I may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post. As an Amazon Affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Whether you’re a working mom, single dad, parent who works from home or stay at home parent, there’s no doubt that keeping up with day to day responsibilities can be a challenge.
With plans constantly in flux due to over-communication + over-scheduling, it’s getting more difficult to stay on top of things like dinner prep. And yet… your family insists on eating dinner EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT.
Nightly take-out isn’t a healthy or cost effective option for most of us, which means you have to do something to keep up with this whole dinner thing.
Are home cooked meals a priority for you despite the pressing demands of life? If it’s your goal to feed your family fresh food as often as possible while saving money + time, then read on for tips on how to plan, shop + prep to ensure that you can be done with dinner in half an hour or less.
1. Keep Pre-Made Shopping Lists
Anyone who doesn’t like shopping lists is leaving a huge time saver on the table. We all know the frustrating feeling of coming home from the grocery store to realize you failed to bring home some needed items.
(“Darn it! I forgot half + half again!”)
It’s worth keeping a running list in a central location like the kitchen, with a pen in easy reach. Family members can jot down items they may want, without having to send random texts at inconvenient times or make requests out loud that are soon forgotten.
Even better… categorize your list. Some excellent planners take the time to type out a shopping list template that’s organized by grocery store department.
Include the items you typically buy, such as milk, eggs, bread, meat, or lunch box favorites such as a type of juice box that your children prefer. Then, when it’s time to shop, you can print it out, check off what you need, add extras + be on your way.
If you’re not a computer person, at least take a few moments to re-write the list that was posted in the kitchen, according to section, i.e. produce first, then deli, then meat + so forth, according to the physical layout of your favorite grocery store.
If you’ve never done this, it may seem excessive at first. But you really will spend a lot less time fumbling around if you get your shopping list in ship-shape.
2. Plan Ahead for Dinner in Half an Hour
Have a weekly meal plan in place. It is one of the best ways to ensure that you can be done with dinner in half an hour or less.
So if you usually grocery-shop on Monday, you might say to yourself: “Pork is on sale. I can get a roast + cook it in the crock pot.
The leftovers become tacos for Tuesday.
Mid-week we can have a vegetarian meal. Thursday is pot luck. Friday, we make homemade pizza.
Then, before you leave, jot down all the items you’ll need to buy to make this happen. Some things, like veggies + sides, can be flexible. But if you have a general idea of how the week’s meals will go, you won’t flounder when it comes time to make dinner.
3. Utilize Freezer Meals
Make + freeze your family’s favorite meals ahead of time. Freezer meals are a huge time saver + almost any foods come to life pretty quickly thanks to modern conveniences like the microwave. Stock up your freezer with your favorite meals.
4. Have Heat + Eat Options for a Busy Night
Chicken nuggets warm up quickly in the toaster oven.
Frozen French fries can be baked in less than 20 minutes, with easy tray cleanup after.
Buy or make soup, then stash single or double servings in the freezer for use as needed. To thaw soup in a hurry, just run the frozen container under warm water.
Then, place in a sauce pan with lid with a bit of water in the bottom + turn the stove on medium. When the soup begins to liquefy, lower the heat + stir occasionally to break up frozen chunks + warm up the contents.
5. Stock Starches in the Fridge
Rice, pasta + whole grain sides such as brown rice noodles make easy grab-and-go selections to cut significant time from dinner prep.
For example, if you’re busy at work thinking ahead to dinner, you can mentally prep for a quick one-pot meal that involves a quick zap of some broccoli in the microwave, a sauté of chicken + the addition of pre-cooked noodles + sauce which can be added at the end.
6. Plan + Shop for a Cooking Day
This can be a Sunday morning, or any other day when you know you’ll be home. You can make more complicated meals like lasagna, casseroles, meat sauce, pot roast, stew, chili, soup, or something else that would take several hours to prepare + cook.
Freeze in single or double portions to thaw + eat on another night.
7. Clean as You Go
When it comes time to hustle through dinner cooking, you can make easier work of the post-meal clean-up by tackling things as you go.
Items like peelers, colanders + boiling pots don’t require much soap to get clean. So you can quickly wipe + rinse them directly after use.
After chopping vegetables, wipe the knife on a clean cloth + store back in its proper place immediately (keeps people from cutting themselves, too).
Waste not a moment in getting food out of the pan you cooked it in + running water into the pan to rinse + wipe before things get sticky + stuck.
When all’s said and done, you’ll have only dinner plates, serving bowls + utensils to wash.
