things i've blogged about

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Living Domestically, Part II

At the beginning of the month I blogged about our new plan to eat out less by planning and preparing our meals in advanced. Well, the month is now over and I have been pleased with our progress. Yes, we have eaten out on occasion over the last 30 days but in general we have significantly cut back on our restaurant expenditures!

The key, in my opinion, is to match your plan with your lifestyle. We work long hours, go to school a couple of nights a week and are generally tired on the nights we are home. Therefore, simply planning our meals in advanced wasn't enough - we would come home and have no energy to cook.

What does work, is preparing all our meals for the week on Sunday afternoon. Not only have we been successful at sticking with the plan, I am actually starting to enjoy my time in the kitchen.

Another reason I think we were not great at eating at home before was that we didn't really feel like it was cost effective. As there are only two of us, if we order something cheap and get water to drink we can get out of a restaurant without a huge bill.

So, to make our plan cost beneficial, I make sure that each meal provides left overs. As a result, we get a meal to share together along with several portions that we can enjoy for lunch or dinner on class nights.

What have we eaten over the last month? Here are some of our favorites.

Southwest Taco Pie
1 deep dish pie crust
1 lbs ground beef
1 pkg taco seasoning
1 can refried beans
1/3 cup taco sauce
grated cheese

cook the pie crust. brown the ground beef, add taco seasoning. layer beans (mix taco sauce in with the beans), meat, cheese - repeat. cook on 350 for 20 minutes.

Chicken Enchiladas
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup chicken broth
2 to 3 lbs chicken (boiled) - shredded
corn tortillas
1 lbs grated cheese

mix soup, broth and chicken. layer in a 9 x13 pan: tortillas, chicken mixture, cheese - repeat. cook on 350 for 30 minutes.

Cheesy Chicken & Rice Casserole (healthy tips)
4 chicken breasts
3/4 cup rice (brown rice)
1 can cream of chicken soup (reduced fat)
2 cups fresh veggies
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 cup shredded cheese (skip the cheese)

mix soup, water, veggies, onion powder in a 9x13 pan. top with chicken, season as desired and sprinkle on cheese. cover and bake for 45 min on 375.

Not all of it has been good, I'll admit. I tried some new things and they were not as successful as I would have hoped. I found a recipe for crock pot chicken cordon bleu that I was very excited about. It was not good. However, it wasn't a total loss. I was able to turn my would be left overs into shredded chicken to be used in soup...the soup was good.


  1. Sounds a lot like the kind of stuff I cook! And I love having leftovers to take for lunch the next day, although Geoff never eats them.

    I don't think I could tackle your plan of cooking all day, so I try to have meals that only take a half hour or so to cook. Either that or you can prepare them in 10 minutes, then walk away until it's done.

    It's all in the planning, though, you're right about that part! Plan ahead, make sure you have the things you need, or cook ahead.

  2. Those recipes sound good! They may end up in the next cookbook coming out this summer!

  3. I'm very impressed! We need to cut back on eating out too, especially with a baby on the way. But when we are too tired to eat or cook we end up having cereal or frozen waffles for dinner. Not too healthy, but super easy.

  4. For the busy professional planning/preparing ahead is a must in order to "eat at home". I know that just planning and having ingredients in the pantry encourages me to cook, but I am learning to prepare some things ahead. In our culinary arts class this past Saturday, the teacher encouraged us to be a "finishing cook"--prepare ahead and freeze, then finishing cooking or reheat for needed.

  5. Leigh - You need pick up some Miracle Noodles....probably at Central Market. They are super healthy & take on the taste of what you put them in.

    We made Easy Chicken Soup w/Italian seasoning....I was shocked at how much I loved the noddles. It gave the soup an extra treat. PLUS, you really don't even have to cook them - basically rinse them off under hot water for 4 mins. (b/c they stink when you 1st open the package), & then you are done.....if you over cook - they become too chewy.

    Adam & I are trying to make healthier food choices as well & not eat out so we feel ya! :)

    Here is the link to the noodles, so that you can read up on there healthy-ness. lol