As a kid I never understood why my mom would get so frustrated when we would ask “what’s for dinner?” Fast forward 30 years, and I totally get it.
There are a lot of steps to get food on the table: a trip to the grocery store (likely with children in tow), preparing ingredients to cook, actual cooking of the meal, and serving it to your family. Plus, if your children are like mine, there is only a 50/50 chance the meal served will be eaten.
There must be a better way!
I believe that there are seasons in life. There are times when you can prepare new recipes, and plate beautiful meals. And there are times when your just want to get the food out of the fridge and into your body. Here are some hacks I use to get dinner on the table during my current season of life.
- Serve vegetables as an appetizer to hungry kids. If my daughter is getting hangry while I cook dinner, I offer raw carrots as a snack. If she fills up before I finish cooking, at least she ate some vegetables. Keeping frozen vegetables on hand means I can have veggies ready in minutes. I’ve also found that if a child is really hungry, they are more willing to give greenery a chance.
- Buy a rotisserie chicken. Serve it warm that night, make chicken salad for dinner the next night. I buy one from Costco every week because it is a great deal. The trick is to take it off the bone as soon as you get it home, this way it is ready for dinner when you are. If you have an Instant Pot, you can quickly make your own stock with the leftover bones.
- Think of dinner as a series of mix and match components. Meat, vegetables/fruits, side dish. This way you can vary what you serve by changing one component. Tonight’s dinner is chicken, rice, and broccoli; totally different from the chicken, potatoes and broccoli I served last night.
- Use sauces/spices to change up your meals. This is another good way to switch up your go to meals. Try some new spices (look for no salt added spice blends, or get adventurous with your spice cabinet), or add a new sauce (I love the Kirkland Pesto sauce at Costco).
- Think outside of “dinner” foods. Breakfast for dinner is popular in my house. It’s a fun treat, and its easy for me to make. Have a “picnic night” and serve sandwiches, apple slices with peanut butter, carrots, and baked potato chips.
What tips and tricks do you use to get dinner served quickly?