I am the mother of five grown children who are now starting families of their own so to say that I have 'been there, done that' is an understatement!
Over the years, I have discovered some tricks to getting the meal on the table quickly:
Involve everyone in the prep action!
-You will have more time to spend with your family.
-Your children will learn how to prepare meals.
-You will have help getting the meal on the table.
-All of you can have fun working together.
Create weekly menus!
-You will be serving well balanced meals.
-You can plan meals around food on hand or already prepared.
-You will eliminate trips to the grocery store saving you time and money!
-You can create meal plans around your family's busy schedule.
Some people write their menus on the family calendar so they can adjust the menus to the activities. I like to do that, too. However, sometimes I am in the car, at an appointment, at a game, etc. (you know the drill) so I just use whatever is handy to jot down the menus at the time and then transfer the menus to the calendar when I get home. I also make a grocery list of needed ingredients so I buy only what I need for the week - saving me time and money!
I am starting a new feature on this blog to share my 30-minute menus for the upcoming week. I plan to post the menus each Friday. You will find that I use several cooking methods to speed dinner prep including prepared foods. When you have a bit more time, you can always substitute the prepared foods with your made-from-scratch recipes.
MMC 30-Minute menus for the week of June 29, 2008:
Roast beef and gravy (crock pot with dried onion soup mix sprinkled over the top)
Potatoes, carrots, and onions with sesame seed topper (pared, quartered, and added to crock pot)
Pear salad (canned pear halves and bagged lettuce with a dollop of mayo and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese)
Lemon tart (bottled lemon juice from last week and a prepared pie crust)
Grilled pizza (purchased pizza dough and jarred spaghetti sauce with toppings of choice)
Tossed salad (bagged salad)
Pan-seared fresh peach slices and ice cream
Beef tips over noodles (roast beef from Sunday; a dollop of sour cream adds a flavorful touch)
Broccoli with roasted pine nut topper
Apple turnovers (canned apple pie filling and crescent rolls)
Pan-seared jumbo scallops with an orange sauce (prepared OJ)
Jasmine rice (boxed rice)
Snow pea vegetable medley (frozen snow pea and bell pepper veggie mix)
Lemon tart (from Sunday)
Chicken Parmesan (spaghetti sauce from Monday, Parmesan cheese from Sunday, and purchased breaded chicken cutlets)
Pasta of choice
Zucchini / squash halves (with sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and baked in oven with chicken )
Banana granola pops
Friday - July 4th Celebration:
Mixed grill (hot dogs, hamburgers, brats, chicken, or skewered shrimp of choice)
Buns and condiments, relishes, salsas (jarred condiments, relishes, and salsas)
Macaroni salad (boxed salad)
Grilled vegetables (skewered veggies add a festive touch)
Layered ice cream parfaits with mixed fresh red and blue berries with dollop of whipped cream (purchased whipped cream)
Vegetable soup (roast beef from Sunday, spaghetti sauce from Monday, and vegetables from all week along with canned mixed vegetables as needed)
Grilled cheese sandwiches with thin apple slices (I like a combo of Vermont cheddar with smoked Gouda, the kids prefer American cheddar; the apple slices give it a nice crunch!)
Strawberry/mixed berry fruit cups (fruit and whipped cream from Friday with purchased angle food cups)
Get inspired for your weekly menus at Org Junkie!
I sincerely hope you have fun with your meal planning and preparation,
Elizabeth Randall and Family