) and so I have been preemptively striking at our meals.  The crock pot is officially my favorite appliance eeevveeeerr!  I can whip together whatever we are having for supper that evening during Baby J's morning nap and remove one of the larger stresses from my day.  Lunch is a bit trickier because the timing between nap and lunch don't allow for crock cooking.  The exception being if I get everything together the night before and turn it on about breakfast time, but, since we just have the one pot, I generally prefer to fix and forget supper!  So, for lunches, I have been trying to do everything but the baking (if it's an oven dish) the night before.  Then about an hour before lunch time, just preheat and toss it in!  No worries about Baby in the kitchen while I cook!  

For non-oven meals, I simply try to get any of the major cooking out of the way ahead of time.  A week or two ago, I boiled all the wild rice and noodles we had in the house, divvied them up into meal sized bags and threw them in the freezer.  Now I just have to pull one out in the morning to thaw and heat it up with the rest of our goodies nearer to meal time (seems like it doesn't take long to just boil noodles, but seriously, this really does save me so much time and headache!).  Another example is for BLTs for lunch today, I went ahead and cooked all the bacon during nap, so at meal time, we will just pull out the sandwich fixings and dig in!

I am looking back at this post and remembering again how much I can chatter on!  The original reason I had for starting this was wanting to share a new recipe I semi-created yesterday!  Since this has become a run-on post, I will save future readers the pain of working their way all the way through this just for the recipe, so look for it in a separate segment, coming immediately!

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