Thursday, September 25, 2014

Getting Dinner on the Table

Due to our more hectic than usual schedule this fall, getting dinner on the table has been a bit of a feat lately. It has taken a fair amount of planning to make sure that we are not eating peanut butter sandwiches every night.  Not that there's anything wrong with that! I actually really love a good pb & j, but for dinner I am a bit spoiled. I want to eat something that feels like a "real" dinner and so does everyone else. To make it happen, I have to plan ahead of time, make menus, stick to a regular shopping routine, and work around our out-of-the-home commitments. All a bit of a pain, but worth it.

We really like food around here.

I start off on Friday afternoon by drawing up a grocery list for the week. I pretty much have to make myself do this, because the last thing I want to do on a Friday afternoon is think about next week's dinners! But, dear husband does the shopping on Saturday mornings, so the list has to be ready. To make the list-making easier, I have assigned a "theme", or a repeating dinner to every night.

Saturday is always burgers on the grill night, until it gets too cold. Then it is pizza night.

Sunday is always whatever dear husband wants to cook, since it's his night to do dinner. In fall we tend to do a roasted chicken dinner, shepherd's pie, chicken stew, or Indian food. Kind of a comfort food theme.

Monday is usually boys' cook night, because everyone is home and I can help them. They like to look through cookbooks and keep a running list of recipes they want to try. Sometimes I cook by myself on Mondays if there is something we have been wanting that takes a little more prep, because I have more time on Mondays!

Tuesday is crock pot night, because everyone is home late. I love my crock pot. This past Tuesday I made a chicken stew in it for the first day of fall, and it was so nice coming home to it after our busy afternoon!

Wednesday is sandwich night because Christopher and I are out late for his practice and need to bring our dinner along. Everyone else gets back right at dinner time, so prep needs to be minimal. We stick to basics most of the time, things like deli sandwiches, grilled cheese, or tuna wraps, but sometimes I will make a chicken salad or something like that ahead of time. As it gets colder I am debating getting Christopher and I each a little thermos, so we can take along a soup or something.

Thursday is Grace's night to cook,  because she is home while I run Rose to the gym. I get the feeling she really enjoys her cooking night. They boys are usually upstairs doing Lego while I am gone and she has the downstairs to herself: just her, her music, and the stove. I love having a teen that can cook dinner!

Friday is pizza night for now. I like making pizza at the end of the week because I am usually pretty well done-in, but pizza is fun and easy.  If we are lucky, we have leftovers for Saturday lunch, but that doesn't happen as often as I would like!

In addition to planning out dinners, I try to keep the pantry fairly well-stocked. I will often look at a printable pantry stocking list, like this one, for inspiration.  I like having a few things on hand, like pasta, frozen meatballs, breaded chicken tenders, soup, stuff like that....just so that if one day doesn't go as planned we can still eat something.

Till next time!


  1. I went grocery shopping tonight myself. I make out a menu (nothing like yours, but it's a menu!) and shop every week or two, depending on how quickly we go through the menu - leftovers, surprise friend visits, and nights where nobody has time or feels like cooking all can change the timeline. I need to bust out the crockpot more, but the problem I have now is that since I have to be at work at 7 a.m., I can't really use it. Ah, well. We're making it work ya know? On the menu this week are things like pad Thai, homemade pizza, spaghetti and meatballs, Italian sandwiches on ciabatta bread… so things that sound fancy but really don't take much time at all! We're making it work, and it sounds like you guys are, too. Love reading posts like these!

  2. Sounds fancy but doesn't take much time- that is it exactly! The other day we had roasted garlic pizza and that sounds all fancy but the dough took literally five minutes to throw together and the garlic was a matter of sticking a couple of cloves in the oven for an hour and ignoring them. Thanks for your comment!


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