Tips & Ideas

BFC Benefits – Planning Your Meals

In: Tips & Ideas

For most people, the dinner hour is one of the most stressful of the day. Not only do you have to decide what to make, but you have ballet lessons or soccer carpool to schedule in as well.

Let me let you into a little tip- it doesn’t have to be this way!

If I could share just one tip with you as to how to make dinner time go better, it would be to PLAN YOUR MEALS! Now, we have offered our menu for the week and feel free to use this as your starting point. Here are just a few simple steps I think you should try for creating your own menu.

1. Start with what you know – Create a list of all the foods you know how to cook.  These are meals that you have made more than once and everyone in your house likes.  There will be plenty of time to expand your list and try new things.  Use categories such as chicken dishes, steaks, seafood, etc…. to organize your meals. Keep this “master” list handy for the first 6 months.

2. Start small –  I have been planning our meals for almost three years. I now plan our meals for the whole month. Start with a week (Monday-Friday). Fill in the dinners from the list you have just created and that you would like to make that week and…

3. Stick with it There is really no point in not cooking what you have planned. The point of planning your meals in advance is to become disciplined, more organized, and make dinner time happen.  So in the event that you have ballet lessons, soccer carpool, and a business meeting all on the same night- you can have the number for delivery written right on the calendar.

So there you have it.  Three simple steps to creating your own family dinner menu.  You will be surpised at the other benefits you encounter as you continue week after week on your dinner planning quest.  I will be sharing more tips of mine as this series continues.

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Pot Pie Ideas

In: Tips & Ideas

I forgot how much I love pot pies. I used to have them all the time when I was growing up. There is something special about your own individual pie that you can eat any way you wish.

Doug was gone one weekend for business and I stopped by the grocery store after work and picked up a chicken pot pie. Yes, I know, I don’t always cook every night.

Anyway, as I was indulging on my pot pie, I thought to myself- I can do this at home- by myself- for less money. There are some many combinations of pot pies you could make. Each would have some of the basic ingredients like cream of chicken soup to act as a binder and to make it creamy and a pie crust or biscuits for the top. Here are a few pot pie ideas I thought of.

1. Chicken pot pie with cream of potato soup and mushrooms
2. Turkey pot pie with sweet potatoes, corn, and green beans
3. Shrimp pot pie with wild rice and mixed vegetables
4. Creamy garlic chicken pot pie with green beans, carrots, and peas
5. Beef pot pie with carrots, peas, and potatoes

So pick your favorite- experiment- and have fun creating your own pot pie recipes!

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Making Celebrations Special With Food

In: Tips & Ideas

In our family, we have a lot of birthdays and celebrations early in the new year. I love to surprise my family members, co-workers, and friends with something a little special for their birthdays.

In the past, I have made a co-worker a double layer chocolate cake for her birthday, made my sister-in-law 30 chocolate truffles for her 30th birthday, and my dad a German chocolate cake for his birthday.

Now, I could have went with the e-card note and email or just a phone call, but I really thought about something else I could do that was inexpensive and thoughtful. You would be surprised as to the reaction you will get. It seems like now, people don’t go that extra mile and it doesn’t have to be a mile, just an extra step or two.

You get the point, whether you are celebrating a birthday, retirement, a new baby, or just hanging out with a group of friends, think about something special that you could make that would make their day. If you need an idea or some inspiration, send a comment or an email and I would love to help you out the best I can!

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Does everyone own a paring knife? It is one of the kitchen tools that you should own. A paring knife is one of the smallest knives in your kitchen and I use it for everything from taking the centers out of strawberries to slicing garlic.

Please be careful when using your paring knife, just because it is small doesn’t mean it can’t cut you! Many people use paring knives as a peeler, like if you are peeling off the skin of an orange.  One small slip and watch out!  Just be careful;)

Here are some uses that I use my paring knife for. If you haven’t used your paring knife in a while, get it out and start cooking.

Paring Knife Uses:
1. Slicing bananas for my cereal in the morning
2. Trimming off any excess “junk” from chicken
3. Opening up packages of hamburger or other meats from the grocery store (the ones in the styrofoam holders- not the lunch meat kind).
4. Cutting through my sections of grapefruit so every segment comes out perfectly!
5. Slicing the exact amount of butter for any recipe

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5 Ways To Enjoy Noodles

In: Tips & Ideas

Are noodles getting a bad wrap? I hope not. While teaching, I came across a poem called “Oodles of Noodles.” The author of the poem loved noodles so much  she wished she could eat noodles with every meal.

I would agree, noodles of all kinds, are the perfect anytime meal. There are so many options to serve them. That’s right, there are other options besides serving them with some butter.  Here are some of my ideas for the perfect noodle meal- do you have any?

1. Noodles with butter and fresh cracked pepper
2. Noodles with broccoli and grated Parmesan cheese
3. Noodles with fresh cherry tomatoes (diced) and basil drizzled with olive oil
4. Noodles with marinara sauce and Mozzarella cheese- Baked!
5. Noodles with vegetable spaghetti sauce

I think I am going to have some noodles right now…..

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This Week’s Menu (09/21/09)


Monday: Teriyaki Chicken with noodles and green beans

Tuesday: BBQ with coleslaw and french fries

Wednesday: Beef Fried Rice

Thursday: Creamy chicken with mushrooms, noodles, and broccoli

Friday: Fish fry! (out to eat)


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