Switching Gears

Regardless of how you celebrate the holiday season, the upcoming weeks will be busy. As I look ahead to just a few short weeks until Christmas, I am already feeling the time crunch. I am looking for ways to make the days ahead a little less stressful. (Fingers crossed.)

Since we’ve been on the road, I find myself using a crockpot more than I thought I would. Let’s see how to use it more in the coming weeks to make your time spent in the kitchen less.

Whether stationary or on the road, our normal routine calls for work and roadschool through the week and extra playtime on Saturdays. Sunday is always faith and family day when we observe our Sabbath. For us, this seventh day is a good time to regroup and recharge. My end-of-the-week routine also includes cooking large batches of meat to use throughout the coming week. What a difference it has made in the process we call our crazy life.

This week, I put 3 pounds of organic chicken breast in the crockpot on low overnight. I sprayed the inside of the crock lightly with cooking spray, added just a few cups of water to the bottom and sprinkled the meat with seasoned salt. In the meantime, I also fried about five pounds of ground turkey and three pounds of ground beef (mixed up and crumbled). When this cooled, I divided it into four different gallon size freezer bags and put it in the freezer for later. The next morning, I drained the broth from the chicken to use later (stored in the refrigerator). I shredded the chicken and divided it into three separate gallon bags that I froze for later use. Shredded chicken goes a long way!

In planning for the upcoming meals, I used this prepared meat foundation for three lunches and four dinners for the week. I also had one package of the fried ground turkey/beef left over for future use. Two grab ‘n’ go lunches for the busy week ahead will include chicken salad sandwiches, walking tacos, and chicken Caesar wraps. Dinner menus for 4 nights were also filled in with:

  • Chili partnered with cornbread
  • Italian chicken pasta with a side of broccoli, Caesar salad
  • Cheeseburger soup with breadsticks
  • Slow-cooker meatloaf, mashed potatoes and a veggie

The purpose of sharing the whole week’s plan is to see how to crossover ingredients from one meal to use leftovers for another. It’s all a grand plan:  eat well, save time and enjoy more, instead of worrying about what’s for dinner?! For instance, Tuesday night’s chicken pasta dish was paired with a Caesar salad. Leftover salad is used for lunch over the next day or two in the chicken Caesar wraps. Likewise, any shredded chicken I didn’t use in the recipes above, I tossed with taco seasoning and added as a variation to tacos for lunch one day.

Here’s a quick and easy recipe for the Italian chicken pasta entrée.

Italian Chicken Pasta Recipe Card

For this and the other three dinner menu items above, visit the Recipe Box at www.diaryofaroadmom.com for these yummy timesaving prescriptions for your rig’s slow cooker. When I have dinners ready to go for a crazy week, it just takes a flash to add a vegetable or bread to complete the main meal for the day. It gives me an extra bit of time to make someone’s favorite dessert to go along with a soup night or for a special occasion.

As the wheels of the season are turning, I am switching gears to enjoy all the moments around me. It’s easy to be pushed by the onset of the holidays and lose sight of the time we can enjoy together. Enjoy the season to its fruition each day, one mile at a time.

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