I am in need of some cheap and easy meal ideas that do not take alot of time to prepare. They also need to be adaptable to feed a meat lover and a vegetarian. I feel like I make the same things all the time. Help!
I would pick out a few recipes and try them and ask the family if they like them or trash them if they don't. Do this for awhile and you will have several basic meals that they all love. I sometimes write on my recipes how much they liked it so I might make that more than some of the others.
Try bulk/batch cooking on your days off.
This type cooking plan has saved me more time in the kitchen than anything else.
I keep at least 5-10 pkgs. of cooked ground meat with onions in my freezer. I only package 1/2 - 3/4 lb meat in each freezer zip top bag.
I do the same with chicken breasts, either with bone or boneless...I just sprinkle seasoning salt on them, and roast until done. Let cool, then either dice, slice, shred or freeze whole. Instant meat for a super quick meal.
When I cook dried beans, if I have left overs...if not having them for planned overs, I'll freeze them in approx. 2 cup portions in freezer zip top bags...OR make into taco/Indian taco mix, burrito mix, enchilada or burrito mix...can even do a beef and beans mix...so many possibilities...:sun:
Don't forget about rice...have it for a meal, then freeze leftover for another day. Out of the frozen rice, you can make a quick fried rice...make a casserole, side dish, or even a soup.
If you have a slow cooker, then you have the means to make a fantastic meal while you're gone...when you get home, a great smell and meal awaits...make sure you use larger cuts of meat to ensure you have left overs. The meat can be diced, sliced, or shredded and frozen for a future quick meal.
OAMC is a good idea if someone is organized enough and has enough patience...while I salute those that can, I AM NOT of of those individuals...although I -DO- keep several freezer meals in my freezer...Just not enough for an entire month...
Oh, I almost forgot...make a large batch of spaghetti sauce. Freeze it into appropriate portions for your family in either containers or freezer zip top bags.
This sauce is quite versatile, cheap to make, and makes many different meals very quickly!
Soups!! They are so easy to make...and freeze beautifully. Just pop into the microwave and voila`...instant meal. Quick, convenient, and frugal...
My new favourite dish is a Hungarian one called Rakott Burgonya. You can find a version of the recipe here: http: //easteuropeanfood.about.com/od/hungarianmaincourses/r/potandsausage.htm * , but mine is even simpler (and healthier) since I skip the bread crumbs and butter.
Basically, it's a potato, boiled egg, and sausage casserole. You put down a layer of sliced parboiled potatoes; on top of that put slices of boiled egg; next add slices of sausage; top with sour cream. Keep creating layers till you get near the top of the dish. (I like to finish with potato slices 'cause it looks nicer.) Finally, pour some more sour cream on top. If it's too thick, you can thin it out with some water so it'll spread better. Bake it in a 350F oven till it begins to brown around the edges. About 30 min should do it.
It's a pretty resilient recipe so you can also layer in whatever veggies you have on hand. Personally, I like to add in sauteed onions with the sausage layer. You can also sprinkle shredded cheese on top. Serve it with extra sour cream at the table. I love this dish because I almost always have all the ingredients on hand.
For the vegetarians in the fam, just leave out the sausage. (If your veggies don't eat eggs, then I admit that that kinda guts the recipe, but you could try subbing in cooked lentils.)
*Had to break the url by putting in a space after the http: since I'm under 15 posts.
ETA: Don't bother peeling the potatoes like the linked recipe says. It's a waste of time, plus the skins are good for you.
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