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September 2007 Issue
by Robin Reckard
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All right I admit I don't always like to cook, especially when time is short and we have run behind because of what seems like endless errands and such. While it would be much easier to just run through a drive thru on occasions like this, I hate doing that especially when it comes to supper.

What I have done is to keep on hand the ingredients for 3 or 4 meals that I can "whip up" in a short amount of time, without having to run to the grocery store.

Depending on the tastes and size of your family you may have other ideas for quick meals but these are mine.

  1. Chicken and Noodles.

    I make my own noodles, they are super easy and they freeze well. I often triple the batch when I am making them, since I am going to have noodles drying out on my table anyway I might as well do a bunch at once and throw a few bags in the freezer.

    When I boil a chicken it is just as easy to get a big pot out and do two or three and freeze some of it. You can even freeze the broth if you have room in your freezer.

    So when time is short it is not hard to grab a bag of chicken, a bag of noodles, and either some frozen broth or a couple cans of broth and whip up homemade chicken and noodles.

    I usually serve chicken and noodles over mashed potatoes, and in case I don't have any potatoes I keep a box of dried mashed potatoes on hand too.

    Easy and tasty meal that can be done in about 20 minutes.

  2. I always have a pound or two of cooked ground beef in my freezer. That way I can whip up a casserole, goulash, taco's, or throw some chili into the crock pot. I often season some for tacos and put it in the freezer too. It can be used for taco salads, tacos, or for a treat some meaty nacho's.

  3. I confess I keep a handy box of hamburger helper in my pantry too. My daughter's favorite these days is the double cheese quesadilla.

  4. That cooked frozen chicken in the freezer can be turned into a chicken salad or with a little seasoning some great chicken fajitas.

  5. Especially in the summer I keep some frozen hamburger patties on standby to just throw on the grill for a quick meal that the kids love.
For side dishes fresh veggies and fruit is great. And I often open a can of peaches, pears, or fruit cocktail to go with my meals.

Remember if you are browning a pound of hamburger for a meal it is just as easy to do 2 or 3 pounds and put the extra in the freezer for future use.

So pick out 4 or 5 easy meals that you can do the preparation ahead of time for and keep them stocked up. Then on the days you didn't make a meal plan or run short on time just whip it together, it beats hitting the local drive-ups and is much less expensive and a whole lot healthier.

    About the author: Robin Reckard, co-founder of Lifestyle Magazine, keeps busy producing, writing, and editing for the magazine as well as raising and enjoying her six year old daughter.

    Also visit Jorbins Food and Drink Section for all kinds of recipes, meal ideas, dieting information and more.

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