Archive | dinner dilemmas RSS feed for this section

Dinner Dilemmas: Great Grilling Recipes & Tips

20 Jun
Happy Father’s Day! In honor of Dads everywhere and Summertime, 
this Dinner Dilemmas post is dedicated to grilling. 
I never seem to want to cook when the weather gets hot. It’s so nice to grill something up and have it with a nice salad and some fruit. I am always on the lookout for new Summer recipes and marinates to try. 
 Here’s my favorite Grilling Recipe Right Now{It’s from Rachael Ray}:
https://i2.wp.com/www.foodnetwork.co.uk/content-images/RecipeImages/Shish_Kabob_with_Yoghurt_Sauce_and_Lemon_Olive_Couscous_tm2006.jpg
And this is my favorite steak marinade:
  • One 12-ounce jar orange marmalade, English if possible
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 Tablespoons A1 steak sauce
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 pounds  steak
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 

Here are some other Grilling Recipes/Tips that people have sent me:
[olive+garden+009sme.jpg] 
Soy Lemon Chicken
Grill chicken pieces till almost done.
While they are cooking, in a small bowl mix together 1/2 cup lemon juice, 1/4 cup soy sauce, a tbsp. minced garlic.
Baste chicken in sauce towards the end of cooking. The soy will burn if done from the beginning. Great alone or on top of salad greens, in roll ups, over rice or pasta, or in a quesadilla.

Grilled Turkey Burgers
Abby @ Confabulation in the Kitchen has this great Turkey Burger RecipeHERE.
[blog+photo.jpg]
Here’s a tip from Tanya @ Miller Racing Family :  In a charcoal grill— take a metal coffee can and snip holes around the bottom of the can. Place the can in the BBQ grill. Then place your charcoal in the can, pour on the starter and light the fire. If you give it a 15 minutes it gets the coals really hot. Then lift the can out of the grill and add more coals and then it is time to grill. I think it speeds up the charcoal grilling process. 
 [Befny7.jpg]
Bethany @ The Paper Pony sent in her favorite grilling recipe for Teriyaki Chicken: 
Marinate boneless skinless chicken breast cutlets in teriyaki sauce for a few hours. Grill them along side pineapple rings. If the cutlets are thin, they will be done about the same time. Right before the chicken is done, throw some thin, shaved ham on the grill, baste the chicken in teriyaki sauce and then place the ham on top of the chicken. Top all of that with a slice of swiss cheese. When the cheese is melted, put a pineapple ring on top of the chicken/ham/cheese and serve it all in a toasted hamburger bun… delish! 
 https://i1.wp.com/hoosierhomemade.com/wp-content/uploads/Chicken-Phillies.jpg
 Liz @ Hoosier Homemade has a great recipe for Chicken Phillies!
We are about to grill some Pork Chops for our Father’s day dinner. I hope you are having a wonderful day with YOUR family! 
If you have any great Grilling Recipes/Tips — leave them in the comments. Also, there is a Grilling discussion in my Blog Frog Community — HERE. I’d love it if you would leave your Grilling Tips/Recipes over there too. That way anyone who comes into BlogFrog can search for Grilling Ideas and find YOUR suggestions and come over to YOUR blog.
Tomorrow is the biggest giveaway I have ever hosted. I can barely wait to tell you about it!!!
XOXO

Dinner Dilemmas: Great Grilling Recipes & Tips

20 Jun
Happy Father’s Day! In honor of Dads everywhere and Summertime, 
this Dinner Dilemmas post is dedicated to grilling. 
I never seem to want to cook when the weather gets hot. It’s so nice to grill something up and have it with a nice salad and some fruit. I am always on the lookout for new Summer recipes and marinates to try. 
 Here’s my favorite Grilling Recipe Right Now{It’s from Rachael Ray}:
https://i2.wp.com/www.foodnetwork.co.uk/content-images/RecipeImages/Shish_Kabob_with_Yoghurt_Sauce_and_Lemon_Olive_Couscous_tm2006.jpg
And this is my favorite steak marinade:
  • One 12-ounce jar orange marmalade, English if possible
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 Tablespoons A1 steak sauce
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 pounds  steak
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 

