Monday, April 27, 2009

Meal planning merging with GourmetBetty's main blog

Hello! My name is Betty Rodriguez-Hakes. I am the owner of and I have created a meal plan system to help busy people plan their meals with their families.

My goal is to help busy families reduce the "What's for dinner?" problem and to help them avoid the 'fast food lane' due to lack of planning.

I originally created two blogs, one focused on meal planning and one for all cooking news -- after much consideration, and in order to manage all blogs better -- I decide to merge the meal planing and the gourmetbetty blog.

So, for up to date information on recipes and meal planning advice, visit

By the way: on Facebook or Twitter? Follow me or become by fan:

Thank you,
-Betty R. Hakes

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Some Meals that Freeze Well

Meals that Freeze Well – Cook once and Freeze the rest, so you'll be ready for the next meal.  Incorporate these meals into your weekly meal plans:

to heat from frozen: heat at 350 for about 20 minutes

to heat from frozen: heat at 350 for about 20-30 minutes

• Spaghetti Sauce and/or Meatballs
to heat from frozen: heat in covered sauce pan over low heat for about 20 minutes.  You can plan ahead and defrost the sauce in the fidge the night before and warming up will only take about 10 minutes.

• Rice and/or Chicken and Rice Dish
to heat from frozen: put in microwave or covered sauce pan with a little bit of chicken stock, water or even beer (my favorite) and heat over low for about 14 minutes, depending on amount.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Meal Planning System

If you've attended one my classes and received my "Dinner-Time" Meal Planning System; I would love to get your comments and feedback.

  • Did you find the system to be easy to follow?
  • Is this something you could use in your home?
  • Could the plan reduce your "what's for dinner?" panic attacks?
  • Have you or do you use a meal planning system?

    My philosophy is to keep things simple. When we complicate dinner planning menu's with different software packages, catalog-meal cards and other time-consuming technology we forget about the real reason we're setting a plan.

    My "Dinner-Time" reasons for weekly planning:

  • Reduce the number of times I go grocery shopping
  • Reduce the time it takes to get dinner on the table
  • To get my family involved with dinner plans
  • Provide my family with healthy meals
  • Create a real-everybody's at the table "Dinner-Time"
  • Create healthy eating habits for my kids

    If you share the same passion for good food and would love more time with your family. Please contact me and give the "Dinner-Time" meal planning system a try.

    Would your organization like to learn more about a "Dinner-Time" class? Please contact me for scheduling.

    All my best,
  • Sunday, March 18, 2007

    Easy Meal Plan for this week ....

    Well, during most of my presentations and seminars I try to communicate the importance of creating a meal plan that works for you and your family. Your family may love casseroles - mine won't touch them!

    So I decided to start you out with our Hakes Family Meal plan this coming week. It’s going to be a crazy week with Soccer practice for one child 2 times this week at 6:30! (thank you very much, right in the middle of dinner time!). And my other child’s 3 times a week TaeKwanDo schedule. My husband is traveling one of the days and I’m working all day on Wednesday and the ‘boys’ will be on their own for dinner.

    I went to the store on Sunday and purchased everything I needed!

    Monday: Low-Fat Fettuccine Alfredo with Salmon and Peas

    Tuesday: Cuban Style Beef Stew with White Rice (Carne con papa y arroz)
    >> Make a double batch of the white rice and save for Thursday, or freeze for another week's meal.

    Wednesday: Healthy Choice Hot Dogs with Mac and Cheese and Steamed Veggies.
    >> This is the day the ‘boys’ are on their own.

    Thursday: Grilled London Broil with White Rice and Black Beans
    >> Now, for me, I have batch of black beans in the freezer already made, which I’ll defrost the night before, and use the left over white rice from Tuesday. I’ll marinate the steak the night before with: soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, brown sugar and roasted garlic olive oil. Another suggestion for you would be to make the London Broil with a nice big salad instead of the rice and beans.

    Friday: Crazy evening with mom and dad shuffling kids in all different directions – we’re either going out, eating left overs, or making a quick pizza (with Boboli crust). Important thing here is that we're eating together.

    Saturday: I’m going to find a new recipe to try! If it’s good, I’ll post it here.

    OK – here’s mine. Would you like to cook the same things but don’t have the recipe? Email me at and I’ll send it over to you. This is not what you want to eat this week? Make your own meal plan right now!

    Remember, you don't have to get high-tech to make a dinner meal plan, just keep it simple, write your list and have your recipes available if you need them. Enjoy your family meals!


    Saturday, March 10, 2007

    If your goal is to eat healthier ....

    you should PLAN your meals!

    Especially if you are like most of us and you're running around, overbooked and over-committed. If you know what's for dinner this week, and plan accordingly, your need for the usual 'un-healthy quick-fix' isn't necessary.

    Oh, I know, you don't have time to plan your meals -- right? Well, that now depends on you and your priorities, do you really want to eat healthier and bring your family together during dinner time?

    Gourmet Betty says it's -- easy -- easy! Just take 20 min's and do it. In fact, do it right now!

    Let me take you through some suggestions ...

    #1: Plan the meals your comfortable cooking/making
    #2: KISS - Keep it Simply Simple (I know it stands for something else, but we're going to be nice!)
    #3: Check your menu the evening before to make sure meat doesn't need to be defrosted or marinaded
    #4: Buy everything you need for the week at the store, and prep what you can when you get back from the supermarket.
    #5: avoid meals with creams or heavy sauces, stick to more vegetables and healthy proteins, such as beans, lentil and lean cuts of meats.
    #6: Reduce the portion of the starches (breads and white rice), and/or use healthier complex carbs such as brown rice.
    #6: Avoid bad fats (Saturated and Trans fats) that are found in margarine, fried foods and refined vegetables oils.
    #7: AVOID PARTIALLY OR ANY HYDROGENATED food (check the label)
    #8: Use healthy oils, such as olive oil and make sure that the oil is "Cold-pressed". Heat used during the extraction of oil destroys it's nutritional value.

    What are your ideas for easy meal planning and healthy eating? Share them with me today...

    Monday, March 5, 2007

    Reduce the "What's for Dinner" Stress!

    It's the start of the work week some of may be thinking about our upcoming work week and getting ready for this week’s meetings & activities (for us or our kids); plus our endless tasks list (personal and work).

    Have you taken the time to plan your dinner meals for the week? Or are you planning on skidding by the seat of your pants – or the convenient drive-thru? Are they really that convenient? Isn’t it just as easy to defrost some chicken breast today and roast it in the oven tomorrow for 30 minutes? Add a salad with that and you have a nice, healthy meal.

    In speaking with others, and some research I’ve done, I’ve noticed that ‘dinner time’ is falling by the wayside for other activities. My newest ‘mission’ is to get families back to the dinner table. It’s easier than you think, and healthier, to make home-cooked meals than to pick up fast food that’s loaded with fat & calories.

    I’d like to start this weekly blog for all of you who care about your bodies, and want to eat healthier and consistently eat together as a family. Don’t miss-understand me, I am not a ‘health freak’. I love a good chocolate chip cookie like everyone else. --

    I am a woman who cares about the types of foods I put into my body, and the foods I feed my family. My parents and grandparents have a history of diabetes, Alzheimer’s and high-blood pressure – not a good sign for my future if I don’t take care of myself. I’d like to fight against that by feeding my body good food, and nourishing my soul with family time around the dinner table. It doesn’t have to be gourmet to be good for you. Let’s keep it simple.

    Join me as I work on sharing quick and easy recipes and provide you easy resources for planning your dinners.

    Let’s start with quick, easy & healthy recipes you’d like to share. Post them for us here!