Anyone with kids knows the challenge of getting a healthy and home cooked dinner on the table. If you have babies they are fussy around 3-5 pm, big kids are just getting home from school and working on homework, lots of kids have activities, husbands are usually not home from work during dinner prep or in my case, he is still sleeping after working the night before or getting ready to go to work. It is hard to get dinner made, and for it to be something everyone likes and that is healthy, well that takes some planning. In our house I have an extra challenge to have the food made in time for Ryan to take some with him when he leaves for work, which is around 5:30.
In this house, I have two kinds of dinners I make. The first are ones that can be made in about 15-20 minutes from start to finish. These dinners get started when the big kids get home from school since one of them can usually sit in with the babies to make sure Teagan doesn't attack Finn :) Last night I made one of these meals. We had mango coconut tilapia, basmati rice and salad. The fish was easy since I put it in a baking dish and put the coconut mango sauce I grabbed at Wegman's over the top and threw it in a hot oven for 20 minutes. The rice is equally easy, washed it and put it on the stove for 15 minutes and made the salad while everything cooked. Other quick meals are tacos, most pasta dishes, breakfast for dinner meals, and anything grilled. Sometimes the sides for these meals take longer, so I will prep those earlier in the day if I can.
The other type of meal I make are the ones that I can start around noon when Teagan goes up for her nap. These are things like soups and stews, chili, roasts, etc. Today I am making a pot roast with a twist. I browned up a nice chuck roast this morning and removed it from the pan. Then I added some onions, parsnips and carrots and cooked until soft, added some good red wine and beef stock and added the beef back in. This will cook slowly all day and I will end up with a super tender beef roast and a thick, delicious gravy. While Teagan napped today, I made some cornbread that I baked in my iron skillet and peeled and cubed potatoes that I now have sitting in cold water. When Teagan gets up, dinner will be essentially made with the exception of turning on the potatoes and mashing them when cooked, and I will be able to concentrate on playing with her and Finn, working and helping the big kids with homework when they get home.
Making meals takes up a large part of my day, between the prep, clean up and dishes the meals all run into one another. I am hoping to teach Haven and Brittan a few meals this summer so they can begin to cook once a month, it is good practice for them and will be a huge help for me. i am curious when other parents teach their kids to cook, what do they show them first?