The Dinner Time Duldrums…What Moms Dread Most

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It is moms #1 complaint.  Though, she may not vocalize it…it is most likely true…she has to come up with something for dinner each and every night.  Not just something for dinner…but something that is healthy, and everyone will enjoy.

Who are we kidding… we cannot please everyone!

But as mom…we try.  We worry about what’s for dinner for near 60 minutes each and every day!  That doesn’t even include prep and cooking time…that’s just thinking about it!  And you know as well as I do that if we don’t come up with a good idea for dinner by 3pm…we’re contemplating take out.   I can think of a hundred things I would rather think about then what my family is eating for dinner.

So how do we make it better?

Well, as with anything we have to do repeatedly, we create a system.

I recently got the chance to speak with Sandi Richard of Cooking for the Rushed and was able to ask her some questions to help us non-planners get into the groove of meal planning.

My first question was, where do we start?  For families who have never meal planned before…it can seem daunting.  How do we make (and stick to) that first meal plan.

Sandi’s Advice:  Start with a blank piece of paper with five blank lines in the top left corner.  Now all you have to do is fill in the lines!  When your family is in a relaxed state…just bring it up.  No stress…no rush.  Keep it simple.  The conversation that comes from this could surprise you.  Once those lines are filled in, you have your forever template.  Keep it forever!

Next I wanted to know about shopping.  How do we incorporate our meal plan, into our shopping habits.

Sandi’s Advice: Shop in your freezer first.  Most families have 7 to 9 recipes that they fall back to.  The old reliable meals that they know their families love.  Build your plan around those and shop to make sure you have what you need to create them.  When you’re looking to add a little variety to your life, add in one new recipe.  If you love it, make it a part of your regular meal plan, and make it until you’ve mastered it.  Once you know it by heart, and it’s now a family favorite…you can start again with a brand new recipe.

Dinner time can take forever… From prep work, to cooking…then the clean up.  What can we do to save time in the kitchen.

Sandi’s Advice:  Use your helpers.  No longer do many of us make our own tomato sauces (kudo’s to those who do) or chicken stock… There are products out there like Knorr and Ragu that are there just to make our meals easier.  Use them…take the short cuts that work.

Eating ForwardThere are so many things in our day that cause stress…why let what’s for dinner cause even more?

I have a copy of Sandi Richard’s Book, Eating Forward to giveaway to one A Busy Mommy reader. To enter, just follow the instructions in the form below.


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  1. wash and prepare veggies for cooking when you buy them – it will make dinnertime that much easier.

  2. Get the kids involved. More hands make light work! And they have different ideas about what to cook.

  3. Don’t cook alone. Help makes everything faster.

  4. Chop up veggies and get proteins ready on the weekend so that you can throw them together at weekday dinnertime.

  5. Victoria Ess says:

    Don’t be afraid to serve leftovers!

  6. mistygrl70 says:

    Do all your prep work early if you can.

  7. Cook up a double batch; freeze the leftovers so you have dinner ready in a pinch.

  8. prep what you can ahead of time, to make things easier when you’re busy and on the go

  9. i always have a lot of things prepped already so i can quickly make a meal

  10. Prepare ahead and make extra for leftovers the next day.

  11. Judy Cowan says:

    When you get home from shopping, wash and chop veggies so they are ready to go for the week. Also make extra and freeze for quick meals that can be reheated.

  12. Plan meals day before

  13. Prep what you can ahead of time (if possible), it will save time

  14. DARLENE W says:

    I always have one of the grandkids give me a hand in the kitchen

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