My dilemma lately has been that I have nearly over scheduled our days. I say 'nearly' because we are able to do all the things I have scheduled. But, on some days our busy-ness and running around keeps me away from home for long enough that its a scramble to get dinner on the table. Which actually means we have scrambled eggs or cereal for dinner, or I just open the fridge door and tell the kids to have at it (if I had time to shop and there's anything actually in the fridge, that is.)
While the fast food restaurant and its instant meals do look very tempting, we cannot indulge in that for a few reasons. We are currently in a state of self-imposed poverty due to some projects we wanted to get done before winter. Until those things are paid for I prefer to be as frugal as possible. Going out to eat just doesn't fit with that plan. Well...at lest going out 4-5x per week doesn't. Besides, I'm also trying to get us all to eat a little healthier. (Perhaps I'll shut the fridge doors now before you notice the Moose Tracks ice cream in there.)
So, I have lately taken more notice of websites with crock pot recipes or frugal freezer recipes that are easy to make and heat up for a quick dinner.
Crock pots are great, aren't they? For the first several years of my marriage I really did think the crock pot wasn't to be used for anything other than roast beef and keeping soup warm. I have since learned. My Hamilton Beach and I are now good buddies. And freezer recipes, while really not complicated or hard to think of, are really great for when you want something homemade but able to be put together quickly. Because...you know...sometimes getting things in crock pot earlier in the day just doesn't happen.
For anyone in the same busy schedule as myself, here are some websites I've been visiting to gather quick and easy (and usually somewhat frugal) recipes from.
Money Saving Mom: Check out her "From My Kitchen" section. She has a Freezer Cooking 101 page and tons of recipes. Her recent posts about Lunchbox Freezer Cooking contains some nice recipes to make that go well from the freezer to the table. Take a look around - there's a lot of great ideas, recipes, and links to find on her site.
A Year of Slow Cooking: This site has tons of crock pot recipes to choose from. I've found a few that I've tried and have turned out decent enough. If you have concerns about gluten, most if not all of the recipes she posts are gluten free. I appreciate that Stephanie O'Dea is truthful and real when reviewing her own recipes. I'm a little suspicious when a recipe site only has glowing positives to say about their own cooking.
Crockin Girls: Another site with crock pot recipes galore. Many different meals and food choices represented.
Lynn's Kitchen Adventures: A site I came across recently. Tons of recipes are available including sections on quick cooking, slow cooking, and frugal meals.
Blessedbeyondadoubt.com: Blog post listing 101 Easy Fall Crock Pot Recipes. I have a couple of these flagged to try later.
I realize there are about a gazillion recipe sites out there. These are a few that are helping me get through our busy schedule while still having a decent, healthy meal to sit down to at the end of the day. I hope you find them helpful.