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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Guide to Meal-Planning. But Without the Actual Planning of Meals.

Everyone has different ideas these days about what is healthy. You may not eat gluten, preservatives, dyes, GMO foods, meat, meat that was poorly treated, vaccinated, or had hormones added. And if any of these things are important to you, judging by facebook, they are VERY important to you. I try to feed my family healthy foods, but this is a guide to help you always have food in your house that you can put together to make a meal, so that you don't feel like you have to go to a restaurant. Naturally this list includes a lot of things that last longer, so some of them will have preservatives, and who knows what else. You have to pick your battles. And you can't do everything.
I didn't really want you to judge what was on my list.

The first step to always having food on hand is to keep a grocery list. Keep it in the same place and whenever you use up one of your staple foods, add it to the list. I've never written it down before, but this is my list of what I always like to keep on hand for dinners:

In the freezerIn the fridgeIn the pantryCanned goods
chicken*eggsspaghetti saucenavy beans
hamburgercanned croissantsalfredo saucepinto beans
sausagegreen pepperspastablack beans
peas and carrotstomatoescorn bread mixkidney beans
broccolifeta cheeseflour, sugar, spices,etc cream of mushroom soup
fish stickscheddar cheese***potatoesgreen beans
friessour creamonionscarrots
pizzasalsatortilla chipspineapple
stir fry vegetablesteriyaki saucericecorn
bread crumbs**soy saucegravy mix


cream cheesebread

canned biscuits


You will make up your own list according to what you like to cook.
These are not the only things that I buy, but these are things that I always keep on hand and I find that I can use them up before they go bad.

These are some of the meals that I can make with those ingredients:

taco salad
stir fry
rice: pick any meat, vegetable, and sauce
chicken alfredo
white chili
tuna casserole
sausage and gravy biscuits
eggs, bacon or sausage, biscuits or toast
egg burritos

Side dishes include:
fried potatoes
baked potatoes
mashed potatoes
rice and gravy
any vegetable

*I find it saves time to buy a big batch of chicken, cook it all at once in the crock pot, cut it up and put it the freezer. I make it as flat as possible to make it easier to break off the amount of chicken I need. Then I just warm it up in a pan.

I put my hand in the picture so you would know this is not a sandwich-sized bag of chicken.
**Whenever there is only one piece of bread left in the bag and it is the end that nobody loves, I put it in the freezer. When I have so much bread that it starts falling out of the freezer, I chop it up in the food processor and put it back in the freezer. Bread crumbs are useful for meatloaf and casserole toppings.

***I do try to stay away from food dyes at times, so I buy white cheddar cheese. At my store this does not come in the convenient pre-sliced packages. So my sweet husband bought me this cheese slicer from Amazon, which is really MUCH easier than using a knife to cut cheese. Even though it's not very big, it still cuts the largest size blocks of cheese.

I cut it all at one time, so it is ready to use. If I read all the scary food articles passed around on facebook, I'm sure I wouldn't eat anything that is processed, so I may stop reading those articles. But I did read the one about particles of wood in the packages of shredded cheese to keep it from sticking together, and I stopped buying that. (You can't find white cheddar that is already shredded anyway). I use my food processor to chop up a lot of cheese at one time. It is not shaped like shredded cheese, but it performs the same function. I don't have problems with it sticking together, even though I do not add any particles of wood. At all.

What are you doing to save time in the kitchen? What would you add to my list?


  1. Love the idea on chicken. This would work really well for me, cooking for one.

  2. I buy a bag of onions and dice all of them in the food processor at one time, but one or two at a time. Then they go in the freezer in separate sandwich baggies and are ready to be added to the meal whenever I need them.

  3. this post is making me hungries!!! :D :D