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No Time for Home Cooking? Think Again!

Updated on January 26, 2010

So many of us are over scheduled, our meals end up looking like a teen-agers dream come true. You know, greasy hamburgers, taco bell, everything that will help promote an early grave. But it doesn't have to be that way. Even the busiest of us can have home cooked meals, even if we only have a short amount of time to prepare them.

The Importance of Home Cooked Meals

  • They are healthier
  • They are more cost effective
  • They taste better
  • You know what you are truly eating
  • Did I say they are healthier? Much healthier

Pre-Plan Your Weekly Menu

If you aren't used to doing this, it will take some practice, but if you get used to pre-planning the meals for the following week you'll be assured of having all ingredients on hand and you'll also be able to strategize which nights are best for cooking what meals. Also, plan some last minute meals in there too. When there is a race for time, it takes five minutes to grill ham and cheese sandwiches and throw a can of soup on the stove. "Brinner" is also an excellent fall-back meal. You know, that's where you eat breakfast for dinner. Make some toast, scramble some eggs, and serve some fruit. Fast, healthy, easy and so much more cost effective than eating out.

I use an excel spreadsheet and have a folder for recipes that I don't know off the top of my head. When I'm getting ready to do my weekly shopping, I open the excel spreadsheet and it has a list of all the home cooked meals we like. I pick the ones we haven't had for awhile and we eat those. I also ask family members to add to the list too so we aren't eating the same things over and over.

Cook in Bulk and Freeze Dinner Size Portions

When you do have time to cook, cook extra and freeze the leftovers. Then, on your busy nights, take a meal out of the freezer, pop in the oven and you'll be eating a delicious home cooked meal in no time flat! Crock pot recipes, turkey, ham, larger meats are all perfect for this.

Here are a few fast meal ideas to give you some inspiration and get you started:

Put a pork roast in the crockpot first thing in the morning. Add one cup water and one packet onion soup mix. When you get home, heat up mashed potatoes. Real potatoes come all ready peeled and mashed at most grocers, all you have to do is heat them up. Add some pork gravy and you have a delicious meal. Make an extra large roast, freeze part of it so next time you can just heat and serve.

Quick and Easy Chicken Parmesan

Four Breaded Chicken Patties
Two Jars of your favorite Spaghetti Sauce
Shredded Mozarella Cheese
Rotini Noodles

Add the chicken patties and sauce into a baking dish, cover with aluminum foil and cook at 450 degrees for 25 minutes. Start the noodles, sprinkle the mozarella cheese over the chicken patties, leave uncovered and continue to cook until noodles are done. Serve noodles with chicken, sauce, and cheese on top. The total amount of time to prepare and cook is less than 45 minutes, and this is delicious!


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    • HappyHer profile image

      HappyHer 7 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      I agree with all your comments Springboard. I'll bet your pantry is to die for! I stay stocked up on the essentials and can usually whip something up out of nothing. I also go for the sales and will shop at two to three different places to capitalize on the savings. Unfortunately organic foods are always more expensive, so I really have to be careful as those are the ones I try to use the most often.

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 7 years ago from Wisconsin

      I'm such an advocate of cooking at home. Besides, when you DO decide to indulge yourself and eat out, you enjoy it more because it's more like a treat. As for planning? I think its essential. The only caution there, that I have, is to also plan your meals around sales. One thing I hate more than anything is to pay full price for anything. If it's not on sale, it doesn't go in my cart. So, that means, non-perishables especially get stocked up on, and I try to keep primary ingredients in good supply. Meats are especially important in this category, and I'll buy a couple extra packages of something that's on sale in a minute.

      Planning ahead, of course, also makes the whole cooking experience easier to swallow, pardon the pun. If you have to come up with new ideas every day for something to eat, it gets challenging. But if you spend one day once a week, or once a month really thinking about it, things just sort of fall into place, and the in-between time is much simpler.

      Great advice. Keep on hubbing.

    • HappyHer profile image

      HappyHer 7 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      The veggie version sounds great, let me know how it works! The veggie "hamburger" patties might be good too, I think I'll give those a try sometime.

    • GPAGE profile image

      GPAGE 7 years ago from California

      GREAT advice! Like the Quick Chicken Parmesan....may try a vegetarian version and stick veggie patties in there (or veggie patties that taste like chicken! I may even get out my crock pot that I forgot about! Best, G