Tag Archives: cooking

Step 3 – Plan your protein

Your grocery list always need to start with proteins.  

You have to get into your head what counts as a protein; here in the good ol’ Midwest we tend to lean towards beef.  And, yes, of course, it is a protein.

But, expand your thinking: include dairy, eggs, nuts, chicken, pork products, and fish.

All of these are ways to get protein.  If you are planning to cook on four nights, you need four proteins for the week.  So, look in your freezer and see what you have on hand.

If you pick something like a roast or whole chicken, depending on family size, you could get two nights of meals out of that single protein source.

Here’s my typical plan: 

one night beef


one night chicken


one night fish


one night left-overs from one of the above

To review:

write down your schedule for the week, divide your days, and now pick your proteins.

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Posted by on March 24, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Guest Post – I Love CIDOs

Was I no good at cooking because I didn’t enjoy it?  Or did I not enjoy cooking because I was so bad at it?  Definitely a bit of “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?”  All I know is that I dreaded being in the kitchen.  

That all changed last year when I got my first enameled cast iron Dutch oven.  It was so pretty!  Like a jewel for the kitchen.  Bold red.  It commanded attention.  It was also extremely heavy, so I left it sitting on my stove top.  It beckoned me.

Overnight, I became obsessed with recipes using cast iron Dutch ovens.  I was cranking out Coq Au Vin, homemade spaghetti sauce, melt-in-your-mouth roasts, and even Artisanal bread.  My picky youngsters started asking for seconds on many things that came out of that Dutch oven.  People who barely knew me thought I was one of those people.  You know, one of those people who actually knew how to cook.  My freezer was starting to overflow with healthier stews, soups, and sauces and with none of the preservatives & extra junk that are found in the canned varieties that I’d been purchasing for years.  Bonus!

Along came a few more dutch ovens & cocottes.  I couldn’t stop raving about my cast iron dutch ovens (CIDOs).  As expensive as these things can be, I believe they were saving me money in the long run.  I was cooking at home all the time.  And (mostly) enjoying it!  

The fun Staub knobs that I received for Christmas were just icing on the cake.  Who would’ve guessed that enameled cast iron dutch ovens & pretty knobs would be the catalyst to get me motivated to learn how to cook?  I guess for me it wasn’t the chicken or the egg.  It was the rooster atop my gorgeous yellow Staub cocotte. 



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Posted by on March 19, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Step 2 – divide your days

The next part of the planning it to get into a routine. 

Our routine is that we go out once a week and we try to limit drive-thru stops to twice a week.  That leaves four days of cooking.

Two of those days still have to be quick meals or something people can eat at different times and two of those days are sit-down family dinners.

Start to plan a grocery list (in your head, just when you’re driving and thinking about it).  Don’t worry about writing anything down yet.

You are really only going to need 8 meals that your family eats well – 2 a week for a month and then you start over.

The next post will teach you how to take all of this thought and really make that grocery list and start making a change in your habits.

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Posted by on March 17, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Guest Post – My College Roomate reveals my original cooking abilities

‘Amazing’ and ‘jealous’ are the 2 words that come to my mind every time I see one of Kristin’s meals on Facebook or read about it on her blog. Amazed that she can cook and jealous she couldn’t cook like this in college.
Kristin and I lived with each other for 2 years. The only 3 things I can remember her cooking were macaroni and cheese, chicken patty sandwiches, and toasted cheese sandwiches. Her toasted cheese sandwich recepe was 2 pieces of bread, toasted in the toaster with a piece of cheese between them, and finally microwaved. Her meals look much better now.
Grille Cheese
Not surprised she shops at Aldi’s, though. That was our favorite store in college!
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Posted by on February 19, 2013 in Uncategorized


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