24/7 MOMS

Monday, January 26, 2009

Time for Dinner - Let's "Plan It" at the "Organize It Party"

What's for dinner? These are the three famous words I hear on a daily basis from the members of the Novotny tribe. They do not like to hear my three word response: "I don't know," which usually means mom is now stressed out because she has no plans, is unorganized and has not been to the grocery store.

To avoid this situation I work at being proactive by creating a weekly, and even sometimes a monthly, meal plan so that my three word response is actually edible instead of "I don't know."

What about you? What's for dinner in your house tonight?

Need some new ideas on meal planning organization? Then let's go "Plan It" at today's "Organize It" party with a few new ideas, a perfect meal planning gift (giveaway!) and even a yummy party favor (freebie).

Fool Proof Meal Planning

Meg Fleming Lentz

A typical day for most moms includes balancing an active and ambitious life
style with grooming, bundling and corralling children. Undoubtedly, at about 4:30 every day life will spin out of control and we find ourselves lying facedown on the kitchen floor with track marks across our backs… while the children ransack the cabinets for every possible combination of Cheese-It’s, Newton’s and uncooked spaghetti noodles (…still trying to figure that one out). This is when we need one of two things, chocolate… or a solid, foolproof plan.
Providing nourishment for our children can be exceedingly tricky when we don’t have any ingredients in the house. For some of us, the biggest hurdle in cooking for our family is getting our acts together before dinner is even a thought. This takes a little bit of foresight… but it is such a relief when it’s done!
Kelly Donlea’s 70 Meals—One Trip To The Store is a lifesaver at this stage in the game. The benefit of her planning system is not having the think so hard to plan your shopping trip. The meals are delicious and you don’t have to decide, until the day of, what you’re having for dinner.

If you’re anything like me
, and the thought of taking a couple kids to the store drives you to hiding under a pile of laundry, then planning ahead and getting specific is the key. Here are a couple tips that help take the sting out of shopping and planning.
1. Shopping for dinner, breakfast, lunches and munches is not a treat with small children. Plan your trip for super-early or super-late if you have to… just go by yourself!

2. Take a quick scan of your calendar and pick a “type” of cooking for each weekday.
For me, it looks like this:

Monday- Crock Pot
Tuesday- Brinner (“Breakfast for Dinner”)
Wednesday- Souper Salad
Thursday- Mexican
Friday- Italian

3. Now, let the speedy Brainstorm session begin! Slap 5 Post-It no
tes on your counter. Write one day of the week and one dinner category on each Post-It.

4. As quickly as possible, write 3 dinners that you like to make (and eat!) under each category.

For example:

Tortilla Soup


In 10 minutes, you’ll have 15 meals brainstormed.

5. Plug each meal into your calendar for the corresponding day for the next three weeks. Chances a
re, you’ll have events on some nights during the week so you won’t be home for dinner. Plug those extra meals into the weekends.

6.Make your shopping list. If you’re really feeling sav
vy, use the grocery fliers to make the most of your dollar. It’s been my experience though, that by doing this, you’re already saving yourself a bundle of money because your trips to the store are more organized and therefore… more infrequent.

7. Get someone to watch your kids so that you can shop alone.

This method of planning has saved me a fist-full of money,
gallons of gas and an incalculable amount of stress… not to mention the half-pound of broken spaghetti noodles rolling around my kitchen floor. Don’t stew about it. Just get it out of your brain and into your cabinet and the monkeys will stop climbing the counters!

Time to open today's GIFT

Kelly Donlea's 70 Meals, One Trip to the Store


A great cookbook for anyone looking for
sensible solutions for dinner success.
With the simple strategies outlined in this book, you will be able to make dinner any night of the year without making a trip to the grocery store for ingredients. This book teaches you how to streamline the ingredients you keep in your pantry so you focus on buying only those ingredients that can be used for several different recipes.
Tired of traversing the grocery store with screaming toddlers? Sick of running to the store at the eleventh hour for that one missing ingredient? This cooking plan solves those kitchen glitches and so much more by showing you how to streamline for success in the kitchen.
This innovative cookbook, chosen as one of the #1 products of 2008 by “24/7 Moms”, teaches how shopping smart and buying fewer, but more organized ingredients can enable you to make any one of the 70 delicious dinner recipes listed in the book -- with what you already have at home.
A great gift for new moms, a gift to your wife that gives back in delicious spades, a gift to yourself that is worth its cost many times over in gas prices, in saved ingredients, and in time spent sweating over dinner.
Kelly Donlea and 24/7 MOMS are giving away THREE of the 70 Meals, One trip to the store cookbooks . To enter for your chance to win one, enter your name and email address in the box below you will be signed up for today's giveaway as well as be added to the 24/7 MOMS E-list(if you are not already a 24/7 MOMS subscriber). Drawing to be held on February 1, 2009

Organize Your Shopping List
Add 10 "Core" Ingredients to Your Shopping List That Will Shorten Your List and Increase Your Dinner-Making Potential
Kelly Donlea Owner, Organizing Dinner www.organizingdinner.com

Learn how keeping 10 Core Ingredients on hand can help you find success at dinnertime. Lose your kitchen clutter, and find success by organizing dinner.

