As my kids have grown older cooking dinner has become a lot more enjoyable. E and Mimi are old enough to either help with the simple parts or stay out of my hair which are both good options 😉
Another thing that makes dinner easier is that the kids are both fairly adventurous eaters, especially E. I try (sometimes more successfully than others) to stick to the general principles of the Satter method and the kids get the same food that N and I eat. If we’re having something I’m really not sure they’ll eat I’ll put some fruit or toast on their plate but we don’t make them something separate.
Unfortunately, I’m not one of those cooks who can take a look at my pantry and whip up something on the spur of the moment; I need to plan in advance or else I feel overwhelmed and end up feeding the kids something frozen and then getting takeout for N and I after they’re in bed :/ N is great at cooking up a meal with what we have and we used to take turns with dinner (which I really loved), but he doesn’t get home until after 6pm so making dinner falls to me during the week since we want to eat together with the kids.
Anyway, this is what I have so far for this week:
Monday – Spicy Roasted Chicken Thighs* with brown rice and a veggie side–edamame? green salad? Not sure yet.
Tuesday – Easy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork This is my favorite pulled pork recipe. I make it whenever I see pork butt on sale and then freeze leftovers to make enchiladas. This week we’ve having it on hamburger buns with a cabbage slaw.
Wednesday – Sweet and Tangy Sesame Noodles* On paper this seems like something everyone will like but we’ll see.
Thursday – probably something in the slow cooker since we spend a couple of hours going to the doctor for E’s weekly milk OIT updose and by the time we get home after 5pm I’m wiped out from driving home in rush hour traffic.
Fridays – leftovers or takeout
* = First time making this recipe.
That’s all I have so far. How about you? Are you a planner, or do you like to play dinner by ear?
Things seem to have calmed down with work so things shouldn’t be quite as crazy this week (phew!). But this week will still be kind of hectic since I’ll be trying to put my house back in order after letting it fall apart last week and also preparing to take E and go visit family in Washington. So we’re trying to keep it simple this week, dinner-wise.
- Monday (N): Potstickers and rice/noodles
- Tuesday (Faith): Homemade chicken noodle soup (made without egg noddles so E can have some. He’s been really into soup lately)
- Wednesday (N): Salmon patty sandwiches
- Thursday (Faith): Pulled pork sandwiches
- Friday: Takeout
- Saturday: Leftovers
Up until last night the whole weekly-menu-thing was going pretty well. Even though I was tired by the time I got home at 8:45 pm on Tuesday from helping out with a church youth activity I sucked it up and made the roasted shrimp and broccoli dish I had planned (I know, right? SO brave.) And I really appreciated getting home from woodworking class on Wednesday night at 9:40 and being able to eat the delicious chicken cacciatore that N had made instead of Del Taco drive-thru which used to be our usual post-woodworking-class meal.
But last night, the night I was supposed to make teriyaki chicken and salad with homemade dressing (ah, such arrogance!) was the night that the menu broke down. Notice it wasn’t on one of N’s nights; even though he has a demanding job as a corporate lawyer he still managed to cook two healthy dinners this week. Nope, it was me who caved at 9:05 last night and ordered pizza.
Granted, yesterday was a really hard day: I had been working on my big quarterly presentation and they shifted some deadlines and told me yesterday morning that I needed to have a big chunk of it finished by 9:00 last night instead of on Monday like I had been expecting. Plus E has caught his 26th cold of the season (I blame preschool) and was super whiny yesterday and threw himself on the floor and cried at the drop of a hat and he only took a 30-minute nap.
I took a clear-eyed look at everything that was going on and realized that there was no way I would be able to take care of little E, get dinner over to my friend Emily’s house at a reasonable hour, and then get back home and finish my work by 9 . Yes, that’s right. I didn’t just flake on making dinner for my family, I flaked on making dinner for another family, a family who just had a new baby a couple weeks ago (oy vay!). So yesterday I spent a few minutes gathering up my courage/fighting my embarrassment and called Emily and asked if I could bring dinner over on Friday instead of Thursday. She was very nice about it but I felt like the world’s worst friend.
N was a trooper and as soon as he got home he took E off my hands so I could finish my work. I emailed my report in at 9:00 pm and ordered a pizza at 9:02 pm. N was very gracious about the whole thing. I still have a lot of work to do today on the next stage of my presentation but I’ll have enough time to make dinner tonight.
On a fairly-related note, I think I’m going to scale back the frequency of my posts here. There are several things in my life that I need to be spending more time on, mostly E and work and up-keeping my house which is threatening to reach a Hoarders-level of clutter. Once I get my crap under a bit of control I’ll probably go back to posting everyday. But as for right now it’s become a bit of a stretch to find the time to post or to think of things to post about. I still love blogging and I still thrive on structure so instead of posting on every weekday I think I’ll switch to posting on Monday/Wednesdays/Fridays and see how it goes. I hope you’ll still stick around.
Starting this week, I’m going to be making a real effort to plan out our dinners. I hate the sinking feeling I get when I look at the clock to realize it’s 9 pm, it’s my turn to cook and I have no idea what to make (Yeah, we eat ridiculously late sometimes.). Plus, I think planning will help us save money and not make as many trips to the grocery store.
I know planning a weekly menus isn’t anything new and that most of you probably already do this already (Check out the yummy menus Citymama posts on Mondays). But I really need to improve my household management skills and this is me taking baby steps in the right direction. I’m planning on posting the menu here to help keep me on track–you know, peer pressure and whatnot.
How are you guys? I always like to see what other people are cooking. Whatcha making?