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Getting your children to eat what you do.

1. NEVER make 2 meals for one dinner.
2. Don’t make a big deal if they don’t like it.
3. Make them TRY one bite of a new food. Ignore all comments once eaten.
4. Keep reintroducing foods because we all know taste buds change.
5. They won’t starve. If they don’t like what you serve, be consistent and refuse to make them something else.
6. Allow them to help prepare the meal. Seriously, it works.
7. Take the children to Whole Foods to pick out 1 new fruit/vegetable to try. (Not during your grocery shopping trip though…)
8. Write down what they all WILL eat and serve it the night after a new meal.
9. Children’s diets balance out so don’t stress if they don’t eat a major food group for one meal. Just try to stay balanced over the course of the week or month.

Freezer Cooking

Even if you have a small freezer you can do it. When you plan out your weekly meals, plan to make a double batch of one meal to freeze. That way next week instead of eating out because activities run late you can just defrost what you already made for a wholesome homemade dinner. You can plan a freezer cooking day and cook for a whole month at a time but this makes for one very long weekend.

Definitions used below:

Place items on a cookie sheet, without touching each other, and freeze until outside is firm. Pile into Ziploc for freezer storage.

Ziplocs- Reuse Ziplocs by storing dry, clean bags in the freezer to save costs. I keep the gallon and quart bags in separate containers in the freezer door. For messy items, place into snack or sandwich bags then fill a larger bag with the smaller ones. This also makes labeling easier.

Reuse Containers- 32 oz yogurt, butter containers, sour cream containers work well for freezing items. Plus, they don’t cost you anything.

What I Make in Large Quantities and Freeze:

Brown Long Grain Rice- It takes an hour to cook 1 cup or the whole bag so I cook the whole bag and freeze it into family size portions. I put it into the fridge the night before I need it.

Dried Beans- In a large stockpot you can cook 12 cups of dry beans in the same time as 1 cup. (2 cups cooked is about 1 15 oz. can of beans)

Meatballs- Flash freeze already baked meatballs. Great for snacks (warmed up), different recipes or added to pasta sauces.

Chicken- Anytime I bake chicken I bake more than I need so I can chop and freeze the leftovers. Chopped chicken defrosts easily and is great for many dishes, pizza toppings, quesadillas, salads, pasta bakes, etc.

Meats- Pretty much any meat can be cooked in bulk then chopped and frozen for later use.

Breads- Zucchini bread, banana bread, pumpkin bread, sweet bread, it doesn’t matter. When making heavy breads double or quadruple the recipes and freeze the extra loafs. I like to double wrap them in 2 sandwich bread bags instead of wasting Ziplocs.

Pasta Sauce and Salsa- When the tomatoes are ripe in the summer make double batches of sauce and freeze it in 32 oz yogurt containers. Don’t fill to the tip-top as they will pop their tops when they freeze.

Soups and Chili- Make a double batch of your favorite soup and freeze a meals worth in the 32 oz yogurt containers.

Rolls- Most recipes make a dozen or more so freeze the leftovers in a gallon Ziploc.

Pizza Crusts- I make sure they are small enough to fit into a gallon bag (usually a double batch makes 16 crusts). I cook the crusts for 5 minutes at 500 degrees and allow to cool completely before bagging and freezing.

Crackers- handmade freeze well which is nice because they are time consuming to make.

Tortillas- handmade or store bought

Cheese- Chunks or home shredded in the food processor.

Peanut Butter Balls- Flash freeze then place into Ziplocs. Great healthy snacks and easy to eat frozen.

Cookie Dough- If you don’t want to use eggs, mix 1 T flaxseed in 3 T water and let sit for 5 minutes. Add to batter instead of 1 egg. Flash freeze dough balls or baked cookies.

Stir-Fry Veggies- Chop double the amount you need for one meal, flash freeze the rest and store in a Ziploc.

Lasagna, Meatloaf, and Casseroles- Freeze in baking pan or bake first, cool, cut, and store individual pieces for lunches.