Here are some other Grilling Recipes/Tips that people have sent me:
[olive+garden+009sme.jpg] 
Soy Lemon Chicken
Grill chicken pieces till almost done.
While they are cooking, in a small bowl mix together 1/2 cup lemon juice, 1/4 cup soy sauce, a tbsp. minced garlic.
Baste chicken in sauce towards the end of cooking. The soy will burn if done from the beginning. Great alone or on top of salad greens, in roll ups, over rice or pasta, or in a quesadilla.

Grilled Turkey Burgers
Abby @ Confabulation in the Kitchen has this great Turkey Burger RecipeHERE.
[blog+photo.jpg]
Here’s a tip from Tanya @ Miller Racing Family :  In a charcoal grill— take a metal coffee can and snip holes around the bottom of the can. Place the can in the BBQ grill. Then place your charcoal in the can, pour on the starter and light the fire. If you give it a 15 minutes it gets the coals really hot. Then lift the can out of the grill and add more coals and then it is time to grill. I think it speeds up the charcoal grilling process. 
 [Befny7.jpg]
Bethany @ The Paper Pony sent in her favorite grilling recipe for Teriyaki Chicken: 
Marinate boneless skinless chicken breast cutlets in teriyaki sauce for a few hours. Grill them along side pineapple rings. If the cutlets are thin, they will be done about the same time. Right before the chicken is done, throw some thin, shaved ham on the grill, baste the chicken in teriyaki sauce and then place the ham on top of the chicken. Top all of that with a slice of swiss cheese. When the cheese is melted, put a pineapple ring on top of the chicken/ham/cheese and serve it all in a toasted hamburger bun… delish! 
 https://i1.wp.com/hoosierhomemade.com/wp-content/uploads/Chicken-Phillies.jpg
 Liz @ Hoosier Homemade has a great recipe for Chicken Phillies!
We are about to grill some Pork Chops for our Father’s day dinner. I hope you are having a wonderful day with YOUR family! 
If you have any great Grilling Recipes/Tips — leave them in the comments. Also, there is a Grilling discussion in my Blog Frog Community — HERE. I’d love it if you would leave your Grilling Tips/Recipes over there too. That way anyone who comes into BlogFrog can search for Grilling Ideas and find YOUR suggestions and come over to YOUR blog.
Tomorrow is the biggest giveaway I have ever hosted. I can barely wait to tell you about it!!!
XOXO

I’m a Big Flake — and Some Winners!

14 Jun
I’m having such a fun time visiting my sister and little Hudson that I haven’t had a chance to work on my Dinner Dilemma post. 
I’m gonna save all of those grilling recipes and tips til next week. So — if you have any great grilling ideas you want to share, leave me a comment and I will spotlight you in the Dinner Dilemmas grilling post next week!
I do have some winners to announce
. Thanks for the great response on  last week’s E-Mealz dinner plan giveaway! The winner of the 3-month E-Mealz subscription is: 
 Congratulations Michelle! And thanks E-Mealz for a great giveaway. Check them out for a easy way to save money and make your dinner times easier.

Also — enter the code: savemoney at checkout and E-Mealz will give you 10% off a 3-month subscription!
 
Photobucket
 
And the winner of the $40 gift certificate to Poppy Seeds Fabric is: 
 
 #297
 
Congratulations! And thank you to Kim from Poppy Seed Fabrics for a wonderful giveaway.  
 
Be sure to check out her store the next time you need some beautiful fabric for a project!

