Saturday, March 14, 2009

Cooking Up a Storm for Next Week

Well, it has been a long week this week! As I mentioned the other day I am working my regular job plus volunteering 4-5 hours every night. I love what I am doing, but I admit - I'm getting a bit punchy! I go straight from the day job to the volunteer work. I've been finally getting home at night somewhere between 10:45 and midnight, depending on the evening. When I get home I usually have dinner then set up everything for the following day: pick out my clothes to wear to the office for the next day, pack my spare clothes for the volunteer work, put together the next day's lunch, and then hit the shower before hitting bed. I'll tell you, the alarm clock ring seems to come awfully early!

I've been trying to cook predominately out of my own pantry as part of my No Spending Challenge, but I did go to the grocery story last week and pick up some easy to eat, portable snacks to keep me going on these busy days. I bought granola bars, cheese, lunch meat and things like that. While the cupboards were pretty well stocked at the beginning of the month, I don't usually keep a lot of snacks around.

Fortunately, today I have pretty much the whole day open until 6:00. (At 6:00 I have a shift at one of my part time jobs. It was one of the few evenings I had free this month.) My plan is to do laundry (of course) and also do as much precooking for meals for next week as I can. I love to cook, so for me this will be a fun, restful way to spend the day. I believe that when life gets really busy, no matter what the reason, one of the best things you can do for yourself is eat healthy. It keeps your body going in times of stress. I also think planning ahead helps, so here's what's on the menu for today...

First up is a bean soup. I love beans - they are healthy, nutritious, and frugal. The big advantage is that they are full of protein, so the soup will "last." There is always a lot of snack food laying around the volunteer area, plus a vending machine right around the corner. If I want to avoid both I need to have something that will fill me up! Once the soup is on, then I will throw together a loaf of bread. Great for breakfast, snacks (toast with peanut butter is one of my favorites) and "on the go" sandwiches. The best part is, I almost always have the ingredients on hand.

I've got some chicken to go in the oven for both ready to eat dinners for next week and those sandwiches I mentioned. (Even though I did buy some this week, I am not fond of pre-made lunch meat. Too much sodium for my taste.) Once that is in the oven I'll whip up some hummus. Also a great "stick to the ribs" food that is good on sandwiches or with veggies. I have some nice carrots I could peel and prep for lunches.

These are all great because I can get one cooking while I am prepping the rest, and they will all use different cooking equipment, so I can do them at the same time. I've got a couple other ideas too, depending on time and if my memory is correct on what is still in the cupboards. Either way, anything I can get made or prep ahead will be good. This upcoming week is going to be even busier as the volunteer work kicks into overdrive then. This last week was prep work - this upcoming is "go time."

I hope everybody is having a great weekend!

Photo by: Yolise


Anonymous said...

Mmm! Sounds great! Planning ahead is definitely key!

Hope you're enjoying your weekend :)

Bouncing Back said...

Probably my one biggest "complaint" with my weekend job is I don't have the same opportunities here as I do at home to cook and have leftovers for lunches and meals. I have access to a kitchen, but it has the basics in terms of pots, pans, utensils. It's either adapt to the very basic kitchen or spend a lot of $$ on eating out. I'm adapting to the kitchen and bringing containers to bring leftovers home. I don't mind buying my lunch every once in a while, but spending $7-$10 per day on lunch gets old quick-especially since I don't have a huge selection in places to get my lunch! Gotta love small towns.

Miss M said...

I did some cooking Sunday for the week ahead. I like having food prepared so I'm less busy during the week. Are you still on your crazy schedule this week?

Dawn said...

Frugal Dreamer - My weekend was good. I got a lot done, so I think I am ready for the upcoming week.

Bouncing Back - I'm with you! I don't mind eating out occasionally, in fact, I rather like it. But to do it regularly would certainly add up! It sounds like adapting is going to be the way to go for the long run.

Miss - Yep, I sure am. This is the last completely crazy week though - the week after is only lightly crazy and then after that the craziness drops of dramatically.

Saver Queen said...

Wow, you are so busy! Pre-cooking meals is definitely a big help! What did you decide to make?

Dawn said...

I made bread, pita breads, soup, veg. stock, braised chicken and bean soup. I didn't get to the hummus yet, but I am hoping to this week. It was the first time I had made pita bread - they were fun!

Kristy @ Master Your Card said...

Gosh, I wish I could be as committed to cooking as you are! It would make my life so much easier. I tend to leave it until I need to cook something to eat, then I don't and I end up eating out...I did that today, as a matter of fact! *sigh* I just need to be more disciplined, especially after spending $700 on a bachelorette party!

Dawn said...

Kristy - wow! That is a lot on a bachelorette party. The things we do, eh? As for cooking, I think part of it is that I love to eat - and eat well. The only way I can do that with my budget is to cook myself. But I also happen to love cooking. I find it fun and relaxing so that certainly helps!