Over the past few months, I have been working hard to simplify my daily life.  One key has been that I cut my grocery shopping down to one big trip, normally on Monday, and a second, smaller shop later in the week.  Now, this may be the norm for most of you, but there was a time when I was a DAILY grocery shopper.  Seriously.  I'd figure out what we were having for dinner, go buy the ingredients and whatever staples we needed that day.  It's amazing how much time and running around this has saved me.

Another thing I am trying to do is make meals in advance.  This is a bit trickier for me.  We aren't big casserole eaters and I really like fresh produce.  So, this week I bought a family pack of chicken thighs and made a double recipe of chicken taco meat in the slow cooker.  We ate some of it last night and I used the leftover meat to make empanadas.  Rachel's empanada dough was super easy to make and it made 12 individual meat pies which will cover three meals for us.  Sweet.  I also made a double batch of marinade for tuscan lemon chicken.  I put the chicken in ziploc bags, poured the marinade over it and put it in the freezer.  That's two more meals done. (Both the chicken taco meat and tuscan lemon chicken recipes are in this post).

I'm also back on the bread baking train.  I pulled out Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and made a batch of dough.  We really enjoy the peasant loaf that has whole wheat and rye flour in it.  I cut off one hunk and baked it on Tuesday.  I'm pretty sure there will be another loaf in the oven tomorrow.  Nothing is more satisfying to me than freshly baked, homemade bread.  The house always smells good too – bonus.

Dinner is coming together faster on our busy days thanks to these little steps.  I'm always looking for more ideas so if you have something to share, please do.

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