Thursday, January 26, 2012

I wok out

As you may recall, this month I am focusing on one of my core values: order.

In the midst of losing my mind, I've actually managed to complete quite a few projects (that I promise to share by the end of the month).

I have clean(er) closets, less junk in the (junk) drawers, (mostly) complete baby books, fewer mementos in the hope chest, more labels...

I even have some ideas and plans for organizing my blog life--thanks to fabulous readers like yourself.

I figure if you can help me get my social media under control then you should definitely be able to help me in an even more disorganized area of my life--the kitchen.

I can throw out. I can label. I can re-organize the pantry shelves. I can clear counter tops.

Unfortunately, I am not very good at actually utilizing the kitchen for its intended purpose: cooking.

We've tried E-Mealz. We've tried freezer cooking. We've tried crock pot cooking. Ultimately, we find take-out or dining out is most efficient. Considering eating out means taking two toddlers along, well, that should tell you something.

Maybe I am exaggerating (slightly). We've had some success with planning meals in advance and then trying to shop once a week. Last night, I hit a culinary homerun with a stirfry dish I whipped up in a wok that I had forgotten we owned. A little chicken, some veggies, teriyaki sauce, and rice, and BAM!
Image Credit

Marty and the babies loved it! And, I didn't even tell them it only took 15 minutes!

Could an inner cook be hiding in there, just waiting to be inspired??

I'd love to hear from you--

  • Do you have a favorite low-prep (healthy) recipe?

  • How do you handle meal planning?

  • Any favorite websites you use for recipes?

  • Tips for making my kitchen life more organized?


KERRY said...

When it comes to meal planning, I have lost my way lol
I used to be so organised I even had a little chalkboard where I would write down the week's menu and I would make sure I had everything I needed (maybe you could buy a whiteboard?). Most days now I don't know what is for dinner until dinner time! The key is to grocery shop :) I do have a genius plan for you to store your sauces, oils, salt, pepper etc in your pantry - wait for it...a Lazy Susan!!! Do you know what that is? That thing that swivels around (meant for a table centrepiece)so no more reaching for bottles in your pantry, you just give it a little whirl :)
I also keep my spice rack in my pantry to clear up bench space near the stove.
I had to chuckle at the fact that you forgot you owned a wok!! :)

Tasha said...

Find what works for you! Make it fun! If it is all homemade than GO FOR IT! If it is semi-homemade...then do it. My point is you have to just get in there and do something. It took me almost 7 years to get back in the kitchen after I had my twins. I am on fire now! And loving it!
I don't think you can really organize your kitchen until you are in there cooking. Then that gives you an idea of where to change things.
I look all over the web for recipes. Plus you just can't go wrong with the old Better Homes and Garden Cookbook! Or the Pioneer Woman.
As you know from my blog I am learning to make basics and things we love.
Now go make those biscuits this Saturday!!

Anne said...

I love easy recipes like pasta and curries. You can add as much fresh vegetables as you want according to the season and what suits your family best! Can't go wrong with casseroles either, they practically cook away themselves in an oven dish. Hope this helps a bit!

Julia said...

I always forget we have a wok too!

Much to my husband's dismay. I try to cook vegetarian at least once a week.

Our favorite is shitaake mushrooms, bell peppers, green onion, and egg. Toss that with some rice, and favor with soy sauce---love it! And---there's lots of good color in there, which I think means that it's heathy (when they're vegetables and not Skittles), or something. :)

Dvr Dame said...

Good for you! I'm pretty anal about organizing so shopping once a week is easy for me. Keep up with good work.

Kathy Radigan said...

I ask the kids what they would like to eat and I pretty much go from there. We have our own fav's and regulars like tonight's pasta and meatballs, but I'm always on the lookout for some good quick recipes. Good luck!! Love you!

Brad Jenkins said...

Step 1 - put meat on grill.

Step 2 - put vegetables on grill.

Step 3 - turn meat and vegetables.

Step 4 - Eat.

Easy enough?

MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...

Another great question!!!

