Homeschool food preparation begins with a plan.
I’m a real homeschool mom with a real day of kids disinterested in math problems, interrupting during the latin lesson, and me running to change the washer, again.
I’ve got kids that complain about setting the table and not getting into the van fast enough for piano lessons. Yup, real mom.
Plan in advance for greatest simplicity.
Plan in advance, and you’re more likely to make healthier choices, you’ll always have ingredients on hand, and you’ll spend less. (When my eldest daughter recently began housesitting, she returned home and expressly thanked me for having a stocked pantry. Jaw drop.)
I’ve found my own rhythm. Every family will find their own too. Since we have children eagerly involved in all sorts of extracurricular activities, we find ourselves in town plenty of days. But I prefer shopping once a week, every Tuesday afternoon.
My weekly plan looks like this:
- Monday Fish night.
- Tuesday is Chicken night.
- Wednesday is Vegetarian Night.
- Thursday is random night.
- Friday is Fun Food.
- Saturday is Date Night (kids can make whatever while we eat our Lemon Picatta Halibut with a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc in our room with candles).
- Insert a random leftovers night somewhere in the week.
- Sunday is a meal shared together: fancy night (unless it’s not fancy).
Do you need a few more tips to menu plan for your homeschool? I’ve got that here.
Do you need a few tips to manage the grocery store, and even to cook for your homeschool household? I’ve those here.
There are so many chicken recipes, the mind whirls at deciding on a favourite. So I choose the one I really used nearly every Tuesday of one winter: Butter Chicken.
When once I was entirely unfamiliar with flavours of Indian food, I actually expected the bird to be slathered in butter…which does sound appetizing though, doesn’t it?
Christopher Columbus tried to find the NorthWest passage to India for a reason: spices. Any Indian dish has a lot of spice. And to be kind to kiddos unfamiliar with a lot of spice, turn down the spice proportions if required. In my family, our trouble lies in serving tomatoes, not spices.
Chop an onion. Slice off its ends, peel and slice it down the middle. Lay him flat and slice sideways, then chop, chop, chop (not nearly as fast as those TV chefs) but throw him in the electric frying pan with a little oil and chopped garlic cloves (the more the merrier) and you have the beginning of every great meal.
Prep your garam masala…Or buy it from the store. I didn’t have cardamom this eve, but no one but me will notice. A solid tablespoon of the mix will do.
Make your own garam masala:
- Mix 1 TBS ground cumin
- 1 ½ tsp ground coriander
- 1 ½ tsp ground cardamom
- 1 ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
Throw in a couple cans of peeled and chopped tomatoes. Just one 15 ounce can of tomato sauce is sufficient.
Mix in 3 cups of heavy cream.
No, you don’t have to do that. The only reason I included it this night was merely because it still sat in the fridge from the birthday party cake a week ago. Otherwise, use that skim milk, evaporated milk, or mix dry milk powder with water: whatever you’ve got will work. Flavour is always enhanced with cream though.
Add two teaspoons of salt.
Just cause it says, add salt, though, doesn’t mean you have to add it. No matter the recipe, no one has to add salt, though a little bit enhances the natural flavor.
Let this sauce simmer while you pull out the chicken breasts.
Bake a few chicken breasts in oven till cooked through. Add more flavor by covering them with tandoori masala. Cut them into bite-sized chunks and add them to the sauce to soak.
Who needs two carb offerings? Store bought naan bread, warmed ever-so-briefly in the oven at 200 degrees is a pleasant side to sop up all that sauce.
Dinner is served!
Do this every Monday for a few weeks, and the meal is firmly implanted in your cooking repertoire.
My daughter, Madelyn and I have been recording and creating cooking demonstrations, The Homeschool Kitchen, found on my YouTube channel if you’re looking for other inspired meal ideas:
- Veggie Burgers & Homemade Buns
- Creamy Cashew Pasta
- Fish Tacos
- Spicy Tofu Bowl
- Roast Chicken
- Bean Chili & Cornbread
- Black Bean Enchiladas
- Chicken Curry