I love cooking. I come from a large family and showing love through food is something that we do. What I don’t love is all the prep that is involved to get dinner on the table, particularly when we’re running late, or when one of the kids is hangry a full 45 minutes before normal dinner time. To get us through these situations and the stress they bring, I’ve found some solutions to simplify family dinner.
1. Plan Ahead
I know, I know – obvious, right? Normally, seeing “plan ahead” on a list would elicit an eye roll from yours truly, but I have some follow up that might be helpful. When I say “plan ahead,” I mean very specifically, on a meal plan app or piece of paper or whiteboard in your kitchen. Decide what your family will have for dinner, find the recipes for those meals, and make a grocery list. Don’t forget to be realistic about how much time you’re going to want to spend cooking – I try to find recipes that have a prep time of 45 minutes or less! ALSO- don’t feel like you have to live exactly by the meal plan — if you want to have Taco Monday and not Taco Tuesday, then go for it! Live your best life, mama!
For me, it doesn’t make sense to plan meals for all seven days of the week. Our schedule fluctuates a lot (especially in the summer!), so I usually plan four dinners a week, knowing that leftovers, dinners out, or my “Go To” solutions can fill in the evenings. I also occasionally put breakfast and lunch options on our meal planner, because that helps me remember to get those items on the grocery list.
2. Simplify Grocery Shopping
Confession time . . . I do not like grocery shopping. When my kiddos are with me, we inevitably end up with 15 items we do NOT need, and are missing 15 items we do. So, unless I’m going in search of a very specific specialty item, I take full advantage of services like Instacart, and ClickList. I love being able to order exactly what we need and not have to worry about searching the grocery store for hours. Also, particularly when it’s delivered – not even having to leave the house to get the fridge restocked is HUGE. If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend.
3. Get Some “Go-To” Meal Solutions
My kids get hangry. Does this happen at everyone else’s house? We’ll be having a great day, enjoying our afternoon together, when suddenly someone is seriously overreacting like they’ve lost their mind. I glance at my watch, and nine times out of ten, realize that we’re approaching dinner time, and my little angel has a serious case of the hangries.
When this happens, I don’t always have time for an hour of meal prep, and I spring for one of my “Go-To” meals. That is, something delicious and filling with great nutritional value, that I can have on the table in under 30 minutes. At our house, a favorite go-to used to be tacos, until my son informed me that the occasional “Taco Sunday” and “Taco Wednesday” were stealing the fun of Taco Tuesday. Thankfully, we’ve found another solution (actually four of them) . . . and I’m a little obsessed.
My new and favorite Go-To for a night when I just don’t have the time to cook, or need a sitter or the hubby to handle dinner is Kilyn’s Kitchen. These fresh, never frozen, USDA certified all-natural fully prepared meals, allow me to feed my kids something I feel great about in less than 30 minutes They were created by a local Colorado mom too, so I love supporting a local business! They have four different meals currently available, and the pulled pork and chicken fajitas are definitely favorites around my house
Kilyn’s Kitchen family meals are designed to feed the entire family, and are three whole pounds of real food – which is plenty to feed our family of four a great dinner.
The cooking instructions are so simple:
1. Boil water
2. Place meal pouch in boiling water (don’t open it yet!) and boil for 25 minutes
3. Remove meal from water, place on countertop and use scissors to open
4. Feed your hangry children
5. Dump water from pot, dry pot, put pot away.
(There’s no other cleanup, because your meal can go straight from the cooking pouch to your plates.)
6. Try not to feel too smug about the easiest dinner prep and cleanup ever (I added this one in, because — seriously!)
You can find Kilyn’s Kitchen all-natural prepared foods in Colorado Safeway meat departments. The meals include a meat protein, vegetable, and filling starch for a well-balanced dinner for your family.
Want to try out our favorite new go-to solution? Enjoy this $1.00 off coupon for your next Kilyn’s Kitchen Purchase, simply show it to the cashier at checkout.