Home Cooked Meals & How to Make Them Easily

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Home cooked meals can be some of our favorites, but they can also be a lot of work. How can you make it easier to cook at home?

Home Cooked Meals & How to Make Them Easily

I think it’s pretty common knowledge among us parents that feeding our families home cooked meals is better for kids nutritionally and developmentally as well as easier on the budget than take-out or pricey convenience foods. Making dinners happen seven nights a week can be an amazing feat, though.

Maybe you’ve worked all day, the car has been acting up, or you just haven’t had time to get to the store. I get you! I’m personally fighting a too small refrigerator that makes it really, really hard to find anything, so I just want to walk away and ignore it.

And make a run for the border — if you know what I mean.

Our family has some big goals for next spring/summer, and it involves tightening the proverbial belt a little more. Couple that with some health issues that would do better with home cooked meals, and well, it’s time to up my game in the home cooking department.

Home Cooked Meals & How to Make Them Easily

Whether you are just joining the Cook-at-Home Club or simply need a refresher, this post is for you. These are my go-to strategies for getting home cooked meals on the table without a lot of hassle. I hope they work for you, too.

Got some tricks up your sleeve? Share the deets with us in the comments section.

Home Cooked Meals and How to Make Them Easily

Egg and Sausage Breakfast Bowls

Choose simple meals.

If you’re not in the habit of cooking on a regular basis, don’t start dreaming big dreams when it comes to menu planning. Simple is best. Simple recipes that take few ingredients and are quick to make are your very best friend.

Prep ingredients ahead of time.

If you’ve got a few minutes in the morning or even the night before, do some prep work. By chopping, shredding, and dicing in advance or maybe even cooking beans or chicken in the crockpot, you make dinner assembly and service so much easier on yourself.

Use the slow cooker.

Speaking of slow cookers, did you know it could be your very best friend? Fill it in the morning and you will come home to dinner already cooked. There are so many easy slow cooker recipes, you could use it every week without getting bored.

Home Cooked Meals & How to Make Them Easily

Fill the freezer.

You know that I am a big fan of freezer cooking, but I also have no qualms about picking up a few bags of potstickers or extra loaves of bread to stash away for busy nights.

Whether you follow a freezer cooking plan or simply load up on your favorite meats, fish, and breads, using the freezer as your longterm food storage can really help you out on busy nights.

Get help.

There is no reason you should do all the work. It’s important for family members (spouse, children, ???) to help out. You aren’t a short order cook, are you?

Get help in the kitchen from the other members in the household. You can work together, talk, and enjoy the fruits of your labor more easily and quickly.

Make your meal plan succeed.

It’s easy to buy, download, or make a meal plan, but putting it in action is where people fall short. There are a few things that you can do to make your home cooked meals happen.

Check your meal plan daily. Put reminders on the fridge or program them into your phone so that you don’t forget to thaw or start cooking a necessary ingredient.

Pull all the nonperishable ingredients out onto the counter in the morning so they are ever before you and a reminder to get cooking in a timely manner.

Enjoying home cooked meals with your family doesn’t have to be a feat worthy of an Olympic medal. They are important for relationships, diet, and budget.

How do YOU make home cooked meals happen?

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  1. You are so right about keeping to simple meals. It’s no accident that most of what we think of as comfort foods are simple to make — mac & cheese; pot roast; spaghetti and meatballs; chicken and dumplings; or grilled cheese sandwiches with a creamy bowl of tomato soup. I would also add, do not cook what you do not like to eat — you are not running a restaurant and it is hard to get excited about cooking something you do not want to eat. This was a conversation I had with my husband when we were still newlyweds.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    I buy 4-pound packages of chicken, cook it, and freeze it in 1-pound portions. A pound of shredded meat fits nicely in sandwich zip bags and they stack flat in the freezer without taking much space. I started it as a frugal measure so we would cut costs by not eating more than one pound of meat per meal. But it has become a life saver during a very busy time of life for us. Anyone in our household can pull out a pound of precooked chicken and throw in a few ingredients to make a meal – maybe bbq sauce to serve as sandwiches with buns, or adding veg and sautéing to save with rice, or using the chicken to add beans and make chili. We even serve it just heated plain with a couple cans of baked beans on the side to fill out the meal. I keep the freezer stocked with bags of frozen veg and we cool one of those every night for our side dish. It makes for super easy suppers when we need easy. We have found that it just feels so much easier to prep a meal when the meat is precooked. An added benefit is that it cooks pretty quickly even from frozen, so no worries when we forget to thaw it earlier in the day.

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