Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Prepping for the week. Food time savers.

Yes Rev3 Cedar Point is around the corner, yes it is taking up a lot of my brain power, but - as you mom's know - life still goes on regardless of mommy's race. The family still needs to eat!

School is under way and I find that I'm going to need to prepare a bit more than I did when we were free forming it over the summer. LUNCH and SNACK need to be ready and out the door by 8:10am. EEK! I had a panic attack last night after we got home from Boston, but I pulled it together and was able to come up with something for their lunch without having to venture out into the world again. I had already poured my wine and hated to leave it sitting there waiting for me to come home!

Anyway.. for each week I'm now going to spend some time prepping food. Things I've done today:

1. Made home made granola bars! Had to make them NUT FREE for their classroom snack. (we eat a lot of nuts in this house so I feel pretty challenged in this department.. a nut free snack that won't get squashed and is easy to eat.. nuts and raisins are our go to grab it quick snack.) I digress. The bars are cooked and cooling so I can't give you the low down on how they taste or what the texture is like. Okay, I tasted the pre-baked "batter" and it was pretty good. I did cut the honey in almost half and used a little coconut oil. I do like the fact that there is NO FLOUR in this recipe.

2. I froze banana chunks for our smoothies (okay.. mostly MY smoothies).

3. Froze grapes. Sounds weird, but both my grandma's did this and they are pretty tasty. Figure they might defrost a bit before the kids eat lunch. We'll find out.

4. I'm making a double batch of rice to eat with dinner tonight and freeze for the rest of the week. I bake it per Cook's Illustrated and it comes out perfect EVERY TIME! No burnt rice on the bottom of the pan w/ raw rice on the top! I then spread what we aren't going to eat on a pan and freeze it for a bit then transfer the semi-frozen rice to a zip lock bag. Works like a charm. Then I just heat it up for the next meal! Here's the details on how to bake your own rice! I like to use home made chicken stock in place of the water, salt and oil when I've got it laying around.

1 1/2 cups Long, Medium or Short grain brown rice
2 1/3 cups water
2 tsp unsalted butter or olive oil
1/2 tsp table salt

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position, heat oven to 375 degrees. Spread rice in 8in square glass baking dish.
2. bring water, butter or oil to a boil, covered, immediately stir in salt and pour water over rice. Cover baking dish tightly with a double layer of foil. Bake rice 1 hour, until tender.
3. Remove baking dish from the oven and uncover. Fluff rice with a dinner fork, then cover dish w/ kitchen towel. (I just replace the foil loosely.); let rice stand 5 mins. Uncover rice and stand 5 mins longer, serve immediately.

5. I'm also roasting a chicken in my Crock Pot.. makes for quick easy lunches/dinners throughout the week.

What do you do in prep for the week?

If you haven't checked out Cook's Illustrated I highly recommend it. My Brother and Sister in Law got a subscription for us MANY MANY years ago and I maintain it still. Great tips and recipes. (particularly if you are carnivore/omnivore!)


  1. Well, I made jello (vegan), popcorn is always a good snack, love the idea of frozen grapes - they can be eaten frozen as they don't freeze solid! Hard boiled eggs (I just got these CUTE bento egg shapers that the kids love) sent Riley with a rabbit shaped hard boiled egg today. my kids are sandwich lovers, so they usually have a sandwich of some sort, or left over soup or pasta. Our school's hot lunch program is through Whole Foods, but it's $4 per lunch so it's quiet pricey. I may let the kids do it twice a month or something, just so I can save myself the hassle of their lunches once in a while. String cheese, apples, carrots, home made muffins (frozen), granola bars, etc. - all staples in the lb. We have to be out the door by 7:25am!!! I think I really need to get in the habit of packing most of the lunch the night before to ease some of the morning craziness. I got some bento style lunch boxes this year so am hoping that makes lunch packing a little more fun/easier. today I am browning some ground turkey and ground beef for pasta, tacos, etc. We cooked a chicken yesterday but it's gone already... ;-) It gets pretty crazy around my house so I am really trying to streamline the cooking/food so I can pull something decent together quickly. It is definitely something I am struggling with but hoping it gets better as we go.

  2. update. The granola bars are kinda crumbly. Got some but mostly granola. Guess halving the honey was not a good idea. Will try again w/ the right mix!

  3. Lots of great idea Laura thanks!! Can't wait to hear about granola bars, I'd love to make my own! I'm planning on roaster chicken this week as well!! But I haven't tried it in a crock pot before do you have a link for that recipe? or is it something you just know how to do?

  4. Let us know how the new recipe turns out. Keep the recipes coming - lunches can be tough!

  5. Loved the post - going to check out the magazine right now. I have a great recipe for homemade granola. I will email it to you - love having it for school lunches. Carter doesn't eat bread (yes, school lunches are hard without a sandwich), so here are our staples for a packed lunch ...
    hard boiled eggs
    banana/zucchini muffins
    meat and cheese and pickle kabobs on toothpicks
    carrots and hummus or cheese spread
    string cheese
    fruit - send a little peanut butter cup with it, esp. apples
    squeezable apple sauce
    pretzel chips

    I need to find foods that are fast to eat, as time is limited and Carter comes home with majority of his lunch because he NEEDS to get to recess! ;)