Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Supper in the Morning

For today's edition of Works-For-Me-Wednesday we are supposed to share a frugal tip. My idea of "supper in the morning" saves my family money, because this helps me to avoid costly pre-packaged foods, take out food, or fast food.

Years ago when Olivia (now 14) was just a baby, I began preparing most, if not all, of my supper meals in the morning. I quickly found out that while Olivia would take 2-3 naps during the day, when 5:00 PM came, she just needed my attention too much for me to try to cook supper. As our family number increased every two years or so, it became even more difficult for me to accomplish much more than outside playtime around the 5:00 PM hour. So, "supper in the morning" became a routine for me.

Today, I still prepare most of our evening meal either in the morning or around lunchtime. Even though we don't have a baby anymore, it is still difficult for me to carve out an uninterrupted hour each night to cook supper.

To prepare supper in advance, I do a variety of things....
1. Use the crock pot. I use my crock pot at least once a week, more in the winter when I am making soups.
2. Prepare a casserole and keep it in the refrigerator until about one hour before supper.
3. Defrost a "freezer meal". I also do this once a week. Again, about one hour before supper, all I have to do is place it in the oven. A freezer meal is a meal that I have prepared in advance and frozen for later use.
4. Prepare a salad. I use the packaged organic spring mix for the base, so all that it requires is scooping it out of the box and putting it into the salad bowl. I chop the broccoli, carrots, and other ingredients and then store them in separate containers. At suppertime all I have to do is remove the ingredients from the refrigerator and toss the salad. I also make any homemade salad dressings ahead of time too.
4. Prepare any cooked vegetables (green beans, potato dishes, etc.). I store these in the refrigerator and then reheat them in the microwave at supper time.

I admit that the food probably would taste better if I could cook the entire meal and immediately serve it, but since my time does not allow this, cooking supper in the morning (or early afternoon) is a better alternative than eating pre-packaged food, take out, or fast food.

It works for me!

To learn other great frugal tips, visit We Are That Family.

7 comments:

  1. Great ideas!

    I also do much of our supper prep around lunch time. I grew up watching my grandmother "start supper" right after lunch.

    On another note, most of our salad dressings are homemade. I'd love to see some of your recipes!

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  2. I love preparing supper while Carson is taking his nap. Sometimes I get busy with other things, and have to rush to get it together later in the day...it is MUCH harder that way.

    I need to do some freezing in advance as you mentioned. That would be a big help, I just forget to do it! :)

    Great ideas!

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  3. This is a wonderful idea! I've learned that when I follow your plan, our dinner time is much less hectic. I hadn't thought about the cost-saving as well!

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  4. I do the same thing! And also started doing it when my Olivia was a baby. For some reason, they just need you so much when we should be preparing dinner!! I usually start around lunchtime, most days and am so happy when I'm coming in the door from some after school activity that dinner is almost ready, just needs to be reheated! I even set the table early as well! Great minds think alike!!

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  5. My mom used to refer to the hour before dinner as the "arsenic hour"- prepping ahead takes so much stress out of this time! Good ideas.

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  6. Yes, I too have this practice, although it has fallen out of fashion in our home recently. I need to get back to it. Thanks for the reminder.

    Blessings,
    Kimberly

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