Looking for a way to make dinnertime quick and easy? We've pulled together a dozen great tips from the fans of our Page on Facebook...thanks, guys!
I menu plan weekly, and I stockpile ingredients for favorite recipes when they are on sale. I save time during the week by making dishes that are tried and true, but every Sunday I try a new recipe. I have more time to experiment on Sundays, and it keeps my family from getting bored. Only about 1 in 10 end up making it into my regular meal rotation, but we enjoy trying the new things, even if we end up not loving them. - Mary Ellen Stoll Wagner
I like to keep things simple and fix many of the meals every month. When I take time to plan meals ahead - one month at a time - I can be sure to rotate the selections often enough to prevent boredom while still making great meals my family loves. I'm also learning to double recipes and freeze portions of the meal, for later, too - SUCH a time saver and great for busy days when I don't have time to fix a whole meal from scratch. - Debbie Baker Taylor
I buy ground beef in bulk then brown it and freeze it in smaller portion size amounts. Then when I come home from work I can easily thaw it quickly in the microwave and add it to a favorite dish. Speedy! - Debbie Dechant Tunke
I have found it useful to designate each day with a certain entree or ethnic focus. Monday, chicken - Tuesday, Mexican - Wednesday, beef - Thursday, vegetarian - Friday, Italian. This way, I know what meat to thaw in advance and it also takes away some of the decision making difficulty. I keep a list inside my kitchen cabinet of the dishes in each category that I know my family likes. Of course, I am free to go off the menu plan whenever I feel like trying a new recipe! - Lori Smith Crawford
When making many types of "one pot" meals which call for meat, pasta and sauce you can usually use a little more pasta, a little less meat to help stretch your grocery
dollars. - Pam Bertrand Evans
I really take advantage of our fabulous farmstands in the area. There are days I stop at all five of them as each has something unique I can't live without. My haul is then cooked, processed, baked with or frozen so my family has wonderful tasting fruits and veggies all winter long.
- Susan Mellish
I will double or even triple of a batch of muffins and freeze the extras. Then in the mornings when we are pressed for time I can feel good about knowing the kids can have a hearty good for them muffin for breakfast. I like to load them up with shredded carrots, zucchini, apples, whole wheat flour and a little wheat germ or bran and that way, I know they are getting a healthy start! - Heather Marr-Nesler
What works best for me is making big batches on weekends when I have more time to cook. For example, making soup? Do a giant pot and freeze for later. Same with casseroles, while you're making the mess make a couple and freeze for later. Also, plan around in-season fruits and vegetables, available in abundance and more reasonable than the off-season selections. - Elaine Gortner Clark
One little tip I have is when making a spaghetti dish: I usually end up just using one jar of sauce, but I always add extra vegetables to the sauce. Anything from red or green peppers, frozen broccoli, onions, corn, etc...it makes the dish tons healthier and will at least double the sauce. - Elise Brown
Whenever I cook a meal, I make a double amount and freeze the rest. I do this with soups, chili, stew, taco meat and more. That way, I cook once and we eat 3 or 4 times. I also cut up my chicken breasts into chunks and put them into a plastic zipping freezer bag with their marinade and then freeze it. That way it marinates as it thaws. Great for shish-kabobs. - Lynn Stafford Thornsberry
I plan my menus for each two weeks in advance. I try to use mixes to make the meals easier to prepare. To keep ahead of the budget crunch, I am part of a coupon exchange. Every one brings in the coupons from the Sunday paper and we swap for the ones we need. It is really great when you can get coupons from friends and family. They sometimes have different offers than
where we live. - Bethany Coffey Kennedy
One thing I've always done is cook a bag of noodles and maybe make pizza casserole with half and then tuna casserole with the other half. I buy a big pack of hamburger and mix some up for meat loaf, cook some up and maybe freeze for a quick add-on for spaghetti or some other pasta meal...and cook some up for tacos. Whatever i can do to prepare ahead always makes those days when I come home exhausted from work easier to prepare a homemade meal! - LuAnn Trumpower
Have a great tip of your own? Let us hear it in our comments...we'll be sharing these again soon and who knows? It may turn up in one of our books!