XOXO

PS: Stay tuned this week for:
A fantastic giveaway tomorrow
Some fun crafts
Great guest projects
A surprise

Dinner Dilemmas Solution: E-Mealz Review and Giveaway

6 Jun
It’s Sunday and time for 
Dinner Dilemmas
We’re about to start our first week of Summer Vacation! There are so many fun things that we want to do this Summer. One thing I don’t want to do is spend my time worrying about what to make for dinner. 
So when E-mealz contacted me to see if I would like to try out their meal planning system, I was excited to see if they could help me save some time but still make nutritious meals that my kids would eat — a hard combination!
E-Mealz was created by a mom of four who had picky eaters and who loves to save money. The main things I loved about this system is:
  • A weekly Menu
  • A weekly Shopping List (by aisle)
  • The Shopping List and Menu are based on Grocery Store Ads so they saved me money.
  • There is a crock pot meal in almost each weekly menu.
  • The recipes are good and my kids like them. If I found a recipe I didn’t like, I just flagged it and it goes off rotation. But recipes are only repeated about every 5 months.
  • It saves me time and money. The $5 cost of the plan was given back many times over in the money I saved on my grocery bill.
This might be favorite thing about E-Mealz — they have all sorts of individualized plans. 
Like if you are on a low-carb diet, there’s a plan for that. Or if you are trying to lose weight, there’s a low fat plan.  If you are weight-watchers, there’s a point plan you can follow. And they customize the plans, according to how many people you have in your family, or which grocery store you prefer.
The meals are good too. This week my menu is: 
  • Chicken Curry and Rice, Peas, Pineapple and Rolls
  • Montreal Burgers, Italian cole Slaw, Baked Beans and Chips
  • Pizza Salad and Garlic Bread
  • Pulled Pork Sandwiches (crock pot) and Salad
  • Creamy Penne and Squash, Steamed Carrots and Hot Rolls
  • Broccoli, Ham and Cheese Soup and Baked Muffins
  • Pork Quesadillas and Fruit Salad

And I am still having each of my kids take a day of the week and cook. The kids really like being in charge of a meal each week. 

Emealz Vacation Plan
Also, if you’re going on a vacation, they have a plan that will help you cook on your vacation and feed your family for $2 per person. You can choose a plan for a large group too — up to 24 people. Pretty cool! 
Vacation Menu
E-Mealz is giving away a free 3-Month subscription to one of you! 
THREE months of whatever meal plan you would like. You will get all of the weekly recipes, the weekly grocery lists and complete access to the website and the Coupon Center. 
How to win:
  • Go over to E-Mealz and see which meal plan you would want to try. Come back and let me know in the comments. One entry.
  • You can get another entry by: Twittering about giveaway, mentioning it on your blog, Facebook or sidebar.
https://i1.wp.com/www.delish.com/cm/delish/images/su/grilled-rosemary-salmon-skewers-lg.jpg
Do you have any great grilling recipes?? 
Next week’s Dinner Dilemmas is going to be all about grilling. 
If you have a great grilling recipe or some good grilling tips, will you leave a comment here or email me @ { jennifer@tatertotsandjello.com}? I would love to compile some for next week’s post and spotlight YOU!
Have a Fantastic Sunday!
XOXO
And coming up this week:
A fun giveaway tomorrow
A couple fantastic guest tutorials
A few t-shirt refashions
An annoucement
And more!

Dinner Dilemmas Solution: E-Mealz Review and Giveaway

6 Jun
It’s Sunday and time for 
Dinner Dilemmas
We’re about to start our first week of Summer Vacation! There are so many fun things that we want to do this Summer. One thing I don’t want to do is spend my time worrying about what to make for dinner. 
So when E-mealz contacted me to see if I would like to try out their meal planning system, I was excited to see if they could help me save some time but still make nutritious meals that my kids would eat — a hard combination!
E-Mealz was created by a mom of four who had picky eaters and who loves to save money. The main things I loved about this system is:
  • A weekly Menu
  • A weekly Shopping List (by aisle)
  • The Shopping List and Menu are based on Grocery Store Ads so they saved me money.
  • There is a crock pot meal in almost each weekly menu.
  • The recipes are good and my kids like them. If I found a recipe I didn’t like, I just flagged it and it goes off rotation. But recipes are only repeated about every 5 months.
  • It saves me time and money. The $5 cost of the plan was given back many times over in the money I saved on my grocery bill.
This might be favorite thing about E-Mealz — they have all sorts of individualized plans. 
Like if you are on a low-carb diet, there’s a plan for that. Or if you are trying to lose weight, there’s a low fat plan.  If you are weight-watchers, there’s a point plan you can follow. And they customize the plans, according to how many people you have in your family, or which grocery store you prefer.
The meals are good too. This week my menu is: 
  • Chicken Curry and Rice, Peas, Pineapple and Rolls
  • Montreal Burgers, Italian cole Slaw, Baked Beans and Chips
  • Pizza Salad and Garlic Bread
  • Pulled Pork Sandwiches (crock pot) and Salad
  • Creamy Penne and Squash, Steamed Carrots and Hot Rolls
  • Broccoli, Ham and Cheese Soup and Baked Muffins
  • Pork Quesadillas and Fruit Salad

