Monday, November 17, 2008

I remember when dinner was easy

We'd go out four nights, I'd cook for two night, and one night was easily a liquid dinner. With kids that's all changed. Now it's cooking 6 nights and trying to plan ahead. Shopping, prepping, defrosting food so it's ready some time before 9pm. Who knew making dinner would be this intense?
It took me 3 kids and 7 years to really figure out the dinner thing. I spent months cooking with a child in one arm and a wooden spoon in the other when my oldest child was a baby. I ended up with serious pain in my left wrist which I'm sure was carpal tunnel syndrome. I knew no other way. It was stressful enough having a baby and having to cook at the same time. Planning ahead was not even a thought.
It all sounds so cliche- like something my mother would say: "Just plan ahead- that's what I always did." Like many other things I needed to figure it out for myself. With 3 kids there is no option other than to either hire a cook, order out every night, or find a way. I can't afford a cook and ordering out gets old after a while so I had no choice but to find a way.

So- here's my way. 1) Plan ahead. 2) Keep meals in the freezer (especially things like spaghetti sauce and some soups). 3) Have soup and sandwich night.
I plan ahead by trying to remember to take out a frozen meat to roast a day early and putting it in the fridge as well as considering the timing of a certain day. For example- if there's a really busy day coming up- that means crock pot dinner made at 10am.
If the day turned out in a way I did not expect- spaghetti sauce is coming out of the freezer.
If things are really crazy and there is no time for anything else- it's soup and sandwich night- or maybe chicken fingers......

The reality is that my family needs to be fed and without someone here to do it for me the job is mine. Most nights it can be handled. However- by Friday night I'm done and that's pizza night! No dilemma there.

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