dinner time?

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by srfjeld, Feb 4, 2009.

  1. srfjeld

    srfjeld Companion

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    Feb 4, 2009

    I'm a first year teacher struggling to find a balance in my after-school time. I have a 45 minute commute home so by the time I get home, it's usually about 5 or 5:30, though often later. I find that I am often starving on the way home so I'll stop to eat some kind of fast-food crap. When I get home I get right to grading and would "like" to be in bed by 9 but it's usually more like 10 or later. So, cooking a real, healthy dinner goes right out the window... not to mention gym time. Grading usually takes me a couple hours.

    How do you do it? What is your routine? Are you able to manage preparing good meals in the evening and fit everything else in? I don't even have kids of my own and can't seem to master this.

    If you do make quick meals, what are your timesaving tips or meals?

    Thank you,

    Stephanie
     
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  3. peggy27

    peggy27 Cohort

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    Feb 4, 2009

    I like to use a crockpot. Easy and it cooks while you are gone. Soup out of can and eat it in a bread bowl is a meal my kids like. Sandwiches on good bread is always a good choice. I hate to cook long involved meals during the week. We have breakfast usually once every couple of weeks for dinner too.
     
  4. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    I agree with peggy crockpot is GREAT. Maybe preparing something you can re heat & eat a day or so later. I love making turkey pot pie because we can make it for dinner. How about chopping up some chicken & cooking it while you grade papers. Put it in the fridge so you can do something with it later like salads, tacos or we make a chicken veggie & noodle stove top that takes less than a half hour when I have to cook the chicken.

    I'm curious as to why you have so much to grade in 1st grade? I taught first & yes I had a little, but didn't have too much to grade.
     
  5. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Feb 4, 2009

    I'm only 4 miles from school, and I generally don't bring home things to grade . . . but I still don't usually take the time to cook when I get home.

    One thing that's worked well for me is to prepare as much as possible ahead of time. Sometimes I make whole dishes ahead of time, and sometimes I make parts . . . like cooking the chicken.

    While I've been having all these snow days, I've cooked A LOT. I've made two different kinds of muffins, breakfast sandwiches (English muffin, egg, bacon), chicken casserole, meatloaf, meatballs, taco meat, veggie lasagne, swiss steak. I packaged everything in single-serve containers and froze them. They are all things that warm up in the microwave easily. I take them for lunch and use them for supper as well.

    I've always mainly used the crock pot to warm up things for pot luck, and not to cook . . . but with these snow days I've been experimenting with actually COOKING in the crock pot. I've made soup, chicken casserole, and swiss steak.
     
  6. srfjeld

    srfjeld Companion

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    Feb 4, 2009

    Thank you for the helpful suggestions. I do have a crockpot... think I need to use it more. I've only really used it to make pot roast.

    Diznee, I teach in a direct instruction school, so every day there are timed math tests, math worksheets, and 2 pages for reading group to grade. This is not to mention their corrections or pages that pile up from the small handful that sit there and eat their pencils or stair off into space when they should be working... :) It all adds up.
     
  7. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    Feb 4, 2009

    If you do a search here on crock pots you'll probably find lots of threads & recipes.
     
  8. adventuresofJ

    adventuresofJ Comrade

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    Feb 4, 2009

    I love my crock pot.. i actually have two. I also try to make things i can freeze and just heat up later. I've started making perogi. Boil them, then freeze them, and pop them in the oven for a little while to bake them 10 minutes usually. This way they are like hot-pockets, but healthier and tastier.

    But as for being hungry on the way home, grab something small you can eat in the car - 100calorie packs or even gum... The starving may be worse because you're bored
     
  9. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Feb 4, 2009

    Here are things that have helped me:


    -make a general weekly menu
    -Crockpot: in this you can cook a whole chicken with carrots and rice and mushroom soup! A pork roast; stew!
    -put potatoes in the oven in the a.m. and set the timer to turn on 30 min. before you get home!
    -frozen boneless chicken thighs - thaw, cook, and eat in 20 min!
    with frozen veggies
    -rice cooker - great rice every time, 20 min. to cook

    VERY IMPORTANT:
    -make a snack cupboard for yourself at school with good stuff. Granola bars, fruit and cottage cheese, cheese sticks, pretzels, and my favorite hold-me-till-dinner after school snack - hard boiled eggs! 2 eggs at 3:30 and I am good for a work out and dinner at 7.
    -go straight to your work out from school, after first eating one of your great snacks
    -keep cases of water under your desk and drink like crazy -will help w/workout and fight hunger.
     
