|Our older daughter on her first day of 8th grade|
As we come to the end of this first week of school, I’m finding that the time between our arrival back home after picking up my daughter from school and our supper time – especially on days she has after school activities – seems very short!
While I’ve practiced these seven tips off and on over the years, I think I’m going to need to use all of them to keep our schedule running smoothly (unlike last night, when I underestimated the time our food needed to cook, which meant that we were all pretty hungry by the time it was ready!)
1. Plan ahead. I was slack this summer about planning out a weekly menu. No more! My goal is to sit down on Saturday and write out all of our breakfasts and suppers for the coming week.
2. Use the slow cooker. This is one of my favorite kitchen appliances. Here are some of my favorite slow cooker recipes.
3. Allow yourself some shortcuts. I’m feeling okay about using a few shortcuts while we get back into our school year routine. For example, I normally like to make my own cream of chicken soup, but I’m using the canned version right now.
4. Keep it simple. This week’s menu included hamburgers and BLT’s – both meals that are liked by the family and easy to prepare. My goal right now is to serve a main dish along with a vegetable and/or fruit each night.
5. Take a couple of minutes in the morning to look over the night’s menu. See if you need to defrost meat or chop an onion; do anything that will make it faster to put the meal together that evening.
6. Multitask. While I’m waiting for water to boil, I might slice some cucumbers to put in my daughter’s lunch the next day or brown sausage for tomorrow’s breakfast casserole.
7. Factor in cleanup time. One pot dishes (like Red Beans and Rice or One Dish Mock Chicken Pot Pie) mean
easy clean up. I also try to clean up as I go so that there’s less to do after supper. And it’s yet another reason I love the slow cooker – I get most of my clean up done ahead of time!
What other tips do you have for getting meals on the table quickly on a busy night?