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"Cook Once - Eat for a Week"
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eal management for an active family can be challenging at best. Busy households may sacrifice eating a healthy diet when dashing through the drive through or preparing processed foods at home.  Even couples or single folks tell me that it is easy to get into a rut when it comes to meal planning. With the cost of food taking a sizable portion of our spendable income, what can we do to make meal planning fun again and get organized to save some food dollars?  Look no further than a class that we are co-sponsoring with the Great Bend recreation center.
The hands on program “Cook Once – Eat for a Week” has just a couple of open spots before we start a waiting list. Jamie Rathbun, Ellsworth County Family and Consumer Science agent and busy mother of two, will lead the class. The workshop is set for Thursday, March 31st from 5:30 – 8:00 p.m. at the 4-H educational building between Great Bend and Hoisington.  The $35 registration fee includes the participant taking home four meals that will serve 4-6 people each.  Recipes include:  Santa Fe Chicken, Hamburgers Teriyaki, Texas Style Lasagna and Pork Chops in Orange Sauce. We would like to have registration completed by the 24th so give our office a call at 793-1910 to register.
Jamie’s program reminds me of one we promoted a few years ago, titled “Eating Well but Cooking Less.”  A month of menus complete with shopping list and recipes encouraged variety in meal planning. You can create the same sort of meal management approach by writing down your favorite 25 entrees. Rotate the recipes and change up the side dishes that are served with them. Always keep color, texture and presentation of the food in mind.
Instead of letting meal planning and preparation bog you down, put the focus back on the importance of family meal time. Involving family members in the shopping, preparation and serving of the meal has many benefits.
Donna Krug is the Family and Consumer Science Agent with K-State Research and Extension- Barton County.  She may be reached at (620)793-1910 or