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Managing Dinnertime Like a Boss
Do you remember that Disney movie named Smart House or something like that?! The house that pretty much did anything you asked for including whipping up some food on command?! THAT is what I wish I could have (minus the whole: I’m your mom now, listen to me or I will destroy you, etc, etc.) Just the cool kitchen feature that could prep dinner for my family.
*daydream moment* I digress…
More times than not, I’m scrambling last minute to figure out what I’m going to make for dinner and if I don’t come up with something fast enough – I’m either grabbing processed foods to fill up on for the day or grabbing take out. Bad choices either way but life happens. Today, because talking kitchens aren’t real yet….. I want to talk about how you can manage dinnertime and dinner prep for your family with a few simple tweaks in your routine so you can avoid processed foods and take-out.
1. Weekly Dinner Prep Menu
How often do you scramble in the kitchen trying to come up with something to make because you were running behind all day? And honestly, who knows whhhhyyy you were running behind (blame it on the kids ) all we know now is that it is 6:00 pm, people are hungry and nothing is thawed out because you barely got through breakfast.
Lord. Have. Mercy.
Solution: plan out your meals for the week. Now, I’m just talking about a list of 7 meals for the 7 (or however many times you cook) days of the week. Now, these meals can be flip-flopped around or whatever but at the end of the day, you know you have 7 meals to chose from with all the ingredients available for each one
2. Cook Your Proteins in Bulk
This is my favorite secret on this list. I just want to scream it to the mountain tops.
COOK YOUR PROTEINS IN BUUUULLLKKKK!
How this works: When I’m at the store and I see a protein at an unusually low price, I’ll buy a couple extra pounds than originally planned. Then, when I get home I cook the extra that I bought and freeze it.
A couple different proteins you can cook ahead:
- Ground beef (best used in casseroles, spaghetti’s, chili’s, and dips/cheese)
- Shredded or Cubed Chicken (best used in casseroles, soups, and dips)
- Bacon (best used in casseroles, breakfast burritos, etc)
3. Prep Your Veggies the Night Before
Prep. Prep. Prep.
Life isn’t going to be easy on you if you constantly are hard on yourself.
Prep your veggies the night before…or even in the morning before you leave off into the world. Contain them and stick them in the fridge and you’re good to go when it’s dinnertime.
This is only going to work when you know what it is that you’re cooking….that’s why secret number 1 is so important for prepping dinner for your family like a boss! If you have a guide, you’ll know what to prep.
4. Keep a Clean Kitchen
I don’t know about you but I truly believe when I walk into a fresh and organized kitchen, I get more done and my food tastes better because I’m more focused (win-win).
Keeping a clean kitchen will allow you to have a clear mind when it comes to cooking dinner for your family.
My best advice would be to CLEAN AS YOU COOK. Waiting on those veggies you prepped yesterday to saute? Wash up the dishes you used to store them.
5. Prepare Dinner in the Morning
Hi. Hello. Have you ever heard of a Crock-Pot?
Crock-Pot meals are great, they are quick and painless, and sometimes you can even use frozen protein. Just throw your ingredients in on the way out the door and come home to a yummy smelling house and dinner ready….all without lifting a finger…barely.
Another cool win and secret about crock-pots are that it’s one of the healthiest ways to cook meat. And it won’t heat your kitchen. Talk about keeping costs down while doing dinner like a boss.
6. Simplify Dinnertime
Dinner doesn’t have to be a four-course meal. Every night. Keep it simple and light some days. One-pot meals are great for this. Fewer dishes and less time in the kitchen. Check and CHECK.
Make meals like:
- Spaghetti and Salad
- Big Salad with a Protein and Bread Sticks
- Soup or Chili night with Grilled Cheeses
Pinterest is GREAT for simple meals like these.
7. Use Your Stores Pre-Made Section
How do you feel about utilizing your stores’ pre-made selection of food?
Some people are down and some are NOT. I personally only buy pre-made food from Sam’s Club and I usually only get their Rotisserie Chicken or their refrigerated sides.
If you’re with me on this, I suggest incorporating pre-made food items here and there throughout your week.
It’ll save you time on your busier days and you can focus your energy on other elements of dinner with one being already completed.
8. Get Your Family Involved
Get everyone involved in the dinner prep and completion. Make it an event! Dinner time is family time after all.
Make meals that call for some creativity and individuality. Meals like Sub Sandwiches or Mini Pizzas! Where no two subs or pizzas will be the same.
You won’t believe how easy dinner can be when you have everyone joining in and it’s fun family bonding time. I love win-win scenarios!
9. Adopt Theme Nights
Theme Nights help minimize guesswork. Below is an idea or variation of a theme week that I sometimes use with my family.
Monday: Meatless Monday (Soup, Bread, and Salad)
Tuesday: Taco Tuesday (Ground beef, chicken, steak, fish, whatever kind of protein you have on hand can be used)
Wednesday: Wild Card Wednesday (leftovers? out to eat? everyone just starves?)
Thursday: Pasta Thursday (Spaghetti, Alfredo, etc.)
Friday: PIZZA day! (homemade or frozen)
Saturday: Fresh and Light (Baked Protein, Rice, Veggie)
Sunday: Sunday Dinner (this is the day I’ll whip up all the Fixin’s!)
You see, dinner prep for your family can be done. You just have to know where and how to make the adjustments.
- Prep your dinners for the week ahead of time.
- Cook your proteins and freeze them for quicker meals later.
- Chop your veggies the night before.
- Clean your kitchen as you cook and do a quick spot clean before bed.
- Prepare dinner before you go off for work using a crock pot!
- Don’t over do dinner time, unless you have to!
- Use your stores pre-made section
- Make dinner a family affair!
- Use theme nights to give dinner some structure and predictability.
In the comments, let me know if you already implement any of these. What do you do to manage dinnertime like a boss?
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