If you like to cook, but don't have time to go to the store for special ingredients for each night's dinner, put these 10 "Core Ingredients" on your weekly grocery list, and discover how they can help you find success at dinnertime.

If you have kids, a job, or an otherwise busy lifestyle, you are like a majority of households who battle the fresh home-cooked dinner routine. If you can learn a few shortcuts, what feels like convenience cooking becomes healthy, fresh and delicious home-cooked meals every night.

Just like in other areas of your life, physical clutter equals emotional clutter. Kitchen clutter formulates in many ways, including an excess of random ingredients, and a plethora of unattainable dinner recipes. Just like a great travel wardrobe consists of a few basic pieces from which to make multiple outfits, this list of Core Ingredients can help you simplify and thus organize your dinner routine.

The Core Ingredients List:

* Canned diced tomatoes
* Black beans
* Chicken
* Pasta
* Flour
* Butter
* Parmesan cheese
* Chicken bullion or broth
* Onion
* Fresh, canned or frozen mixed vegetables

I bet you got some dinner ideas just by looking at this list. Soup, fettucine, southwest-style pasta.... there are so many dinner recipes that can be made with the Core Ingredients. And if it seems incredibly easy to maintain, that's because it is. You can buy canned diced tomatoes, black beans, frozen chicken breasts, flour, onions and pasta in bulk, and that leaves you with just Parmesan cheese, butter, milk and vegetables on your weekly grocery list.

Here are some great dinner recipes you can make using just the Core Ingredients:

Italian Style Chicken


* 4 chicken breasts
* 2 T butter
* 1/2 onion, diced
* 1 can diced tomatoes
* 8 oz. spaghetti noodles
* 4 T Parmesan cheese

Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Meanwhile sauté onions in oil for 2 minutes until lightly browned. Add chicken and cook over medium high heat in frying pan until cooked through, about 5 minutes each side. Add diced tomatoes to the pan. Cook until fully heated and some liquid evaporates. Serve over pasta, and top each serving with 1 Tablespoon Parmesan cheese.
Black Bean Soup


* 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed.
* 1 can (14 oz.) chicken broth
* 1 onion, diced
* 1 can diced tomatoes with juices
* 1 Tablespoon butter

Saute onion in butter until cooked through. Add to stock pot with chicken broth, black beans and tomatoes. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium low. Simmer uncovered for 45 minutes until thickened. Stir frequently.

Chicken Pot Pie


* 3 chicken breasts
* 2 Tablespoons, and 1/3 cup butter
* 1/4 onion, diced
* 1/3 cup flour
* 14 oz. chicken broth
* 2 cups mixed vegetables, thawed
* 2 cups flour

To make crust, cut the 1/3 cup butter into flour until crumbly dough forms. Add ice water 1 Tablespoon at a time until dough reaches desired consistency.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cook chicken in butter on stove until cooked through. Set one pie crust in bottom of pie dish. In large saucepan melt 2 Tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add onion. Cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently until tender. Stir in flour, salt and pepper until well blended (have liquids on hand during this step). Gradually stir in broth and milk stirring until bubbly and thickened. Stir in chicken and mixed vegetables. Remove from heat and add mixture to pie pan. Top with second crust and seal edge. Cut slits in top of pie crust. Bake for 50 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes prior to serving.

FREEbie Party Favor

Today's Party favor comes from Quaker True Delights

Quaker urges you to indulge wholesomely. And what better way to dive into responsible decadence than with our Dark Chocolate Raspberry Almond Quaker True Delights? With the surprisingly rich flavor combination of dark chocolate chunks, luscious raspberries and whole almonds, you might not be able to stop yourself.

Receive a freebie sample of new Dark Chocolate Raspberry Almond True Delights.
Click Here for your FREEbie sample http://www.quakertruedelights.com/

Join us again today at 6:00 for MORE "Plan It" at the "Organize It" Party

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Blogger Anne said...

You're SO organized! Thanks for sharing your ideas. Great article!

January 27, 2009 at 12:46 PM  

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