Realizing this just wasn't good either for myself or my family, I set myself a new goal - come up with ways to make my own life easier, especially with regards to making Dinner. From personal experience, I recommend these steps below.
1 - PLANNING
Caught up in chores, I'm often left scrambling come dinner time. Solution - I try and plan the meals ahead, so I know what I'm going to make each day for dinner. That way I have plenty of time to go get the necessary ingredients. I can even schedule things so that if I'm planning on making something that involves a lot of prep time, I can be home early. The extra planning time also saves me the time and expense of unplanned shopping trips mid-week.
This also gives me more time to do something that may or may not make my Dinner faster/tastier but does help it be more economical - cutting (or rather, printing) coupons! I try to print out coupons online whenever I find them, and more so when I'm about to make a trip to the grocery store (or just go shopping, period!). Planning helps me be a more frugal homemaker which is a very good thing in this economy!
2 - PREPARATION & ORGANIZATION
Preparation - Since we're vegetarians, we use a lot of fresh veggies in our food. Which means a lot of peeling, chopping, dicing, etc has to happen before I can even begin to start cooking. So, when I go to a store, I try and buy pre-washed, pre-cut salad mixes, baby carrots, and other veggies that I can use in a hurry. Buying frozen chopped veggies like spinach or collard greens etc also helps cut down prep time. And when Dinner time comes, I can just take them out of the package and start using them straightaway. However, oftentimes the fresh veggies are cheaper and well...fresher! So it makes more sense to get them. I cut peel, cut and dice veggies etc right after the grocery trip or on a weekend, so I don't have to do that when I'm preparing dinner during the weekdays.
Organization - the other thing that helps save me time and bother is an organized kitchen. If everything's in its place, then I'm able to find stuff without searching and that really speeds up the process. Like I keep all my baking things near the oven; the pots and pans near the stove; the microwaveable dishes near the microwave etc. An old jug that's a favorite of mine serves as storage for serving spoons and utensils right on the counter.
3 - MORE IS BETTER
Leftovers are a lifesaver when I'm really in a time crunch (like being caught up in an overlong doctor's visit - don't you hate those?!) That's why I always try and make more when I'm cooking like double or even triple portions. For example, I sometimes make big pots of soup and freeze portions for future meals. The same for sauces, dips, etc. I also try and make simple meals for during the week and keep the more complicated, time-consuming ones for the weekends or holidays.
Making Dinner for your family should be a happy experience. By following these 3 simple steps, I help make my own life a lot easier and my family a lot healthier! No more running around like a headless chicken anymore during the weekdays just thinking of making Dinner. What could be better?!
If you have any other lifesaving dinner/meal tips, do let me know. I could always do with any extra help!
I was inspired to write this post by TwitterMoms and Samsung who're sponsoring a sweepstakes to win a free award winning Samsung French Door Refrigerator (RFG297AARS) to one lucky blogger who blogs on this topic.
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