I used to love to spend two or three hours in the kitchen on Sunday, making a big meal. If I timed it right, we could eat two or three meals from it, and then we'd coast 'til the weekend, when we'd eat out. That was before kiddos, though. ;)

I do not have two or three hours to devote to the kitchen these days (!!!), so I've really revamped the way I do things. I make a lot of meals ahead...assemble casseroles at night that I can just pop in the oven the next day, or get things ready to go in the crock pot the next morning. If I do have to cook something from start to finish, I try to at least do my prep ahead of time...chopping veggies, usually.

My cheater meal is frozen cooked shrimp. I like to thaw it in the fridge a day ahead of time, but if I forget, it can be thawed under running water. I also keep frozen fish filets (tilapia, salmon, with no breading or anything) on hand. That's easy to thaw in 10 minutes and bake in about 15 minutes. The girls love the shrimp and the fish.

As for meal planning, I try to think about what I want to have for the week as I make my grocery list. For a long time I kept a food diary, so to speak. At the end of the week, I'd write down what we'd eaten that week (lasagna, chili, pork loin...whatever). Then when I'd feel stuck, not knowing what to fix some time, I could glance back and get some ideas.

I use a lot. I have a couple of favorite recipes I'll send you if you'd like. Do you like shrimp? Chicken?

You seriously have to assemble some of the comments from some of these posts! :)

Robin said...

I like Brad's comment; grilling and bbq'ing are great ways to eat healthy and efficiently.
But, I -like some of the commenters above- have lost my way a little when it comes to organization. Always a challenge to get a meal on the table for my big crew! Thanks for sharing this

Miss Megan said...

Meal planning and cooking is hard for us too (and was especially difficult during the first trimester of pregnancy for me because NOTHING sounded good - lol). We did a lot of take out and eating out (but the good stuff, not McD's or Taco Bell). And it was expensive! We had to stop...we were blowing SO much money!
Now we use a dry erase board and write our dinner plans for the week on the board, then shop accordingly. I try to schedule more time consuming dishes on days when we are home (Sat, Sun, Wed), and the easy meals (like tacos, spaghetti, etc.) on nights I know we don't have a ton of time. I also try to cook in bulk so the girls can have leftovers for lunches, and at least once a week we can have leftovers from the rest of the week for dinner. I have also dabbled in making and freezing food so that's always a nice option too! (so, for example, you would make a double batch of lasagna over the weekend, eat it for one meal, leave enough in the fridge for another meal, then freeze the rest in meal size portions to grab and defrost whenever you want!).
You will figure out what works for you! My DH has actually taken a keen liking to the kitchen, so he has started cooking about 4-5 nights a week. It's nice that then we can swap and it isn't always the same person in the kitchen =).
Oh, something else we do - we always try to keep chicken breasts on hand in the freezer. They can be thawed quickly and cook in about 30 minutes...BBQ chicken, chicken and rice, chicken stir fry, chicken tacos....=). Same with hamburger (although I find it more difficult actually to decide what to do with hamburger - meatballs, tacos, spaghetti, sloppy joes????)
Good luck!

Jennifer said...

First off, I must thank you for getting "sexy and I know it" stuck in my head! lol. Second, I saw the wok picture and had to say... get yourself some "five spice" seasoning because it is amazing and makes any stir fry yummy! In my humble opinion of course...

My meal planning pretty much consists of take out as well. But recently I've discovered my grocery store's web site, they have recipes on there and you can pick one (or more) out and it will add all the ingredients to your shopping list, then you can print it out! So you pretty much only have to sit down one day and pick out the recipes you want to make, save them or print them, and then you'll have your list and your recipes for the week. I went to, and you can definitely use their web site even if you don't have one by you, it will still do all that fun stuff for you, but when you have a Publix to go to, you can set a particular store as "your store" and when it makes your shopping list, it tells you what isle everything is in in your store! It is so awesome!!

Always Heather said...

I tend to use the crockpot a lot! It helps keep me sane..and there are some really easy recipies out there... Congrats on your stir fry :)

Olusola said...

Sauces in the fridge/freezer and lots of rice. Freezing some of our basics - beans, tomato and vegetable sauce, boiled chicken - helps me a bit. Pasta with store-bought sauce

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

I am all over the place for recipe inspiration, but I go through phases on cooking. I love the crockpot but usually just once a week on that.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...