It’s not good when your name (home cooking made simple) comes back to bite ya…taken down by spring sports. It is my mission to take back the family table. I have always insisted on home cooked meals from scratch and dinner as a family (even if that means we eat at 4..no I am not kidding) HOWEVER, life has gotten in the way.. Before you send over meals to feed my family..they haven’t missed a meal & no I haven’t given in to Mc dinner or hotdogs..
We are a babysitting, homeschooling, catering, working, softball family.. What all the crazy has taught me is you gotta have a plan & change your expectations. While we have had chicken marsala & rice pilaf for our meals (don’t be impressed it only takes 20 min) we have also had ham & cheese sandwiches and “repurposed meals”aka leftovers. So, here are some pearls of wisdom I want to pass along because it’s not just a season of busy but a lifestyle we are in. Have a plan & plan ahead..
Have a plan: Pick a day and block out some time to plan some meals and make a list for shopping. I check the grocery ads (these are my Christmas toy catalogs) I get excited to see what’s on sale. From there I make a list and enlist the peanut gallery for their input. For instance,” I am getting chicken what kind of chicken are you hungry for?” I try to plan for meals that will have a dual purpose like a crock pot pulled pork that we can have 1 night for pulled pork carnitas and then repurpose it for pork stuffed baked potatoes or pork bbq sandwiches. A fast option of grilled chicken that I can turn into quesadillas or a grilled chicken salad of some sort.. it doesn’t take any longer to grill 2# of chicken there is plenty of room. Same goes for meatloaf ..mix up a meatloaf but roll some into meatballs..1 prep/ 2 meals.. I also make freezer meals that I can just throw in the freezer and pull them out as a quick meal. I prepare these each month for friends but truthfully, I don’t rely on them a ton. But it is nice to have some freezer friendly meals in there for the crazy busy days. Ham balls, meatballs, baked ziti, pulled pork, homemade chicken fingers (or even store bought) are great time savers.
I also like to have some ideas of fast meals that my family likes: BBQ Bacon chicken (3 ingredients 30min), Salsa chicken & rice (3 ingredients 30 min), Chipotle grilled chicken thighs, rice bowls, Turkey Clubs, burgers, Pasta, Soft shells tacos, Macaroni & Cheese, Fried Rice, Ziti, Sausage & Peppers (2 ingredients), Salad Bar for dinner
I realize not everyone has time to cook from scratch every day but a little planning goes a long way. Here are a few ideas for “semi-homemade” family favorites: Mock lasagna (frozen ravioli, marinara & mozzarella bake 350 45 mi) & Chicken Parmesan (chicken fingers topped with sauce & mozz bake 35 min )
No, we are not sitting down as a family every night but I have started “date nights” with who is home. We pick a meal together, cook it together and eat together complete with “girl talk”.. These have become the best & most important conversations. We are discussing real & serious issues facing them and their friends and are growing our relationship. I have found that we are never to busy to eat so why not make it meaningful.