When I get home after working all day with two little humans in tow, the last thing I feel like doing is making dinner. Truth be told, I’m not really into the idea of adulting, in general, when five o’clock rolls around. But the fact of the matter is, there are at least twelve years between me and the day I can trust my offspring to use the stove by themselves without burning the place down (probably), so I need to make dinner happen. If you, too, would rather hibernate while Netflix plays in the background, here are some tips to get food on the table.
After that, you’re on your own.
Tip 1 // Meal Planning, or Shopping with Common Sense
If I don’t have the stamina/desire to cook a single meal, you can bet your bottom dollar I’m not spending a whole Sunday prepping meals for the week. If this is something that works for you, however, YOU GO GIRL. I’ll be living vicariously through you as I peruse Pinterest boards of all the freezer meals I’ll never have the wherewithal to make.
I might not be a meal planner/prepper/extraordinaire, but I have learned to shop with more common sense by thinking about the kinds of meals I’m going to make over the next two weeks. My grocery store game these days is looking a little less Supermarket Sweep, if you know what I mean. If I’m buying three pounds of chicken, I plan ways to stretch it into four-ish meals. If I know we want to have a fiesta one night, I plan ways to use the leftover tomatoes, cheese, and peppers on another night. You’re probably thinking, duh?!, but this would have blown my mind circa 2010. It turns out that Sheetz chili dogs are not always the answer.
Tip 2 // Chicken in the Crock Pot
A couple of years ago, my grandmother shared this little trick of the trade with me, and I immediately thought, Why haven’t we been doing this all along?! I imagine the person who came up with sliced bread had a similar reaction. Chicken in the crock pot is basically amazing because it requires zero cooking skills and less than ten minutes of my life. I don’t like to leave the crock pot on while I’m working all day, so I usually toss the chicken in when I get home on a day that’s early in the week, so that it’s cooked and ready to be used in different meals for the next few nights. If I put it in at 4, it’s usually ready to be shredded after I put the boys to bed and then in the fridge it goes. MISSION: COMPLETE.
Tip 3 // Meals That Require Minimal Prep Time and Minimal Use of Whatever Brain Cells are Left at the End of a Long Wednesday
I think I’ve Googled “quick weeknight dinners” more often than the average person brushes their teeth. If it involves a laundry list of ingredients, I’m probably not making it. Simplicity is the name of the game when making dinner also means keeping a three-year-old occupied and talking a teething baby off the ledge. Enter, Pinterest.
Some other household favorites:
Chili // Chicken Bundles // Tacos // French Bread Pizzas // Cheese Tortellini and Sausage // Jambalaya // Beef Stroganoff // Steamers // Fried or Baked Tilapia // Homemade Fried Chicken Tenders // Crock Pot Lasagna
But if all else fails…
Tip 4 // Order a Pizza
…unless student loans are destroying your bank account and, consequently, your life. Ramen Noodles might be more your speed.
We’re in this together, people 🙂 You can do it! May the odds be ever in your favor.