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Homemade meals



So...how do you balance work and making dinner? I've tried freezer recipes, which help out a lot. Also, I start every meal with a sinkful of hot, soapy water to keep up the dishes as it goes. Any tried and true tips?


Senior Member
Market Day and the crockpot

I buy a lot from Market Day at school. Most of the meals are quick and my family enjoys them. I also use my crock pot at least 2 or 3 days a week. My husband leaves for work at 5 am so I have about an hour before I wake my kids up. In that time I get supper planned out, do laundry and get myself ready. It works for me.

Marie from PA


Senior Member


I try to use my crockpot at least a couple of times each week. It is so nice to walk in the door and have our dinner entree done. One thing that I also do is to prepare a huge bowl of salad on the weekend and use it as a side dish throughout the week.
Looking forward to what works for others.


Junior Member
Crock Pot Recipes Books

Do anyone have a recipe book devoted primarily to crock pot cooking that has good, everyday type meals in it? If so, I'd love to the title. Thanks:)!


Full Member
Frozen Pasta: God's Gift to Working Women

At least once a week, I cook up a package of frozen raviolis or tortellinis, heat up a can of pasta sauce to put over it, and a bagged salad. It literally takes about 15 minutes and it's a good healthy dinner.


Plan your meals

Every weekend my DH and I sit down and plan our meals for the week. We look at meetings, kid's activities, etc for what is happening during the week and plan according to the time we will have. We also usually end up with a couple slow cooker meals, as well. I also take the time to make meatballs in bulk, bake them on cookie sheets and freeze them in meal size portions. Doing this, I hcan have spaghetti & meatballs (etc.) within 30 minutes. After planning the meals, I go out and buy the groceries for the week, including lunches. We also do any baking on the weekend, too. It is unbelievable how easy it can be with this little thing. We both HATE processed / premade food, and this works very well. I also dislike sending lunches that are not homemde. We eat very well and can keep up fairly well during the week, if we take the time to catch up or plan ahead on the weekend. :)
We have now done this for long enough that we are quite lost without the plan. And we both now what do get cooking at when we get home! I recommend it to everone now!

Chicago Teacher

Full Member
Dinner Group

My husband works at a very small private school (15 teachers total K-8). Our friends (who teach at the school and their families) have a "Dinner group" that runs during the school year. My husband and I joined it when we moved here. There are 7 families in the group and each month we make up a calendar for who will make dinner for weeknights (M-R on days school is in session). Each family signs up for 1-2 nights a month to cook dinner for everyone.

It was sort of overwhelming at first because if everyone comes there are around 25 people, counting kids. But, it's great because I only actually cook dinner 2 weeknights a month! Other nights someone else cooks! And it is very casual so if something is going on, you aren't required to be there. (Some people are taking grad. school classes, others miss nights for school sports events, etc.) And, if there are big things going on at the school (programs, conferences, etc.) we just don't have dinner group that night. Plus, no one gets mad if you are supposed to host but have to cancel.

I really like it because it's nice to sit around for a little while and chat with friends after a hard day with kids. The kids get to hang out together and are practically a family. We usually have dinner from 6pm-7pm, and it doesn't usually go more than an hour because since it's a nightly event, people don't feel obligated to sit around forever and talk.

It's not something that would work for everyone, but if you have some close friends at your school or in your neighborhood or whatever, I highly recommend it!

PS- Cooking for that many people isn't even actually that hard either. People tend to rotate through a few of their favorite recipes. I usually make baked pasta, homemade chili, or something in a crock pot - and then salad, bread, and cooked veggies. Some people will just go to Little Ceasars and pick up pizza!


Senior Member

I use Sunday afternoon to cook a meal that I can eat for several days or freeze in portions. I usually make a big pot of chili, a nice hearty soup, oven barbequed chicken or a pot of meatballs. I also stop sometimes at BJs wholesale club and get a rotiserrie chicken ($4.99) and eat it hot one night and then cut up the meat for chicken sandwiches, quesidillas, etc. Then I make a soup with what is left on the chicken after a few days.


Senior Member
I make Chicken Helper sometimes. I make a double batch and freeze half for another day. I bought one of these vacuum sealer machines for this purpose. Chicken Voila is also a tasty quick concoction. My kids are crazy for tuna casserole.

My family eats out a lot for better or worse. We eat at Sonny's every Monday since it's half-price salad bar. I usually cook on Tuesdays but make easy stuff on this night. On Wednesdays, we eat at the church--not gourmet, but it's a nice evening with friends. On Thursdays, my husband bowls so it's fend for yourself night. The kids like to eat Kids Cuisine then. We eat out on Fridays too, at Waffle House or somewhere else quick and close. On Saturdays, I like to cook something and we go out for lunch after church on Sundays with a few friends.

