October 16, 2009

I set up this blog several months ago, but I neglected it because I thought, really, what do I have to say that anyone will find of interest?? I have no pearls of wisdom to impart; I have no giveaways to offer because I'm too new to be on any sponsor's radar. Motivation eluded me...

...until I ran across this fantastic giveaway from Samsung and TwitterMoms.

To enter this fab contest, I have to blog about: "With Our Busy Schedules, What Are Your 3 Valid Tips for Getting Dinner Ready in a Flash?"

3 tips?? I'll be lucky to come up with 1!! Guess it's time to put the ol' thinking cap on... hmm...

Okay, wait, yes, I think I just might be able to pull this off! Everyone has those little tricks they use to save time/money/headache/stress. Here are 3 -- yes, 3!! -- of mine:

1. Plan ahead. This isn't as complicated as it sounds. When you make your grocery list, throw in a few "generic" items that aren't exactly on this week's menu but could be used to create an extra meal in a pinch. For example, a package of pasta, a can of meat of your choice (ham, chicken, turkey, etc.) and an envelope of dry sauce and voila, you've got the makings for a quick pasta dish, using ingredients that don't take much shelf space and aren't perishable. Just having extra items on hand like this has saved me countless hurried trips to the grocery store.

2. Instead of making just enough for one meal, make enough for two and freeze the extra for a later time. You don't even have to double-up on your ingredients; just add some pasta or rice or barley, whatever is appropriate to your dish, to stretch a meal without sacrificing quantity or quality. This works particularly well with casserole main dishes and soups.

3. If at all possible, get the kids and yes, hubby too, involved in kitchen duties and food preparation. If they are brand new to it, this could be a bit stressful at first. :) But after a while, they will feel a sense of responsibility and accomplishment and you will be less rushed. Because one may prefer chocolate and one may prefer banana, I buy favorite individual portions of pudding and fruit cups and give each the responsibility of putting them away and then bringing them out at mealtime. This also helps promote the notion that being an individual with distinctive tastes and preferences is okay, too. You can use this trick with fresh raw fruits and veggies too: let each one prepare his/her favorites and store them for future use in individual containers that can be pulled out in a flash. When the kids are responsible for certain parts of their own meals, I've noticed we waste much less food.

So there you have it. Nothing earth-shattering, nothing really new, but those are what works in my home. What works in yours?

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