Monday, September 29, 2008

MacGuyver Monday: Easy Meals

Sorry I bailed on you guys for a week or so. I started college classes this week, and it was a fast and painful transition. Academia is very different from my everyday life; very different from everything but academia. And since I hope to plough right through graduate school, this is going to be a huge part of my existence for the next decade or so.

Unlike my classmates, I don't go home to a dorm with a cafeteria. I go home to a house of crazy, momma-love-deprived kids who have lessons to be driven to. And immediately after those lessons, I am supposed to magically produce dinner, somewhere between making a chart of the electron transport system in the mitochondria and figuring out what the tabernac my math teacher was talking about. This last week was not exactly the well-oiled machine I like for my life to be, and issue number one is dinner.

This weekend I planned ahead. I boiled a big pot of beans that became two dinners worth of chili. While they were cooking, I took a family pack of hamburger bought on sale and made another four meals: Swedish meatballs, Italian meatballs, and two packages of taco meat. One of the taco meats we used for taco salad that night, but this leaves a freezer with healthy options for the rest of the week. I also made a batch of whole wheat dinner rolls and froze the dough.

We aren't big meat eaters around here--not because we wouldn't like to be, but because finances and the needs of our planet dictate otherwise. My dinner plan is to eat 3-4 meat meals per week, 2 bean based meals, and 1-2 egg or cheese based meals. Every weekend I plan to prepare those 3-4 meat meals with a family pack of whatever is all natural and on sale, plus cook the beans and spice them accordingly.

Are we going to eat hamburger all week? Of course not. We're going to eat one more of those hamburger meals and then I'll scramble for the rest the way I did last week. But it won't always be this way. I figure that if I make 3-4 chicken breast meals this weekend and do something with, say, pork the weekend after, by the end of the month I'll have a freezer filled with a variety healthy homemade options for dinner.