Easy meals, which are fast, come from your past experience in your own kitchen. According to Becky Low, of the Utah Dairy Council, the definition fast food is the tried and true recipes you use over and over again.
Fast Fixin’s was a class I attended, hosted by the Utah Dairy Council. Assuming I would receive a stack of new recipes that would aid me in quick, easy meal preparation… I soon learned this was not to be the case. What I found was a common sense approach to meal planning. The cry, “What am I going to fix for dinner?” has been simplified.
Generally… a mom cooks the same main dishes over and over again. Why? Because, she knows what her family will eat… and she knows how to fix them. As a rule, there are no unfamiliar ingredients and she most likely has the items on hand in her pantry. The meals are, for the most part, quick and easy because mom doesn’t have to “think” in order to prepare them.
It was a surprising to learn that most family menus consist of only six to ten favorites… which are rotated frequently. We are creatures of habit.
Here are some suggestions to make your meal planning easy and still offer your family more variety.
1. Make a list of your family favorites…main meals you fix over and over again…for instance, Spaghetti. Post the list on the fridge and let your family add to it. They may come up with meals they love that you’ve forgotten about.
2. Look at each meal, and ask yourself if the nutrition can be enhanced by adding a healthy ingredient to the main dish. You can also add a side of fresh fruit, cut veggies, salad or some other item that give your family increased healthy meals.
3. If you have a list of twenty meal suggestions… choose five to eight and make sure your cupboards are always stocked with the items you’ll need to prepare the recipe. When you come in from a late meeting, or from taking the kids to lessons and haven’t planned in advance, just look at your list and choose one of the dinners you know you have the fixins for.
Having your easy meals list on the fridge makes it simple for you think of “what to fix,” and have the satisfaction of knowing you have the ingredients on hand. Now that’s fast food!
4. Now that you have your basic meals… add new recipes throughout the month for your family to try so they learn to enjoy a variety of dishes. Prepare these meals when you’re not in a rush.
I like looking through my recipe box for old tried and true ideas I have forgotten about. And… of course… there is always the opportunity to try some of those recipes you’ve clipped out of the newspaper or magazines.
If you have any easy meals or and meal planning tips, please feel free to share them with us. We’d love to hear from you.
P.S. Easy meals and Meal Planning are one thing… but does anyone out there know of any easy clean-up tips… besides using paper plates?
P.P.S. To make things eaiser for you… here is a Free Family Favorites List you can download for your fridge. You might be surprised what your family’s favorite meals are.