Tips to Make the Most out of Dinner

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Recently Tiffany, the author of your fabulous {Eat At Home} site, asked me what I do to make the most out of dinner.
My tips here are not ground breaking or fancy. I am feeding five boys and a husband. They would likely eat anything that does not eat them first, especially if it is NOT a vegetable.
I am not a short order cook. I can’t be. I would spend my entire life cooking.
But this is how I make the most out of dinner- especially on school nights.
1) I meal plan. The kids know what to expect and I know what I am up against each day. {Eat At Home} is one of my regular recipe gathering sites as I do my meal plan each Sunday for the week ahead.
2) I cook in the crockpot as much as possible! If you do not own one, get one. They are perfect for busy people! If you are a stay-at-home-parent, tossing dinner in the crockpot makes for one less thing you have to juggle in your busy day. If you are a parent who works outside of the home, how amazing would it be to come home to the smell of dinner after a long day at work when you just want to spend as much of your evening with your kids?
Tiffany’s site has many delicious recipes, with short and common ingredient lists, designed to be tossed in the crockpot.
3) I keep frozen veggies on hand. Put them in a saucepan, cover in water, add a pat of butter, salt and pepper to taste, and a spoonful of minced garlic. I let them boil until the water is almost completely evaporated and it makes for delicious steamed-like veggies.
4) I keep frozen biscuits on hand. I like the
Pillsbury Grands. They have all kinds: Flakey Layers, Southern Style, Buttermilk, etc. They cook up fast as your veggies are going.
5) Sometimes I toss in a salad as well. The prepackaged type, or one that I’ve made myself in a large batch to spread over a few days.

And there you have it- main dish, veggie, bread and fresh salad all done in no time flat.

Kids are fed.
Momma’s happy.
You have the rest of your evening to spend time with your little ones.
And dinner is off your list!

Bio: Crystal is a blogging mom to five crazy boys, ranging in age from 11 yrs to 1 year, with twins in the mix. She is the author of the blog Crystal & Co. She writes about the things that work for her, raising a large blended family, dyslexia and crockpot cooking. She embraces the struggles, the craziness, the fun and the un-perfect. Crystal always shares the meltdowns and tantrums while searching for herself and simplicity as she pulls her hair out one strand at a time. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Click here to be a part of it all!

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  1. Amen to the crockpot! I have so much more time in the morning to prepare stuff so the crockpot is my best friend! Thanks!

  2. Great tips! Thanks for the guest post.

  3. I have to get on board with this meal planning business *gritting teeth*. I know it will make my life better. If Crystal can do it with 5 boys, I should be able to do it with 2…. LOL to ‘anything that doesn’t eat them first’ !!!

  4. A very useful guest post, Crystal! I’m a grandmother and I’m a busy one so these tips aren’t just for families with growing children – ha! I don’t know what I’d do without my crockpots…I have a large one and a smaller one…love ’em both.

    Another thing that I do frequently, even though there are just two of us at home most of the time…I make double the recipe. Meatloaf, for example, or pasta sauce and I freeze one for another day.

  5. you boil the vegetables until all the water is gone? what’s left aside from muck and goo?

    • randr, This is Crystal’s guest post, but it sounds like she does her frozen veggies like I do. If you put frozen broccoli, cauliflower etc in a pan with a small amount of water and bring it to a boil, it doesn’t take long to cook the veggies. You can pull them off when they are still tender-crisp or let them get a bit more done. I drain off any water that is left. It doesn’t boil down to muck and goo unless a doorbell rings, a child cries, the phone rings and someone spills something in the floor all at the same time – meaning the veggies literally take the back burner.

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