Do you cook dinner on school nights?

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by heavens54, Aug 26, 2010.

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  1. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Aug 26, 2010

    Or does someone else do it for you? Or do you drive through, rotisserie chicken or TV dinner? I need some ideas... :help:
     
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  3. dizzykates

    dizzykates Habitué

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    I cook dinner ever night. I write out a meal plan every week and that ensures that I have all the appropriate ingredients on hand. I grocery shop once a week so I better get it right.

    If there is anything I can prep in advance I do so. For example, that might be chopping onions, slicing veggies, or taking a few things out of the freezer. Sometimes hubby makes pizza crust or pita bread on the weekend in anticipation of a weeknight meal.
    Another thing that I try to do is make sure if I am making something like chicken and rice and stir fry in the same week that I make enough rice for the first meal to have enough for both leftovers and the stir fry later in the week.

    Here is a sample menu that has things that are different, yet overlap:

    M - Chicken soup with salad and rolls
    T - Crockpot beef roast with carrots and potatoes
    W - Chicken stir fry (veggies and rice)
    R - Chicken and rice with salad
    F - Hash (beef roast, gravy, carrots, and potatoes chopped finely and heated in saute pan with gravy) with rolls and salad

    Lunches would be leftovers of the above meals and salads with rolls.

    Does that help?
     
  4. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    I do a combination of all the things you mentioned. I keep a bunch of frozen dinners in the freezer just in case i forget to defrost something. I always keep a few cans of tuna, soup, ect. in the cubbards. I always have stuff for a salad in the fridge. The only fast food we get is Subway. Usually I will make big meals on Saturday and Sunday and then have it as leftovers on Monday or Tuesday.
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I have 3 kids.

    Peter has been barbecuing since June-- the kids are getting REALLY sick of burgers and hot dogs.

    So, yeah, for the most part I make dinner.

    Can we start a list of easy-to-put together dinner ideas for those of us who don't love cooking?

    I'll start:
    - Chicken cutlets. (My go-to food. You can do so much with them:
    -- shake & bake
    -- bread, fry, then coat with Balsamic vinegar. Throw some mozzerella on top and put into the oven until the cheese melts. Delicious.
    -- regular fried
    -parmesian (sp??)

    Pasta:
    -- linguini and clam sauce
    -- spaghetti and meatballs
    -- fettuchini alfredo
    -- lasagna (prettty much needs to be made on the preceding weekend)

    Other:
    -- meatball heros
    -- home made pizza
    -- pork chops
    -- London Broil
    -- Manwiches/ sloppy Joes
    -- Quesidillas
    -- Enchiladas
    --Tacos

    It's early in the day and late in the summer. What else?
     
  6. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Slow cookers are a wonderful thing. I put something in the crock pot nearly every day. It's pretty easy, and once you get the hang of it, you can make some pretty spectacular things in it.
     
  7. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

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    I do exactly what dizzykates does.

    Today is the last day of my weekly "menu", so tonight, I'll decide what we're going to eat each day for the next 7 days. Tomorrow, I'll go grocery shopping to make sure we have what we need for the week. That way, there are no surprises, no wasting time once I'm home from work to decide what to have, no time wasted running to the grocery store.

    I find that we end up eating better and with less waste, of food or time, that way.
     
  8. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I cook something quick and easy most school nights--it really depends on Lauren's soccer schedule. She often just makes herself a sandwich or salad with cheese and crackers if she needs to be on the field by 6:30. On those nights, we all fend for ourselves with leftovers. I used to be good about planning ahead; now I just try to be sure there are always the fixings for a quick meal in the house.
     
  9. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    I cook most nights...I made beef fajitas last night. My husband's only complaint was that their wasn't enough for lunch today. My son told him there would have been if he hadn't picked out the meat.
     
  10. tiki7719

    tiki7719 Companion

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    Another easy option is use the McCormick's marinades that come in individual packages (its the seasonings and you mix it with water, oil, etc.). With this, you can marinate chicken, beef, etc. overnight and cook it the next day. Make some biscuits, noodles and add the steam fresh veggies you make in the microwave (which are delish!) In our local market, we have about 20 different varieties of marinades.

    Also, grille some kebobs and make extra. Dice the left over meat and veggies and it makes great quesadillas.
     
  11. Sshintaku

    Sshintaku Comrade

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    I use my crockpot to death. Even if I'm making a pasta dish, I'll throw the chicken in there to cook during the day. That way all I have to do is boil noodles and mix stuff together.

