In households all over the world, there's a question that strikes fear into the heart.
What's for dinner?
Thinking about dinner means deciding how much time and energy you have. Time to look at what you actually have in the house to cook. You need to take into account what everyone will actually eat and what sounds good to you.
I'm all about what makes life easier, so we have a few meal prep principles we follow each week that I highly recommend.
1. Order groceries online- deliver or pick up
2. Plan all meals for the week
3. Prep as much food as you can over the weekend
Dinner time is hard. Everyone is burnt out by 5:00, but there's still a whole meal to fix and eat and clean up. It becomes even harder when you start adding kids in the mix.
We used to live in a little townhouse in the middle of town, on the same road as a Kroger. It was glorious. We could run down the road for anything we ran out of or forgot to buy, and we did quite often. Once we moved, Kroger was no longer so readily available. IGA is within a short distance, but still not so close or convenient, especially now that we've got Addy. It's even more imperative that we've got a plan in place.
In our house, dinner usually goes one of two ways. If both parents are home, one will usually play with Addy while the other makes dinner. My favorite days are the ones I get to play with Addy all day, and then spend time making dinner while she plays with her dad. On days I work, Austen usually makes dinner so I can soak up allllll the time with my girl. There's also the nights that one parent is home for dinner and toddler duty. We've had a lot of nights recently where Austen is still working at dinner time, so it's a one woman show to get things done. To make my life easier, I do two things. I plan quick meals, and I prep as much as I can over the weekend.
Late in the week, Thursday or Friday night, I meal plan. I consider what is going on during the week and who will be home at dinner time. On those nights that Austen won't be home, I plan a meal that I can prep in 20 minutes or less. I also cut meals almost in half. Is anyone else's husband like a human pit?!
After planning meals for the week, I order groceries. I am 110% team online grocery ordering.
We have groceries delivered Friday night or Saturday. This gives us time to prep food for the week when we've got a little free time here and there throughout the weekend. Weekly grocery orders are really the only way to make sure you've always got fresh food, especially fruits and vegetables. And you need the fresh food in your diet! Dinner is an easy time to make sure you're getting some daily servings of vegetables.
I'm here to share this most important PSA: roast your dinner veggies and you'll devour them. We eat up some roasted broccoli, bell peppers, onion, and asparagus, covered with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper.
This weekend as I prep, here's my to-do list and my meal list. I am working on adding some extra food to the freezer, so recipes that freeze well are being doubled. Might as well make an extra and save some time for a later meal!
Weekend Food Prep
Saturday: Mexican street corn pasta salad (SO good and yummy leftovers)
Sunday: grilled steaks with corn + asparagus
Monday: bacon chicken ranch penne + broccoli
Tuesday: quesadillas with peppers + onion
Wednesday: BBQ from freezer on Hawaiian rolls with green beans
Thursday: broccoli cheddar soup + sandwiches
Friday: order out
I also take time to prep Addy's food. I have 5 divided containers and in each I put a fruit, veggie, protein, carb, and maybe some cheese. I also prepare a fruit and veggie snack to send with her each day. It's literally just diced and put in a small container. I found these containers that come with two green lids, two purple lids, etc, so it's super easy to make sure I pack a fruit AND veggie each day. Baby food prep has gone through several stages as Addy's need changes, and the time and energy is takes is definitely worthy of it's own post.
Meal prep is magic. While I don't know many people these days who don't do at least some form of prep, I encourage you to comb through different ideas and decide what works for you!