Hi, this is Esther writing (the second oldest daughter). Since I do a large amount of the cooking in our home, I thought I would share some food preparation tips that have worked for our family. Most of these tips I am about to give you will not only help with food preparation, but also with saving money on groceries, and eating healthy (I do consider myself somewhat of a "health nut").
First of all, I would like to talk about breakfast. We always make sure to never skip breakfast in our house; we consider it the most important meal of the day. The problem is, we're usually in a rush in the morning, so what we like to do is prepare breakfast the night before. Since we very rarely eat processed, or convenience foods, this really helps us. Some foods that are great for this are as follows: Muffins, cinnamon swirl bread, mini pizzas, granola or granola bars, oatmeal cookies, baked oatmeal ( I haven't tried this but I'm sure It's good), and almost anything with oats-- because oats are very good for you. Also remember, all of those foods are best when they're made from whole grains, although we will occasionally make biscuits and other treats out of white flour.
When we don't have any breakfasts made the night before, we'll usually eat things like, oatmeal, muesli, or bananas with peanut butter. We also make homemade whole wheat bread, which we use for peanut butter sandwiches, or eggs and toast. Eggs are always a great breakfast food, given that they are satisfying and don't cost much.
Now, these ideas obviously save time, but how do they save money? Well, all of these foods call for ingredients that are inexpensive. For example, we normally get our oats in bulk from Costco, or Sprouts when they are on sale, and even if you were to buy them from a regular grocery store they really wont cost you much at all. In addition, flour and sugar are also very inexpensive, yes even whole wheat flour (especially if you grind your own). The point is, nearly everything you make from scratch will save you money.
This post got a little longer than I expected, so Lord willing, I plan on writing more posts on ideas that will help you save time and money on preparing lunches, dinners, and snacks.