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Monday, February 12, 2018

How do you DO it? Dinner prep

Dinner is the meal that we all try to come together. And with a busy family dinner often takes a back seat to so many other things. For me planning and prepping ahead of time keeps dinner happening and keeps me sane in the process. Try being the key word here is try. But serving dinner, with meals my family likes and isn't a convenience food, ( not that there's anything wrong with convenience food! I've been known to order pizza and throw a frozen lasagna in the over pretty regularly!) and it's too hard to make is something I really enjoy. AND it makes me not feel so guilty about those convenience foods when the need comes up.
Each the morning I figure out what we're going to have for dinner that night, (from a list complied the weekend prior when I did meal planning for the week) and I get out anything that might be frozen.

Sometime around lunch I do all the dinner prep for dinner that I can think of. I clean and chop veggies and putting them in the container to cook them. Getting out casserole pans and assembling. Getting all the ingredients out, opening cans, and pre-measuring anything that needs measuring. Dumping ingredients in the slow cooker. Even setting out the plates, bowls and glasses and silverware we'll use. Like EVERYTHING I can think of that's possible to do ahead of time, I do around 12-1pm, and I usually do it with some trashy The Real Housewives of Anywhere on! By the time 5 o'clock rolls around, there's usually very little left to cook and do, and this leaves me time to help the kids with homework. Prep after-school snacks. Maybe show Mimi how to make pudding. Work on that pesky 1st grade book report. Throw a rockin' family room dance party. Clean up the dishes in the sink. And if there IS a lot of cooking that can only be done just before dinner, it's not a meal that I cook very often cause it makes mama grumpy and snarky when I set myself up for failure.
For example... on the nights that I make Singapore Noodles, I get all the ingredients out and prep all the veggies and put them in a big bowl. In another smaller bowl, I mix all the sauce ingredients and cover and put in the fridge until later. I get out the wok and bowls and chopsticks we'll use. I cut up all the chicken (that's usually only been thawing since that morning. Half thawed chicken is easier to cut up!) and put it in the fridge till later. I put the big pot of water on the stove that I'll use to cook the noodles and put it on the lowest setting so it'll heat to boiling quickly later in the warm.
On a very good night, since I already have so much prepped and everything ready, Papa even offers to cook for us! And since he actually likes to cook, and not prep or plan, that's a win-win for all of us!
Okay so that's how I do dinner prep. Not all days, but that's what I aim for, and I have to say that this bit of pre-planning and work ahead of time, not only makes things faster and smoother in this crazy house, but also keeps my stress level at bay. And a happy mama makes for a happier family.

So, please share how you do dinner prep! Let's come together as mamas and women and help each other out! What works for you? Do you have any suggestions of advice, tips or tricks that help you get dinner on the table each night? I can't wait to see what you have to share!


  1. I like your ideas & it certainly makes a lot of sense with your life style. I'm one of those late to the party, running around like a chicken without a head trying to get dinner on the table. I'm lucky that I only have a hungry husband to worry about. One thing I have learned over the years is cook once, eat twice & so I always make enough for a freezer meal.

    1. Oh YES! I do try to freeze whenever I can and plan for it often. Sadly I haven't been good at it recently. I think the family is just eating more food these day, leaving me with less to freeze. Pesky growing children and all.

  2. You're way more prepared than I am...but I'm out of the house all day at work. I do the meal planning and shopping the week before and try to use the instant pot or crock pot a few times a week to save time. I would love to get your Saigon noodle recipe!

    1. I am lucky that I get to stay home and work with my classes. It does afford me more flexibility with my time! Here's the recipe. I (again) typo-ed. They are Singapore noodles.


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