Dinner. Yeah. That’s just something we have REALLY struggled with for, well, pretty much forever. As a family, we’re kind of picky eaters. And we’re BUSY! I struggle so much to find time to even make dinner every night.
Well, I recently attended Natalie Norton’s Breathe Workshop in Vegas. She designed it for mom’s who also have a business, but honestly, almost all the information she gave us could easily be utilized by ANY mom. Anyway, of course one of the things we discussed was family dinners. I left the workshop feeling inspired to improve!
Well, we came home and even though I did a better job of making dinner, I was still really struggling with it. You know how life is… it’s 70 degrees for the first time in months so you spend 2 hours after school playing outside and then it’s too late to cook anything for dinner. Looks like cereal for dinner. Or, we go to the studio for the day to work and despite our best efforts, don’t get home until 5:30 pm. Well, cereal (AGAIN). Or (this one’s my favorite), I actually am going to cook something and discover at the last minute that we are missing two of the ingredients. We end up defaulting to mac n cheese.
So, a couple weeks ago I decided to try something new, something I’d never done. Sunday morning, I made a meal plan for the week. Then I made a shopping list and actually went to Target and bought EVERYthing on the list. After the kids were in bed, I spent about 2 hours prepping all of our meals for the week.
I made a pan of baked ravioli, a pan of baked penne, and a pan of creamy chicken penne. I know, lots of pasta! I also had a frozen pan of manicotti that I stuck in the fridge. I bought 5 lbs of hamburger at Target and a bag of Tyson frozen chicken tenderloins. I cooked all the hamburger and put it in the freezer. I also chopped all the chicken and cooked it up then stuck it in the freezer. I also made extra plain penne noodles for the kids to eat if they didn’t like one of the pasta dishes.
I have to say it worked pretty well. Even when I was feeling lazy, we still had dinner! And the two hours I spent on Sunday prepping everything was a lot less time than I would have spent prepping each dinner every night. Win win! One day when it was gorgeous outside, I popped a pasta dish into the oven and we played outside for an hour while it cooked. When we were all worn out, dinner was magically ready.
I’m always looking for great new cook-ahead meals (hint, hint). If you leave me a recipe to try in the comment section (or email me at email@example.com), we’ll mail you some Happy Family Movement stickers 🙂 I’d also LOVE to hear your ideas for getting dinner on the table in a quick and easy way!