And I am still having each of my kids take a day of the week and cook. The kids really like being in charge of a meal each week. 

Emealz Vacation Plan
Also, if you’re going on a vacation, they have a plan that will help you cook on your vacation and feed your family for $2 per person. You can choose a plan for a large group too — up to 24 people. Pretty cool! 
Vacation Menu
E-Mealz is giving away a free 3-Month subscription to one of you! 
THREE months of whatever meal plan you would like. You will get all of the weekly recipes, the weekly grocery lists and complete access to the website and the Coupon Center. 
How to win:
  • Go over to E-Mealz and see which meal plan you would want to try. Come back and let me know in the comments. One entry.
  • You can get another entry by: Twittering about giveaway, mentioning it on your blog, Facebook or sidebar.
https://i1.wp.com/www.delish.com/cm/delish/images/su/grilled-rosemary-salmon-skewers-lg.jpg
Do you have any great grilling recipes?? 
Next week’s Dinner Dilemmas is going to be all about grilling. 
If you have a great grilling recipe or some good grilling tips, will you leave a comment here or email me @ { jennifer@tatertotsandjello.com}? I would love to compile some for next week’s post and spotlight YOU!
Have a Fantastic Sunday!
XOXO
And coming up this week:
A fun giveaway tomorrow
A couple fantastic guest tutorials
A few t-shirt refashions
An annoucement
And more!

Dinner Dilemmas Solution: Meal Planning Magnets with free PDF

30 May

 
It’s Sunday and time for Dinner Dilemmas. Today I am so excited to introduce you to Amy from The Red  Chair Blog. Amy is a decorator, organizer, wife, and mom who lives in Cary, NC. She also owns and operates Red Chair Home Interior and gives great tips to help you turn your house into a home. She is so very talented. You might recognize this fabulous project that she shared in February: 

 Okay — take it away Amy!!!  



Greetings, Tatertots & Jello readers! I’m a huge fan of Jen and her incredibly creative project ideas, so I’m thrilled to be a guest here today to share a project with you as part of her series on Dinner Dilemmas.

“What’s for Dinner?” If these three little words strike terror in your heart, why not find a fun way to answer that question for yourself and your family? Today I’m going to show you how to turn junk mail magnets into a cute set of meal planning magnets.

I designed this project to be simple and affordable. I’ve even provided a free printable PDF for you. As an added bonus, you’ll keep all of those junk mail magnets out of the landfill!

Materials:

  • Junk mail magnets (the best are those awful giant magnets from personal injury lawyers that are always glued to the back cover of the phone book, but any flat magnets will do: pizza delivery, dentists’ offices, credit card solicitations, etc.)
  • Wide packing tape (I used the glossy kind)
  • Scissors
  • Decorative paper (I used 6 x 6 scrapbook paper)
  • Double-sided tape (optional–not pictured)
  • Computer and printer

Instructions:
1. Start by flipping through your recipe file and listing your favorite “old standby” recipes. This tutorial will teach you how to make 35 magnets, but you can make as few as you’d like; you can always add more later.

