September was just a busy month. My oldest daughter started Kindergarten, it was the month of my birthday, my Dad’s birthday, and my Grandma’s birthday. I had extra bills come in like my bi annual car insurance premium, which I had forgotten about. I had to buy school clothes and supplies, and I was just completely unorganized.
It was chaos.
And even though I hate to admit it, there were more than a few times where we “snacked” rather than had supper. I felt pretty guilty afterward too. I mean, as a mother it’s pretty much one of my obligatory duties to cook my girls something for dinner.
Granted we didn’t blow our grocery budget or eat out much but I really could’ve done better. So at the start of October I decided to turn this around.
Here are four things I’m doing to save time and money on dinner.
Make a Meal Plan
I thought up a bunch of easy crockpot dinner ideas and made myself a grocery list. I went to the store and collected all of my ingredients Sunday and then put together a meal plan.
Right now I’m only three days into the meal plan but I can’t tell you how big of a relief it is to have my dinner list stuck to the refrigerator. I know what to thaw out or throw in the crock pot and the uncertainty of dinner time has been removed.
Having a meal plan has not only ensured that we’re all eating healthy but it’s also took a ton of stress out of the thought of dinner time.
Use the Crockpot Frequently
I love my crockpot.
There’s seriously nothing easier than throwing food into a crock pot and letting it do the work for you. And with thousands of crockpot recipes floating around on the web there’s really something for everyone.
And better yet, there’s no excuse not to use your crockpot on busy days.
If you need some inspiration here are some fast and easy crockpot recipes you can try:
- 30 Easy Crockpot Recipes
- 36 Crockpot Recipes Kids Will Love
- 40 Make Ahead Freezer Crockpot Meals in Four Hours
Use Fruit and Vegetables as a Side Dish
I’m pretty lucky that my kids consider salad to be a treat. That means whipping out some cut up carrots, cucumbers, or bell peppers can be an easy side dish to go along with whatever we’re having.
So far the only thing I can’t get them to try is broccoli.
Keep a good stock of fruits and vegetables on hand and for busy days just and use them as side dishes or serve a salad for dinner.
There are going to be some days when you forget to put something in the crockpot or your plan ahead just doesn’t seem to work. (Or is that only me?)
On these days just go with sandwiches. I mean what’s worse – a PB&J with some carrots and apples on the side or a Big Mac and Fries?
You don’t have to be a gourmet chef every day. Sometimes it’s just nice to take a break from the cooking (and mostly the dishes) and opt for a super easy sandwich.
There’s no harm in it.
Good is Good Enough
Your dinners don’t have to perfect. They don’t have to be three course and while healthy meals are nice, it’s okay to occasionally resort to something fast and easy.
I’m finding that if I give myself a little grace when it comes to dinners and stop worrying so much about being perfect that everything else comes together much better!
What are your dinner time solutions?