Let’s be real. Sometimes, despite your best intentions, evening rolls around and you just can’t imagine how you’re going to feed your family. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with these tips for getting dinner on the table (when you don’t feel like cooking).
We’ve all been there: you have a crazy day and nothing seems to go right. When you get home, all you want is to put your feet up. The last thing you want is little people demanding to be fed. Despite how crappy of a day you have, though, it seems they want to eat on a regular basis. Like, daily.
Even the most seasoned home cooks have days when they don’t feel like cooking. Unfortunately, though, scrapping regularly scheduled dinner plans usually results in resorting to pricey takeout or unhealthy fast food. Don’t get me wrong, I love to eat out as much as the next person, but as a parent, I need more of a Plan B than just the number for pizza delivery.
Tips for Getting Dinner on the Table
Have Go-To Ingredients on Hand
Your family probably has a few favorites meals that can be pulled together quickly. For us, that would be sausage and tortellini or chicken tacos. One way to avoid ditching your dinner plans in favor of takeout is make sure you’re never without the ingredients to make a couple quick meals.
If your family loves grilled sandwiches, keep your fridge stocked with deli meat and your favorite bread. If you love homemade pizza, keep a roll of pop-open pizza dough and a jar of sauce. Whatever you can throw together quickly to satisfy your family is what you should make sure you don’t run out of.
Do a Little Freezer Cooking
Freezer cooking isn’t just the marathon events you see on Pinterest: “How I Made 150 Meals in 19 Hours”. It can be preparing one meal at a time, at the same time you make something for your family to eat immediately. It can be slowly and intentionally filling your freezer with meals your family will love.
Here’s how I typically stock our freezer: I simply double or triple the recipe of whatever I’m making for supper and freeze the extra. Making more of the dish I’m already making requires very little extra effort. For just a few minutes time, I can stock our freezer with a meal that will feed our family on a night I can’t make cooking happen.
A few of our favorite freezer recipes: baked green chile chicken taquitos, oven-fried chimichangas, twice-baked potato casserole, and cheddar bacon ranch chicken roll-ups. In addition, cooked taco meat and cooked and shredded chicken freeze well.
Make Breakfast for Dinner
Honestly, brinner is a staple in our house, and not just when I don’t feel like cooking. We love it so much that I schedule it at least once a week. Maybe you eat it often, too, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a go-to meal on a busy night. Pancakes are quick to make from scratch, and they’re even faster if you use a boxed mix. If you went with scrambled eggs, bacon cooked in the microwave, and frozen or refrigerated biscuits, you could have supper on the table in 15-20 minutes.
Switch Up Your Menu Plan
Confession: though I plan our family’s meals one month at a time, very rarely do I stick to the schedule. We usually end up eating everything I planned, just not on the days originally set. Sometimes it’s because we’re craving something else, but mostly it’s because I didn’t have the time or energy for the thing we were supposed to have and decided to swap it with something easier. None of my weeknight meals require more than an hour, and most can be ready in under 30 minutes, but sometimes even that is too much.
Don’t be afraid to rearrange your menu plan to suit your schedule. Just make sure you’re planning plenty of quick meals if that’s the season of life you’re in.
What are your tips for getting dinner on the table when you don’t feel like cooking?
Don’t miss my post on making once-a-month menu planning work for you!