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Friday, August 7, 2015

One and Done ~ Tips From A Busy Retro Housewife

Just last week, I was a guest blogger over on Pin Up Persuasions  about a day in the life of a modern day 50's housewife. I found out that there is a blog by a similar name so I have changed what I am calling myself to Retro Housewife...after all why pigeon whole yourself?  So what makes me a retro housewife? The biggest thing I would guess is that I do not work...outside the home that is. Even though our three girls are all grown and living on their own ( mostly) I still have a busy day each day. Many may think all I do is sit around and get my nails done, or watch soap operas... and yes that has been known to happen, but I do have my daily chores among other things. I carefully plan out all our meals, careful to mind the diet restrictions of both myself and my husband and to fit with in our allotted budget, and of course there is the preparation of the meals.

Not all days are spent like this
Some are spent working on my blog
and other social media platform posts.
Some out in the garden

For awhile, quite a while my husband cooked, even after a long day at work because my health, I get very tired by the days end when he is wanting a hot meal on the table, but I always felt guilty. I decided I wanted to try to be the cook again, but how could I make it easy on myself? I often, even if I am not tired out, loose track of time between chores, getting my walk in each day and trying to build a new ( I hope) career as a silver haired pin up model/spokesperson through my blog and posts on social as I said, I can be a busy lady. So again, how do I make it easy on myself? Well the first thing I do is pick out recipes that I can make in bulk, and then freeze....and then reheat. kind of like my own version of T.V. dinners ( yeah guilty... we do watch T.V.  while eating dinners on some nights.); they need to be as I said healthy, appeal to the whole family, as we often have daughters dropping in for supper, and once again budget friendly.

I like to pick retro recipes and then
make them healthy. I find it a challenge,
and fun too! 
We always buy enough to last us
2-3 weeks.

Once I decide on several meals, I make out my menu and head to the grocery store. We try to only grocery shop every two weeks, sometimes every three, with a list and the menu; we find it easier to stick to our budget. Of course fresh items we will often run out and get in between time if we need it. I have recently begun to assign meals to certain nights, it makes it even easier. We will have the same thing on the same nights of the week, though at time we will rotate within a type of meal what we have, such as instead of Taco Tuesdays... we have enchiladas, so we call it "Fiesta Nite".

M~ Pizza and Salad Nite
T~ Fiesta Nite
W~ Pasta and Salad Nite
TH~ Mini Meatloaf Nite 
F~ Sandwich Nite
Sa~ Breakfast for Supper Nite
Su~ Mystery Nite  

You might notice that you do not see a lot of meat or vegies... we do eat them. I incorporate them into the meal. So take Fiesta Nite. I make my turkey "fiesta" meat, which can be used for tacos or enchiladas. I will put carrots, zucchini, olives, tomatoes and onions into the mix and we then also during the Summer serve with salad or fresh fruit.  My mini meatloaves often have vegetables mixed in as well, or we do serve on the side. My red wine pasta sauce is ALL vegies...well and wine. Where is the protein? I make sure to buy whole wheat pasta that is high in protein, of course there is protein in some vegies and cheese of course. The sandwiches is meat and cheese, breakfast nite, is always high protein, usually from egg beaters and turkey sausage. Mystery night is usually a rotation of chicken or turkey done in a crockpot...again very easy. 

So now I have my recipes, my menus and all my shopping else do I make it easy on myself? Well my title this week tells it all. I one and done it. My husband and myself take one afternoon and we make nearly everything, all at once and then we freeze it! Typically my shopping of every two to three weeks yields enough meals or parts of that it lasts 2-3 months! I have even been known to make my side dishes ahead of time, from pre-cooked pasta to put the sauce on or freeze it with the sauce already mixed in, to mashed potatoes and even rice can be frozen and warmed up in the microwave with a little margarine on top.I store mine in freezer bags and that way stacking is easy.... the pre-made meals in disposable aluminum pans from the Dollar Tree is also a real nice way to go. Of course it REALLY  helps to have an extra freezer if you going to cook this much food at once....but you can even just do two weeks worth and fit it in a normal freezer, still saving you some time each night for a week or two.  Yes it is a lot of work to do that much cooking. A lot of chopping and browning and mixing... but really it is a lot of fun. We pour a glass of wine, turn on the music, usually Frank Sinatra, and get to work. In reality it takes no time at all with two of us. 

I lay everything out and get to work

Wine for the cook and for the
red sauce! 

My "Fiesta" meat has loads of healthy vegies
mixed right in. It is simply ground Turkey,
low sodium salsa, shredded vegies... I used
carrots and zucchini this time as well as black olives...
rinsed and sliced. Of course salt, pepper and some cumin.

Loaded vegie pasta sauce... if it is a vegie, odds are good it's in here, from mushrooms to spinach... carrots to peppers, it is all in there. Sauteed onions and garlic too. Of course
a whole bottle of red wine. and some vegie broth.... don't forget your Italian seasonings...I even
added fresh basil.  Cook it down on a low heat all afternoon, and then blend it with a
emulsion blender till smooth! 

Time to mix up the meatloaf mix...find the recipe on
the post that's over on Pin Up in first

Making enchiladas...several different sauce types to
keep it interesting. From Avocado salsa to regular red sauce.

Each container of red sauce represents a meal or possibly two! 
Ready to pop into the of several Tuesday night meals

The mini meatloaves once flash frozen in the muffin pan,
pop out and are stored in plastic containers, then I simply
defrost what I need each week, top with sauce or choice and
mashed potatoes and baked for about 30 min. or until cooked thru.
recipe on the Pin Up Persuasion post.

Yummy lasagna, and healthy, with low fat cheese, whole wheat pasta
and some of my red sauce ..from frozen to ready in about an hour to hour and
a half..depending on your oven, and how brown you like your cheese....
when baked at 375 degrees. 

The enchiladas..this week served with
a fresh salad and watermelon. 
So there you have it. How I, as a busy retro housewife, as well as one that has quite a few health issues, still manages to have a nice, healthy meal on the table for my hubby when he comes home from work. The best part your kitchen only really gets truly messy on bulk cooking day...everything is in disposable pans that you pop in the oven so no splatters on your stove or counters. You can even if you like cook rice, mashed potatoes and even pasta ahead of time and freeze it, thaw it and reheat when ready...and if you use microwave safe containers,  your dish washer takes care of the rest.  I hope it inspires you and maybe even acts as motivation to make things a little easier on you. Here is another tip to save you some trouble and time....

Line a measuring cup with foil ,
pour your grease from draining
your cooked meat ( gets rid of
fat calories if you drain and rinse your meat),
let it cool then just lift the foil out and dispose of.
Saves scrubbing time of the measuring cup too! 

Side Note...
My middle daughter is a very talented digital artist. She not only does
the very cute banners for my blog and my Mini Ruby characters for
my FB page, but she also does amazing portraits in digital art. 
If you are interested contact me through my FB page or leave a comment
here with your email and I will pass the information on to her. 

original drawing ...Art by RLF

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