Making Weeknight Dinners Simple
I don’t think there’s a parent out there who hasn’t been guilty, at some point, of hitting the drive through on a busy night because there isn’t time to cook at home. We know it’s not healthy, we know it’s not good for the budget, but we do it anyway because the family needs to eat. With a little bit of forward planning, you will be able to keep your family from having to resort to fast food, even on busy nights!
1. Freezer cooking or once a month cooking (OAMC) is becoming more and more popular as family schedules get busier. You can even find groups that get together to share the work and the meals at the end of the night to provide more variety! If you’re doing this at home, it will take planning, but you can typically make meals for an entire month in one afternoon. The reason this works is because you’re not making 30 different meals, you might only make 10 meals, but a triple batch of each.
2. Prep meat ahead of time. When you get home from the grocery store, cook your meat and then freeze it. This way, it’s ready to throw in with a few ingredients and you can have a hot meal in very little time.
3. Don’t re-invent the wheel. Most families have meals they love. While it’s fun to get creative in the kitchen, figuring out a schedule and repeating the meals throughout the month will allow you to save time planning, save money by taking advantage of larger quantity buying and you’ll find ways to stay efficient when you’re cooking.
4. Take turns cooking. If your kids are older, sit down with your spouse and kids to see who is home on which nights. This way, whoever is home can start dinner and you won’t have to worry about rushing home.
5. Plan your nights out. When you know that you’re going to order pizza every Friday night, you’re less likely to give into the impulse to stop for something on your way home during the week. The other benefit to this is you’ll be able to budget for your splurge meal during the week.