Friday Tips: Once-a-week cooking

Delicious Vegan Dish of the Day:

Mom didn’t want to deal with a complicated dinner tonight.  So we had some baked tofu and curry rice. 

Money Matters:

Today we spent the following:

  • $64.86 for a week’s worth of groceries at Whole Foods

Friday Tips for Living Vegan and Living Cheap – with kids!:

Once-a-week-cooking

Since the weather is so nice now I much prefer to spend my afternoons playing outside with the kids instead of cooking dinner.  Now, cooking is rarely that onerous for me.  Most dinners I make can come together in 45 minutes or less.  But then there is clean-up, and it always takes longer when I’m watching a crawling baby or if LP is “helping.”  So, for the past three weeks I’ve set aside three hours on Sunday where the G-man watches the kids and I cook up a frenzy for the week.  So far it has made the rest of the week easier, especially in relations to dishes!  So, here are a few of the meals I’ve made ahead with excellent results.
Stews, soups and chili: These are excellent stand-bys for making and saving.  So many soups and chili taste even better after being re-heated!  So far I’ve pre-made three-bean chili, pizza-style lentil soup and carrot-ginger soup.  For each of these I made a double-batch.  Half went in the fridge and half went in the freezer.  Then we had two dinners ready to go, and only one pot to clean!  I was able to do this all in one day by using my slow cooker for one soup and the stove for another.
Casseroles: I’m not a big casserole maker, but I did make a baked mac and cheese in advance, froze it, and then popped in in the oven later that week.  Worked out great!
Pre-chopped veggies: When you eat as many veggies as we do, you end up doing a lot of chopping.  By having time to tackle all the chopping and washing I have been able to save a lot of time during the rest of the week.  I put all the veggies for a stir-fry in one container, the veggies for curry in another, and then it’s easy to throw dinner together later, and I don’t even have to wash a cutting board!
Last week I pre-made two rice dishes and stuck them in the fridge so that we could re-heat them during the week.  That didn’t work so well – rice is definitely better freshly made.  But by pre-chopping some onions and carrots a curried rice pilaf can come together super quick.  That will be my plan next time.  More updates on this process to follow as I continue to get into the once-a-week habit!

 

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