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Old 08-23-2009, 08:16 PM   #11
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Re: Help! I can't cook and need to.

There are some things that are pretty easy to make that are similar to some of the "easy" restaurants you mentioned. For instance, instead of hitting Chipotle, could you do some fajitas at home- there is a kit, or really I just saute chicken strips with onions and peppers and top with all the fixins. Instead of noodles and co, could you make some mac and cheese and maybe serve it with ham steaks- just heat and serve. Or you could even try one of those Voila type meals with the ingredients all in one bag until you get more used to cooking in. Instead of fast food drive through, you could try making your own burgers, or even just buy burgers that are ready made and just need to be cooked. Throw on some cheese, summer tomatoes, and onion- yum- much better than drive through. Subs are also super easy to make at home- just pick your favorite lunchmeats (we like capicola, genoa salami, and pepperoni) and some bread and load them up! Another easy entree is a green salad topped with chicken strips- possibly made on the grill, or you can buy precooked if you are short on time. You can always add a baked potato or some nice bread if you don't think this is substantial enough. Spaghetti, jarred sauce, and frozen meatballs is another easy one. Baked chicken, pierogies, and a veggie is also a pretty easy meal. Soup and grilled cheese is ultra fast.

If you like convenience foods, Trader Joes is a great place to pick up some that taste really good- don't know if you have one of those near you. I find that the stuff I buy from there gets eaten very quickly!

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Old 08-23-2009, 10:36 PM   #12
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Re: Help! I can't cook and need to.

I hear ya mama!!

I went from being single and having money to spend on eating out to having a husband, a baby and a budget!

From my experience, so you don't go crazy, start small and try to do better this week than you did the last week. I always want to do everything perfect the first time, but it's not going to happen.

I am going to assume we're starting from scratch w/ this stuff, so sorry if this is a little too much instruction, but I can tell you I needed it a few months ago:

A fav in my family -- stir fry. We buy boneless skinless chicken breast when it is at it's cheapest,
-- then we trim the fat
-- fillet it (you just cut it in half lengthwize so youhave two thin fillets rather than one thick breast -- cooks better)
-- then thaw it when we want to use it (Way better to thaw overnight in the fridge than in teh microwave!!!)

Stir fry:
-- Cook rice. Get jasmine rice -- It cooks quickly (follow the instructiosn on the bag) and is better IMO than instant white rice, but hubby will still eat it.
-- Cut chicken up into small pieces, then dip in this mixture: 1/2 tbsp water, 2 tbsp cornstarch, and some soy sauce (dont' know how much -- I probably use too much). You'll need to stir the mixture w/ a fork until the cornstarch dissolves.
-- spray pan w/ cooking spray
-- cook on medium w/ lid on (cooks more evenly and won't dry out as easily)
-- add a frozen stirfry mix when chicken is halfway cooked.
-- cook until veggies are done and chicken is no longer pink in the middle (by the time I am done cooking it, ALL of the pieces of chicken are cut in half b/c I keep checking to see if it's done!! still not good at that....but want to make absolutely sure it's fully cooked!)
Easy peasy.
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Last edited by Deanie; 08-23-2009 at 10:38 PM.
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Old 08-23-2009, 10:40 PM   #13
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Re: Help! I can't cook and need to.

i know since i get the emails if you go to kraftfoods.com it kinda plans a week of meals out and you can print a shopping list. Granted I don't usually buy the kraft brand but a lot of the meals are pretty good. The last day i've noticed is a frozen pizza. Still better than paying $15 bucks or more for pizza.

I also sometimes get the rotisserie chicken already cooked from the grocery store and use that as my meat/protein for one night.
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Old 08-24-2009, 09:56 AM   #14
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Re: Help! I can't cook and need to.

I have a friend who did a lot of take out and rarely cooked. So I totally know what you mean. Her financial situation just drastically changed. Pretty much anything she bought at the grocery store was cheaper then buying take out every night, but it's hard to break that habit.

Even burgers and fries are pretty cheap when cooked at home. Here's a list of my easy go-to meals.

Roast Beef. You can either do it in the crock pot (all day) with potatoes and carrots or in the oven for a few hours at 350 I do those bags of instant potatoes and jarred gravy because my gravy stinks!! lol

Chicken strips and fries. Easy peasy and the kiddos love it.

Speghetti. Supper cheap and easy with a jarred sauce.

Fried pork chops and green beans.

Chili - there's tons of recipes out there, but we just use the one on the back of the spice packet for chili. lol Great on a cold rainy day.

Hamburger Helper. A lot of people hate it, but we like it and it's easy and filling. lol

Kielbasi and sauerkraut. My DH is Polish and I am not, so I started making this for him. I just cut it up and bake for a few hours. Sometimes I add pork chops.

Even a frozen pizza is so much cheaper then calling for pizza.

Good Luck!!
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