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Nothing is worse than walking into the kitchen at 5 pm and realize you have no idea how to get a home-cooked meal on the table. The fridge is empty. The pantry echoes. I guess it’s time to pick up fast food for supper tonight!
Get Home Cooked Meals on the Table
Start with a Meal Plan
Start with a meal plan to get dinner on the table. A good meal plan lets you know what you’ll eat when, and more importantly, you can create a shopping list!
In my opinion, the biggest reason to have a meal plan is for the shopping list. Once you have the ingredients at home, you can vary the meals if you’d like. I’m known to change from one dish to another similar dish depending upon what I feel like. For instance, I might have chili planned, but change my mind and serve South Western Bean Soup instead.
If meal planning is not your cup of tea, check into the various meal plan aids that abound on the internet. Some give you a plan and a shopping list, others let you drag and drop favorite recipes to create a personalized plan and list.
Begin with a meal plan to get dinner on the table tonight.
Let’s face it. You can’t serve home-cooked meals without going shopping. At some point, you need to either round up the kids or leave them at home with your husband while you head to the store.
Organize your list by store and aisle to make shopping easier. Shopping isn’t my favorite task so I prefer to keep my time at the store short and sweet.
Having the list in order spares me a lot of time backtracking through the store to pick up supplies.
Prep Ahead of Time
Save yourself heartaches and headaches by preparing as much as possible ahead of time. This can be as simple as preparing salads and browning meat as soon as you arrive home from the store.
It could also mean taking a few minutes in the morning to prepare as much as you can for the evening meal. Start the crockpot, or make the salad.
A few moments in the morning can save you a lot of angst in the evening when you’re trying to cook with hungry and crying children underfoot.
Plan Time to Cook
A common mistake is to forget that we need time to cook dinner in the evenings or to plan too little time. So plan time to cook into your daily routine. This could be 30 minutes to make the salad, set the table, and finish last-minute prep.
It could also mean making a point of heading home from activities with enough time to put dinner on the table in the evening. It takes time to cook so plan it into your schedule.
Plan the time to cook into your schedule to put dinner on the table every night.
Remember Time to Clean
Just as we need time to cook, we also need time to clean the kitchen after dinner. The best routine tends to have everyone in the family giving a hand with the clean-up when dinner is done.
Another routine is one my parents had when my sister and I were little. Mom put us to bed while Dad cleaned the kitchen. Afterward, they relaxed together in the living room.
You do need the time to clean the kitchen. After all, nothing is worse than waking up in the morning, walking into the kitchen, and discovering a horrid mess. What a lousy start to the day!
Getting home-cooked meals on the table while homeschooling doesn’t need to be a production. With a bit of planning and preparation, you too can enjoy easy home-cooked meals every night.
Read more posts in the 31 Days to a Well-Run Homeschool series!