    My favorites are -
    Chili
    Tortilla Soup (any kind of soup really).
    Turkey (just turkey breast and dry onion soup mix. It turns out amazing)
    Chicken (get creative with cream of mushroom soup.)
    Pot Roast
    Stew
    etc.
     
  12. midwestteacher

    midwestteacher Cohort

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    I cook most nights. Don't really have a choice - we don't have anywhere to eat in our town. Really no take out joints in my town either. On days that I don't cook, we usually eat leftovers.
     
  13. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Here's my crockpot question:

    I leave at 7 am.

    I'm not home until at least 4:15 most days.

    What can I put into a crockpot for that long?? My family isn't fond of stews and all-in-one meals-- they're the type that want their meat on one part of the plate and their potatoes on anothere.
     
  14. dizzykates

    dizzykates Habitué

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    I leave at 6:30 and get home at 4:30. I make sure that I am not late on the days I have things in the crock pot.

    I ALWAYS keep it on low and things always come out done. I also error on the side of too much water, I figure I can always drain the gravy off, but I can't do much about burnt meat.

    Maybe you can put some pork chops, chicken, or beef roast in the pot with a can of mushroom soup or a packet of onion soup mix and water, but make the vegetables separate. As for the potatoes, could you leave them big (cut in half) and then serve them separately?
     
  15. tiki7719

    tiki7719 Companion

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    Cook a roast on low.

    I use www.food.com and type in "crock pot roast" or "crock pot pork" and sort it by "most popular".

    http://www.food.com/recipe-finder/all/crock-pot-r?Ns=recipe_mostpopular|1

    That is a link for roasts. A lot turns out delicious.
     
  16. Sshintaku

    Sshintaku Comrade

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    A good trick is to start with frozen meat. Cook on low with plenty of liquid. That way it just comes out tender instead of burnt. You can also just do the meat in the crock pot, and say, just throw the green beans in the microwave when you get home. That way it's not a one pot meal, but you save yourself the hassle of cooking the meat.
     
  17. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Some of our favorites:

    Pork Roast: I have several recipes. The favorite is cranberry pork roast. Put the roast in the crock pot, spice it however you want, and cover it with a can of jellied cranberry sauce, pour in some OJ, and enough water that it won't dry out. Set up the rice cooker, so all I have to do is add water and turn it on. My rice cooker has a veggie steamer tray on top, so I can do that too. 30 minutes after I get home, dinner is served.

    Chicken Chili: Put the beans, chicken, and spices in the crock pot, with some chicken broth and water. Do as above with the rice cooker.

    Chicken Breasts: Put in the chicken, with spices and broth. I have a couple different versions, though the favorite involves an Italian dressing mix and apple cider vinegar. Again, with the rice cooker/veggie steamer.

    Any of these you can put on low and let cook for 10 hours. You just have to make sure there's enough fluid in the pot so it doesn't evaporate off.
     
  18. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    I cook every night. On Friday nights, I go through my cookbooks, looking for interesting recipes and make my grocery list. Then on Saturday morning I shop. I don't necessarily say Monday = Meatloaf, Tuesday = Spaghetti, etc., but I know I have ingredients on hand for 4 or 5 meals. We generally decide morning of what to pull from the freezer.
     
  19. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    I cook about every other night, but that's because I'm only cooking for one! Also, I love my Rachael Ray and Better Homes and Gardens cookbooks--lots of quick, easy recipes to mix things up. Anyways, this week, my menu was:

    Sun: Tuna Steaks with white bean/tomato salad
    Mon:Chicken with merlot mushroom sauce (in slow-cooker) over rice
    Tues: Leftover Tuna
    Wed: Leftover Chicken
    Thurs: Pasta (with pesto--I have leftover basil from the chicken and tomotoes from the salad)
    Fri: Not sure yet...
     
  20. OedipaMaas

    OedipaMaas Rookie

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    Since I don't have to leave for work until 2pm but get home quite late, I either cook in the morning before I go, often a casserole or something my husband can pop in the oven when he gets home, or throw something in the slow cooker. I only cook 2-3 times a week, and we eat leftovers on the days in between.

    Alice, my slow cooker actually has a programmable timer. It is a wonderful thing.

    ETA: There are some great slow-cooker recipes here: http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/
     
  21. MissJennifer

    MissJennifer Companion

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    I cook almost every night. It saves us a lot of money - we used to grab fast food on the way to things - but now I really try to cook something every night!