- 3 Benefits of Healthy Eating for Kids
- 8 Savings Goals To Teach Kids About Money
- 10 Best Things To Do During Summer With Kids
- 5 Tips For Summer Safety For Kids
- 10 Mom Bag Essentials I Have For Summer Fun
- The Best Clean Sunscreen Brand I Use On Me + My Kids
- 12 Ideas To DIY Summer Camp At Home
- 3 Resources For Personal + Business Life While You Stay At Home
- How to Protect a Crawling Baby
- How to Keep Happy, Safe + Healthy Girls Throughout the School Year
- 7 Easy Hair Styles For Girls
- When To Start Potty Training Girls
- Best Halloween Costumes for Girls
- 3 Healthy Habits For Girls
- 7 Subscription Boxes For Girls
- 26 Mother-Daughter Date Ideas
- Feeding Time: What to Keep in Mind When Introducing Food to Baby
- Baby on Board: What You Need to Know About Car Seat Safety
- 7 Ways to Help Your Daughter Feel Comfortable in Her Own Skin
- 7 Tips for Nighttime Potty Training Girls
- School Bus Safety Tips to Teach Your Kids
- How to Deal with Unexpected Problems at Delivery
- 3 Characteristics of the Best Mom Car
- 4 Ways to Prevent Your Teen from Texting + Driving
- 3 Tips to Help You Prepare for Labor + Delivery
- Creative Lunch Ideas for School
- Resources + Recommendations for Mommin’ + Bloggin’
- How to Make Hand Washing Fun for Kids
- DIY Halloween Party Ideas for Kids
- 12 Cool Things to Include When Building a House
- 3 Tips for Toddler Girl Summer Fashion
- How to Be a Productive Stay-at-Home Mom
- The Ultimate Guide to Summer Day Camps + Sleepaway Camps
- How to Protect From Child Bee Stings
- 10 Best Books on Raising Strong Girls
- A Complete Mom Guide to Summer Activities with Kids (So Everyone Survives the Summer)
- The Ultimate Guide to Sibling Fighting + How to Stop It
- 7 Things A Mom REALLY Wants for Mother’s Day
- 3 Things to Look for When Choosing a Pediatric Dentist
- 5 Kid-Approved Fun Summer Activities
- A Family Trip Near Shenandoah: Where to Stay, Go + Eat
- Celebrate Earth Month With Green Kid Crafts
- 4 Tips to Prep for Your Disney Trip with Your Kids
- 3 Ways to Model Appropriate Behavior for Your Daughter
- 3 Actions to Take if a Dog Bites Your Child
- 3 Places to Buy Inexpensive but Nice Girls’ Clothes
- 6 Steps to Resolving Conflict with Your Strong-Willed Daughter
- 3 Home Pests That Can Make Your Kids Sick
- 7 Strategies for Dealing with Defiant Daughters
- 7 Books to Help Girls Overcome Anxiety, Fear + Worry + Other Feelings
- The Top 7 Girl Mom Bloggers You Should Be Following
- 3 Tips for Moms Going Back to School
- 3 Tips for Surviving a Move with Young Ones
- 3 Ways to Keep Your Kids Safe in the Car
- To The Mom With A Crazy Toxic Mom
- 12 Non-Toy Easter Basket Ideas for Girls
- 5 Ways To Easier Laundry When You Have Girls
- It’s Flu Season, Ya’ll
- Tips To Be A More Productive Mommy
- Twinkle Twinkle Little Star 1st Birthday Party for a Girl
- 14 Ways to Tell Your Kids You Love Them on Valentine’s Day
- Speed Up Your Family’s Morning Routine
- How to Make Easy Healthy Family Meals
- 7 Tips to be Done with Dinner in Half an Hour or Less
- The Kid Birthday Tradition I Do Every Year (For All 3 Girls)
- 3 Valentine’s Day Foods + Goodies for Your Sweetie
- Easy Freezer Meals for After Baby
- How to Pick Strong Baby Girl Names
- 10 Valentine’s Day Activities for Young Kids
- 101 Winter Bucket List Activities for Young Kids
- How I Went From Being Skeptical to a Believer in 2.7 Seconds
- 2019 Mom Goal
- 10 Rainy Day Activities for Young Kids
- 10 Cringe-Worthy Questions Only Moms of All Girls Are Asked
- #1 Reason I’m Giving My Kids Experience Gifts, Not Toys
- 7 Steps to Create the Perfect 1st Birthday