Waffles and Pancakes- Cool completely on a wire cooling rack then place in Ziplocs. To warm, place on cookie sheet in 350 oven for 5-10 minutes flipping to make sure both sides warm. If frozen waffles won’t separate easily, use a butter knife to separate or put waxed paper between waffles/pancakes.

Milk and Yogurt- Place the carton into the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost milk in fridge and shake before using. Yogurt can be eaten frozen or defrosted. Place a frozen yogurt in your lunch box so yogurt will be cool at lunchtime.

Eggs: Scramble eggs then freeze in ice cube trays or Ziplocs. I scramble 2 eggs at a time and freeze them in snack sized Ziplocs as that is the quantity most of my recipes use.

Don’t Freeze:
Potatoes, Mayonnaise, Lettuce, or Veggies you want to eat fresh later, they won‘t stay crisp.

Two Chickens = Many Meals

2 whole organic chickens from Costco, ~$23

Day 1: Roast the chickens in the oven for ~ 2 ½ hours at 350 with your favorite seasonings. Eat for dinner that night with your favorite sides. After dinner, pick the meat off the cooled chickens and mix up the dark and white meat. Chop chicken and divide into ziploc baggies to freeze. (Leave one bag out for soup). Place chicken carcass into the fridge for stock making the next day.

Day 2: Place chicken carcass into stockpot and cover with water. Add veggie scraps, celery, onion and carrots to make a flavorful stock. Boil for a few hours adding water when it gets low. Strain with a fine strainer and place back into rinsed stockpot. Add chicken chunks from Monday and other soup ingredients, chopped carrots, northern beans, celery, green beans, peas, leftover rice, etc. 2 carcass’s makes enough soup for 3 family meals at our house, or 6 32oz yogurt containers of leftovers AFTER we have eaten soup.

Any other day: Use the chopped chicken from the freezer for pizza toppings, quesadillas, salads, pasta bakes, etc.

Menu Planning

Weekly Planning:

1. Make a list of recipes your family will eat. Include Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks, and Desserts.
2. Put these recipes onto index cards listing ingredients and directions if you would like. ( I place them in a baggie so they don’t get dirty during cooking. I also place the recipes for the week on top so I don‘t have to search for them during the week.)
3. Sit down for an hour (set a timer) and, using your index cards, layout what meals you want on which days. Don’t forget to leave days blank if you would like to eat out.
4. During your hour, write the ingredients down on a grocery list (see resources below).
5. Check the pantry for any ingredients you may need but already have.
6. Approximate how much you will spend on each item. If you are unsure, guess. While at the store write down the correct price on your list.

If this sounds complicated, pick one of the following sites and use their already prepared weekly meal lists, including shopping lists and directions.

One Family One Meal (organic and whole foods, she is a chef by trade)

Whole Foods in a Hurry (trying to use whole foods)

Once a Month Mom (recipes need to be modified a bit for healthier meals but she seems to be the queen of once a month freezer cooking)

Shopping on a Budget:

1. Buy sale items in bulk. If there is a very good sale, be prepared to purchase a ton of whatever it is and freeze it. Eventually you will have a good stock of many of the items you use daily/weekly and this makes a huge difference in both your costs and trips to the store.
2. Shop with a list and stick to it. Have you ever came home with a $49 gallon of milk?
3. Buy the store brand. King Soopers has a great organic brand that is comparable to the national brands.
4. Buy local and seasonal produce. I like Door to Door Organics because they try to do both PLUS having produce delivered every Monday allows me to avoid the grocery store.
5. Shop on a full stomach.
6. Don’t shop with the children. You can read labels better without the small ones helping. I shop at night once they are in bed or on the weekends when my wonderful husband is home cleaning and doing laundry. (edited by Bill, the husband)
7. Substitute. If your recipe calls for ground beef but turkey is on sale, substitute.

Free Printable Resources

Grocery Lists:

Money Saving Mom

Org Junkie

Grocery Lists Deluxe

Grocery Lists Vegetarian

Meal Planner:

Org Junkie

Assests Unclutterer

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