Surviving Dinner – The Secret to Stress-Free Weeknight Meals

Lots of recipes claim they can be cooked in 20 minutes or less.  Some nights are so busy, even that’s too long.  “Surviving Dinner” is a series that is not about good wifeing, mothering, or cooking.  It’s about surviving.  It’s for those nights when you’re tempted to write “fast food” on the menu, but cooking at home will save you a few dollars, a few hundred calories, and loads of mommy-guilt.  Recipes found here can be cooked quickly and have minimal prep and clean-up.  Some may require a little pre-planning, but many won’t.

No recipe today – it’s time for a tip!

A quick internet search will reveal hundreds of tips for easy, stress-free weeknight cooking. The advice is solid, too. I would know. I’ve tried them all.

Strict meal planning? Check! Weekend meal prep? Check! Easy recipes? Check! Freezer meals? Check! Crock-pot cooking? Check!

Though I mastered the art of getting dinner on the table, I felt like dinnertime was anything but the relaxing family renewal time I thought it should be. The food may have been ready but the table wasn’t set, the family wasn’t gathered, and the kitchen looked as though it had weathered a hurricane.

By the time I rounded up the family and set the table, the food had cooled. Then we rushed through our meal to tackle our next big project – cleaning up the kitchen.

That is, until I discovered the secret trick no one had shared with me.

Plan meals with hands-off cooking time.

Instead of making dishes – even simple ones – that require your full attention to chop, stir, or assemble, choose recipes that include hands-off time like simmering or baking. Use that “free” time to restore order to your life – set the table, call in the kids, put ingredients away, do dishes, and tidy up the kitchen.

After dinner you’ll still have some dishes to do but the workload will be considerably less. Knowing you don’t have a disaster of a kitchen calling your name will allow you to allow yourself to enjoy a relaxed and unhurried family dinner.

Wondering what I’m doing here?  Learn more about the idea behind Surviving Dinner.

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