During a lot of the year, my kids are involved in sports 2-3 days a week which means I'm on the run 2-3 days a week. My husband and I both work as teachers and are pretty involved with work not to mention just plain tired at the end of the day.

This past weekend I did a big grillout. We have a lot of leftovers for dinners this week. We don't mind eating hotdogs and hamburgers a few times a week now and then. I don't grill that frequently, but when I do, I make a lot of food.

I am away from home from 7:15 until near 5 so I'd feel weird having a crockpot plugged in cooking for that length of time. Even with a slowcooker, I am not comfortable cooking food for that long.


Junior Member
recipe book

There is a line of books called Fix It and Forget It. I also love 101 Things to Do with your Crock Pot.


Senior Member

When I had kids at home, I made up monthly menus. This saves shopping time, as I could write up my shopping list from the menu and only made one trip a week to the store.
To me the hardest part is deciding what to make. With a menu, I didn't have that problem. In the morning I would look at the menu to see if there was anything that needed to be taken out to thaw. If anyone got home before me, they knew what to do to get the meal started.
Now it's just DH and me. I still find deciding what to make is the hardest part. I should go back to writing up menus.


Senior Member

Like some others, I also plan out my meals for the week. It gives me one less thing to think about that afternoon. I write out the menu, then go grocery shopping. I look at my calendar to see if we have ball games or other commitments that would require a quicker meal, and either do a crock pot dinner that night, or something fast like popcorn shrimp.

I also start cooking dinner as soon as I walk in the door. If I give myself a chance to sit down, I tend to not want to get up! lol Then I let it cook or simmer while I relax (usually on the computer!). It also helps because if we don't eat fairly soon, the kids will snack and not be hungry for dinner!

Dishes go right into the dishwasher after dinner. I wash pots and pans immediately (as soon as I'm done eating) so they don't need to soak. Takes me no time!

Mackenzie AK

Senior Member
Quick Cooking

I love this cookbook. They also have Light and Tasty and Taste of Home. I have made recipes for the past two nights out of Light and Tasty and they were delicious, and even my husband liked them. Most of the recipes in Quick Cooking can be done in under 30 minutes. I like Light and Tasty because all of the nutritional values are claculated for you at the end of the recipe.
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Indiana Jen

Senior Member

Something I made recently that was really good was chicken and broccoli in the crockpot. I put two huge chicken breasts in the crockpot with a can of cream of broccoli soup and when I got home from school I made some rice. It was great!


Senior Member
Crockpot recipes

I use my crockpot all the time and keep it really simple. Before I go to school I:

* Put chicken breasts in the pot. Pour your favorite BBQ sauce over it.

* Spray or grease crockpot. Cut a pkg of smoked sausage into one inch chunks, add a pkg of frozen hash browns with peppers and onions, 1 can of cream of chicken soup and 1 can of cheddar soup. Mix.

* Pot roast (frozen is OK), quartered red potatoes, mini carrots, pkg of onion soup, cover with water

* Put pork chops (4-6) in a zip lock bag with a 20 oz can of pineapple chunks, 1/4 C brown sugar, and 2 t soy sauce. Refigerate over night. In the morning put in crock pot.

This takes a little longer. I prepare it the night before, refigerate, and put on in the morning.

* Layer 3 C diced ham, 8 C sliced potatoes, 2 small sliced onions, 1 sliced green pepper; combine 1 can cheddar cheese soup, 2 tablespoons water, and squirt of prepared brown mustard; pour over all.

Cook everything on low. Dinner is ready when you get home.

Teach 5

Senior Member
crockpot & Market Day

I love my crockpot because I can fill it the night before, keep it in the refrigerator overnight & then just turn it on in the morning.
Our favorite is chicken with cheese soup on top & then make rice to go with it.
Fix It & Forget It is a great crockpot cookbook.
Market Day is also a great place to buy premade or precooked meals. At first, I thought it was expensive but then I realized it was cheaper than eating out. We like the precooked pot roast, the chicken classics, & chicken pot pie.
I always used to think I had to cook a "big" meal but now I cook more sandwiches & soups. The kids love homemade submarine sandwiches.
Spaghetti is quick, easy, & always a crowd pleaser.
Every Thursday, we do order Chinese food. Between that & casual Fridays, I feel like the weekend has already begun.