I've gotten into a routine! Every Sunday I prepare our dinners for the week (and most of the time, our lunches too!). This has been such a lifesavers for us.
Mark and I both work and don't get home each day until around 5:45 p.m. We have a consistent bedtime for the kids of 8 p.m. They get super cranky if they don't have enough sleep. So, that doesn't leave a huge window of time for us to cook dinner, get showers, and spend time together before everyone heads to bed.
The first week I did this, which was the beginning of January, I found that we got back a full hour every night. Dinner and baths were done by 7 p.m. It was so nice to be able to just sit down together. I've kept it up this month, and it's becoming a routine!
Here's what we have on the menu this week and each thing was so easy to prepare:
Monday - BBQ Chicken with Salad and corn
In the Summer, I would have grilled this. And I guess I could have but tonight it was easier to bake the chicken.
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut in half)
Sweet Baby Rays BBQ Sauce
Pampered Chef Three Onion Rub
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
Grease the baking dish
Place the chicken in the dish and top with Pampered Chef Three Onion Rub
Cook until almost done then add BBQ Sauce
Cover with foil and return to oven for another 10-15 mins.
Salads at our house are simple! Lettuce and cucumbers in a big bowl. On dinner night, everyone adds their favorite toppings - tomatoes, cheese, bacon bits, croutons and salad dressing
Tuesday - It's Always Taco Tuesday
We do Tacos every Tuesday night. And the cool thing is that I buy the large package of lean beef - 2 to 3 pounds. I cook it all at once, add the appropriate amount of taco seasoning for that much beef and let it simmer. I remove it from the stove top once it's done and let it cool. Then I divide it between two containers - one for the current week and one for the next. This week I'll be grabbing the frozen meat, thawing and heating it. And Voila - yummy dinner!
Wednesday - Polish Sausage with potatoes and green beans
I know this isn't really a healthy option but we really love this stuff. I slice the sausage, add onions and cook on the stove top. It doesn't take a long time to cook. Once it's done I let it cool and place in a container for the fridge.
Thursday - Burrito Bowls
The burrito bowls we make are from this recipe and they're the best! Tasty Burrito Bowls
Friday - Vegetable Soup
This is one of those from memory recipes that I throw together. In my best effort, I try to mimic my great grandmother's vegetable soup.
In a soup pot I add:
Beef tips (but not a huge package)
Peeled and cubed potatoes
Frozen vegetables (A mixture of green beans, corn, carrots, and lima beans)
1 jar of homemade canned tomatoes
Sugar (I don't really measure I just pour in what I think is enough)
Salt and pepper
And then I add water (maybe another jar full or 2)
I let this cook for a couple of hours until it's just right. I enjoy mine with homemade rolls (but I am not gonna lie - I can't make homemade rolls) and saltine crackers. It's really good too, if you have sliced country ham to add to the rolls.
We usually cook on the weekends or if we aren't staying home relaxing, we eat out. I love that during the week, I no longer have to stress over what we're going to eat. And, I love that it doesn't take up most of my night with my family to cook dinner.
Oh and did I mention - I usually get these dinners done on Sunday in about 2 hours - including cooking what we're eating for dinner on Sunday.
I haven't taken any pictures of our food yet! But if it's something people seem interested in then I'll start to add those. But, I'll be honest. We're not fancy and I usually don't have time to stage a plate for a photo. We're a real family and I've got a husband and three hungry boys. So I ask for forgiveness in advance if the photos I share later aren't the most beautiful :)
This is how I feel when I finish making our dinners for the week!