    I also do weekly meal plans, and that really helps me out. Then if something comes up and I have less time to fix dinner, i can switch around the days if needed - or my husband can get something started if he knows what to fix! I typically get home about an hour and a half before him though, so it's usually me.

    Some of my quick meals are:

    Tacos (with either ground beef or turkey) - sometimes I make them more traditional, sometimes I season with cumin and add black beans, corn and tomatoes with the meat - to mix it up.

    French dip sandwiches - I make my own au jus with beef broth, onion soup mix and a splash of worcestershire sauce. I buy deli roast beef to make it faster too.

    Cheese steak sandwiches

    Easy chicken parmesan - I keep the frozen breaded chicken patties in the freezer. They're all white meat (made by Foster Farms) and have good flavor. We make them into chicken patty sandwiches occasionally, but sometimes I will throw a jar of pasta sauce over them while I bake them (in a 9 x 13 baking dish) - and cover with foil. Then about 5 minutes before serving, I throw some mozzarella cheese on them in the oven still - and fix some spaghetti or linguine, and serve them over the top.

    I also use my crockpot a lot during the school year! :)
     
  22. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    I always start with frozen meat. I might rub a roast with olive oil and garlic before putting it into the crock. I also do beans in it, but I usually put them on the night before. And I have made a chocolate lava cake in mine that my family loved.
     
  23. sweetlatina23

    sweetlatina23 Cohort

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    Last year we did take out like everyday. It was horrible. I see the weight in both myself and my husband. These year its been harder to do that financially. I would love to be able to get home and WANT to cook but I dont have the energy. I dont know how I will do it this year, lately we've been taking turns. But next week I start a second job, we shall see what we figure out.
     
  24. deserttrumpet

    deserttrumpet Comrade

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    Sunday night we will put on a movie and dice and chop veggies and fruit for the week. Then, throughout the week all the prep is done for us. We are also eatting more fish. We can keep it in the freezer and thaw last minute. Cooking up the veggies as a side dish and the fish takes about as long as it would to cook a frozen pizza and it tastes way better.
     
  25. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    My friend bought me one- but I'm absolutely horrified I will burn my apartment building down- I was going to "trial run it" this summer while home (and I suppose I can do it on a weekend)- I dunno I'm a bit OCD about those things....
     
  26. UVAgrl928

    UVAgrl928 Habitué

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    We are both trying to lose weight, so we try to make dinner (and by "we", I mean I cook, he eats). I got a crockpot around Christmas last year, and have been addicted to it ever since! I have some really great low cal/fat recipes that I can make in large quantities, and then freeze. Most are under 300 calories or so. Sometimes we eat it by itself, sometimes I serve it with rice or quinoa, and a salad or veggie. I started making a lot of stuff to freeze last weekend for the next few weeks.

    Here are some of our favorite recipes that we rotate:

    Black bean soup
    Creamy italian chicken
    Salsa chicken (can be used for a taco salad, taquitos, tacos, etc)
    Turkey Chili
    Fried Eggplant Casserole
    Vegetarian lasagna (in the crockpot! it's awesome!)
    Chicken Stroganoff
    Oregano Lemon Chicken
    Potato Flake Fried Chicken
    Cream Cheese Chicken
    Artichoke Chicken

    Most of my recipes I get from http://sparkrecipes.com
    I'm addicted to this database!
     
  27. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I buy bagged salads, make soups on the weekends, always have veg burgers in the freezer and cold cuts. DH makes dinner on the nights that I tutor late (which might be a few this season) and I'll make an easy dinner on the other nights.
     
  28. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I cook.

    I grew up with a mom who cooked every night. I'm in that habit, so I very, very rarely eat out. I also always keep a stocked pantry, so I also can always put together a meal without having to go to the grocery. I'm not much of a meat eater either.

    I'm not into cooking complicated kinds of stuff, although I can. I'd rather cook than pick up something.
     
  29. Bumble

    Bumble Groupie

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    I'm a vegetarian, so I always cook meals. I rarely eat out. I like to cook a lot so that i have left overs to bring to work.
     
  30. Danny'sNanny

    Danny'sNanny Connoisseur

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    If I don't have a plan, terrible things happen at dinner time (like right now, the Papa John's delivery guy is on his way with pizza. Oops...)

