Dinner Dilemmas: Part 2 — It’s ON!

5 Apr
Thanks to everyone who commented on my Dinner Dilemma post last week!
It was so amazing to read your comments. 
There were so many great ideas and suggestions that I thought it might be helpful to compile them here. 
I mean, I can’t be the only mom who struggles with this, right?

And, while I’m on the subject of “Keeping it Real”, I didn’t implement the Dinner Nanny menu last week. Jeff was out of town and I was lazy. But it’s ON this week!


Here’s some great tips you shared:

  • Some of you use one day as a food prep day. By buying meat and veggies in bulk and then freezing the meat in individual meal portions. Keeping the veggies in the fridge ready to use
  • Another great idea was to make a  jar of conversation starters. It makes for some interesting conversations.
  •  How about making a  big pot of sauce on the weekend and using it for a few different recipes during the week?
  •  Make pizza toppings bags to freeze.
  •  Some of you are big planners. Many commenters make a menu once a week and shop once. 
  •  A couple of people planned things out for 2 weeks.
  •  One commenter plans a month at a time and does a big shopping trip. 
  • And one commenter cooks once every three months and then just pulls out whatever is on the menu. She makes 80 meals at once. WOW!
  •  Food calendars were another great idea.
  •  Crockpots. What would we do without them? 
  • One commenter has 30 different Crockpot dinner meals that she put together and rotates through! She also has a 3-month supply all of the non-preishable ingredients on hand for those meals.
  • Another idea is Sat or Sun cook 3-5 meals to put in the fridge. Then just pop them in the oven when you need them.
  • I also had some other idea for theme nights:  crockpot/soup, salad/sandwiches nights.
  •  Did you know this? At Sams club in the Deli (where you buy a pizza or a hotdog in the front of the store) you can buy a box of frozen PREMADE pizza crusts. They are about $2 a piece and you get a huge box. I am going to check this out!

Sundays are the day when I meet with the family to decide on the menu for the week. So I thought it might be a fun theme to post about once a week where we can share ideas on making meal times easier. And since you guys are so much more knowledgeable than me on great meal ideas, I thought I would make a linky where you can share any related posts that have done that people would find helpful.

And, I also have started a BlogFrog community where we can share ideas. Right now I have the question — What is Your Favorite Easy Meal to Make? If you have time, will you go over to my sidebar and put in yours? I might be helpful for people stopping by!

Thanks – I can’t wait to hear more of YOUR great dinnertime ideas! Link up your recipes, time saving ideas and dinnertime-related posts.

And, the winner of the Emmie Kate Sterling Silver Mother’s Bracelet is:
Congratulations! Send me your contact information!

I have a fun new giveaway starting in the morning!

17 Responses to “Dinner Dilemmas: Part 2 — It’s ON!”

  1. Molly @ The Creative Maven April 5, 2010 at 4:17 am #

    When I started my blog in January, my first post was about "10 things to get done in 2010" and one of them was to batch cook each week – so each Sunday I would make something I could triple or quadruple… we would eat one batch and I would freeze the rest – that way we could eat out of the freezer (that sounds funny) on busy nights or crazy weeks, but there would always be new stuff going in each week too… so after a while there would be quite a variety… I have yet to start this but… it is only April after all! 🙂

  2. Melissa Miller April 5, 2010 at 4:19 am #

    Jen what a great idea! I really appreciate all of these tips and can't wait to read more. Thank you for sharing them with us. I just posted a healthy and very easy salmon recipe just this evening as well so I thought I would join you here. I hope your Easter was blessed. ~Warmly, ~Melissa 🙂

  3. Ron and Connie April 5, 2010 at 4:39 am #

    Can't wait to see how this works out for you! It is honestly a life saver for our family. My favorite tip to share………use the slow-cooker liners for an easy clean up. We use ours at least once a week, I don't know what I'd do without it! Good Luck!

  4. Teri April 5, 2010 at 10:51 am #

    I read through the comments to try and find the one about 30 crockpot meals. Couldn't find it. Can you give me the blog name so that I could check it out?

