I don’t know about you but sometimes one of my biggest challenges during the day is figuring out what to have for dinner! We are a family of five and certainly cannot afford to eat out for every meal! Over the years I’ve learned a few tricks to help make meals less stressful and time consuming. I hope we can alleviate some dinner time anxiety for you too!
Always Shop With A List
One of the biggest mistakes I’ve made when grocery shopping is going without a plan or a list. I tend to just throw a bunch of items in my cart that seem like a good idea at the time, however, there is no plan in place on how I will use those items to feed my family. Planning meals for the week and then shopping accordingly not only helps me focus when shopping, but saves me money because I’m not buying items that we don’t need or won’t use.
Find Ways To Make More From Less
When I’m making taco’s for our weekly Taco Tuesday night, I always add refried beans in addition to ground turkey. This helps stretch out the 1 lb of meat to feed a family of five for dinner. If I didn’t use the refried beans, we would quickly run out of the main ingredient for our tacos! There are many ways to make a little go a long way. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that you make “who can find the only piece of tuna in the tuna casserole” a game at dinner time!
Did you know that Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tonnes — gets lost or wasted. We strongly encourage families to have a leftover night. Pull everything out of the fridge (that hasn’t turned into a science project) and find ways to create a new dish or simply reheat and serve in its original form. Not only will this save you time and money but it also teaches our children the importance of not wasting! We took leftover grilled meat and made a delicious and easy fried rice!
Keep Staples On Hand
This is such an important tip! By keeping staples on hand like beans, rice, potatoes, pasta, produce, canned veggies, I can create a simple but tasty dish for my family even if I haven’t planned for it. I try to always keep my kitchen well stocked with these items. Sometimes I challenge myself to get creative and come up with something new out of only a few ingredients.
Buy Green Bananas
Avoid buying produce that looks like it will have to be used within the next couple of days. We often end up throwing out items we didn’t get a chance to use in time. On your next shopping trip, don’t go for the ripe bananas, go for the green ones!
Grill Enough For 2 Meals or More
It’s summer and we love to grill outdoors. However, this can be time consuming and you are paying for gas or charcoal too! We suggest grilling enough food for 2 meals, this is an excellent time saver (hey and when dad grills, mom gets a night or 2 off)! Or, why not grill several varieties of meat at the same time and freeze some to use in the weeks ahead. I’ve grilled chicken, turkey legs, burgers, a variety of vegetables, roast, and pork chops all in one grilling session. WOW! I’ve thanked myself many times for these fast food treasures!
Have A Fend For Yourself Night Once A Week
This is one of the best things we started for our family. I use to think that my role as wife and mom was to have a hot meal on the table ready for my family every night of the week. I quickly got over that! We are a busy family and we enjoy spending our time together doing things other than cooking. For this reason one night a week my family has to fend for themselves. That might mean cereal or egg sandwiches for dinner that night. This gives me a night off from planning, prepping, and cooking! On these nights my dinner is normally a refreshing glass of wine! It’s not always about what we eat, as long as we end our day together.