I was at a mom's night last night (fondue is good--I'll try to post that recipe as well), and we were talking about food and cooking dinner and saving time and all that.
Here are some things I do to make my life easier:
1. Whenever I buy ground meat, I try to buy in bulk. Then I cook most (all) of it, let it cool, and freeze it in approx 1 lb pre-cooked portions. You can pull frozen ground meat out and put it directly into the skillet for tacos, sloppy joes, pasta sauce, shepherd's pie, or anything else you make with ground meat.
2. I also try to buy chicken breasts in bulk. You can put a rub or marinade on chicken breasts and freeze them in ziplock bags. Then, as the chicken defrosts later, it also marinates. I learned this from some cooking show, but I don't remember which one.
3. I love the crock pot. Spray with cooking spray, chop an onion, and throw in a pork tenderloin. Cover it with a jar of green salsa and you'll end up with a yummy burrito filling. Cover it with a bottle of your favorite barbeque sauce and you'll have awesome pulled pork for sandwiches (I like them with cole slaw on top). I'll try to do a crock pot entry some day, because the crock pot is AWESOME!
4. Always have pasta and jarred sauce. If all else fails, dinner can be ready in 12 minutes with pasta and a jar of sauce. If you have frozen meatballs in your fridge (or some chicken sausage--Trader Joe's has some sweet Italian pepper sausage that is YUMMY), even better.
5. We also always have a box of Zataran's Jambalaya mix and a turkey smoked sausage. Throw in a can of corn and a can of diced tomatoes and it's even better. This may be Andy's favorite go-to meal of all time.
Ok, share some of yours!