Using Time Wisely: 3 Time-Saving Dinner Strategies

Photograph Credit: Flickr (Marinca Kasiske-Enders)

Among homework assignments, sports schedules, and family outings, squeezing in a nutritious dinner is challenging. By the time we complete homework, snag a few minutes of reading, and look at the clock, the time has come to start dinner.

Going to the kitchen and staring into the pantry, I come up with nothing. So, I go to the freezer and the refrigerator with the same result. Returning to the pantry, I open the door and expect a meal’s ingredients to magically congregate on the second shelf.

With my hopes dashed, I have wasted time and energy seeking for a solution to my “what’s for dinner?” quest. If I find no inspiration, then our family will also waste spend money at a restaurant.

In using time wisely, I find using a menu plan, my crock pot, and my freezer wonderful time-saving dinner strategies. These 3 time-saving tips help bridge the gap between “what’s for dinner?” and “supper’s ready.”

Menu Planning

Photograph Credit: Stock.xchng (Maxime Perron Caissy)

Finding a tool that works for your family and schedule is the key to your success. Though I use a monthly plan, I only fill in a few days to a week at a time. Seeing the full month allows me to plan our meals around busy seasons and entertainment events.

Are you overwhelmed at the sound of menu planning? It’s okay! As you gain knowledge, the fear of the unknown will subside. Allow me to walk beside you via links to this three-step process:

1. Discovering your type of plan

2. Starting with the food in your house

3. Finding creative inspiration

Crock Pot Options

Photograph Credit: Flickr (Tanya Gordon)

Knowing that the day will be long, I love coming home to the smell of our family’s favorite pork chop dinner slowing cooking in my crock pot. A little work in the morning (or previous night) makes dinner time delightful.

If you seek crock pot inspiration, look no further than Stephanie O’Dea’s website: A Year of Slow Cooking. For one year, Stephanie made at least one dish each day in her crock pot. Her recipes range from entrées to desserts. Whatever your occasion, your crock pot can save the day.

Freezer Cooking

Photograph Credit: Flickr (Alexandra Munier)

Making meals ahead of time saves you money, energy, and time. Coming home, popping a complete dinner in the oven, and snuggling with your little ones is a blessing.

On days when we arrive home near supper time, I get bombarded by my children, who need attention. Before I can place my purse down, I hear a barrage of questions, requests, and excitement.

Addressing these issues and having to prepare dinner overwhelms me. But with dinner ready, I can enlist help and get dinner warming while spending time with my family.

If you enjoy freezer cooking, The Money Saving Mom’s Guide to Freezer Cooking by Crystal Paine is a great  resource. In addition to her free downloadable e-book, Crystal documents her monthly freezer cooking days on her website, moneysavingmom.com.

By incorporating menu planning, crock pot options, and freezer cooking in your schedule, you can turn the “what’s for dinner?” anxiety into “supper’s ready.” Implementing these time-saving strategies will save you money, energy and time as you continue using time wisely. Happy planning!

Question: What are your time-saving strategies for getting dinner on the table?

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