3 Secrets to Making Homemade Meals

D Sharon Pruitt

Just this past weekend my parents came over to visit and it was like Iron Chef America in my kitchen. My mom helped me prepare delicious meals for practically every night of the week! We made chicken soup from scratch, lasagna and chicken cacciatore — yum! Weekends are a great time to catch up and make healthy meals that will last you the whole week long. This is the best time of the week to cook proper meals as it can be difficult to make them to the highest standard in the week. My mom even suggested to me that I should have a look at these hailey home personalized cutting boards as a way to encourage me to cook more when I have a spare moment. She has one, and she says that she gets excited every time she uses it because it is personalized to her. I may have a look soon as I do like cooking and I want to be able to spend more time doing it.

When I started making lists as a Tastemaker for SkinnyScoop.com — I was introduced to Liza Huber, the founder of SageSpoonfuls.com, who empowers moms to make fresh food for their families. She created this list so we can find some time to eat better:

How to Incorporate Homemade Meals Into Your Life

by Liza Huber

It seems our days just get busier and busier. Whether we are stay-at-home moms, career moms, have 1 child or many, we are all so busy with not a moment to spare. With so much going on, the thought of getting a home cooked meal on the table every night can seem daunting. In fact, the thought of starting from scratch every night after a crazy busy day and with hungry tired kids running around is downright scary. How can you incorporate homemade meals into your busy schedule? I believe that sanity lies in preparation. Check out my time-saving list below:

1. Plan Ahead

At some point during the weekend I spend a few minutes thinking about the week ahead and what I feel like making for dinner. This is by no means full-blown meal planning, just putting together some thoughts and basic ideas. I like to go food shopping once and then not again until the following week. By stocking up on basics like chicken, lots of fruit and veggies, yellow onions, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, rice and quinoa, I know I have a great selection of food that I can mix and match. This way, the fridge and freezer are stocked and I always have the basics to whip up a quick dinner. I also like to keep a stock of frozen veggies in the freezer as well for those extra busy times I can’t get to the store. So whether you’re planning to batch cook for the week ahead or you’re going to follow the holle formula instructions to make baby formula, planning ahead will mean that you can be sure you have all the necessary ingredients all prepared and ready beforehand.

2. Make Large Portions and Freeze For Later

This is a real time saver. My freezer is full of frozen meals. Soups are the easiest to make in large batches. They not only freeze really well, but are easy to defrost and reheat. Some of my favorite soups to make and freeze are butternut squash soup, lentil stew, tomato soup and chicken soup. I also always have some homemade tomato sauce in the freezer. The best part is that most prepared food will stay fresh in an air tight container for up to 3 months in the freezer. All you have to do is move the container into the refrigerator before you go to bed so the meal can defrost over night.

3. Have 3 Go-To Meals that take less than 20 minutes to prepare

I work from home and have 3 kids 5 and under, so there’s really no beginning or end to my day. Being busy is just a constant. I’m sure most of you know what I’m talking about. I have a few meals that are so easy to prepare, I can whip them up in minutes.

  • For a super quick dinner, quesadillas are amazing. They’re delicious, and only take 5 minutes to prepare. You can make them plain with cheese or add in tomato, chicken, pork, beef, turkey, mango, avocado, spinach, or anything else that appeals to you. There are very few things that don’t taste great in a quesadilla. For added nutrition, make them with whole wheat tortillas.
  • Steamed veggies and chicken cutlets are another great go-to dinner in my house. I always have a stock of chicken in my freezer to make cutlets and steaming veggies rarely takes longer than 5-7 minutes.
  • Stir fry veggies and quinoa is another favorite, quick dinner that my family loves. Simply choose 3 of your favorite veggies then chop 1-2 cups of each and cook in a pan with some minced onion, minced fresh ginger, minced garlic and olive oil for 10 minutes. Mix in a little low sodium soy sauce, hoisin and water for a quick and yummy stir fry sauce.
  • For a healthy and quick breakfast, lunch or after school snack, look no further than a smoothie. Takes under 3 minutes to make and there are endless yummy flavor combinations. Start with 1 cup of milk, yogurt or silken tofu and 1 banana. Mix in 1 cup of berries, mango, pineapple, or whatever fruit you wish. Add in a handful of ice cubes and blend.

Liza Huber is an author, wife, mother of three and an Ambassador Mom for the March of Dimes. She is the founder of Sage Spoonfuls, a new book and product line that gives moms all the tools they need to make homemade baby food with ease.

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