What I’ve Learned Making 10,000 Dinners

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Next week marks twenty-nine years of marriage for Jim and me and twenty-five years of parenthood for us.  A lot of things have happened in all those years, including the fact that I’ve made thousands of dinners for us!

Over the years I’ve learned a few things about what really works to get dinner on the table and what doesn’t.  I want to share a few of those lessons with you today.  

Cooking methods and timing

There have been years when it worked best to do my dinner prep work in the mornings, like when I had babies and toddlers.  Or when the kids had late afternoon practices or lessons.  Load that slow cooker in the morning!

There’ve been other times when things have been so crazy that there’s little time for prepping and cooking meals and we just need something fast. Fifteen minute meals to the rescue.

Lesson learned: I need recipes that work for the slow cooker, quick skillet meals, 15 minutes meals, freezer meals, sheet pan dinners and other types of cooking.

Red Gold Italian Sausage Pasta Sauce

Easy ingredients

With four growing and active kids added to the family over the years, I don’t have time for long ingredient lists.  I also don’t want to spend time and money hunting down obscure ingredients that I’ll only use once.

Lesson learned: Use basic ingredients that I can find in any grocery store that will work in a multitude of recipes.

Pork Chops and Apples Sheet Pan Dinner ingr

Have a plan

It’s so much easier to face cooking when you know what you’re going to make. If you’re staring down a pack of frozen chicken near the end of the day wondering how to turn it into dinner, your chances of success go way down (and the chances of hitting the drive-thru go way up!).

Lesson learned: Have a meal plan that incorporates quick meals, slow cooker meals, easy ingredients and more. Post the menu plan on the fridge and work from it. 

Dinner is one thing I know how to do really well.

When I started Eat at Home, I wanted to share recipes that work well for family dinners.  But it wasn’t long until I realized that it’s not just about the recipes.  Having a meal plan that puts versatile recipes together with an easy grocery list is a huge part of dinner success.

Eat at Home Weekly Meal Plans launched in 2013 and over the last four years, I’ve incorporated everything I’ve learned over my years of making dinner.  I’m still learning things too, so I’m still improving the meal plans.  Starting in February, I’ll be adding in pressure cooker/Instant Pot recipes to the plans.

My goal is that you can print your plans and recipes, quickly shop and easily make dinner for your family.  

This is a great time to become a member of Eat at Home Weekly Meal Plans. Prices will be going up January 17, but you can lock in the current prices now.  If the meal plans help you avoid eating out just one time, you’ll not only make up the cost but earn a return on your investment (eating out is expensive!).  

And I promise if you use these plans you won’t be running through the drive-thru to find easy dinners – you’ll be making easy meals in your own kitchen! 

Find out more about Eat at Home Weekly Meal Plans by clicking this link.

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