VOT---going back to school...
  Re: (...)
I have decided it's time to get back to work, but found that my skills need updating. As of next Tuesday, I will be taking classes at our community college for the next three months. Classes are four days a week plus study time which means less time to play.

So, all you super-organized people out there....I will be most grateful to hear all of your suggestions for menu planning and meals. I do keep a well-stocked pantry, but am not accustomed to menu planning because when I worked full-time, I called on grocery stores and bought fresh every day.

That will not be practical once I go back to work, so I thought this would be a good time to acquire some new habits.

"Drink your tea slowly and reverently..."
  Re: VOT---going back to school... by Mare749 (I have decided it's ...)
Just browse thru Weeknight meals from C@H, Maryann - that ought to keep you going for a while. (good kiss-a$$ plug, huh?)

What are you taking in school?

One thing I will mention - I always had packets of rice and mashed potato patties (sweet and regular) and mashed squash in the freezer, so all I had to do on bad days was grill something and a veggie. Sure helped.
Retired and having fun writing cookbooks, tasting wine and sharing recipes with all my friends.
  Re: VOT---going back to school... by Mare749 (I have decided it's ...)
Have fun going back to school. I loved going back, and still enjoy taking classes on occasion. What will you be studying?

Last year, when I was totally over-extended, I found that the only way to keep us eating a relatively healthy diet was to plan out all of our meals for the week on the weekend, and then shop and prep as much as possible on Sunday. I use the Living Cookbook software to organize my recipes, and the calendar feature is really helpful.

I also found that prepping/assembling meals the night before was really helpful. For example, if we were going to have enchiladas, I'd make the filling and the sauce and fill the enchiladas at night, but not sauce them until the next day. I also always made double batches of things like chili and stew that freeze well so that I could have easy dinners in the freezer for really crazy nights.

chicken sautes also work well. They're quick and you can vary the flavors a lot.

That's all I can think of now, but if I remember any other tips, I'll let you know!
  Re: Re: VOT---going back to school... by karyn (Have fun going back ...)
Maryanne, How exciting. I keep thinking about going back to school.

I wish I could help you. I am bad about planning out my meals. I think it is just a new habit that you really need to learn and practice. The best luck I ever had with it was I would pick 5 meals for the week. Not schedule them for specific days but have all ingredients on hand. Then had dinner as the ingredients and time allowed. I just try and keep all our staples on hand, my favorite fresh vegies on hand and we go with that. I do try and think out a two or three days.

I use the double meal idea a lot. Will make a large dish like lasagan or enchiladas and freeze half, same with soups and chilies. I also have an extra binder that just has our favorite crock pot recipes and my quick chicken breast recipes in it that I can go to in a pinch.

Good Luck and keep us posted on what you are up to.
Mom to three wonderful 7th graders!
The time is flying by.
  Re: Re: VOT---going back to school... by esgunn (Maryanne, How excit...)
Great tips so far. Please keep them coming. My brain just isn't focused right now. I'm very nervous about taking classes. Haven't had to learn anything new in a long time.

Jobs are scarce in our area except for the medical field due to our large hospitals. (Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals) They won't even consider you for entry level employment without background or current classes, but do hire from the college data base. I will be taking four classes for medical terminology, patient access, billing and insurance, and fundamental skills for healthcare workers. Hopefully, it will get me in the door.

"Drink your tea slowly and reverently..."
  Re: Re: VOT---going back to school... by Mare749 (Great tips so far. ...)
How exciting! Love going to school. I have been taking a class since November and I just love it. I really gets those brain juices flowing again. Meeting new people is just as much fun too.

Good luck to you!

You are going to have so much fun.
"Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time."
  Re: Re: VOT---going back to school... by luvnit (How exciting! Love ...)
Good luck, Maryann! You will do great. I guess our hot dog stand is on hold then.... with me working and you taking classes.

I am usually good at planning and executing at first, and then chaos takes over. I find myself stopping at the store almost everyday after work. I hate that approach. I think I need a three day weekend every week

Everything tastes better Alfresco!
  Re: Re: VOT---going back to school... by chef_Tab (Good luck, Maryann! ...)
That is outstanding!!! I am very proud of you. I know it's not easy and can be very intimidating. You really are doing the right thing At least you are not wasting time by sitting around going "poor me". Proactive!
  Re: Re: VOT---going back to school... by chef_Tab (Good luck, Maryann! ...)
Thanks for all your nice comments everyone, and please keep the ideas coming!

Theresa, I'm afraid our hot dog stand will have to wait for a bit. It would probably do a lot better out where you live or by the coast. In any case, that means waiting till Ron retires. But, maybe someday....

Laura, what are you studying? You're right, I think it will be a lot of fun once I get past feeling weird about it. One thing I do know is, I'm all up for Spring break!

"Drink your tea slowly and reverently..."
  Re: Re: VOT---going back to school... by Mare749 (Thanks for all your ...)
Well I started a class in November for Women in Business for the Solopreneur. They go into a lot of topics such as website development, marketing, organization, goal setting, etc.

There are a lot of women from very diverse backgrounds. They have paired us up into partners and my partner is a female minister who is using her ministry experience to start her own Christian Business Coaching among other things. She is quite the interesting person.

It's nice to be doing something just for myself. I am loving it!

I hope you do to. What kinds of courses are you taking?
"Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time."

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