The following is a guest post from momAgendaCOMM blogger Toni Patton.
Being a mom is not always easy and one of the hassles I have are days filled with sports, ballet class, and youth service among all the other curve balls that life tends to throw my way. One of the things that happen to be an absolute MUST for me is eating dinner together as a family. Occasionally that means going out as a treat, but more often it’s within the confines of our home.
For me, finding quick inspiration in the kitchen is a necessity or I would be a short order cook every night. I have to plan ahead and using momAgenda’s Dinner section in my Mini Daily is a big help with that. I can write out my dinner idea in advance so I am prepared each day. While that is wonderful, it doesn’t always work out as planned. “Life” happens and that baked chicken or chicken saltimbocca has to be put on hold.
Whether a game goes into overtime or I have to spend more time helping one of my children with a school project, there are days in which the time I planned for dinner preparations ends up getting cut into. Some days I have so much going on that I am exhausted and the hour I had planned to stand over the stove isn’t very appealing anymore. That’s when I have to have some fall back meals. In other words, my very own quick inspiration in the kitchen.
As a busy mom (whether stay at home or working mom) dinner is usually the winding down of our days when we are together as a family. Some days those dinners are a hassle for the reasons mentioned above. Here are a few tips to hopefully help you resolve some of those moments of craziness so you can just relax with your family and enjoy a good meal:
• ALWAYS have fall back meal for when you don’t have the time to cook like you planned. For us it is usually tacos, frozen pizza, or spaghetti. Quick and easy. If you want to make sure your family gets the veggies, get a veggie pizza or crack open a can of veggies to eat alongside the spaghetti.
• Slow Cookers are heavenly. Plan a few slow cooker meals so if that practice runs late or you just need a moment away from not having to stand over the stove. Put the meal on (veggies and all) and serve when ready.
• Pre-make meals when you have extra time or make double and freeze. Then, all you have to do is heat and eat when you want to.
• Keep certain necessities on hand and some common food ingredients for recipes so that you don’t have to make trips to the store daily. Trust me, this saves a lot of time.
• Check out websites and cookbooks that are focused on Quick and Easy meals.
Remember dinner time shouldn’t be something stressful. It’s great to plan and prepare a certain meal but sometimes things don’t go as planned. Have some quick and easy fall back ideas ready just in case. The most important thing isn’t spending time making the meal, it’s the time spent with the family eating ANY meal and visiting.
Toni is a member of the Council of Media Moms. Sharing stories about parenting, life and everything in between you can find her on A Daily Dose of Toni. You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.