The concept of easy meal planning by separating, seasoning and putting together a simple freezer meal as soon as you get home from the store has been such a time savor. I’ve been bulk cooking for years, but I know that many of you will love this quick and easy concept.
Thinking ahead with quick and easy crock pot  and oven meals saves me stress during my crazy busy fall scheduling.
It helps eliminates the “brain freeze” I feel most nights at 5:00 pm when the family is asking, “What’s for dinner?” and I am sure that I just fed them last night. :)
I am always looking for meals that don’t require a lot of prep work and I put those under my 10 minute dinner category, which everyone needs to have.

Over the last few months, many of you have followed me as I challenged our family to “Eat out of the Pantry,” thereby only spending $200 in January for our family of seven. Then, I decided to give a small glimpse into the frugal reality of meal planning with 3 Moms, 3 Kitchens, 31 days.
There are so many more tips and ideas I will be tackling as my spring schedule calms down, but one way I save my sanity and dig myself out from the cooking rut  (you know those same 3-5 “go to” meals we make day after day) is by using Homemade Gourmet to take meal times to new heights. When I don’t have a plan, it saves me money by doing the thinking for me.
Cooking completely from scratch is my ideal, yet often I can cook nearly from scratch using Homemade Gourmet to give my meals a new spin.
The  Homemade in a Hurry line and the 4 Meals in 4 minutes concept have saved me hours in the kitchen. These are meals, sides, desserts and appetizers than can be whipped up in minutes. When I started using HG, they didn’t offer a preferred customer discount but now, they offer a 20% discount for those wanting to order every 1-3 months as part of their grocery budget. You receive meal plans, shopping lists, and ideas for organization.
And for those of you, like me, who still struggle with actually writing out a meal plan, there’s a calendar with ideas and recipes. 🙂 Yes, here’s a sample – it’s a life saver.

Homestyle Spaghetti Sauce (triple batch)Italian Mozzarella Meaballs (double batch) Loaded Baked Potato SoupBacon Cheddar Bread
Tossed Salad
Apple Pecan Pork ChopsCinnamon Apples
Apple Cheddar Walnut Bread
Taco SoupMoist and Chewy Enchilada Muffins Creamy Corn Chowder StewThree Cheese Garlic Biscuits Meatball Sandwich (use 36 meatballs and 2 c. sauce from Sunday) Parmigiana Chicken (double batch-use 2 c. sauce from Sunday)Garlic Lemon Asparagus
Chicken Caesar Salad (use chicken from Saturday) Garlic Lemon Toast One Skillet Pasta Meal (use 3 c. sauce from last Sunday) Chopped Salad Cheesy Tortilla Chicken Pasta Season ‘n’ Steam Philly CheesesteakFresh veggies and ranch dressing Louisiana GumboCajun Beer Bread BBQ on a BunBBQ Green Bean Casserole
Coleslaw Dressing
Chipotle Chicken Breasts with Chipotle Orange Sauce

Orange Vinaigrette

With all the mixes, HG provides the dry ingredients while you add the wet items. They are multipurpose mixes -with the Taco Soup Seasoning there are 40 different recipes available, and since we go through so much in our home, I buy this in bulk (otherwise known as a pantry staple). There are both individual meals mixes to try, and multipurpose seasonings that come in bulk size.
homemade gourmet
Homemade Gourmet has been a wonderful addition to Balancing Meal Time Mountain at our home (especially at the 20% Preferred Discount), so enjoy browsing and finding new ideas for food.
(The meal ideas calendar takes you away from my personal site. If you decide you’d like to try any of these meal making ideas, I would love for you to support Balancing Beauty and Bedlam by ordering through my Easy Family Dinners site instead of just the home office.)