Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What’s For Dinner?

A big source of my stress which then leads to discontentment is that I’m quite unorganized when it comes to dinner.

I like to cook at home for a couple reasons. One, I ain’t rich! And eating out really adds up. If I’m spending money on going out, I prefer to spend it on breakfast. Another reason is that I like to know what’s going in my food. I try to make as much as I can from scratch and I use organic as often as I practically can. And the third reason is that dinnertime is the beginning of The Witching Hour. That magical time of day when tantrums are plentiful. I’d rather be in a more controlled atmosphere when things start getting thrown and Monster starts getting loud.

But I’m a single working mother (have I mentioned that?) of a toddler (does any of this ring a bell?) so I don’t have a ton of time. I’m also extremely unorganized and scatter brained so what little time I do have is spent scrambling on last minute dinner ideas.

I’ve tried the meal plan thing – you know, planning a week’s worth of meals in advance. This helps with grocery shopping by making the shopping trip both more organized and less expensive, but by Tuesday I forget the recipes I had picked out. In fact, I bought a can of coconut milk several weeks ago to use in a recipe and I haven’t been able to find that recipe again. Did I imagine it? Maybe.

My dinner schedule looks a little something like this:
Saturday/Sunday – cook big
Monday – leftovers
Tuesday – leftovers
Wednesday – forgot to pull the chicken out of the freezer so grilled cheese sandwiches or scrambled eggs
Thursday – that chicken is still in the freezer. Let’s eat snacks for dinner!
Friday – when Monster is with his dad, I’ll eat cereal for dinner. If it’s my Friday, we both eat cereal for dinner.
And it starts all over again.

Then one day, as I was out blog hopping, I stumbled onto this little gem. Summer freezer meals! I didn’t know you could do that! This woman posted her whole schedule of making more than a month’s worth of meals in one afternoon. Which is great for me, because I love it when other people have already done the work for me!

(Author's note: In a weird twist of fate, after I read this and forwarded the link to everyone I know, my sister-in-law told me she knew this woman and was actually talking to her when she received my email. So now I know she’s good people.)

I have not done the four-hour session she describes but I have taken little bits and pieces from it and adapted it to my little family. It’s amazing the difference it’s made. Now it doesn’t matter how long it takes Monster to get out of the car because dinner is already planned and mostly ready. That is, if I remembered to take it out of the freezer.

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