How many times have you heard that? I hear it often – From my own mouth. And I’ve tried, truly I have. When I retired, I had this vision of going thru my house and “organizing” every closet, drawer and cabinet. Then, I could enjoy my time because I would be organized! Ha!
The problem with organizing is that it only stays that way for a short period of time. It’s not so much a task as it is a way to live.
Last year, I emptied our bathroom closet. There were several bags of trash. There were unused linens to be donated or retired to the rag bag. I went to The Container Store and bought cute little matching bins with adorable coordinating labels. It was a work of art and I was proud. I was organized! ….. I was living in a fantasy world. Fast forward. These days, there is toothpaste in the shampoo bin. Towels on the sheet shelf. And God-only-knows-what behind the hamper.
But I have not given up the eternal hope that I will, one day, be organized. Perhaps we need to adjust the words: I will be more organized. That sounds a bit more reasonable, right? Baby steps.
My reason for wanting to be organized is clear: I will have more of that precious commodity known as time. What I am really saying is that I am willing to trade the time I spend frantically looking for things. In return, I will spend more time putting things away properly. In the end, this trade off might save a lot of time. It will, however, make life better.
Mentally, a feeling of organization leads to a calm mind. A cluttered environment leads to a chaotic mind.
But, where do we begin? To say it’s overwhelming is clearly an understatement. Today, I am choosing one area for improvement – Meal planning. At our house, schedules are so variable that it’s just not possible to plan dinner. My husband works nights. Sometimes. I have activities in the early evening many weeknights. He eats red meat. I don’t. The result is helter-skelter meals that require double the prep and clean-up. It’s not always the healthiest meal, either, being more of a convenience or last minute grab.
I turned to Pinterest for help and found a way to prepare up to ten meals ahead, for the freezer. They’re all chicken, which works for us: Maybe not consecutive nights, but a few times a week! The ingredient lists are short and consist of many things you probably already have in the cupboard. Best of all, the directions include both oven and crockpot methods. They’re easily adjusted to be gluten-free, if that floats your boat.
How will this help? For starters, I’ll save time thinking about dinner and running to the store for last minute items. We won’t need to prepare two separate meals at two different times and then clean up twice, after each of us eats. And it’s bound to be more consistently healthy. The trade off: About an hour of preparation. Not a bad deal!
I might try adding some potatoes to some of the recipes. Otherwise, adding rice or pasta along with a frozen vegetable or salad, makes a complete meal! Easy peasy!
Chicken Dump Meals
Gather your ingredients.
Label freezer bags with a sharpie. Include name of recipe and directions.
Prop the bags upright on the counter and fold the tops over.
Place chicken in each bag. I’ll use boneless, skinless breasts, 4 each.
Following each recipe, dump the remaining ingredients in each bag.
Squeeze out excess air, seal and lay flat in the freezer.
If you want to save even more time, use crockpot liners – No clean up!
Double up and you’ll have ten meals at your fingertips!