2. Open Microsoft Word and create a table that is 5 squares wide by 7 squares high (my “squares” were each 1.25″ x 1.5″). Type the name of one meal in each of the squares. Keep it simple–just name the main dish. You might also want to make several magnets that say “Left-Overs”, “Dinner Out”, “Take Out” and/or “New Recipe”.  I used a 22 point French Script MT font, and I centered the meal names in the squares.

3. Print your page, and cut out the meal names. My meal names were smaller than the outlined squares once I cut them out. This doesn’t have to be perfect! And yes, if you look carefully, you’ll notice that one of my meals is scrambled eggs. What can I say? I’m a lazy cook!

4. Using scissors, cut a magnet to roughly 1.5″(w) by 1.75″(h). Cut a piece of scrapbook paper to the same dimensions. If you really want to annoy your friends & family with your fastidiousness, you can color code your magnets. I used yellow for meals that are protein-based, and blue for “carby” meals such as pasta dinners; that way, I can tell at a glance if my week is balanced (I’m a vegetarian, so I need to be mindful about protein).

5. Using double-sided tape–or very good fine motor skills–to keep the layers in place, layer the magnet, scrapbook paper, and meal name.

6. “Laminate” the whole thing with packing tape. To do this, cut the tape a little bit longer than the magnet, cut off all four corners of the tape, and fold toward the back (see below). This step can be time-consuming, but it’s mindless enough that it’s a good while-you’re-watching-a-movie project.

7. If you’d like to use my days of the week and the “What’s For Dinner” header, you can download a free PDF from my website here. To “laminate” shapes with rounded edges using packing tape, use “V” shaped notches to navigate the curves.

8. Arrange the current week’s magnets on the front of your fridge–keep other meal magnets on the side of the fridge for planning future weeks’ meals. Some of my readers with stainless steel refrigerators have written to say that they used a cookie sheet to display their magnets. To further streamline your meal planning, you can make your own customized, pre-printed grocery list with the instructions that I provided here.

This is a great project for families with kids…just be careful that small saboteurs don’t constantly shift the magnets to make it look like every night is pizza night!

Thanks SO much Amy – here’s a button for your blog as a thank you for sharing your idea with us! Make sure to check out Amy’s blog and her wonderful ideas!!!
XOXO

Dinner Dilemmas Solution: Cooking Once for Three Months of Meals!

23 May
Welcome to another edition of Dinner Dilemmas! I am excited to introduce you to our guest blogger this week — Bekki from The Little Red Hen! Bekki is going to tell us how she cooks THREE MONTHS OF MEALS AT A TIME.
 Hi I am Bekki from Little Red Hen, and I am so excited to do my very first guest post here at Tatertots and Jello!  
I am the one who cooks for 3 months at a time and want to share a little about that with you. 
 009
I started cooking in bulk about 10 years ago. I was newly married and my husband and I both worked. Neither of us wanted to prepare dinner when we got home so we started cooking extra each meal and freezing it.  Even that began to feel like to much and I came across a book titled Once A Month Cooking.  I though it was the perfect solution and my husband was all for it. As we added babies into the family and I stayed home with them this came in handy for those first few months of sleeplessness. For many years this is what we did, around baby number 3 it got hard to find one Saturday every month for me to cook.  I started adding more and more meals until I now cook for about 3 months at a time. 
 016
The benefits of cooking this way are many. First I save a lot of money by buying in bulk and not buying convenience foods. We don’t eat out because there is always something available, and it’s much healthier. I have time to make side dishes or breads since the main dish is all ready done. I have a meal ready if someone needs one. Dishes are few since the prep work is all done, and best of all I don’t have to deal with hungry children while trying to cook dinner!
 012007
To begin I go through my recipes to see what meals I want to make and what my family is asking for.. Then I copy them and put them in my go-to notebook which is just a 3 ring binder. This is the book I cook from  and you can read more about that here.
 039
Next I plan my shopping trip and go shopping. I wrote a post on that HERE.  
I then prepare as much as I can the night before so that I can just throw my meals together without having to grate the cheese, chop the vegetables, or dice chicken.
 037
 HERE is more information on that. Finally I am ready to cook!
 It takes me about 20 hours in the summer and a little more in the Winter when I make more casseroles and stews.
This method of cooking can be overwhelming if you haven’t cooked in bulk before. So I recommend starting small. Pick a few meals and double them one week, then the next week is in the freezer.
Then you can gradually move up to a month or longer.
 022After I mixed everything up I try to get as much air out as possible and flatten. It saves so much space in the freezer to do it this way. 025I weigh all my meats so that the portions are correct since I am making more that one meal at a time and it helps with my portion control when serving the meal.018027001028
For more information about cooking day with a list of meals I made this time around, click HERE.
Thanks Bekki! In addition to all of that cooking Bekki also loves to decorate:
013
collect milk glass:
and crafts!
And, a cute idea:

 This cute Menu Planner @ Babblings from Brooke
Ok, what worked for you this week? 
is there anything you can share that helped your dinnertime go smoother? Leave a comment and also if you have posted about it, link up to the Dinner Dilemmas Forum — that way we can all help each other!
 XOXO
And, if you have something you would like to share on Dinner Dilemmas by being a guest blogger, let me know!

Dinner Dilemmas Solution: Cooking Once for Three Months of Meals!

23 May
Welcome to another edition of Dinner Dilemmas! I am excited to introduce you to our guest blogger this week — Bekki from The Little Red Hen! Bekki is going to tell us how she cooks THREE MONTHS OF MEALS AT A TIME.
 Hi I am Bekki from Little Red Hen, and I am so excited to do my very first guest post here at Tatertots and Jello!  
I am the one who cooks for 3 months at a time and want to share a little about that with you. 
 009
I started cooking in bulk about 10 years ago. I was newly married and my husband and I both worked. Neither of us wanted to prepare dinner when we got home so we started cooking extra each meal and freezing it.  Even that began to feel like to much and I came across a book titled Once A Month Cooking.  I though it was the perfect solution and my husband was all for it. As we added babies into the family and I stayed home with them this came in handy for those first few months of sleeplessness. For many years this is what we did, around baby number 3 it got hard to find one Saturday every month for me to cook.  I started adding more and more meals until I now cook for about 3 months at a time. 
 016
The benefits of cooking this way are many. First I save a lot of money by buying in bulk and not buying convenience foods. We don’t eat out because there is always something available, and it’s much healthier. I have time to make side dishes or breads since the main dish is all ready done. I have a meal ready if someone needs one. Dishes are few since the prep work is all done, and best of all I don’t have to deal with hungry children while trying to cook dinner!
 012007
To begin I go through my recipes to see what meals I want to make and what my family is asking for.. Then I copy them and put them in my go-to notebook which is just a 3 ring binder. This is the book I cook from  and you can read more about that here.
 039
Next I plan my shopping trip and go shopping. I wrote a post on that HERE.  
I then prepare as much as I can the night before so that I can just throw my meals together without having to grate the cheese, chop the vegetables, or dice chicken.
 037
 HERE is more information on that. Finally I am ready to cook!
 It takes me about 20 hours in the summer and a little more in the Winter when I make more casseroles and stews.
This method of cooking can be overwhelming if you haven’t cooked in bulk before. So I recommend starting small. Pick a few meals and double them one week, then the next week is in the freezer.
Then you can gradually move up to a month or longer.
 022After I mixed everything up I try to get as much air out as possible and flatten. It saves so much space in the freezer to do it this way. 025I weigh all my meats so that the portions are correct since I am making more that one meal at a time and it helps with my portion control when serving the meal.018027001028
For more information about cooking day with a list of meals I made this time around, click HERE.
Thanks Bekki! In addition to all of that cooking Bekki also loves to decorate:
013
collect milk glass:
and crafts!
And, a cute idea:

 This cute Menu Planner @ Babblings from Brooke
Ok, what worked for you this week? 
is there anything you can share that helped your dinnertime go smoother? Leave a comment and also if you have posted about it, link up to the Dinner Dilemmas Forum — that way we can all help each other!
 XOXO
And, if you have something you would like to share on Dinner Dilemmas by being a guest blogger, let me know!

