Yeesh, I'm talkative lately. I feel like there are so many things bouncing around in my head, and I just want to post to get them all out in some sort of coherent way. And if I can unload the little stuff, maybe there will be more room to mull over the big stuff. I mean, there can only be so much room inside your head, yah?
So... The great cook-at-home plan. It's working. I'm still not sure where I'm coming up with the time, since I don't feel rushed or like I'm having to work overly hard to make this happen. Seriously. I've had a two mishaps where I've neglected to eat breakfast and stopped at McDonald's for a salad on my way into work. But I took my lunch to work every single day last week. Shayne and Ethan also had dinner at home every day. Major accomplishment, at least in my little world!
So what am I doing differently? Basically, planning my meals a week or so ahead and sticking to the plan. There's some room for flexibility, otherwise this wouldn't work for me. For example, I had planned to make chicken and wild rice soup on one of my days off, so I roasted a chicken on my first day off, picked it apart, and stuck it in the fridge. A few days ago, Ethan had a stomach bug, so I tossed some of the chicken into some stock I had canned last year. Add onion, celery, carrots, seasoning, and noodles, and we had chicken noodle soup. And somehow, in spite of a sick kidlet and raking leaves, I got a lasagna on the table that night for dinner.
Then I got sick. I fell off the cooking wagon for a few days, but we still had enough leftovers to see us through (especially since I wasn't eating anything!). It seems like as long as I cook every 2 or 3 days, we always have plenty of leftovers and wiggle room in case something goes wrong.
But since I'm now a bit behind and we are totally leftover-less... Tonight, I need to toss the remaining chicken into the crock pot so that we'll have chicken and wild rice soup tomorrow. And the ground beef in the fridge HAS to be browned before it goes bad. Even if most of it goes into the freezer (Shayne and Ethan are eating dinner at my mom's tomorrow, and probably the day after as well), at least we'll have something in reserve for the nights the cooking just doesn't happen.
Something else I've learned is to pack up leftovers into meal-sized portions, even if I'm going to toss it into the freezer. If I have to pack a lunch for work, I won't do it. I'm cramped for time in the morning, and that's the thing that seems to get left by the wayside first. But if it's already "packed" and all I have to do is throw a jar or container into my bag? I can handle that.