I’ve recently returned to work after being on maternity leave with my little guy. To put it lightly it’s been a whirlwind of details that I felt I was handling pretty well until I started coming home from a full day to find that I hadn’t even begun to think about what we were going to have for dinner.
Dinner for me is seen as a time for families to sit together and talk about the days events, a time to eat a balanced meal after a day filled with commitments a time to enjoy each other before winding down for the night and preparing to run the race again the next morning. The only problem I’ve had with this time I look forward to each day with my family is that it’s not as easy as it sounds. “Making the Time” to meal plan while juggling family needs and a full time job was literally pushing me over the edge. So, when you’re feeling stuck between a rock and a hard place what’s the best thing to do? Initially I thought picking up a $5 Hot and Ready each night on the way home from work might do the trick but quickly realized I can’t have my kindergartner telling all of our family and friends that the only thing she has for dinner is pizza….but they do sell wings and other side dishes…
In the midst of my self induced stress over this minor detail in our daily lives, a good friend and coworker of mine set down a couple of books on my desk about meal planning. After staring at them for a couple of days, I decided to take them home over the weekend and skim the pages to see if anything jumped out at me that screamed, “You can do this!” The Gods must have been on my side because this is exactly what happened when I opened Once-a-month cooking family favorites : more great recipes that save you time and money from the inventors of the ultimate do-ahead dinnertime method. While paging through this cookbook, I picked out just a couple of recipes that sounded easy and like something even my 5 year old would eat. Cooking up just two of the recipes proved to be a success this past weekend because not only did we have two very enjoyable meals but there was enough left over for lunches or a second dinner later in the week.
This cookbook has been written to help busy families like ours. There are two week and one month meal plans complete with shopping lists that can be prepared ahead of time so that meals can be “pulled” from the freezer, placed in the oven and enjoyed within 30 to 60 minutes. Although I haven’t attempted to prepare two weeks or a months worth of meals yet, I’m actually looking forward to doing this knowing the end result will leave me with evenings more focused on what’s important…Our Family!
How do you prepare and handle dinner making for your family? Have you ever attempted make ahead meal planning? Please share your experiences!
Check out the available website for Once a Month Cooking!