Dinner Dilemmas Solution: Cooking With Girlfriends!

16 May
 It’s Sunday — the day when I try to figure out the menu for next week. And the day at Tatertots where we share ideas on how to make dinnertime less stressful. 
Today I have a special guest — the very cute and talented Becca from Bare Feet on the Dashboard.

hey y’all! my name is Becca and I’m from bare feet on the dashboard.I’m so excited to be joining you here on tatertots and jello to talk about solving dinner dilemmas. thanks for having me, Jen!

i am blessed with creative friends who like to cook, and really like to cook together. we recently had our second sunday girls’ cooking night, and i think it is an awesome solution to the dilemma that is dinner. this particular evening we were helping betsy get some food ready to freeze in preparation for the birth of her child. here’s what happens…
we gather at betsy’s house because she has the biggest kitchen with an island range and double oven. everyone brings their own ingredients and 4 aluminum loaf pans, 1 for each person cooking. we spend a few hours preparing our selected dishes together, catching up, and laughing a lot.

it is way more fun to cook with friends.

do you like these aprons? whitney makes them.
once the dishes are ready, everyone divides their dish among 4 loaf pans,perfect for storing or freezing, then reheating in the oven.
the great thing is that everyone goes home with 4 pans full of deliciousness for the week.
this time we had real mac and cheese, penne pasta with ground turkey and vodka sauce, mini-meatloaf, and zucchini bread. the zucchini bread was gone at my house by the next morning, but we made the rest last for several meals throughout the week.
maybe next time we’ll have a few more folks, and a few more dishes to take home. so, if you are in desperate need of a girls’ night AND a dinner solution, invite your friends over to cook with you.


Thanks so much Becca! 
Such a fun and clever idea! Here’s a button for sharing your ideas with us. 
We would love to hear YOUR ideas
What worked well for you this week — is there a special recipe you can share? Or a time saving idea? We would love to know. You can leave a comment here and also if you have something that you have posted on your blog — link up at the Tatertots & Jello Forum — it’s nice to have a place where the ideas are stored. 
I am going to try to link them all over to the Tatertots BlogFrog Community soon – that way anyone who searches for dinnertime solutions can find YOUR blogs and read about what works for you!
And, if you have an idea you would like to share on Dinner Dilemmas – shoot me an email at jennifer@tatertotsandjello.com — I would love to have you guest post!
Have a great night!
XOXO

Dinner Dilemmas: Part VI — Meal Swapping!

2 May
Welcome to the sixth edition of Dinner Dilemmas! Thanks to everyone who has shared their ideas on how we can make dinnertime a little less stressful and a little more fun! I have loved seeing everyone’s thoughts and trying out your recipes!
If you would like to check out the Dinner Dilemma Forum — click HERE.

Makin it Domestic

Today, I am very excited to introduce you to Brooke @ Making It Domestic who is going to share something that she does that simplified dinnertime at her house — Meal Swapping!!!
Hi,  I am Brooke from Making It Domestic.  I am so excited to be here on Tatertots and Jello.  Thanks for having me Jen.
Meal Swap was formed when I heard my sister talking about her meal swap and I decided I wanted in on  it  too.  I talked to a couple of my friends to see if they were interested and they were.  Hurray!  We got started by deciding who wanted to cook on which days.  There are two others besides me that swap.
Mondays:  Callie
Tuesdays:  Deann
Wednesdays:  Me

