I was really happy to spend a good part of the summer traveling around speaking at homeschool conferences. I'll be even happier next summer to be at a few more! One of the topics that comes up in one of my talks is getting dinner on the table. It's such a challenge to keep house, teach school, drive everyone everywhere they need to go, keep the schedules and oh, we need to feed them too.
You need to have a plan that does not result in you running around at 5:30 trying to thaw chicken breasts in your armpits. (Don't ask me how I know this).
My solution is simple. Every day make the goal of knowing what you are having for dinner by 10:00am. That's it. If you are one of those fancy menu planning people this is a given. I am not one of those people who plan a month of menus at a time, I wish I were but it just doesn't happen here. I also have tried that once a month cooking thing and while it was nice we don't really eat like that.
So everday I take stock of what is in the freezer, fridge and pantry. I take a look at the calendar to see where I need to be, if anywhere, in the evening and I take the ingredients out. This allows me to thaw meat in cold water, chop veggies, do any pre-browning or poaching that is needed throughout the day as I have time. It is rare that I have a solid hour or two at the end of the day to prepare dinner, so it has to be a few minutes at a time thing. It also gives me a few hours to pick up anything that is missing from the ingredients list while running errands or to even to bake something special.
Make it a hard and fast rule, to yourself, to have dinner plans in place by 10:00 am and I am sure the day will run a lot smoother for you.
How do you menu plan?
Menu Planning Resources
The Happy Housewife Menu Planning Central