Written by Lorie Marrero – Clutter Diet Organizers [firstname.lastname@example.org]
We’re getting back into our routines again around school and extracurricular activities, and that means the nightly “What’s For Dinner?” question becomes even more crucial. Timing is tight around homework, carpooling, practices and games. Here are five ways to reduce the culinary stress:
1) Just DECIDE. The hardest part about getting dinner on the table is simply making the decision about what to cook. I’ve written before about doing your “Sunday Planning.” During the school year this becomes even more important. Read my previous Sunday Planning post for complete guidelines. Part of this simple process is doing a quick menu plan for the week. If you just decide that you’re going out once and having leftovers once (the night before your trash collection is a great night to clean out your refrigerator), then you have only 5 dinners left to plan. Decide and do it… you’ll be amazed at the peace of mind you have each day just knowing that dinner is already figured out.
2) Bite off a month at a time. A rotation menu is a great way to capture the decisions you’ve made and make sure family favorites are sprinkled in regularly. You can get a free template for a rotation menu (Word document) on our free tips page (look on left side of page for our free stuff). Basically, you figure out four weeks of meals that your family likes, then cook them on a set schedule and repeat. Done! Grocery shopping is easier and all is well.
3) Cook in one big batch. Let someone else do most of the deciding on the menu, show up, and assemble all of your meals for the month at one time. There are many meal assembly stores out there now, such as Dream Dinners and Super Suppers and others. Find one in your area and give it a try! These stores buy food in volume so they are able to actually save you money on costs, and certainly are a savings over going out to eat instead. You’ll have a stocked freezer of ready-to-go dinners and have spent only a couple of hours putting them all together.