We got through last week relatively unscathed…on time to all activities, dinner on the table every night. Homework was done, bedtime was reasonable. As a bonus, we watched a couple episodes of Mad Men on Netflix and I kept the desk in the kitchen clear enough for homework (Miss Seven likes working at the desk; Mr. Nine moves between the kitchen island and the dining room table). Cue the applause.
I thought I’d share three things I learned last week about fitting home-cooked meals into a busy evening schedule.
- Any prep you do ahead of time is a good thing. Even if you’re just making a quick pasta pesto, if you fill up the pot with water, set out the pasta and the food processor, and set the table earlier in the day, it makes an enormous difference in how smoothly the dinner hour goes.
- It may seem obvious, but save your most labor-intensive meal for a night you’re staying home. Less obvious (at the planning stage) is the possibility that you’ll be exhausted and feel less like making an effort on an evening that ought to be more relaxed. Give yourself permission to plan something simple for leisurely nights, too, or at least have an easy backup pantry meal.
- Do all the dishes. Every night. Don’t slow down the next day’s meal prep with dirty dishes to clean up first.
Monday: Split pea soup, tomato salad
Tuesday: Pork soft tacos (still working our way through pulled pork in the freezer)
Wednesday: Stuffed cabbage, mashed potatoes (this will be a new one for the kids!)
Thursday: Chicken and mushroom skillet meal (if you need a recipe, use the method in the link–mine will have shallots, cremini mushrooms and red wine), egg noodles, pan roasted asparagus
Friday: Lasagna (from the freezer), salad
Last week on Home Baked
Musical chairs and Hidden Treasure (cleaning out the jewelry box)
What’s your biggest stumbling block to getting dinner on the table?