There is something about fall that brings out my inner homebody. I like to focus more on evenings at home. The weather starts to cool down, fall festivals and football games are in full swing and some of my favorite recipes are ideal for fall (hello pumpkin spice everything)!
Working full time and trying to manage everyone’s schedules can be really stressful. Sometimes the very thought of preparing a meal when I get home after a long day at work is stress inducing.
With just a little preparation and planning, weeknight dinners can go beyond dialing for pizza or headed through a drive-thru for fast food. Here are four ways to make dinner prep a breeze so that when your family asks, “What’s for dinner?,” you have a plan.
1. Fire Up Your Crockpot - Check out Pinterest for simple crockpot dinner ideas. There’s nothing better than coming home to a hot meal and a house filled with the aroma of a home cooked dinner. You can make everything from breakfast dishes to dessert in your crockpot, too.
2. Shop Online - Several national grocery chains (Whole Foods, Kroger, and Walmart just to name a few) have online shopping options that enable you to shop online and then pick up your groceries at a scheduled time. Most of these services offer some sort of promotional deal when you download the app. Shopping online also tends to save you money over time as you aren’t tempted with impulse purchases.
3. Cook Once, Eat All Week - By spending some time on Sundays prepping meals for the week ahead, you’ll eliminate a lot of stress and shopping after work. Consider cooking a hearty entree that has a long shelf life. For example, leftovers from your Sunday pot roast make a great base for homemade vegetable soup that also results in great leftovers for lunch. Roast a chicken and use the leftovers for chicken noodle soup. A pork shoulder cooked in your slow cooker can be great seasoned a few ways to make it last all week -- they make great barbecue sandwiches or pulled pork tacos.
4. Make Freezer Meals - Freezer meals are another great way to prep ahead and save time. Although some people will spend a day cooking and prepping meals to store in the freezer, if you’re like me, that may sound overwhelming. A more low-key approach, but still just as effective over time, is to simply double a recipe and freeze the extra meal.
Weeknight dinners can be streamlined, it just takes a little planning and preparation. You’ll also save money by eating at home as well as time and your family will think you are a rock star for taking the guess work out of dinner!