  5. Kelli April 5, 2010 at 11:35 am #

    This is a great post. I need all of these tips! I am amazed at all of the different ideas that people have and the things that people do…80 meals at one time!!!

  6. The White Farmhouse April 5, 2010 at 1:13 pm #

    This is a great post! I used to have a problem with dinner. I love to cook! Unfortunately, I cook like the entire Marine Corps is coming! Some days I get stuck and really don't have time to make dinner either, so we would eat out. We are also not big on leftovers. My husband is about the only one that will eat them. We have also gained quite a bit of weight too!I came up with a solution. I still cook like the Marines are coming over. I divide it up though. Half I serve for dinner and half I package and freeze. My seal a meal has become my best friend! I would be lost without it! We've cut down on the amount of leftovers that don't get eaten, we don't stuff ourselves and overeat to avoid leftovers and I also have back up dinners if I don't have time to cook. Just thaw and heat! I've even lost 7 pounds!That is my best tip I have. I could not imagine making 80 meals in one day! Woah! She is my hero. I also couldn't do a one day prep. I just can't plan out a menu for the week. I like to decide what we are going to eat that night the morning of.

  7. Connie Weiss April 5, 2010 at 1:28 pm #

    I love the idea of cooking in bulk and freezing meals. I actually did that before I started my hCG diet so I didn't have to cook so much.

  8. Mary Ann April 5, 2010 at 2:35 pm #

    Gosh, how do they do it. We live with our daughter and her family and I do all of the cooking. My main problem is deciding what to cook each day. I love to cook, just don't know how to come up with a daily plan of what to cook. I will continue to read all the tips and maybe I can come up with a plan.

  9. Kelli @ RTSM April 5, 2010 at 3:07 pm #

    I am seriously the biggest meal plan slacker ever! I usually decide what to make when my hubby calls and says he is on his way home! I really should try out some of those tips! Thanks for this…I know that when my boys get a little older {and start eating twice as much} I am going to have to plan ahead!

  10. ♥ Kenz ♥ April 5, 2010 at 3:26 pm #

    This is a GREAT idea! Thanks for thinking of it. 🙂

  11. Tania April 5, 2010 at 4:20 pm #

    I love to cook, my dilema is, that my oldest son is picky and has allergies to some food. So I have to do a lot of planning and tricks to hide the vegetables. If I know my week is going to be busy, I do the 2 x 1, I cook once double portions for 2 days; at lease nobody complains eating the same 2 times. And I have good food storage and with that too I cook, not only American but more Mexican too; can you imaging fresh salsa, cooked rice, soups and soft natural drinks from food storage?

  12. Vivienne April 5, 2010 at 4:54 pm #

    I always make triple batches of chili, soups and red sauce and freeze flat in freezer bags. They stand up in the freezer like books on a shelf…I also chop fresh herbs and freeze them in ziploc baggies full of 1/2 cup of chicken stock to add to sauces later on.(And yes, I love my crock pot.)

  13. Laurel @ Ducks in a Row April 5, 2010 at 4:58 pm #

    I love this post – I totally struggle with feeding my kids and think that if I had someone come in, and take care of all the feedings, my mommy job would be so much easier!

  14. Carmen April 6, 2010 at 12:52 am #

    I *really* want (NEED) to try that cooking 2 or 3 meals ahead. Or even once a week cooking. Prepping meats and veggies ahead would help a lot too, because by the time dinnertime rolls around I'm not in the mood to do all the prep.

  15. KatOfDiamonds April 6, 2010 at 1:34 am #

    HOLY CRAP! THANK YOU!Emailing you now!

  16. Stephanie Lynn April 6, 2010 at 3:46 am #

    Thanks for hosting this Jen! Great ida. I can't wait to check out some links and be inspired! I'm anxious to see how your meal planning goes…I am always looking for new ideas. Thanks!

  17. sweeter than cupcakes April 12, 2010 at 12:38 am #

    This is great! I know it's a bit dorky, but I have a grocery list template that I keep lots of prints handy. It breaks my list into sections like produce, breakfast, frozen foods, canned foods, etc. It sure keeps me from forgetting things or making laps around the store to go back for something further down on a list.

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