Make Ahead Meals - Counter Intelligence: Confessions of A Working Mom Blog at - 135053

Counter Intelligence: Confessions of A Working Mom

Make ahead meals 
Nov. 5, 2009 12:47 pm 
Updated: Nov. 12, 2009 2:00 pm
My budget seems to be getting tighter and tighter, but my family’s appetite gets bigger and bigger (two growing boys and a hubby that bikes 30 miles a day, and a college student).  Plus there never seems to be enough hours in the day to get everything I need done (work, kids activites), much less cook a complete meal every night.  So I’ve been cooking ahead on a weekly basis and try to work with fresh food that’s on sale.  I haven’t actually gotten the Once A Month Cooking concept down yet, it takes some planning and too many brain cells I can’t afford to spare right now.  But I have been implementing some of the OAM cooking ideas and that has been very helpful.  I’m hoping these prep ahead meals can redeem me of two food/budget sins I used to commit almost weekly – overbuying and wasting fresh food!!
Last week….
Chuck Steak (boneless) – (on sale this week) Marinated this Saturday night and cooked on Sunday.
Sprinkled Meat tenderizer and then marinated in Montreal Steak seasoning, olive oil, water.  Marinade overnight and BBQd after meat went down in temp from fridge.  I cooked the meat a little rare so that when I warmed it up on the skillet it won’t dry out too much.
Produce - Avocados and asparagus (on sale this week).  Also, lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro, jalapenos, onion (always and I dice it and keep it refrigerated).  I also used most of the produce for salsa.  
               I wash my veggies w/ a spray and prepare for storage.  I dice or cut up everything at once.
Meals -
Steak Omelet – Just chop meat and put in omelet w/ Salsa (or add whatever fixins you like).  I served w/ rice and beans for hubby.
Tortas – Mexican Sandwich.  Bread (toasted on BBQ grill -  don’t have Panini press), mashed avocado (w/ cilantro and salt) spread on bread, shredded lettuce, tomato, red onion, salsa, and chop meat.
Southwestern Salad – lettuce, tomatoes diced, green onion diced, avocado (diced), canned corn, canned black beans rinsed, canned dice greeb chiles or jalapenos, corn chips (or I just cut corn tortillas into strips and quickly fry or dip in oil/water bath and put in oven).  Chopped steak.  With this salad I don’t even use a dressing.  Sometimes I use salsa and a little sour cream and mix the whole thing up.
Carne Bowl - For something a little heartier I also made a “Bowl” like those served at places like the “Crazy Chicken” (that was translated folks).  I put rice I cooked the day before, warm it up and put in bottom of bowl.  Then a layer of black beans (or pinto).  Then the salad, then the cut up steak and top w/ chips.  If someone is tired of beef, then I just substitute w/defrosted (cooked and seasoned) chicken.
Burritos –This is something the kids can do when I drop them off from school or between school and work.  They just warm up diced meat, lettuce, tomato, cheese. 
Steak and potatoes – baked or mashed.  Along with asparagus (sprinkled with EVOO & salt and pepper, then baked for 10 minutes.
Okay, I know there is a lot of Mexican food in that menu, but I re-married a Mexican and I am Mexican. I don’t think I’ve cooked so much Mexican food in my life.  I like it; it’s what I grew up on.  My son told me in a nice way, “mom, you used to cook more of a variety of different types of food before”.  But you get the idea. 
Nov. 5, 2009 2:38 pm
I'm not Mexican but I love Mexican food. I can't imagine cooking once a month and I've never heard of OAM. I have a number of quick recipes I make on hectic nights, do freeze some things and believe in homecooked food rather than fast food. We eat alot of fish as it cooks fast. I have salmon in the oven with squash and carrots right now.
Nov. 5, 2009 3:29 pm
1stLdy, do you make your own refried beans? I have started doing that lately, much cheaper and they taste so much better! I could eat Mexican every day, but the family would not get behind that! I sure understand your budget and time crunch situation; cooking ahead even just for a week is certainly a great help, and sometimes you have to go with a 'theme' of the week to make the best use of your food, to not be wasteful. Thanks for your good ideas, hope the plan gets easier for ya.
Nov. 5, 2009 9:02 pm
As a physician for 20 years with a hubby and 2 growing boys, this was always a chore. A good-size freezer was the best investment. Turkey was a real go-to: even in the microwave or a cooking bag it was great. leftover cooked turkey from the freezer was not only budget-friendly but time-friendly. Kids hated turkey soup, my fav, but loved the jumbo turkey pot pie and almost everything else. Now down to just two of us I often succumb to rotisserie chicken or an easy boneless chx breast recipe. Some things never change: hubby still asks "where's the beef?" (Yes, there are oodles of his fav steaks in the freezer, lol)
Nov. 5, 2009 9:04 pm
Now retired I enjoy making more elaborate meals though no matter how many guests people appreciate simplicity. Go I make lots of appetizers and desserts to give away/take to gatherings.
Nov. 6, 2009 2:22 am
Your cooking tragedies - homemade tortillas. Have you tried the uncooked tortillas that Costco sells? They are in the refrigerator foods. I love them. They are super thin. I especially love them for enchiladas. I brown them in a skillet, then roll with the filling. Mmmm
Nov. 6, 2009 1:35 pm
Fantastic! I love mexican food and grew up with the authentic all around me. El Pollo Loco has nothing on you (translated from YOUR translation! lol!)
Nov. 6, 2009 4:42 pm
Your meals sound delicious! I've tried to get smarter about planning meals ahead, so I'm looking forward to getting more ideas from you. Thanks for sharing!
Nov. 12, 2009 1:58 pm
DECAFinNW- My mom actually makes huge batches of beans for all of us. But I make my own too. She does hers in crockpots and freezes them. I use hamhocks when boiling mine and we eat and mash that way, but my mom does use lard. Hers are so smooth and creamy...
Nov. 12, 2009 2:00 pm
Barbara- I do like those costco tortillas. I always forget about those. My favorite store bought are "Romeros Gordita Style". They are thick and fluffy just the way I like them.
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1st Lady

Home Town
Covina, California, USA

Member Since
Nov. 2004

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Baking, Grilling & BBQ, Frying, Stir Frying, Slow Cooking, Asian, Mexican, Italian, Southern, Healthy, Dessert, Kids, Quick & Easy

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About Me
Born in Mexico...raised a California girl, I'm always trying to find my roots with my cooking. I have a big family with my mom as matriarch and master cook. So I have some big shoes to fill.
My favorite things to cook
I love cooking food that my mom always made when we were younger. She doesn't really have any recipes, so it's a challenge. Every time she cooks, it's a unique experience since variations on ingredients are never the same. I also love Mexican food El Paso style. I would like to dabble more in Italian and Filipino dishes. My all time fav is BBQ and down home Southern comfort food.
My favorite family cooking traditions
I come from a Mexican Family. Family gatherings center around the kitchen and dinning areas. I love having family around the kitchen cooking, sitting around the dinner table talking, laughing,joking, drinking and eating.
My cooking triumphs
Mastered flour tortillas in 2013!!!
My cooking tragedies
That I mastered flour tortillas in 2013...I think I gained 5 lbs in one week.
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