We started out by setting a time we wanted the meals delivered. 
At first it was at 6 pm.  We did that for a couple of weeks.  I decided I wanted it to be earlier.  We got together and decided how to work this out.  We would bring the meal around 5:30 if it was hot.  If the person cooking that day wanted you to cook it in your own home then bring it by 4:30pm.  
For example,  a couple of weeks ago, I made lasagna and french bread.  Instead of me cooking 3 pans of lasagna, I made 3 pans and dropped 2 pans off at their houses about an hour or so earlier.  The lasagna had to cook in the oven for an hour and that way it was still done by 5:30. However, last night I cooked because it was my daughter’s birthday and I made french dip sandwiches.  I took it to their houses by 5:30, so it was hot when they ate it. 
Here are some of our ground rules.
1.  You have to prepare a main dish and a side.  The side can be whatever you decide.  Usually our sides have been salads or vegetables or rolls.  Last week though I made stir fry.  Since it had all the vegetable, I could have made a salad but I made a cake instead because I had a migraine. 
2.  Let each other know if you have way too much or not enough food.
3.  Check on allergies or dislikes.  It is hard to please everyone.  My family has liked most everything that we have had.  Some may not be our favorite but we eat it. 
On the serving dishes,  we each have a few serving dishes of each kind we use.  If I don’t have enough serving dishes I will run over to there house and grab what I need.  Everyone has been very willing to work with each other.  I have used everyone’s crock pots a few times and then I let my meal cook all day.  I also have picked up a few extras serving dishes at thrift stores so we have some extra.  What Callie brings me on Mondays (as far as the dishes)  I try to put her meal in the same dishes to take back to her on Wednesday.  It doesn’t always happen but most of the time it works out. 
I love meal swap because it has really taken off my hands what we have for dinner each night.  Now I know we only do it three nights a week but usually I have enough leftovers to last the rest of the week and I end up only cooking on Saturday or Sunday.
Also,  we got together and planned out what we were going to fix for meals for two or three months ahead.  That way, we don’t have one week of all chicken and it evens out the variety. I love this too, because it teaches my kids to eat what’s fixed, it spares my time around meal time.
It seemed for awhile that every time I fixed dinner my kids were sitting at my feet crying.  That has mostly been eliminated.  To all the crafters, you will have more time to craft or clean or to do whatever you want.  Another bonus is that when I am sick or my kids are sick I know I don’t have to fix dinner because someone is bringing  it to me.  I think that since I have been doing this my meals have gotten healthier.  I am not saying I have become a better cook but when I get meals there are vegetables and fruits.  I was not always great at fixing balanced meals before but now I think I am better. 

We have only been doing meal swap since the end of January but we all really like it.  We are probably going to add a 4th person to take Thursdays.  We try to keep Fridays free for date night with the hubs or whatever. 

I hope this will ease up your dinner dilemmas and make it easier for you all.  Enjoy having some else do the cooking!! 
Here are some pictures from last night’s meal.
Thanks Brooke!! I am really loving the meal swapping idea! Be sure to check out Brooke’s cute blog — she has all kinds of great creative ideas!!! Brooke – here is a button for you for sharing your idea!
If you have any ideas you would like to share — shoot me an email. I would love to have you guest post on Dinner Dilemmas!
I had a few people last week ask for the recipe for German Pancakes that my kids loved So here it is:
German Pancakes With Strawberries
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) of butter
3 eggs
 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
  1. Preheat the over to 425-degrees. Put the butter into a 10-inch ovenproof skillet and place it in the oven. (Or you can use a 9 inch round baking pan if you don’t have a skillet.)
  2. Meanwhile, mix the eggs, four. milk, and salt in a blender.
  3. When the butter has melted, carefully pull the skillet out of the oven and pour the egg mixture into the skillet. Bake 15-20 minutes or until the pancake is puffed up and lightly brown. It will flatten slightly after if comes out of the oven.
  4. Sweeten the strawberries with the granulated sugar in a small bowl and mix the sour creme with the brown sugar in a separate small bowl.
  5. Cut the pancake into wedges and serve on plates. Top with the strawberries and sweetened sour cream.
 Delicious!
Do you have any recipes or tips that you can share with us?? Please leave them in the comments and also link them up in our Dinner Dilemmas Forum so everyone can come over to YOUR blog and learn your secrets and tips for making dinnertime easier!
Have a great Sunday!
I will be announcing the winners of the Bad Girls kits and the How Does She Birthday Board later tonight!
XOXO