I don’t claim to be the master of anything. I’m ok at crafting and scrapbooking. Gardening? Ehh…questionable. I handle my own in the kitchen. But there’s one thing that I like to think I do pretty well. Ummm…most of the time anyway.
As a working mama/ double career family, I think we’ve got our routine down pretty well. We get home and I made dinner. This happens nearly every night. If I’m not the one making dinner, it’s Andy. We rarely eat out. Maybe…m a y b e once a month.
I’ve had some discussions with some other working mamas wondering how I come up with dinner ideas. How do I find time to make dinner every.single.night. So I thought I’d share some of my tips, tricks and go-to recipes.
First off I’m not going to lie…we eat tacos once a week and sometimes? we just eat hotdogs. There I said it.
Now that I’ve got that out of the way…
|By the end of the month my calendar
looks like this…and yes it’s color coded.
- Every Saturday morning while Rylee is eating breakfast, I sit down with the weekly food ads to my left, the calendar to my right and start my weekly meal planning. I figure out what we we’re going to eat each night the rest of the weekend through to Friday. Once I’ve got that figured out, I make a grocery list accordingly. Having it actually written up on the calendar reminds me what I need to take out of the freezer so it’s actually defrosted and ready to cook…amazing concept, I know.
- I go grocery shopping once a week. Occasionally, if we’re having spaghetti on a Wednesday, I’ll have Andy swing in to grab some garlic bread, but that’s about it.
- There are certain things we always have on hand. Like a jar or two of spaghetti sauce. Or a box of pasta. Or canned green beans. Or tortillas, cheese and black beans. We eat tacos a lot. And in a pinch? Cooking up frozen ground beef always seems to be the easiest thing to do.
- I buy things when they’re on sale and I buy a lot of it. I’m not any kind of super-couponer or anything, but if boneless, skinless chicken breast is on sale for anything less that $2 per lb, I buy at least 10 lbs of it, then vacuum seal it in 2 breast packs. I do the same thing with pork chops. And bacon. And we buy beef a 1/2 cow at a time so I always have a freezer full of meat. (that’s what she said)
- I try to plan on leftovers and what I’m going to do with them. For example: I know that Andy and I can never finish a whole roasted chicken. Since they normally take way too long to make on a week night, I will make it on a Sunday, then after our meal, debone the rest of it and then I’ll use the leftover chicken to make homemade fettucini Alfredo on Monday!
Kraft Foods has some really great, easy recipes. Like…Caribbean Jerk Chicken It’s also great for broiling or baking. I serve it with jasmine rice and salad.Cheeseburger Joes I use real cheese as opposed to the Kraft singles stuff.You can even type in ingredients you have on hand and it will give you suggestions. However, while browsing, be prepared for a lot of dressed up Kraft mac-n-cheese. A lot. Oh and also casseroles. Ew.
Ok, so for those of you dyeing to know what our magical meal plan is, I went ahead to put it all into iCal for you. You can click on the image to make it larger. Before you do that though, I think it’s only fair I am able to note a couple of things first: 1. We do NOT normally eat tacos that often in a month…I swear. 2. We actually had more family dinners away from home this month than normal. My sis was in town from Chicago for Mother’s Day! 3. It’s really not that exciting. But it meets my requirements: mostly healthy. affordable. fast.
What kind of tips and tricks do you use? What’s your favorite go-to weeknight recipe? I’d love to hear!