Dinner Tip 6

These past few weeks months years have been a bit difficult for us. Before the birth of my last second child, I budgeted really well and planned out meals for a whole month. Since then; well, it’s been hit-or-miss.

Hence one of the main reasons I’ve shared recipes that work for us and tips to help other families in the same boat.

One item that’s saved our bacon lately is freezer meals.

Freezer Meals!

There are many passable recipes online for easy make-ahead varieties. Those are healthier than the processed stuff and you can control what goes in. Even when we’re more up on our game, though; we still purchase dinners like frozen pizza, lasagna, pot pies, and burritos. Costco’s allowed us to get even fancier with Yakisoba noodles, pot stickers, and taquitos.

Considering that a restaurant trip for our family costs $60 and up, a $20 box of chicken pies is definitely worth keeping around.

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Photo Credit:
sheri silver

Dinner Tip 5

Dinner’s often our most difficult meal time. I’m usually running around to sporting events or martial arts or scouts. The husband’s just getting home after work and traffic. Despite trying to plan ahead or have a few items around with which to make a meal, some nights I just can’t stand to eat one more pizza or another grilled cheese sandwich.

This is when the internet is my best friend. That, or Panda Express. I type in “Quick and Easy Dinners” and voilà! Thank YOU, Google! (Now, get out of every single thing out there.)

Besides using l’internet for a new recipe idea, my advice for today is:

Try new meals. It’s fun!

Not every recipe out there is intimidating. In fact, The Perfect Dinner Meal might be closer than you think. Have you made Chicken à la King? Ratatouille? Spaghetti Pie? Chicken Tetrazzini?

Try them! They’ll jazz up your evenings and broaden your palate beyond pizza and Chinese.

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Photo Credit:
Brooke Lark

Dinner Tip 4

I used to be really creative about making dinner. That was before The Great Birthing of Baby #4 and The Time of Two Boys Taking (Separate) Martial Arts Classes and That Decade I Was (Am) Depressed.

Even still, I have yet to resort to cold cereal for dinner. Why?

  1. Cold cereal is not very filling.
  2. It’s, like, 80% sugar.
  3. The kids are probably getting hyped up on MSG and preservatives alongside the sugar.
  4. We’re often out of milk, too.

And so, this Super Mom has adopted a time-saving and money-saving and stress-saving technique: buying ahead.

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If you buy the super-huge bottle, you’ll never run out of salsa.

In short, I keep a lot of ingredients handy that can be used to make my simple meals. A few of the items I keep on hand are: shredded cheese (extras in freezer), frozen chopped onion, frozen sliced bell pepper, flour tortillas (extras in freezer), refried beans, minced garlic, spices, tortilla chips, olives, lettuce, various meats (freezer), sandwich bread, chili, canned tuna, potatoes, rice, milk, butter, salsa, ham slices, frozen vegetables, and most dry ingredients.

I’ve recommended having a go-to list of meals before. Well -what good is that list if you haven’t the ingredients to make anything from it?

So; after you list the cheap and easy dinners you can make, make a habit of keeping what you need for them around. You and your grumbling tummies will be happy you did.

Dinner Tip 3

Takeout is expensive, especially if you go multiple times and/or have multiple eaters.

Make a list of cheap, fast, go-to meals. You’ll thank yourself later.

My list includes:

  1. Pizza (frozen pizza counts!)
  2. Chicken on the bird (Costco whole, cooked chicken)
  3. Costco clam chowder
  4. Chili (sometimes with biscuits or cornbread)
  5. Taco salad
  6. Grilled cheese sandwiches
  7. Quesadillas
  8. Frozen burritos
  9. Ramen with vegetables (not necessarily made according to the package)
  10. Sandwiches

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Dinner Tip 2

Cooking does not have to be that complicated, especially with the prevalence of so many frozen and pre-made options.

My tip today, however, is to not be afraid of making basic meals.

Don’t fear cooking!

There are a ton of easy meals that don’t take a lot of time, ingredients, or money to make. From the Poor Man’s Grilled Cheese Sandwich to French Bread Pizza to all the quick meals I listed on this very site, you have more than the drive thru to choose from come dinnertime.

You can do it. I promise.

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Photo Credit:
Pixzolo Photography