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Tackling the "What am I going to do for dinner tonight?" dilemma


I know some people are super organized when it comes to planning out the week's menus. I'm not. I manage to get dinner on the table every night for my family but it's a part of the juggling act I loathe. I know lots of working parents whose work life balance depends on take-out.

Aimee Fortney to the rescue!

Aimee has her own website, www.nottheperfectcook.com. This is what she said in an email to me:

My passion is getting families back into the kitchen and out of drive-thrus for their meals. I shop at Publix, therefore each week I write a "Savor your Savings" blog, based on the sales offered that week at Publix. I call myself, "Not the Perfect Cook," as I am not a chef, but I can put a perfectly delicious, healthy meal on the table, as can your readers!

Below is a guest blog post Aimee wrote for all of us who face the nightly scramble to get dinner on the table for the family.



By Aimee Jackson Fortney

Busy, working parents can easily fall into a rut of, “Should we do carry out or drive thru tonight?” After a hectic day at work, the last thing many of us want to think about is pulling together a meal. With the economy the way it is, however, we are more mindful than ever how we spend our hard-earned money With just a little forethought, dinner for the week can be planned; even on a budget!

I shop at Publix. I call myself, “Not the Perfect Cook” because I am not a chef and I am by no means a culinary “expert.” I have kitchen disasters and messes just like the next person. That being said, I can still throw together a “perfectly” good meal for my family on a budget.

As soon as I receive the Publix sale ad, I plan out the week’s menu. Shopping the outer layout of the store ensures the healthiest items. (Produce, seafood, poultry/meats/dairy. Packaged items are on the inside aisles). One of my most recent finds is shark steak, normal price is $6.99 a pound. I am so excited about this new “love” of mine, and I make a tropical coconut fish dish that the shark steak is absolutely perfect for; and a peach habanero salsa goes with it. This is a delicious, easy dish to prepare that would easily cost $20.00 or more at a restaurant, and you can prepare this at home for your family, for pennies on the dollar compared to that amount. (Click here for recipe)

Utilizing the crock pot can become a working person’s best friend. In the morning while I am waiting on the coffee to brew, I throw into the crock pot a two-pound bag of pinto beans, a quartered onion, some cumin, sazón completa, two chicken bouillon cubes and 12 cups of water. Cover and cook on low all day for delicious Mexican beans for dinner.

My chicken enchiladas are not only delicious but they are crazy easy to prepare! You can use a rotisserie chicken that you have shredded, or I bake three boneless, skinless chicken breasts, then shred those. You could make these ahead of time, then reheat for dinner; or even make then refrigerate; pull out when you get home, then add the heavy cream and cheese on top and bake for 30 minutes. (click here for the recipe)


Another easy-to-make-at-home meal is pizza! You can buy pizza dough at the deli. (Often, Publix puts these on sale for $1.99 and I buy several to freeze!) The secret to a delicious, “gourmet” tasting pizza, in my opinion, is ricotta cheese. Put spoonfuls of ricotta, provolone cheese, mozzarella cheese, cook spinach, mushrooms, garlic and red onion and any other toppings that you like, and you have made a delicious, homemade pizza!

Once you develop a habit of planning meals, you might just find that even though you make a mess here and there, and you might be like me (Not the Perfect Cook). You will save money and find that sitting at the table to enjoy a meal with your family allows for “table talk” and memories that will last a lifetime.