  10. peggy27

    peggy27 Cohort

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    Feb 4, 2009

    there is a site , can't exactly remember the name, something like a year of crockpotting, google it. Last year she made a recipe a day and put it on her site along with how it tasted.
     
  11. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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  12. srfjeld

    srfjeld Companion

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    Feb 4, 2009

    great suggestions... looks like crockpotting is definitely the way to go! bonneb, sounds like you've got this thing down!!! And I love that the gym in included! I'm hoping next year will be easier, once I've gotten all my routines down better. I'm still finding things I want to change or implement in the classroom... Like sending home a calendar with one name a day for show and tell. Not fond of show and tell, think this will work! :)

    Thanks again!
     
  13. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    I know it's easy to just swing by the fast food place, but you should really try to make an effort if you want to change out of your routine. You must really be hungry to actually stop & eat in the place. I'd feel like going through the drive-thru & going home!

    With your hectic situation, why not try making a dish or two on Sunday evening that will last all week & make it last throughout the week.

    If you must go to fast food places towards the end of the week, get something healthy, like more salads w/ Italian (not creamy, cheesy) dressing.

    As far as exercising is concerned, take stairs rather than elevators or escalators whenever you can & park further away so you have to walk more.
     
  14. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    I have tried several recipes on this site and they were all delicious, especially the Indian ones. I had the Indian chicken tonight. To Die For.

    I second (third? fourth? fifth?) the vote for crockpotting. I started a thread on crockpot recipes after Christmas that had a lot of great ideas. I have tried some of those too. (Mexican meatballs, yummy, whoever that was...)

    I live alone, so I usually make something in my crockpot and then eat the leftovers all week. Sometimes i will get creative and make something with the leftovers, like enchiladas from a roast. But if I don't feel like doing that, i still have leftovers.

    I also stock up on healthy-ish frozen stuff, like Veggie Fried Rice from Trader Joe's. That is my fave - it takes minutes to warm up as is, or I can take a few more minutes to add whatever I have on hand. You can do the same with Ramen. I also keep lots of frozen veggies so I have no excuse to skip them.

    Finally I agree it is important to keep the menu for the week and get all the groceries for it in one trip so you dont have to keep running to the store.
     
  15. AMK

    AMK Aficionado

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    Feb 4, 2009

    I keep frozen fish and meat in the freezer. IN the morning I will put it in the fridge so it is ready to be cooked when I get home. I keep my freezer stocked with veggies. I always have rice, instant potatoes and yams on hand to go with my dinner.
     
  16. Danny'sNanny

    Danny'sNanny Connoisseur

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    Feb 4, 2009

    I feel like I have a similar problem...by the time I get home from school at six ish, I'm starving, but I don't want dinner till after I go to the gym...

    I eat a small snack after school/ when I get home. Granola bar, nuts, dried fruit, carrots, a veggie burger...

    Dinners are preplanned and shopped for on Sunday. I make something in the crock pot on the nights I know I'll be really late, and a lot of stir fries the other nights.

    I loooove bags of already cooked frozen shrimp. Toss it with whatever sounds good and some noodles, and dinner is ready in ten minutes!
     
  17. srfjeld

    srfjeld Companion

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    Feb 5, 2009

    That crockpot site is bad, bad, bad... and by bad I mean soooooo good! Great, another excuse to procrastinate... I'm sitting here, in my robe at 6:15 in the morning when I should be applying make-up, drying my hair, and getting dressed to leave in 15 minutes... Agh!!!! I just want to look on here for a couple of hours. I need to post a new thread about this b/c I have a serious question! ;)
     

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