Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Dinner, dinner, what's for dinner?

So, Andy and I started the Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University a couple weeks ago.  To be honest, I wish we had done this years ago, but as it is, we're figuring it out now.  Anyway, part of this is so we can be better with our money, save more, spend less and pay off all our debt.  And maybe even prevent our kids from making the same mistakes we did.

How are we doing this?

For starters, we went on a very, very, VERY strict budget.  This month we cut everything down to the basics with no real extras, just to see how much we were really needing to spend and to put the most into our Emergency Fund (Baby Step 1).  The biggest extra to affect me...dining out (or ordering in for that mater).  No more can we order pizza or run through a drive-thru during a busy day. I'm packing lunches, fixing dinners and reheating left-overs.  Every day.  No exceptions.

This means I'm also having to learn to be creative with my cooking.  I have a fairly limited repertoire of dishes I can do successfully.  I never really learned to cook when I was younger and have sort of approached fixing dinner with trepidation.  And I can't rely on my old stand-bys of noodles and sauce very often.  Therefore, I'm branching out.

So far this week, I've made pinto beans with corn bread.  (I did these on an appointment day in the slow cooker since I knew I wouldn't be home much.)  The next night we reheated them and have them over rice.  I've also made Peas and Rice (a Lebanese dish from some old friends of Andy's family), stir fry and tonight baked ziti with chicken.

I'm actually feeling a new found sense of accomplishment and creativity in being able to do this. I might even branch out and try a couple of the Haitian recipes I have been reading about on my friend Corey's blog.

I would love to get some new things to try.  Things that are easy and flavorful enough for us, but no overwhelming for the kids.  I'd also love some suggestions. Like I said, my cooking experience is limited, but I am always willing and ready to try new things.


Kelly said...

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my slow cooker! Very little prep, it's done when we are ready to eat, clean up is easy and you can buy cheaper cuts of meat since they will be cooking for a long time.

Check out recipes on my Facebook group.!/group.php?gid=41904649445

I love the Fix & Forget It series of cookbooks. They are all slow cooker recipes and most will still work in your natural diet.

I'm with you though. Eating out is one of my few luxuries. I hate giving it up.

Corey said...

My kids (and I) like a version of PW's Lemon Pasta too.. basically, pasta.. and the sauce is garlic, lemon juice, and sour cream. I make ours very garlicky (b/c I love garlic).. PW bakes hers after mixing it, but I don't bother; to me it's just an extra, unnecessary step.

I do a lot of soups/stews, too.. black bean, chili, broccoli cheese, beef stew, white bean chicken chili. Throw in some biscuits, and you're good. (Soups/stews are good meat stretchers.. or skippers).