    I try to make simple plans for school nights, like
    -chicken and coconut milk in the crock pot (served w/ noodles)
    -grilled chicken breasts with rice
    -tacos
    -stir fry (lots and lots of stir fry)
     
  31. jteachette

    jteachette Comrade

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    I use a lot of time savers and short cuts, but keep fresh vegetables and fruit in the fridge all the time. I shop once or twice a week.
    I usually don't go out to eat. It's a hassle because I have so many food allergies.
    I make a big batch of something on the weekend, like a whole 3 lb bag of chicken with generic seasonings(salt, pepper, garlic). Then I can make other things out of it during the week(tacos, sandwiches, cut it up for salads, stir fry).
    I do the same with boneless pork chops.
    I'll make a large batch of brown rice and throw some in the freezer.
    I also love the "steamer" bags of frozen vegetables.
    If I have any energy during the week, I throw a large pot of pasta sauce together. That lasts for a couple of days.
    So, I wind up cooking 2 or 3 nights a week, but there are enough leftovers to cover the days I don't cook.

    My roommate will cook if she isn't working overtime, but she's always working overtime lately.
     
  32. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Aug 26, 2010

    Alice- Lots of good crockpotting recipes here:
    http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/

    It's a blog by a woman who crockpotted for an entire year. Most recipes would be ok for 8 hours on low.
     
  33. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

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    You could also do a big cook on the weekend and freeze things, then take them out as you need them.

    Most casseroles freeze well, lasagne, etc. Throw it in the oven when you get home, make a quick salad and you're done!
     
  34. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I did last school year before i finished my masters. When I started back, my husband did the cooking. Now I am done and will be cooking. I just stick to things that are simple. I make a menu on Sunday, we go grocery shopping and get everything we need, and then I am set during the week.
     
  35. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    First, you don't have to use the crock pot during the day. If you are worried about it, cook your food overnight. I usually do that with my soups, as I am never sure how long they will take.

    I cook every day. I keep my pantry and freezer full of basics. I grew up on a farm and almost everything we had was homegrown, and we would go shopping once a month.

    We eat fish and chicken with an occasional "other" meat. Fish cooks well from the frozen state. Since we usually have chicken, I can take it out to thaw and "think" about how to cook it.

    I also like to make large amounts and freeze for later use.

    Soups--pasta fagolia, black bean
    Curry Chicken (from the 365 days of crock potting)
    Ground Chicken Pasta sauce
    Ground chicken tacos, taco salad
    Breaded chicken
     
  36. timsterino

    timsterino Comrade

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    I am wondering why nobody mentions their significant other cooking. I work full-time but I enjoy cooking for my wife also. :)
     
  37. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    ...because my SO can barely find the kitchen.
     
  38. Sshintaku

    Sshintaku Comrade

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    My SO tried to make dinner twice.

    First time - tried to feed me raw chicken, bless his heart.

    Second time - Boiled angel hair pasta for 12 minutes. It was basically mush.
     
  39. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    I really love my crock pot and I love that I can put stuff together the night before, leave it on low, and come home the next day to a cooked meal.

    If I'm really tired though, I'll stop and pick up something, but it wastes so much money and since I'll be planning a wedding that will not be an option this school year. (Future hubby and I have decided we are only eating out once a week--- after church on Sunday)

    I usually will cook something quickly (I've recently been making some great rice dishes in our rice cooker--- getting creative with what I mix into the rice) and I like it because I find cooking creative and it helps me to relax and de-stress. I make sure to take some out from the freezer prior to leaving for work so that it'll be ready to cook by the time I get home.
     
  40. teach'ntx

    teach'ntx Comrade

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    Aug 26, 2010

    Like many others I live for the crockpot and menu planning. I also try to make some dishes that freeze well in large amounts like barbacoa. My Barbacoa recipe takes about 9 hours with shredding the meat on th 8th hour, so I cook it on a Sun and can usually freeze three extra batches (enough for a meal for 3 adults and 2 children that eat like adults). Then when I know I won't have time to cook I can pull it out of the freezer and let it thaw in fridge. When I get home I nuke it and some refried beans, pull out the tortillas and cheese and the meal is done.

    I also make my own chicken broth (in the crockpot) after I have cooked a whole chicken (many times in a crockpot). Then I freeze them in 2 cup bags. These work great as extra fluid (with flavoring)in the crockpot (I don't thaw them first) instead of water and did not cost anything!!! I also like french onion soup with many of my beefs.
     
  41. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Soups are great and easy to make too, though they will take some time to cook (so you may want to do it in a crock pot). Just throw in some veggies, meat (if you want to), either water or broth (you can get those seasoning cubes too), and whatever else comes to mind. Making a bean soup is cheap-- just buy one of those bags of beans, but they'll take awhile to cook and need A LOT of water otherwise the soup will turn to mush and burn. :)
     
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