Food Fun and Facts   Easy Meal Planning Tips

3 Tips for Easy Meal Planning

Where has the family dinner hour gone? There once was a time when we would all come home from a long day and sit down with our family for a nice home-cooked meal. In today's fast paced world, we need more bonding time with the family. One might say that in today's day where people pile way too much on the plate of life, that it is impossible to have a family dinner everyday. I disagree. Wouldn't you like to get back to the way it used to be?

One way to make family dinners easier to prepare is by planning ahead. Often times I find myself going to the grocery store every other day to pick up needed items, and this is how family time gets lost. Spend a little time planning out dinner ideas for the coming week. Pick meals that are quick and easy for your dinners during the week and save the more time consuming recipes for the weekend. Did you know that software has been developed that makes meal planning a breeze? With a click of the mouse you can organize your recipe collection into daily meal plans complete with nutrition facts and shopping lists. With the computer generated shopping list you won't have to worry about forgetting a needed item when you go grocery shopping.

Another great way to ensure that your family eats together most nights of the week is to share the responsibility of preparing dinner. It can be difficult for one family member to be responsible for cooking everyday. Each member of the family can take turns cooking each night. This is also a good way to add some new flavors to your meals since each member may have a different cooking technique. For those family members who don't cook often, this can prove to be a great learning experience. Review each family member's weekly schedule and delegate the meal preparation tasks such as grocery shopping, cooking, and clean up. Working as a team is a great way to build strength as a family.

"Not meatloaf again!" I'm sure everyone has heard the complaints from that same meal being served week after week. Keep your family dinners exciting by trying different variations of your favorite recipes. An even better idea would be to test out some new recipes. Surprise your family with a delicious new dinner tonight and they will be sure to come back to the dinner table tomorrow.

Nothing is more important than your family. It's worth the effort to make sure that your family eats together daily. Besides the needed nutrition, this time spent together will help open the lines of communication and make your family bond stronger.

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(Family Features) - The winter months bring plenty of entertaining at home, during a time when stretching your dollar from the grocery store to the table is more important than ever.

The good news is that beef is an easy and versatile solution. With a few carving steps, you not only save a lot, but still provide your family with delicious meals they love. One tenderloin roast can turn into three-four meal options such as kabobs, stir fry, steaks and a roast.

Dave Zino, executive chef with the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, offers tips to enjoy restaurant-quality beef at home:

  • An entire tenderloin roast can be cut crosswise into steaks, with the best steaks coming from the center of the roast.
    • It's easier to control doneness if steaks are at least 1-inch thick. Thinner steaks can go from medium rare to overdone in a very short time.
    • Keep all steaks the same thickness for consistency when cooking.
    • Cutting your own steaks can save at least $2 per pound, and even more when you compare it to the cost of eating out.
  • Kabob cubes and stir fry strips can be cut from the tip of the tenderloin.
  • The larger end of the tenderloin roast can be used for a small roast or steaks.

Visit BeefItsWhatsforDinner.com for beef recipes, the latest nutrition information and tips for shopping for and cooking with beef so you can start savoring, slicing and saving this season.

SOURCE:
The Beef Checkoff