Now that the holidays have come and gone, and the girls are back in school, I can focus on whats coming next. Dan is still on freight which makes our day to day life up in the air, but we are used to that by now. Coming up is spring break which means a week of amusing the girls somehow. Hopefully the weather is nice so I have more options of what to do with them. After spring break is the start of spring ball for Chloe and Brianna. Chloe will be on 14u and Brianna will be on 10u and April will start 2 practices a week each and 1 to 2 games a week as well. Which means we are never home. It also means that I will start using my crock pot a lot more. I will pre-make some meals and I will be constantly trying to find new recipes, there are only so many times that I can make pot roast before the family starts throwing it at me. I use Pinterest as much as possible, I look for a couple different things when it comes to a recipe, how long does it take to cook (I prefer a 6 or 8 hour recipe)? Is it healthy (no pasta and I try and stay away from potatoes too)? Will I have left overs (I still need to make sure that I have food for Dan’s lunches)? And Do I need a side dish for the recipe (Do I need to make rice or a vegetable to go along with the recipe)?
Not all of these questions have to be answered but it would be nice if a recipe hit all the marks. It’s a time saver if I can have an 8 hour recipe, put it all together in the morning while the girls are at school and then eat when we get home from practice. Staying away from carbs is a little harder but I substitute when I can, knowing your heathier produce makes it easier to substitute, such as sweet potatoes or squash instead of regular potatoes, or picking the leanest meat over a fatty piece. I do a lot of Asian dishes in the crock pot such as beef and broccoli, or Mongolian chicken, both need rice to go with them, which I also try to make in the morning because it’s easier to heat up then make when we get home. I also do not make soups in the crock pot because it isn’t usually considered a full meal in our house. I have done chowders and chilis, but you have to keep an eye on them it burns easily.
When it comes to time savers my favorite item is the crock pot liners, I just found them and they make me so happy, not only does it makes clean up super easy, but it also makes putting away leftovers away pretty simple too. I honestly haven’t made anything in my crock pot without a liner since I found them. If you don’t use them or don’t know what they are you need to find them now and start using them immediately. Another time saver is food prepping, chopping veggies, putting all the seasonings together, and marinating the meat the night before helps a lot too. You could also spend a day putting together a weeks worth of meals and putting them in the freezer, I’ve done this as well and it works out just as well and only takes a couple hours on the weekend, plus side is you spend one day at the grocery store but your fridge winds up being empty, your menu is set for the week, all you need to do is pull out the meal dump in and be hungry when you get home.
One of the best sites ive found is http://www.humoroushomemaking.com/crock-pot-freezer-cooking-tutorial-6-meals-1-hour
Not only are they good recipes but the directions are simple and the meals are delicious and it isn’t time consuming which is my main goal, whatever will give me more time with the girls, whatever will help me keep my sanity during softball season is a winner in my book.
So wish me luck, softball has been a fun sport to watch the girls get into to, and you will see more posts about it, but for now I am dreading the schedule! Here’s to vodka in the water bottle and beautiful weather!